What Does An Engineer Do?

Engineers are highly trained professionals who determine the feasibility of various projects, usually related to the construction industry. They are considered experts in mathematics and science, two disciplines that they need to use in designing and coming up with plans for projects. They should also be well-versed in different construction or industrial materials, and they ensure that appropriate materials are used for the project. They also ensure that the projects meet the requirements of the groups that hired them. They create spaces that would both address the needs of the end-users and the industry standards. They also ensure that the projects they make would stand the test of time.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real engineer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage TCP/IP LAN environment for the time during implementation.
  • Lead the design and implementation of the IP management system to support enterprise wide DNS and DHCP services.
  • Lead project team to design and FDA validate 10-up extreme accuracy vial dosing system and CIP/SIP automate cleaning equipment.
  • Manage and update content on Microsoft SharePoint.
  • Implement and manage continuous delivery systems and methodologies on AWS.
  • Manage Linux staging and testing environments and also automate application packaging and deployments.
  • Document entire SAN environment including architecture diagrams and technical support documentation.
  • Develop QEMU wrapper API to redirect virtual hardware accesses into SystemC-based android emulator.
  • Gain knowledge of TCP/IP, BGP, DHCP and routing protocols.
  • Work with LDAP resource for user's account & help to troubleshoot any issues.
Engineer Traits
Creativity involves thinking about a task or problem in an entirely new or different light.
Listening is an important part of the communication process as it allows you to understand information.
Math skills include being able to perform basic addition and subtraction, as well as solving for the unknown and visualizing data that will be helpful in the workplace.

Engineer Overview

When it comes to understanding what an engineer does, you may be wondering, "should I become an engineer?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, engineers have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of engineer opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 12,800.

On average, the engineer annual salary is $81,543 per year, which translates to $39.2 an hour. Generally speaking, engineers earn anywhere from $61,000 to $107,000 a year, which means that the top-earning engineers make $46,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become an engineer, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a research and development engineer, product development engineer, mechanical design engineer, and quality control engineer.

Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 8% of Engineers are proficient in Python, Cloud, and C++. They’re also known for soft skills such as Creativity, Listening skills, and Math skills.

We break down the percentage of Engineers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Python, 8%

    Implemented Python Scripts for generating detail configuration reports on distributed scale-up scale-out server Nodes for converged server systems.

  • Cloud, 6%

    Implemented automation and integration for cloud and system infrastructure solutions using Puppet and Chef.

  • C++, 5%

    Developed applications in C++ and MATLAB for validating the algorithmic performance of the computer vision and optical-inertial sensor fusion library.

  • C #, 5%

    NET, C #, ASP, IIS, XML/XSL, SQL Server 2000, Erwin, Rational Rose, NT)

  • AWS, 5%

    Managed Puppet for configuration management and automation using AWS infrastructure.

  • Java, 4%

    Transformed usability designs into actionable development specifications and test plans for UI fundamentals, Java widgets and operator-specific cell phone applications.

"python," "cloud," and "c++" aren't the only skills we found engineers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of engineer responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Creativity can be considered to be the most important personality trait for an engineer to have. According to a engineer resume, "mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery" engineers are able to use creativity in the following example we gathered from a resume: "created document and inventory management software (java struts) with additional clients in java swing and android 1.5"
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many engineer duties rely on listening skills. This example from a engineer explains why: "mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists." This resume example is just one of many ways engineers are able to utilize listening skills: "interfaced and communicated with meridian 1/cse systems remotely to modify customer database information and troubleshoot installation-programming problems."
  • Engineers are also known for math skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a engineer resume: "mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "developed and executed matlab code for statistics analysis and generate plotting."
  • An engineer responsibilities sometimes require "mechanical skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems." This resume example shows how this skill is used by engineers: "developed 2d and 3d finite element programs to solve mechanical and thermal problems in matlab."
  • Another common skill for an engineer to be able to utilize is "problem-solving skills." mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific principles and discoveries and use them to design and build useful products. An engineer demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "implemented a java rmi solution to remotely launch palm emulators and run test-harness."
  • See the full list of engineer skills.

    Before becoming an engineer, 45.5% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 25.1% engineers went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most engineers have a college degree. But about one out of every seven engineers didn't attend college at all.

    Those engineers who do attend college, typically earn either electrical engineering degrees or mechanical engineering degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for engineers include business degrees or civil engineering degrees.

    When you're ready to become an engineer, you might wonder which companies hire engineers. According to our research through engineer resumes, engineers are mostly hired by Oracle, Accenture, and Computer Task Group. Now is a good time to apply as Oracle has 243 engineers job openings, and there are 226 at Accenture and 206 at Computer Task Group.

