What Does A Research And Development Engineer Do?

Research and development engineers generally execute research and tests on product ideas, develop new products, and perform redesigns. They are employed in many industries, including manufacturing, electrical, and science-based companies. Their duties vary and depend on the industries they work in. Responsibilities of these engineers include developing new technologies, designing products, and managing the projects until they are completed. Additionally, they lead the project team members to manage their schedules, design the project plans, and collaborate with key departments in developing new products.

Here are the duties and responsibilities that research and development engineers across different industries are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead team to achieve project objectives and report results to Sr. Management.
  • Manage test suite jobs for the team creating configurations and building binaries for C++ code using Jenkins and bash shell.
  • Lead a team of software QA test engineers in the prioritization and assignment of tasks and the solving of technical problems.
  • Maintain relational databases on Microsoft SQL server and manage website deployment
  • Supervise and review manufacturing instructions to insure stringent reliability and quality requirements are achieved.
  • Manage test method development and execution activities; identify equipment, design fixtures and generate drawings via SolidWorks.
  • Participate in the initial prototype phase of new products; develop required process and procedures tooling of preliminary test equipment.
  • Help develop procedures and perform experiments require to achieve high quality data, enabling sound process and product development decisions.
  • Port operating systems from QNX to Linux.
  • Maintain BOM and models/drawings for engineering changes.
Research And Development Engineer Traits
Math skills
Math skills include being able to perform basic addition and subtraction, as well as solving for the unknown and visualizing data that will be helpful in the workplace.
Mechanical skills
Mechanical skills refers to one's ability to work with specific machinery related to their industry.
Writing skills
Writing skills is important when it comes to clearing expressing yourself in any written document.

Research And Development Engineer Overview

Compared to other jobs, research and development engineers have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% between the years of 2018 - 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of research and development engineer opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 12,800.

Research and development engineers typically earn $89,792 annually, which breaks down to $43.17 an hour. However, research and development engineers can earn anywhere from upwards of $68,000 to $117,000 a year. This means that the top-earning research and development engineers make $49,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

Maybe you're a current research and development engineer looking for a new opportunity, or maybe you're entertaining the notion of becoming a research and development engineer and want to see how it compares to similar jobs. We've compiled extensive information on becoming an engineer, staff engineer, tool engineer, and manufacturing engineer just so you can compare. But more on how these roles compare to the job description of a research and development engineer later.

Research And Development Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Research And Development Engineers are proficient in R, Product Development, and Hardware. They’re also known for soft skills such as Math skills, Mechanical skills, and Writing skills.

We break down the percentage of Research And Development Engineers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • R, 13%

    Developed and implemented cardiac arrhythmia detection and signal processing algorithms, conducted EC-13 and EC-57 testing for algorithm design verification.

  • Product Development, 6%

    Led new product development teams on vascular therapy systems, Intellectual Property development, and assimilation of acquired business technical assets.

  • Hardware, 5%

    Supported installed base of 25+ laboratory diagnostics analyzers used in hematology, molecular diagnostics, hardware and software verification / validation.

  • D Engineer, 4%

    Designed and developed automated engineering test system using LabVIEW 7.1, for evaluating and calibrating leads/sensors, at extreme environmental conditions.

  • Data Analysis, 4%

    Developed software for data acquisition, real time data analysis and graphical display of control system parameters.

  • DOE, 4%

    Conducted mixture DOE's and other forward-looking research experiments while implementing Project Management techniques.

Additionally, research and development engineers have more skills than just r, product development, and hardware. Read about their personality traits here:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a research and development engineer to have happens to be math skills. Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work. A research and development engineer can use math skills to desgined the geometry computation part of pkpm3d and render2d which are graphics platforms of pkpm cad softwares.
  • Another commonly found skill for a research and development engineer is the following: mechanical skills. Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems. Check out this example of how research and development engineers use mechanical skills: "worked as mechanical prime and took ownership on developing multiple passive and active products per the iso9001 and tl9000 requirements."
  • Another common skill for a research and development engineer to be able to utilize is creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery a research and development engineer demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "invented new methods for pcb low temperature desorption from soil."
  • Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists. This is demonstrated in the following example: "communicated with suppliers to compile latex, dehp, and phthalates information for fda."
  • See the full list of research and development engineer skills.

    Now that you have the skills necessary to secure a career in your dream job, we've taken it a step further to figure out what type of education might be necessary or helpful. The results showed that 43.4% of research and development engineers have graduated with a bachelor's degree. What's more is that 39.2% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While it may be true that most research and development engineers have a college degree, you may find it also true that generally it's impossible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every nine research and development engineers were not college graduates.

    Those research and development engineers who do attend college, typically earn either mechanical engineering degrees or electrical engineering degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for research and development engineers include chemical engineering degrees or biomedical engineering degrees.

    Once you've graduated with your degree, you're ready to tackle the world as a research and development engineer. But where to start? Generally, research and development engineers are hired the most by Intel, Becton Dickinson, and Medtronic. Currently, Intel has 57 research and development engineer job openings, while there are 25 at Becton Dickinson and 25 at Medtronic.

    But if you want to earn the most bang for your buck, research and development engineers tend to earn the biggest salaries at Brocade Services, Lucasfilm, and HGST. Take Brocade Services for example. The median research and development engineer salary is $138,379. At Lucasfilm, research and development engineers earn an average of $135,201, while the average at HGST is $127,856. Now before you get too googly-eyed over those digits, take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies. While Brocade Services has 0 job listings for research and development engineers, Lucasfilm and HGST only have 0 and 0 job listings respectively.

