Monika Szczyrba 

Monika Szczyrba 

Graduate civil engineer

Country United Kingdom

Specialisms Water, design

Career highlights

My working day

I start my day at about 8.30am and check my emails and a list of things to do to see if the client has any urgent issues. I usually work with a wastewater networks modelling team to see if the proposed solution to flooding will work hydraulically.

I also look at the outline design and any constraints onsite to constructing it. I make sure I highlight all issues and speak to my team about them, preparing a mitigation plan of any risks identified.

I also work with the CAD [computer-aided design] technician who helps me present the drawings of a solution design.

I spend my afternoons writing up findings in a report and prepare any plans and figures that explain my reasoning.

During lunch I usually do some yoga, and I finish working before 5pm. I then head home to cook some dinner and meet with friends!  

My career inspiration

If I were to name one project that inspired me to become a civil engineer, it would be the Panama Canal extension, which was crucial to the marine trade worldwide.

There were a lot of interesting aspects to it, such as, how do you deal with the differences between salty seawater and the freshwater lake when the ships pass by? I found the scale of this mega-project really impressive and inspiring. 

Monika Szcyrba on site visit on HS2 Thames Water 42" Trunk Main diversion project in Euston, London

Monika Szcyrba on site visit on HS2 Thames Water 42" Trunk Main diversion project in Euston, London


An amateur cook and breadmaker. I dance salsa and do yoga in my spare time and I love backpacking around the world! 

Monika Szczyrba 

Graduate civil engineer

What I love about being a civil engineer

I get to work with people from so many different disciplines on a daily basis - it could be a local council, environmental expert or a government agency, a project manager and many more. Every day is different! 

The civil engineering myth I’d like to bust

A civil engineer working in the office only works on calculations and doesn’t interact much with people - completely the opposite! It’s all about the team effort and the majority of my daily job includes dealing with logistics and planning of the proposed solution in real life and trying to design out all the possible risks that can occur.  

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because

Every day at work is different and exciting and you make a real difference to the communities around you. 

The project, past or present, I wish I'd worked on

In the future, I would like to work with coastal communities to find ways to protect them from the effects of climate change and rising sea levels around the world.

I love the people side of the projects and I just want to continue making a positive difference to society.  

What gets me out of bed every morning?

The fact that I can help and support our communities. In my current role, I try to help and design long-term solution to flooding issues and make sure people have safe and dry homes to go back to. 


I started with a Year in Industry scheme for pre-university students ran by the EDT [Engineering Development Trust].

I worked for two years gaining experience and deciding whether it’s the right career for me.

After that, I studied MEng Civil Engineering with Spanish at the University of Sheffield. Every summer, I worked on the placements through the ICE QUEST scholarship. 

I want to become a civil engineer.

See how your studies lead to a civil engineering career

/careers-and-training/quest-scholarshipsThe job you end up with in civil engineering is likely to link back to what you studied at school, college or university. Here you can see your options at any age.

Studying at school

Up to 16 years

School / college

15-18 years

College / university

18 years +

Change career

Any age