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Working As A Research And Development Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $90,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Research And Development Engineer Do

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.

Duties

Mechanical engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem
  • Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design
  • Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
  • Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed
  • Oversee the manufacturing process for the device

Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.

Mechanical engineers design power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, as well as power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

Mechanical engineers design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators. They also design material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations.

Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.

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How To Become A Research And Development Engineer

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineers who sell services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia.

Education

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

ABET accredits programs in engineering and engineering technology. Most employers prefer to hire students from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery. A creative mind is essential for this kind of work.

Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists. They must listen to and analyze different approaches made by other experts to complete the task at hand.

Math skills. Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems.

Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific discoveries and use them to design and build useful products.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a mechanical 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 to renew their licenses every year. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Several professional organizations offer a variety of certification programs for engineers to demonstrate competency in specific fields of mechanical engineering.

Advancement

A Ph.D. is essential for engineering faculty positions in higher education, as well as for some research and development programs. Mechanical engineers may earn graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology, broaden their education, and enhance their project management skills. Mechanical engineers may become administrators or managers after obtaining the requisite experience.

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Research And Development Engineer Career Paths

Research And Development Engineer
Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Application Engineer
Applications Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Adjunct Professor Senior Scientist
Research And Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Manager Research And Development Director
Vice President Of Research And Development
13 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager
Senior Program And Engineering Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Engineer Production Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Engineer Product Engineer Product Development Engineer
Lead Product Developer
7 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Mechanical Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Senior Technologist Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Engineer Product Engineer Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Engineer 4.2 years
Product Engineer 3.5 years
Research Engineer 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Research And Development Engineer
Internship 8.4%
Engineer 5.4%
Researcher 2.2%
Top Careers After Research And Development Engineer
Consultant 5.4%
Engineer 5.2%

Do you work as a Research And Development Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$90,000
Show Salaries
$68,000
Min 10%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Median 50%
$118,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Santa Rosa, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Research And Development Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Research And Development Engineer in the United States is $90,202 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $68,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $118,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Research And Development Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
R & D Mechanical Engineer Facebook, Inc. Mar 09, 2016 $210,700
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Jul 09, 2016 $176,027
R&D Engineer IC Design 5 Broadcom Corporation Oct 10, 2016 $174,861
R&D Engineer IC Design VI Broadcom Corporation Dec 09, 2016 $174,157
R&D Engineer Software VI Broadcom Corporation Dec 09, 2016 $174,157
R&D Engineer Applications 6 Broadcom Corporation Jul 09, 2016 $173,399
R&D Engineer IC Design LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Dec 14, 2016 $171,939
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Jul 09, 2016 $168,164
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Jul 09, 2016 $166,146
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Sep 18, 2016 $160,423
R&D Engineer Avago Technologies Jan 29, 2015 $160,000
R&D Engineer, IC Design 5 Broadcom Corporation Jul 22, 2016 $160,000
Principal R&D Network Engineer Boingo Wireless, Inc. Jan 04, 2016 $160,000
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Sep 16, 2016 $159,308
R&D Electrical Engineer Systran Software Inc. Jul 14, 2016 $111,925
Staff Research Engineer/Corp R&D Wireless Protocol Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Jun 27, 2015 $111,800 -
$167,800
Lead R&D Engineer Eon Reality, Inc. May 05, 2016 $111,550
R&D Engineer Synopsys, Inc. Feb 26, 2015 $111,543 -
$186,543
Advanced Packaging R&D Die Stacking and Die Attach Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Oct 01, 2015 $111,138
Advanced Packaging R&D Die Stacking and Die Attach Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. May 20, 2016 $111,138
R&D Engineer IC Design IV Broadcom Corporation Sep 09, 2016 $111,049
Research Engineer/Software Developer Total E&P USA, Inc. Sep 05, 2015 $110,926 -
$150,000
Leading R&D Processing Engineer CBM International Inc. Jun 28, 2016 $91,270
Research and Development Engineer Outotec (USA), Inc. Sep 27, 2015 $91,000
R&D Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Aug 16, 2015 $91,000
R&D Engineer IC Design 3 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company May 09, 2016 $90,958
R&D Engineer IC Design 3 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Jul 01, 2015 $90,896
R&D Engineer Firmware 4 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Oct 01, 2015 $90,834 -
$122,887
R&D Compiler Engineer Synopsys, Inc. Sep 01, 2015 $90,780 -
$165,780
R&D Engineer Test 2 Broadcom Corporation Jan 08, 2016 $90,740

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Top Skills for A Research And Development Engineer

  1. New Product Development
  2. R
  3. Test Procedures
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.
  • Generated field changes, revisions, installation procedures, troubleshooting/test procedures, prototype building, benchmark achievements and environmental testing.
  • Participated in the initial prototype phase of new products; developed required process and procedures tooling of preliminary test equipment.
  • Contributed to research and development of new medical devices including a proprietary blood analyzer and a glucose management system.

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Top 10 Best States for Research And Development Engineers

  1. New Mexico
  2. California
  3. Delaware
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Colorado
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Arizona
  8. Virginia
  9. Michigan
  10. Utah
  • (267 jobs)
  • (8,342 jobs)
  • (113 jobs)
  • (396 jobs)
  • (935 jobs)
  • (1,859 jobs)
  • (940 jobs)
  • (1,959 jobs)
  • (1,367 jobs)
  • (370 jobs)

Research And Development Engineer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 8,400 Research And Development Engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Research And Development Engineer Resume

View Resume Examples

Research And Development Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

74.8%

Female

14.7%

Unknown

10.5%
Ethnicity

White

49.1%

Asian

24.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Black or African American

8.0%

Unknown

5.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

22.5%

Chinese

15.4%

Mandarin

13.1%

French

10.8%

Japanese

8.3%

German

6.7%

Italian

3.2%

Russian

3.0%

Korean

2.5%

Arabic

2.5%

Hindi

2.1%

Cantonese

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Carrier

1.1%

Turkish

0.9%

Persian

0.9%

Hebrew

0.9%

Gujarati

0.7%

Marathi

0.5%
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Research And Development Engineer Education

Schools

Northeastern University

7.3%

Purdue University

7.2%

Drexel University

7.2%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

University of California - Irvine

5.6%

University of California - Berkeley

5.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.2%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.2%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.2%

Arizona State University

4.7%

University of Southern California

4.7%

Texas A&M University

4.5%

North Carolina State University

4.4%

University of Cincinnati

4.2%

San Jose State University

4.2%

University of Florida

4.1%

Michigan State University

3.8%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.8%

University of Utah

3.8%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.8%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

27.1%

Electrical Engineering

20.1%

Chemical Engineering

9.3%

Biomedical Engineering

7.3%

Computer Science

6.0%

Business

4.9%

Materials Science And Engineering

3.3%

Engineering

3.3%

Computer Engineering

3.1%

Physics

2.3%

Chemistry

2.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Aerospace Engineering

1.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Management

1.2%

Industrial Engineering

1.2%

Drafting And Design

1.2%

Materials Sciences

1.1%

Finance

1.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.4%

Masters

39.2%

Doctorate

10.4%

Associate

3.1%

Certificate

2.4%

Diploma

0.8%

High School Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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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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