    View more details on research and development engineer salaries across the United States.

    Salaries aside, the most respected research and development engineers are working at Intel, HP, and IBM. By assessing which schools research and development engineers mainly earn their degrees, and comparing that with the companies that have hired a significant number of research and development engineers from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, we're able to determine the most prestigious companies.

    The industries that research and development engineers fulfill the most roles in are the manufacturing and technology industries. But research and development engineers make the most amount of money in the technology industry, averaging $101,615. In the manufacturing industry they only make $93,499 and average about $91,807 in the health care industry. In conclusion, research and development engineers who work in the technology industry earn a 12.1% higher salary than research and development engineers in the automotive industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious research and development engineers are:

      What Engineers Do

      Engineers are highly trained professionals who determine the feasibility of various projects, usually related to the construction industry. They are considered experts in mathematics and science, two disciplines that they need to use in designing and coming up with plans for projects. They should also be well-versed in different construction or industrial materials, and they ensure that appropriate materials are used for the project. They also ensure that the projects meet the requirements of the groups that hired them. They create spaces that would both address the needs of the end-users and the industry standards. They also ensure that the projects they make would stand the test of time.

      Up to bat, or first to compare, is engineer. Looking at the salary aspect, engineers earn a $8,249 lower salary than research and development engineers annually.

      The two careers find some common ground in the skills department though. Both research and development engineers and engineers alike are skilled in r, c #, and hardware.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A research and development engineer is more likely to need to be skilled in product development, d engineer, doe, and prototype. Whereas a engineer requires skills like cloud, aws, javascript, and troubleshoot. Just by understanding these different skills you can see how truly different these careers are.

      Engineers really shine in the technology industry with an average salary of $94,633. Whereas research and development engineers tend to make the most money in the technology industry with an average salary of $101,615. That's quite a big difference in pay.

      Onto a more studious topic, it's no surprise that engineers tend to reach lower levels of education than research and development engineers. The actual difference in levels of education may actually surprise you. Engineers are 14.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 7.2% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Staff Engineer?

      Staff engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and inspecting various products, equipment, or structures. These professionals may perform varied duties depending on their specialization that includes overseeing the design and construction of buildings, bridges, sewer systems, and other infrastructure, estimating the financial costs of construction projects, and ensuring compliance with health and safety laws and regulations. Other duties include designing and developing machinery, tools, and engines, solving design problems, and building the manufacturing equipment needed to create their products.

      Now we'll compare staff engineers, which averages a higher salary of $478 higher than research and development engineers a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Research and development engineers and staff engineers both require similar skills like r, product development, and hardware.

      While some skills are similar, others aren't. For example, a research and development engineer requires skills like c #, d engineer, prototype, and solidworks. But your average staff engineer will need skills, such as, architecture, application development, curiosity, and system design. This is where the differences really kick in.

      While we already know that staff engineers earn higher, we took a step further to see what industry these workers typically make the most. Interestingly, staff engineers earn the most pay in the technology industry with an average salary of $107,575. Whereas, research and development engineers have higher paychecks in the technology industry where they earn an average of $101,615.

      So you need to know how much education you're going to need. As it turns out staff engineers study at lower levels of education than research and development engineers. They're 5.7% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 7.2% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Tool Engineer Compares

      A tooling engineer is responsible for creating and adjusting tools or parts for cars, heavy equipment, and other products that need customized or personalized components. Your duties and responsibilities will include creating design blueprints, using computer-aided (CAD) software to develop two- and three-dimensional prints, and validating and evaluating products. As a tooling engineer, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with operational standards such as the ISO 9000. You also have to provide technical assistance to manufacturing personnel and quality assurance.

      In the hole for a comparison are tool engineers. On an average basis, this career brings in higher money than research and development engineers with a higher salary of $2,055 annually.

      Research and development engineers and tool engineers both have similar skills such as r, product development, and cad, but they differ in skills past that.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are the other skills necessary to get the job done. For example, a research and development engineer is likely to be skilled in c #, hardware, d engineer, and data analysis, whereas a tool engineer is skilled in ruby, mold changes, new tools, and qa.

      Interestingly, tool engineers earn the most pay in the technology industry, where they command an average salary of $107,882. As mentioned previously, research and development engineers rake in the most money in the technology industry with an average salary of $$101,615.

      For educational purposes, tool engineers are known for reaching lower levels when compared to research and development engineers. In fact, they're 25.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 8.8% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Manufacturing Engineer

      Manufacturing Engineers are responsible for handling and developing an efficient manufacturing system or procedure that will help a company produce up to standard products while in adherence to the policies, regulations, and expected cost and schedule. Furthermore, Manufacturing Engineers must also monitor quality control, identify or detect errors, provide and suggest improvements, oversee the procurement of materials involved in the production, and coordinate with various teams or departments within the company to ensure the effectiveness of innovations or new developments.

      Next up off the bench for comparison are manufacturing engineers. In this career, workers tend to earn a lower pay than research and development engineers by about $17,094 per year.

      While their salaries differ, research and development engineers and manufacturing engineers both use similar skills to perform their jobs like r, product development, and doe.

      C #, hardware, d engineer, and data analysis are typically used by a research and development engineer, whereas the average manufacturing engineer uses skills like process control, corrective actions, troubleshoot, and production processes to get through the day. Now you can really understand how different these two professions are.

      Manufacturing engineers tend to earn a higher salary in the technology industry with an average of $85,877.

      When it comes to education, these two careers couldn't be more different. For example, manufacturing engineers typically reach lower levels of education than research and development engineers. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 15.6% less. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by a whopping 9.8%.