I will answer this on the basis of my learning through the four years at college and my short experience at work.
There are a couple of reasons why I think Civil students are subjected to mockery at our campus-
- Low starting pay jobs, when compared to the packages being offered by non-core and IT companies
- The nature of work in our labs (dirtying your hands with sand, aggregates and concrete while other departments have sophisticated labs)
Regarding low paying jobs, let me assure you that even the colleges with the finest Civil Engineering departments in the country fail to offer high paying core jobs (marginal variation can be seen though).
The reason behind this is, I believe, that if Civil Engineering is the Cricket World Cup, you have only gone past the group stage with your B.E./B.Tech. degree. The real challenge lies ahead.
I have been working in my company ( we are designing the Bangalore Metro currently) for almost 2.5 months now. In this short period itself, I have come across a sea of things that I didn’t while in college. So experience surmounts almost everything in Civil Engineering.
Coming to the kind of work in our labs. Well we all have to agree that without having the knowledge about what we build with, it is just impossible to move on in the industry