Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies.
Architectural and engineering managers typically do the following:
- Make detailed plans for the development of new products and designs
- Determine staff, training, and equipment needs
- Propose budgets for projects and programs
- Hire and supervise staff
- Lead research and development projects to produce new products, processes, or designs
- Check the technical accuracy of their staff’s work
- Ensure the soundness of methods their staff uses
- Coordinate work with other staff and managers
Architectural and engineering managers use their knowledge of architecture or engineering to oversee a variety of activities. They may direct and coordinate production, operations, quality assurance, testing, or maintenance at manufacturing sites, industrial plants, engineering services firms, and research and development laboratories.
Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for developing the overall concept of a new product or for solving the technical problems that prevent the completion of a project. To accomplish this, they must determine technical goals and produce detailed plans.
Architectural and engineering managers spend a great deal of time coordinating the activities of their staff with the activities of other staff or organizations. They often confer with other managers, including those in finance, production, and marketing, as well as with contractors and equipment and materials suppliers.
In addition, architectural and engineering managers must know how to prepare budgets, hire staff, and supervise employees. They propose budgets for projects and programs and determine staff, training, and equipment needs. These managers must also hire people and assign them specific parts of each project to carry out. Architectural and engineering managers supervise the work of their employees, set schedules, and create administrative procedures.
Architectural and engineering managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and considerable work experience as an architect or engineer.
Most architectural and engineering managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty or a professional degree in architecture.
Many also gain business management skills by completing a master’s degree in engineering management (MEM or MsEM) or technology management (MSTM) or a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Some workers earn their master’s degree before advancing to management positions, and others earn it while they work as a manager. Employers will sometimes pay for such education. Typically, those who prefer to manage in technical areas pursue an MsEM or MSTM and those interested in more general management skills earn an MBA.
Engineering management programs usually include classes in accounting, engineering economics, financial management, industrial and human resources management, and quality control.
Technology management programs typically provide instruction in production and operations management, project management, computer applications, quality control, safety and health issues, statistics, and general management principles.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Managers advance to their positions after years of employment as an architect or engineer. They usually have experience working on difficult or complex projects, developing designs, solving problems, and making decisions. Before moving up to a management position, they also typically gain experience leading engineering teams.
Analytical skills. Architectural and engineering managers must evaluate information carefully and solve complex problems.
Communication skills. Architectural and engineering managers oversee staff and work together with other levels of management. They must communicate orders effectively and lead teams to meet goals.
Detail oriented. Architectural and engineering managers must pay attention to detail. Their duties require an understanding of complex systems since a minor error can cause major problems.
Math skills. Architectural and engineering managers use calculus and other advanced mathematics to develop new products and processes.
Organizational skills. Architectural and engineering managers keep track of many workers, schedules, and budgets simultaneously.