    If you're interested in companies where engineers make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Hudson River Housing, JET I LEASING, and 3D Technology Services. We found that at Hudson River Housing, the average engineer salary is $156,448. Whereas at JET I LEASING, engineers earn roughly $153,018. And at 3D Technology Services, they make an average salary of $146,525. While Hudson River Housing has 0 job listings for engineers, JET I LEASING and 3D Technology Services have 0 and 0 job listings respectively.

    View more details on engineer salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at IBM, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. These three companies have hired a significant number of engineers from these institutions.

    For the most part, engineers make their living in the technology and manufacturing industries. Engineers tend to make the most in the technology industry with an average salary of $94,633. The engineer annual salary in the energy and manufacturing industries generally make $84,143 and $83,226 respectively. Additionally, engineers who work in the technology industry make 16.6% more than engineers in the finance Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious engineers are:

      What Research And Development Engineers Do

      Research and development engineers generally execute research and tests on product ideas, develop new products, and perform redesigns. They are employed in many industries, including manufacturing, electrical, and science-based companies. Their duties vary and depend on the industries they work in. Responsibilities of these engineers include developing new technologies, designing products, and managing the projects until they are completed. Additionally, they lead the project team members to manage their schedules, design the project plans, and collaborate with key departments in developing new products.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take research and development engineer for example. On average, the research and development engineers annual salary is $8,249 higher than what engineers make on average every year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both engineers and research and development engineers positions are skilled in python, c++, and c #.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because an engineer responsibility requires skills such as "cloud," "aws," "troubleshoot," and "javascript." Whereas a research and development engineer is skilled in "prototype," "doe," "medical devices," and "product development." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Research and development engineers really shine in the technology industry with an average salary of $101,615. Whereas engineers tend to make the most money in the technology industry with an average salary of $94,633.

      On average, research and development engineers reach higher levels of education than engineers. Research and development engineers are 11.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 6.8% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Product Development Engineer?

      A Product Development Engineer is responsible for creating and testing new product designs. They collaborate with market researchers to evaluate market needs, existing competition, and potential costs.

      Now we're going to look at the product development engineer profession. On average, product development engineers earn a $875 higher salary than engineers a year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both engineers and product development engineers are known to have skills such as "c++," "java," and "project management."

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real engineer resumes. While engineer responsibilities can utilize skills like "python," "cloud," "c #," and "aws," some product development engineers use skills like "product development," "product design," "prototype," and "ul."

      On average, product development engineers earn a higher salary than engineers. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, product development engineers earn the most pay in the technology industry with an average salary of $84,575. Whereas, engineers have higher paychecks in the technology industry where they earn an average of $94,633.

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, product development engineers tend to reach higher levels of education than engineers. In fact, they're 8.9% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.8% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Mechanical Design Engineer Compares

      A mechanical design engineer specializes in designing various mechanical devices that will be vital in developing machinery or large structures. One of their primary responsibilities revolves around conducting thorough research and analysis, establishing layouts and prototypes, producing progress reports, and working alongside fellow engineers and skilled professionals. Typically assigned in an office setting, a mechanical design engineer must visit construction sites or factories to test and observe equipment qualities. Furthermore, during production, there are instances when a mechanical engineer must coordinate with suppliers, contractors, and clients.

      The third profession we take a look at is mechanical design engineer. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than engineers. In fact, they make a $2,161 lower salary per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several engineers and mechanical design engineers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "api," "project management," and "technical support," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, an engineer is likely to be skilled in "python," "cloud," "c++," and "c #," while a typical mechanical design engineer is skilled in "engineering design," "engineering drawings," "creo," and "gd."

      Interestingly enough, mechanical design engineers earn the most pay in the technology industry, where they command an average salary of $96,656. As mentioned previously, engineers highest annual salary comes from the technology industry with an average salary of $94,633.

      Mechanical design engineers typically study at similar levels compared with engineers. For example, they're 1.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 2.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Quality Control Engineer

      A quality control engineer is responsible for conducting quality assessments for the company's products and services to ensure adherence to federal regulations and quality standards. Quality control engineers recommend strategic methods by analyzing processes and writing test results. They also identify opportunities for more services that meet public demands and market trends, helping the business generate more resources for revenues. A quality control engineer utilizes various software tools and applications to document findings, requiring them to have excellent communication and technical skills.

      Now, we'll look at quality control engineers, who generally average a lower pay when compared to engineers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $14,059 per year.

      According to resumes from both engineers and quality control engineers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "windows," "api," and "hvac."

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "python," "cloud," "c++," and "c #" are skills that have shown up on engineers resumes. Additionally, quality control engineer uses skills like product quality, quality standards, corrective actions, and continuous improvement on their resumes.

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The technology industry tends to pay more for quality control engineers with an average of $92,438. While the highest engineer annual salary comes from the technology industry.

      Quality control engineers reach similar levels of education when compared to engineers. The difference is that they're 0.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 2.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.