Engineering Engineering

Design Engineer

Design engineers research and develop ideas for new products and the systems used to make them. They also work to improve the performance and efficiency of existing products.

If you want a professional career in engineering, and are good at problem-solving and generating new ideas, this job could suit you well.

In this job you will need to be able to use computer-aided design software. You will need to be able to combine engineering and design principles.

You would normally need a foundation degree, HNC/HND or degree to become a design engineer. Relevant subjects include engineering product design, industrial design and computer-aided design engineering.


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This career information has been adapted from Prospects and National Careers Service.

What The Job Involves

What are the key responsibilities for this position?

Your exact duties would depend on the project but could include:

Key Responsibilities

research – using mathematical modelling to work out whether new developments and innovations would work and be cost effective
design – turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software
testing – collecting and analysing data from tests on prototypes
modifying designs and re-testing – this process can go through several stages before a product is ready for manufacture or installation
reporting – writing or presenting regular progress reports for project managers and clients.

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Entry Requirements

A degree in one of the following subjects will be useful: building services engineering; engineering product design; industrial design; computer-aided design engineering; engineering design and manufacture; materials science.
Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications may also be acceptable to employers
You may also be able to get into this career starting off as an engineering technician apprentice with a manufacturer or engineering company and then continuing your training on a Higher Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering

What key skills and personal attributes help with this role?

Skills & Attributes

a high level of technical and scientific knowledge and the ability to apply this knowledge to practical problems
good analytical and problem-solving skills
strong mathematical ability
a sound knowledge of computer assisted design (CAD) software
precise and concise written communication skills
time management
the ability to work under pressure
teamwork skills
attention to detail
the ability to liaise well with professionals from other disciplines
an interest in the design and structure of buildings
the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
a creative approach for generating new ideas
an excellent grasp of engineering and design principles
a knowledge of the qualities of metals and other materials
an understanding of manufacturing processes and construction methods
an awareness of the environmental impact of design ideas

How much can you expect to earn and what are the career progression options?

The following figures are intended as a guideline only.

Salary & Progression

Graduate engineers: £20,000 - £27,000
Experienced design engineers: £28,000 - £40,000
Senior design engineers: £40,000 - £50,000+
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