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Become A Product Engineer

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Working As A Product 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

  • $86,750

    Average Salary

What Does A Product 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 Product 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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Product Engineer Jobs

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Product Engineer Career Paths

Product Engineer
Systems Engineer Application Engineer
Applications Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Project Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Project Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Operations Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Product Manager Product Development Manager
Director Of New Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Manager
Factory Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Control Manager Research And Development Manager
New Product Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Product Engineer Product Engineering Manager
New Product Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Mechanical Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Supplier Quality Engineer Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Production Supervisor Process Engineer Production Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Quality Assurance Engineer Quality Engineer
Quality Program Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Research And Development Technician Research And Development Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Product Manager Product Development Manager
Senior Manager, Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Product Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Product Engineer 3.0 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 6.3%
Internship 4.6%
Top Employers After
Engineer 5.6%

Do you work as a Product Engineer?

Product Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

82.8%

Female

12.8%

Unknown

4.3%
Ethnicity

White

55.2%

Asian

17.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

8.9%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.4%

Chinese

10.4%

French

9.4%

German

8.9%

Mandarin

8.4%

Japanese

6.6%

Arabic

3.3%

Hindi

3.0%

Italian

3.0%

Portuguese

2.8%

Korean

2.5%

Russian

2.3%

Cantonese

2.3%

Carrier

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Romanian

0.8%

Gujarati

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Dakota

0.8%
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Product Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

10.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

6.7%

Pennsylvania State University

6.6%

Wayne State University

5.6%

Northeastern University

5.4%

San Jose State University

5.2%

Iowa State University

5.1%

Lawrence Technological University

5.0%

Western Michigan University

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.6%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.6%

University of Phoenix

4.5%

North Carolina State University

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

Michigan State University

4.2%

University of Texas at Austin

3.7%

Kettering University

3.6%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.4%

Ohio State University

3.4%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

31.3%

Electrical Engineering

19.8%

Business

11.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

4.6%

Engineering

3.3%

Industrial Engineering

3.0%

Computer Science

2.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.8%

Computer Engineering

2.5%

Industrial Technology

2.4%

Chemical Engineering

2.2%

Manufacturing Engineering

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Management

1.9%

Drafting And Design

1.8%

Finance

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%

Aerospace Engineering

1.3%

Computer Information Systems

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.3%

Masters

32.5%

Other

9.1%

Associate

4.9%

Doctorate

2.4%

Certificate

2.2%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Product Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Product Engineer Lam Research Corporation Fremont, CA Jul 09, 2016 $163,000
Product Engineer-Expert HGST, Inc. San Jose, CA Feb 09, 2015 $162,000 -
$198,000
Product Engineer Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company Sunnyvale, CA Jul 09, 2016 $161,498 -
$198,000
Product Engineer Plangrid, Inc. San Francisco, CA Apr 08, 2016 $160,000
Product Engineer Plangrid, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 22, 2015 $160,000
Product Engineer Plangrid, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 09, 2015 $160,000
Product Engineer Mixpanel, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 24, 2015 $160,000
Engineering Mananger-Product Lifecycle Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 09, 2016 $159,182 -
$200,300
Front-End Product Engineer (Software Engineer) Instaply, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 01, 2016 $157,500
Staff Product Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Nov 04, 2016 $155,000
Principal Product Engineer Cadence Design Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Feb 16, 2016 $155,000 -
$180,700
Data Product Engineer Yipit, Inc. New York, NY Sep 21, 2016 $155,000
Product Engineer Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 01, 2015 $90,235
Product Engineer Texas Instruments Incorporated Dallas, TX Jan 04, 2016 $90,200
GIS Product Engineer Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) Redlands, CA Jun 08, 2016 $90,168
Product Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Mar 04, 2015 $90,147 -
$145,300
Product Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Mar 20, 2015 $90,147 -
$145,300
Product Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Feb 03, 2015 $90,147 -
$145,300
Product Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR May 07, 2015 $90,147 -
$145,300
Product Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Mar 10, 2015 $90,147 -
$145,300
Product Engineer Tata Technologies, Inc. Novi, MI Apr 11, 2016 $79,997
Product Engineer-Powertrain MSX Americas Inc. Dearborn, MI Feb 09, 2015 $79,911 -
$91,870
Product Engineer Powertrain MSX Americas Inc. Dearborn, MI Jun 22, 2015 $79,911 -
$91,870
Product Engineer Intel Corporation Folsom, CA May 27, 2015 $79,867 -
$96,400
Packaging Product Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Troy, MI May 06, 2015 $79,851
Product Engineer-Powertrain Altair Productdesign, Inc. Dearborn, MI Aug 10, 2015 $79,828
Product Engineer Computer and Engineering Services, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 15, 2016 $79,828
Product Engineer Powertrain Altair Productdesign, Inc. Dearborn, MI Aug 13, 2016 $79,828

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Top Skills for A Product Engineer

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  1. New Product Development
  2. Product Line
  3. Product Quality
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop and recommend controls product enhancements based on customer input, work with new product development in integration of these recommendations.
  • Performed reliability analysis, evaluated reliability documentation and assessed changes to reliability/ maintainability requirements for corresponding product lines.
  • Used statistical process control to monitor production ensuring product quality and identify areas needing engineering attention.
  • Applied design methodologies using 3-D software, AutoCAD, generating bill of materials, established engineering specifications and project management.
  • Work with corporate to develop modifications for safety and cost savings opportunities.

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Top 10 Best States for Product Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. Texas
  3. Colorado
  4. California
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Wyoming
  7. Michigan
  8. Idaho
  9. Virginia
  10. Louisiana
  • (1,310 jobs)
  • (3,294 jobs)
  • (869 jobs)
  • (7,583 jobs)
  • (125 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (1,527 jobs)
  • (152 jobs)
  • (1,758 jobs)
  • (327 jobs)

Top Product Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Product Engineer Employers

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