Engineering management is a lucrative and varied industry, with no shortage of job opportunities to explore. To start your engineering management path, you will need to have a master’s, but you can choose from many career paths once you do. An engineering management degree will combine thorough engineering knowledge with the management skills you need to succeed in a leadership role.
There are four main engineering fields that you can choose to work in: electrical, mechanical, chemical, and civil. They are all quite different but operate on the same principles at their core. Your schooling will allow you to understand all these different areas and choose what best suits you and how you want to move forward in your career.
If you’re considering pursuing this career path but don’t know the specific job role you’d be most interested in, then below are some great options.
What is engineering management?
Engineering management professionals are the individuals who act as the liaison between the upper management of a company or organization and the technical, on-the-ground engineering roles. They need to have a thorough understanding of engineering operations, including manufacturing, quality assurance, maintenance, and testing, to successfully lead their teams. Those who pursue engineering management start their engineering careers to gain the practical knowledge and experience necessary to become a respected manager.
On top of the hands-on knowledge required to be successful as an engineering manager, they must also possess project management and leadership skills. That will include critical thinking and problem solving, human resources knowledge, and financial/budgeting know-how. When taking your master’s in engineering management, click here to find out more. You will learn all the skills required to succeed in the role you choose to pursue. Engineering management is an excellent industry to get into, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field to grow by 10% within the next ten years.
What is involved in engineering management?
When you think of engineering, you’d likely think of people getting their hands dirty while working on construction sites and industrial plants. While you might see engineering managers kicking around these areas, you can usually find them in offices. They oversee all the operations and the entire team of engineers. They work with production managers on design and development, contractors, suppliers, finance, and even marketing departments to ensure all processes are running smoothly. While the job roles may vary slightly based on industry, engineering managers are always in charge.
So, what types of jobs can you get once you’ve finished your engineering management degree?
1. Construction project engineer
Construction project engineer works directly with subcontractors to ensure safety and efficiency during construction projects. They are there to handle any problems that may arise on the site and delegate tasks to the contractors. Construction project engineers review all construction plans for accuracy and then create project schedules that are well thought out and technically feasible. Compared to other engineering management jobs, a construction project engineer will spend a lot of time on-site to ensure things are running smoothly, on schedule, and stay within the budget. They are the ones who make big decisions on-site, but also the ones held accountable for any bump in the road.
Average salary: $64,355
2. Chemical process engineer
If you’re more scientifically inclined and like creating new, efficient processes, then a career as a chemical process engineer would be a perfect choice. Chemical process engineers assess processes and plants and manufacturing sectors for their efficiency and modify them if they are underperforming. They also develop brand new processes where they see there could be an improvement. These improvements allow plants to operate more effectively when making their products.
Chemical process engineers will work with project engineers to ensure that all equipment is functioning to its best capacity and is safe and adequately maintained. They use scientific principles as a basis for everything they do and adhere to health and safety legislation to ensure compliance.
Average salary: $79,298
3. Client services analyst
Engineering managers don’t work solely in the industrial sector. Their expertise is also needed in the customer service industry to optimize processes. A client services analyst is someone with a master’s in engineering management and is interested in helping businesses improve their customer service system. They gather data and do a lot of research into market trends to determine what customers are looking for. They will also use complaint logs and customer satisfaction surveys to identify where the company is falling short on their customer service
Once they have a clear picture of the company’s customer service, they will develop strategies and processes to improve the way they handle customers. They will often work with marketing departments, management teams, and customer service reps to create a cohesive customer service approach.
Client services analysts will sometimes train the sales team or customer service reps on how to boost customer satisfaction and, in turn, bring in higher profits. They will also create processes for dealing with complaints and customers who are dissatisfied and train management on how to resolve them.
Average salary: $53,442
4. Automation engineer
If you have a background in engineering and love what you do, but you’re looking to move up in the ranks, pursuing a role as an automation engineer is a great option. Automation engineers must have deep technical and engineering knowledge, so this role wouldn’t suit someone who hasn’t ever worked in engineering. Automation engineers will need to have a master’s in engineering management. They work within the management industry and use technology to set up automation processes.
Automation is the future of manufacturing, so there is massive growth potential when pursuing this career path. Industries are looking to swap out outdated equipment with automated options that increase their productivity, eliminate the need for paid staff, and reduce human error. They need to understand how equipment and machinery work and develop and design new, automated alternatives.
Once the automation is up and running, automation engineers will need to monitor them for effectiveness and work out any kinks or problems.
Average salary: $76,274
5. Design engineer
A design engineer job is perfect for those who love seeing their designs and concepts brought to life. They are creative types who can see areas that need improvement and design ways to do so. Design engineers do a lot of research and develop new products where there are holes in the market. They can work in just about any industry, making it a versatile career option where people can align their career with their passions. If you’re passionate about pets, then you might be working in the pet toy industry, creating indestructible dog toys. If you love to cook, you may be trying to develop the next best kitchen utensil to improve the kitchen’s efficiency.
Design engineers must take many different variables into account when designing and developing products. On top of the products’ aesthetic and functional value, they must also consider costing, suppliers, and the current market. Once they’ve designed a product, they will have to make prototypes, conduct tests, and modify designs accordingly.
Average salary: $68,296
6. Structural engineer
Structural engineers are the brains behind the design and construction of buildings. They work with architects to develop plans for buildings to ensure they are safe and structurally sound. They consider all variables, such as withstanding the elements, load-bearing elements, and focus on every project’s structural integrity. They make precise calculations, choose appropriate construction materials, and provide technical advice to those managing the project.
Structural engineers monitor and thoroughly inspect the entire construction process to ensure that everything is done to a high spec. One small error could be detrimental to a whole project, and the structural engineer would blame it. They will spend half of their time in the office, drawing up designs, reporting progress, and writing contracts. They spend the other half of their time on-site, where they inspect contractors’ work, check conditions, and make sure everything is proceeding as planned.
Structural engineers will typically work with construction consultancies, utility companies, construction contractors, or local authorities.
Average salary: $69,098
Getting a master’s in engineering management will set you up for a successful engineering management career. There are many options for those who prefer to work in the office, optimizing processes and working with software, or on-site, designing structures and being more hands-on. Regardless of which field you choose to pursue, you will need to obtain a state license through the National Council for Examiners of Engineering and Surveying. The specific one you need will vary by state, so you will have to select the correct one based on your location.
Careers in engineering are lucrative and have a great job outlook moving forward. As industries shift to automated and technical processes, they need engineers’ expertise to ensure they operate effectively. All businesses want to save money and be more efficient. Engineering managers can help them to make their operations less reliant on employees and more reliant on equipment and automation technology.