What Does a Geotechnical Engineer Do?


Geotechnical engineers are responsible for the foundations of different kinds of structures while protecting the earth’s physical environment. Their work involves analyzing data gathered from the field, finding possible ways to ensure that the stability of a slope or foundation is stable, and overseeing the construction operation in the project site. They can also work in consultancies.

With their expertise in civil engineering construction and design, their skillset involves investigating and analyzing places to decide the site’s stability at the present moment and in the upcoming years. Their job is to dig tunnels, construct significant structures such as bridges, dams, airports, buildings, and towers.

Their training has made them capable of dealing with geological hazards such as landslides, floods, and the worst-case scenario, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Their expertise in geotechnics and rock mechanics is vital in making decisions. Geotechnical Engineering is a sophisticated yet important branch of Civil Engineering.

The Multi-Disciplinary Nature of Geotechnical Engineering

As a geotechnical engineer, they have relevant knowledge over a handful of engineering fields related to them: structural engineering, material science, petroleum engineering, to name a few. The information gathered during their work are complex and mentally demanding; that is why geotechnical engineers are also practicing statisticians, technicians, and scientists.

The diversity and excitement in considering geotechnical engineering as a career are exhilarating – but incredibly demanding. What are the duties and roles of a geotechnical engineer?

Underground inspection: being a geotechnical engineer means that you need to gather soil samples to determine how much bearing stress the ground from the project site can tolerate, and how stable it can be.

Field testing: equipped with a prior knowledge of soil quality and factors that affect bearing stress, geotechnical engineers can determine what issues are present in the project.

Data Analysis: a geotechnical engineer’s ability to read and understand data from a data analysis software is necessary, for it is crucial to the continuation of the development of the project. After analyzing the data acquired from underground inspection, geotechnical engineers can also contribute to the earthworks and foundations development that is acceptable to the site conditions.

Client meetups: As a geotechnical engineer, one of their duties is to continually meet and update their clients about the progress of the project. Essential factors such as time and budget constraints must be among the geotechnical engineer’s knowledge to ensure that the project will reach a specific deadline.

To be a geotechnical engineer, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Geotechnical Engineering, as well as skills and expertise in geology, chemistry, and mathematics.

Geotechnical engineering, just like any engineering field, is dynamic. Changes implemented regularly, and employees must stay up to date. Overall, it is a viable opportunity for a career to pursue.