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Become A Research And Development Engineer

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Working As A Research And Development 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

  • $85,369

    Average Salary

What Does A Research And Development 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 Research And Development 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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Research And Development Engineer Career Paths

Research And Development Engineer
Software Engineer Application Engineer
Applications Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Project Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Project 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
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Control Manager Research And Development Manager
New Product Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Mechanical Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Research Engineer Process Engineer Production Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Research Engineer Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Manager Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Manager Research And Development Director
Vice President Of Research And Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Product Engineer 3.5 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Research Engineer 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Research And Development Engineer
Internship 7.6%
Engineer 5.0%
Top Careers After Research And Development Engineer
Consultant 5.4%
Engineer 4.9%

Do you work as a Research And Development Engineer?

Research And Development Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.2%

Female

14.7%

Unknown

8.1%
Ethnicity

White

47.8%

Asian

25.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Black or African American

7.7%

Unknown

5.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

23.4%

Chinese

15.9%

Mandarin

12.9%

French

9.4%

Japanese

8.3%

German

6.2%

Russian

3.2%

Italian

3.2%

Korean

3.0%

Hindi

2.4%

Cantonese

2.2%

Portuguese

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Turkish

1.1%

Carrier

1.1%

Persian

1.1%

Hebrew

1.1%

Gujarati

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Polish

0.8%
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Research And Development Engineer Education

Schools

Northeastern University

10.5%

Drexel University

7.0%

San Jose State University

6.3%

Pennsylvania State University

6.1%

Purdue University

6.1%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.3%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

5.1%

Arizona State University

5.0%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.4%

Stanford University

4.2%

Texas A&M University

4.2%

University of Southern California

4.1%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.1%

University of Florida

4.0%

University of California - Berkeley

3.9%

North Carolina State University

3.9%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.9%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.9%

University of Utah

3.8%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

25.8%

Electrical Engineering

18.0%

Chemical Engineering

9.9%

Business

6.4%

Biomedical Engineering

5.9%

Computer Science

5.5%

Computer Engineering

4.4%

Engineering

3.5%

Physics

2.9%

Materials Science And Engineering

2.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Chemistry

1.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.5%

Project Management

1.4%

Industrial Technology

1.3%

Management

1.3%

Industrial Engineering

1.2%

Aerospace Engineering

1.2%

Finance

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.9%

Masters

35.6%

Doctorate

11.1%

Other

9.1%

Associate

2.9%

Certificate

1.8%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Research And Development Engineer Videos

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Real Research And Development Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
R & D Mechanical Engineer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Mar 09, 2016 $210,700
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Jul 09, 2016 $176,027
R&D Engineer IC Design 5 Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Oct 10, 2016 $174,861
R&D Engineer Software VI Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 09, 2016 $174,157
R&D Engineer IC Design VI Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 09, 2016 $174,157
R&D Engineer Applications 6 Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Jul 09, 2016 $173,399
R&D Engineer IC Design LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company San Jose, CA Dec 14, 2016 $171,939
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Jul 09, 2016 $168,164
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Jul 09, 2016 $166,146
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Sep 18, 2016 $160,423
Principal R&D Network Engineer Boingo Wireless, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 04, 2016 $160,000
R&D Engineer, IC Design 5 Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jul 22, 2016 $160,000
R&D Engineer Avago Technologies San Jose, CA Jan 29, 2015 $160,000
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Sep 16, 2016 $159,308
R&D Electrical Engineer Systran Software Inc. San Diego, CA Jul 14, 2016 $111,925
Staff Research Engineer/Corp R&D Wireless Protocol Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Jun 27, 2015 $111,800 -
$167,800
Lead R&D Engineer Eon Reality, Inc. Irvine, CA May 05, 2016 $111,550
R&D Engineer Synopsys, Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 26, 2015 $111,543 -
$186,543
Advanced Packaging R&D Die Stacking and Die Attach Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID Oct 01, 2015 $111,138
Advanced Packaging R&D Die Stacking and Die Attach Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID May 20, 2016 $111,138
R&D Engineer IC Design IV Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Sep 09, 2016 $111,049
Research Engineer/Software Developer Total E&P USA, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 05, 2015 $110,926 -
$150,000
R&D Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Aug 16, 2015 $91,000
Research and Development Engineer Outotec (USA), Inc. Strongsville, OH Sep 27, 2015 $91,000
R&D Engineer IC Design 3 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Mendota Heights, MN May 09, 2016 $90,958
R&D Engineer IC Design 3 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Longmont, CO Jul 01, 2015 $90,896
R&D Engineer Firmware 4 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Norcross, GA Oct 01, 2015 $90,834 -
$122,887
R&D Compiler Engineer Synopsys, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 01, 2015 $90,780 -
$165,780
R&D Engineer Test 2 Broadcom Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Jan 08, 2016 $90,740
R&D Engineer, Staff Synopsys, Inc. Dulles Town Center, VA Dec 26, 2016 $90,646 -
$165,646

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Top Skills for A Research And Development Engineer

  1. New Product Development
  2. R
  3. Test Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Led new product development teams on vascular therapy systems, Intellectual Property development, and assimilation of acquired business technical assets.
  • Developed and implemented cardiac arrhythmia detection and signal processing algorithms, conducted EC-13 and EC-57 testing for algorithm design verification.
  • Created/developed feature test plans in preparation for software delivery to the customer.
  • Performed design verification activities during live porcine labs.
  • Research and Development of bio-compatible coatings and constituent materials for medical devices & surgical instrumentation.

What is it like to work as a Research And Development Engineer

5.0

I can't think of a better career!

April 23, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Research And Development Engineer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Research And Development Engineer?

Investigation. I love to dig and dig to find hidden gems of information that can be pivtol to the project... Show More

What do you NOT like?

There is tons of reading involved, not everything is interesting so it can be a bit much to read and analyze what seems like endless information. But I still love it... Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Research And Development Engineers

  1. California
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Mexico
  4. Texas
  5. Colorado
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Wyoming
  8. Idaho
  9. Louisiana
  10. Delaware
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Top Research And Development Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Research And Development Engineer Employers

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