Civil Engineering with Derek Muriva

Where do you currently work?
South Africa for a company called Mapitsi Civil Works.
What does your firm do?
Construction that is Roads and stormwater drains, Bulk pipelines, Water and sewer reticulation, buildings (Schools etc), resevoirs and any other concrete works.
Tell us a little bit about your career history?
After completing my A’Level at Marondera High School, I proceeded to the University of Zimbabwe where I briefly studied Computer Network Engineering which was being offered by the UZ together with a Malaysian institute named Ansted School of Technology. I then joined the Ministry of Transport, Department of Roads Training Centre and studied Surveying. I later proceeded to Harare Polytechnic where I studied for a Diploma in Civil Engineering.
Was this always your dream career or it changed somewhere along the line?
This was not my dream career. I always wanted to become a Chartered Accountant but I couldn’t because I did not get the required points to be enrolled at any University. I just found myself doing Civil Engineering.
How closely does your academic education fit in with your job?
I don’t really use most of the staff I learnt at school or college. However almost half of the principles I use at work were taught in college. I would say college taught me to use my mind. In short my academic education is not really close to my job.
What qualifications do you hold?
National Diploma in Civil Engineering and a Certificate in Land Surveying.
In short what educational path got you where you are? Could you have made the path shorter?
Primary, Secondary School and Polytechnic got me here. Yes I could’ve made the path shorter if I knew that I was going to end up in Engineering. I could’ve skipped A’ Level and went straight to College from O’ Level.
What are the tasks that you do regularly in your profession?
Programming of works, quality control, allocating works to staff, measurement of quantities, material procurement, setting out of works, level control (part of quality control), plant management, preparing reports (daily, weekly and monthly), managing project costs, time management, problem solving, conflict resolution.
Can you tell us some of the projects you have worked on, which you found interesting?
I worked on a number of interesting projects namely the Harare-Gweru road dualisation (Harare), Rhodhene Extension Land Servicing (Masvingo), Mfihlakhalo Special School Construction (SA, North West), Nsezi-Port of Richards Bay Railway Line (SA), Johannesburg CBD Water Upgrade and Mhondo Rural Munipality Potable Water Supply (SA) being the most interesting project. It involved installing 200 000 litre tank which we filled from boreholes and then a network of pipes to various rural homes. 
What is it that excites you the most when you are doing your job?
I once drove along the Harare-Gweru road to Norton with my family and friends and I told them that I am part of the team that constructed this road. They were all amazed by that discovery. In short I am always excited by the fact that people are waiting for me to complete this project so they can have clean water to drink, so they can drive on nice roads, so that children can have nice classrooms. I am happy to know that what I am doing is changing lives.
What bits do you find boring in your daily tasks?
Most task are repeated over and over again. There are those times when you can spend three months without meeting any new challenge. Imagine waking up and doing the same thing daily. This however does not apply to all projects.
Any advice to those studying or aiming at this job or career?
Civil Engineering is one of the careers in demand worldwide at the moment. A degree is always best because one cannot become an Engineer with a Diploma but rather a Technician. However Civil Engineering is one of those courses which you need to put all your effort in college. There are various job opportunities in Civil Engineering which include Site Agent, Project Engineer, Civil Engineering Technician, Design Technician/Engineer, Project Manager, Contracts Manager, and Engineer’s Representative (RE). All these people can all be on one project at the same time.