Geotechnical Engineering: A Solid Foundation

Geotechnical Engineering is the science that elucidates the mechanics of soils and rocks and its engineering applications to the development of mankind. In early times, the practice of Geotechnical Engineering was applied by trial and error, observational experience and empirical experimentations. Problems, for example, leaning tower of Pisa impelled geotechnical engineers to adopt a more scientific approach to explore the subsurface. Most of what Geotechnical Engineers do is hidden below the ground surface yet it is a very important discipline with vast scope as all the construction has to rest on or in the ground. Soil is a complex material with varying size, strength, Engineering properties and behaviour; this renders the job of geotechnical engineer among the most challenging jobs in Civil Engineering.

What do Geotechnical Engineers do?

Geotechnical Engineer is a specialist who uses fundamental principles of soil and rock mechanics to investigate surface and subsurface conditions of the ground. This allows them to evaluate, design, analyze and construct works related to the stability of natural slopes, man-made soil deposits, earthworks with cuts and fills, shallow and deep foundations, dams, retaining walls, tunnels, bridges, underground structures and many other works directly interacting with subsoil and water. Besides this, they are also involved in ground improvement and modification schemes, liquefaction analysis, geoenvironmental studies, foundation failure studies, grouting and mitigation methods, railway and highway embankment designs, landfill site design and dynamic analysis of soil/ foundations etc. to name a few.

Courses to Become a Geotechnical Engineer

The qualification criteria required to work as a Geotechnical Engineer is Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering or Master’s degree with a specialization in Geotechnical or soil and Foundation Engineering.

Career Opportunities for Geotechnical Engineers

Ample job opportunities are available for Geotechnical Engineers in both Government and Private sectors. In the government sector, job opportunities exist with PWD, urban planning departments, National Highway Authority of India, Indian Railways, Metro Rail Corporations etc. and the private sector includes consultancy firms, construction companies, mining agencies and infrastructure development companies. Otherwise, starting a consultancy firm is also a good opportunity for a Geotechnical Engineer in which they can cater to various clients such as builders, infrastructure developers, and Government agencies.

The job industry for geotechnical engineers is expected to see a growth of around 11% by 2024 which assures that geotechnical engineering is a good career and will give rise to the great career opportunities for Civil Engineering graduates.

Geotechnical Engineer Salary

Income of a Geotechnical Engineer varies with qualification, work experience, company and location. Entry-level geotechnical engineer gets decently paid which ranges between 1-5 LPA with 1-4 years of experience; whereas M. Tech graduate can gain a handsome salary at the start of his/her career itself. Also, their pay scales/income keeps on increasing with the increase in the experience.