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Become A Head Engineer

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Working As A Head Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $92,600

    Average Salary

What Does A Head Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Head Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Head Engineer jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Chief Engineer 5.2 years
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Principle Engineer 4.5 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Senior Engineer 4.3 years
Head Engineer 4.0 years
Lead Engineer 3.4 years
Project Engineer 3.4 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 10.6%
Internship 7.4%
Owner 3.5%
Top Employers After
Engineer 5.9%
Manager 5.2%
Owner 4.1%
Technician 4.1%
Bend Up 3.3%

Head Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

88.4%

Female

9.9%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

73.6%

Asian

11.2%

Hispanic or Latino

10.5%

Unknown

4.0%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

31.7%

German

7.3%

Carrier

7.3%

Japanese

4.9%

French

4.9%

Tagalog

4.9%

Arabic

4.9%

Italian

4.9%

Swedish

2.4%

Portuguese

2.4%

Dutch

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Vietnamese

2.4%

Dakota

2.4%

Cantonese

2.4%

Russian

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Thai

2.4%

Korean

2.4%

Cebuano

2.4%
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Head Engineer Education

Schools

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences

9.5%

Full Sail University

9.5%

University of Phoenix

9.5%

Los Angeles Recording School

5.4%

Berklee College of Music

5.4%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.4%

Institute of Audio Research

4.1%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

4.1%

University of Kentucky

4.1%

New York University

4.1%

State University of New York Buffalo

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.1%

Iowa State University

4.1%

Saint Louis University-

4.1%

Oklahoma State University

4.1%

George Washington University

4.1%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.1%

Mississippi State University

4.1%

Central Washington University

2.7%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

20.1%

Business

15.3%

Engineering

10.8%

Electrical Engineering

8.0%

Computer Science

5.7%

Civil Engineering

5.4%

Music

5.4%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

3.8%

Automotive Technology

3.2%

Management

3.2%

Chemical Engineering

2.5%

General Studies

2.2%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Drafting And Design

1.9%

Communication

1.9%

Industrial Engineering

1.9%

Photography

1.6%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.0%

Masters

22.7%

Other

22.3%

Associate

8.8%

Doctorate

4.4%

Certificate

2.8%

Diploma

1.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Head Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Head of Engineering 1-0 Mortgage LLC New York, NY Feb 16, 2015 $250,000
Head of Product, People Insights and Engineering Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jan 18, 2016 $225,000
Head of Data Engineering & Science Myfitnesspal, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 20, 2016 $201,000 -
$220,000
Head of Mobile Engineering Engagement Marketo, Inc. San Mateo, CA Sep 12, 2016 $200,366 -
$220,366
Head of Mobile Engineering Pocket Gems, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 20, 2016 $200,366 -
$205,024
Head of Growth Engineering Gofundme Inc. Redwood City, CA May 09, 2016 $200,000
Head of Engineering Nokia Siemens Networks Us LLC Herndon, VA Oct 01, 2011 $200,000
Head of Search Engine Optimization Carfax, Inc. Centreville, VA May 19, 2016 $200,000
Head of Growth Engineering Gofundme Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 05, 2016 $200,000
Head of Technology, Engineering and Technology Elsevier Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $195,300 -
$205,300
Head of Engineering Realreal Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 03, 2015 $190,258
Head of Engineering, Renzu Surveymonkey Inc. Palo Alto, CA May 17, 2015 $190,000
Head of Engineering Therealreal, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 26, 2013 $185,000
Head of Systems Engineering Avogy, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 08, 2013 $150,000 -
$180,000
Head of Engineering C3DNA, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 15, 2014 $150,000
Head of Engineering Forgame Us Corporation Burlingame, CA Aug 20, 2015 $150,000 -
$165,000
Head of Product and Engineering Skedadel, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 01, 2015 $150,000
Head of Systems Engineering Avogy, Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 03, 2014 $150,000 -
$180,000
Head of Engineering Eminent Inc. DBA Revolve Clothing Cerritos, CA Jan 29, 2016 $147,368
Head of Engineering Eminent Inc. Cerritos, CA Jul 29, 2014 $145,000
Head of Video Engineering Altia Systems, Inc. Cupertino, CA May 29, 2013 $129,394
Head of Video Engineering Ngcodec, Inc. San Jose, CA May 20, 2014 $129,394
Head of Engineering The Mill Group, Inc. Chicago, IL Mar 20, 2015 $126,148
Head IOS Engineer ROOY, Inc. Seattle, WA Dec 28, 2015 $126,000
Head IOS Engineer ROOY, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 10, 2015 $126,000
Head of Engineering The Mill Group, Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2015 $125,000 -
$135,000
Head of Gyft Web Engineering GYFT, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 20, 2016 $125,000
Head of Engineering Cask Data, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Nov 27, 2015 $124,758 -
$160,000

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Top Skills for A Head Engineer

EngineeringDepartmentAudioEquipmentFacilityCompliancePreventativeMaintenanceCad/CamPlatformHvacVideoSuperviseProductDevelopmentTechnicalSupportCNCSetupRWindowsProcessControlISOCapacityROI

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Top Head Engineer Skills

  1. Engineering Department
  2. Audio Equipment
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Defined, promoted and maintained adopted curriculum and program support in the engineering department.
  • Provide technical expertise for plant and facility management.
  • Maintain daily accountability of all records for compliance purposes in accordance with federal contract regulations.
  • Experience preventative maintenance program, life safety systems and security.
  • Designed, built and engineered multiple testing platforms used by test engineers and vendors.

Top Head Engineer Employers