A lead design engineer creates, tests, and implements product processes and product designs using computer-aided design software. They research products, processes, and the systems used to make them in order to develop ideas for new products. They also work to modify existing products or processes to improve their performance. Lead design engineers take into account factors such as cost effectiveness, efficiency, user experience, and environmental standards when designing or modifying a product.

A lead design engineer works closely with customers and other engineers throughout the product life cycle. They usually work on consumer products such as medical equipment, mobile phones, computer hardware, car engines, or kitchen appliances. A successful lead design engineer should have the relevant technical skills, creativity, problem-solving skills, communication skills, analytical skills, and attention to detail.

Lead design engineers work full-time in an office setting. They may be required to work overtime during deadlines or when they have tight schedules.

What Does a Lead Design Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many lead design engineers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed creativity, listening skills and math skills.

Learn more about what a Lead Design Engineer does

How To Become a Lead Design Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a lead design engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 72.8% of lead design engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 12.9% of lead design engineers have master's degrees. Even though most lead design engineers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Lead Design Engineer

Lead Design Engineer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Lead Design Engineer

Lead Design Engineers in America make an average salary of $108,490 per year or $52 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $143,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $82,000 per year.
Average Lead Design Engineer Salary
$108,490 Yearly
$52.16 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Lead Design Engineer

The role of a lead design engineer includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general lead design engineer responsibilities:

  • Mentoring younger engineers and take ownership in driving first time design quality coordinate design activity with all supporting disciplines such as aerodynamics, heat transfer & secondary flow, structures, engineering dynamics & loads,
  • Louisville, ky is the position location demonstrated ability to work in a cross-functional environment identifying & developing initial design concepts. Incorporate design for six sigma
  • Managing all deliverables throughout the design, build,

There are several types of lead design engineer, including:

Project Engineer


A project engineer is responsible for the planning and implementation of a project. In collaboration with the management of the enterprise, they review proposals and come up with project goals. They break down the process and create a viable schedule, and then coordinate and monitor the work.

The project, as such, sounds vague because it depends on the industry they work for. In any case, they go on regular meetings with clients to make sure the the evolution of the work matches their vision. It is their responsibility to carry out the work within the budget or to propose adjustments to it if they see fit.

The project engineer will analyze the performance of their team and present progress reports to stakeholders to make sure everyone is at the top of their game.

  • Average Salary: $75,050
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Design Engineer


Do you love technical work and want to pursue your creative side at the same time? Maybe now's the time to take your sketch pads out of your shoebox and see those designs come to life. If you feel excited, guess you're on track to being a design engineer in the future.

A design engineer sounds fun, if you love research and innovation. I mean, who wouldn't want to see their discoveries and projects come alive, right? Recognition is another thing, but self-accomplishment matters the most. Apart from that, design engineers build their careers around traveling (no, not a vacation, though), interacting with people, and more... more technical duties. They are computer-savvy humans who would throw a fit over a system crash and computer virus (Like, who doesn't?). Their schedules are, well, usually messed-up. They work like regular employees during weekdays but could go over weekends and holidays as their job requires. So if you're planning to have a coffee date with a design engineer, just don't expect too much as they may meet a client in that coffee shop, too.

Generally, this job sounds fun, regardless of the pile of work and deadlines that have to be done. If you're someone who's always up for new things and discoveries, this might be the sign you're waiting for.

  • Average Salary: $77,134
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Mechanical Engineer


Mechanical engineers are those who can work on designing and planning engines and other equipment for the company. You will be in charge of maintenance, installation, operation, and repair of equipment. You will get the customer design proposals and will investigate failures and diagnose faulty equipment and report to the maintenance team. You will also handle discussions and solve problems together with manufacturing departments, suppliers, and customers. This means you will work with personnel within and outside the engineering team. Similarly, you will make sure the products are more reliable and perform well in the specific operating environments.

There is a list of accredited engineering courses you must have taken for you to be eligible for the post. A Master's or doctorate degree will be a plus. You must be creative, have a great team spirit and be able to work under pressure. In addition, you need to have good interpersonal skills and verbal and written communication skills. You will earn an average of $72,056 a year.

  • Average Salary: $75,352
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Lead Design Engineer Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active lead design engineer jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where lead design engineers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Lead Design Engineer Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
4New York2,162$102,834
11North Carolina1,412$83,537
19New Jersey1,076$105,368
30South Carolina488$83,171
33New Mexico458$106,418
38New Hampshire260$102,964
42South Dakota191$83,025
43Rhode Island172$90,918
47North Dakota119$84,225
48West Virginia117$99,559

Lead Design Engineer Education

Lead Design Engineer Majors

Lead Design Engineer Degrees


72.8 %


12.9 %


10.7 %

Top Colleges for Lead Design Engineers

1. Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Lead Design Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.2% of lead design engineers listed cad on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and listening skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Lead Design Engineer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Lead Design Engineer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Lead Design Engineer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Lead Design Engineer diversity

Lead Design Engineer Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among lead design engineers, 9.1% of them are women, while 90.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among lead design engineers is White, which makes up 67.6% of all lead design engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among lead design engineers is Spanish at 37.3%.

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Best States For a Lead Design Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a lead design engineer. The best states for people in this position are California, Idaho, Arizona, and Washington. Lead design engineers make the most in California with an average salary of $138,510. Whereas in Idaho and Arizona, they would average $128,157 and $122,459, respectively. While lead design engineers would only make an average of $117,132 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Lead Design Engineer Jobs: 9,378
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Idaho

Total Lead Design Engineer Jobs: 429
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Nevada

Total Lead Design Engineer Jobs: 564
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Lead Design Engineers

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Top Lead Design Engineer Employers

Most Common Employers For Lead Design Engineer

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Ford Motor$136,743$65.749
2Volvo Trucks$136,652$65.709
3Texas Instruments$136,218$65.4913
4Cadence Design Systems$119,588$57.49105
8General Motors$109,622$52.7027
10General Electric$105,341$50.64134

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