Have you ever found yourself stuck in traffic on Hong Kong Island's north shore and wished you could do more about it than just sounding another blast on the horn? Or perhaps you worry about the rapidly filling nature of the city's landfills and want to play a direct part in solving the problem, instead of just recycling your old mooncake boxes.
At the government's Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), engineers get to work on these sorts of problems and a whole lot more as they try to come up with solutions to Hong Kong's multitude of major infrastructural challenges.
The department is currently growing its team and is looking for more civil engineers to join its 1,700-strong workforce.
Wong Chi-yung joined the CEDD as a trainee after graduating from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2003. He acquired his chartership as a civil engineer in 2008 and has been working on the Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) project for the past five years.
"When I was in high school, I thought that civil engineering was just science and mathematics, but in reality it is far more than that," he says.
As proof, Wong's involvement with CRIII spans site supervision, project planning, liaisons with other government departments and stakeholders, financial and consultancy management, dispute resolutions, and public consultations.
Engineers working for the CEDD are often able to take advantage of the huge range of projects with which the department is involved. Some of the largest current projects include the Wan Chai Development Phase II, which will provide land to accommodate the Central-Wan Chai Bypass; land reclamation and rock cavern development, to increase long-term land supply; and the development of the vast Kai Tak area into a new business and community hub.
The department holds separate recruitment exercises for fresh graduates and experienced workers. Fresh graduates are offered a three-year comprehensive training scheme approved by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers to facilitate them acquiring a relevant professional qualification.
"We welcome both kinds of candidates, as there is always a demand for new blood and fresh ideas," says CEDD spokesman Carol Ho.
"However, civil engineers nowadays not only have to possess sound technical knowledge and management skills. They should also have good communication skills and wide knowledge of community needs. As well as considering technical and quality aspects, they also need to consider public and environmental concerns, health and safety issues, and cultural and heritage aspects," she says.
One of the biggest advantages of working for the CEDD is the training opportunities it provides. Wong has plans to go to the UK in September to study a master's degree in coastal engineering, with full support from the CEDD.
"I hope my new knowledge in coastal engineering can help improve Hong Kong's environment when I come back next year," he says.