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Become A Research Engineer

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Working As A Research 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

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Research 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 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 Engineer jobs

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Research Engineer Career Paths

Research Engineer
Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Operations Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Engineer Engineering Manager Operations Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Plant Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Production Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Consultant Product Manager
Product Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Process Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager
Product Line Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Business Analyst Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Lead Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Project Engineer Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Software Engineer Technical Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Program Manager General Manager
Vice President & General Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Principal Engineer 4.7 years
Aerospace Engineer 4.6 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Research Engineer 3.0 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Graduate Engineer 1.5 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 9.1%
Engineer 4.5%
Researcher 2.9%
Top Employers After
Engineer 5.2%
Consultant 4.9%

Research Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

71.0%

Female

17.0%

Unknown

12.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.3%

Asian

27.3%

Hispanic or Latino

7.6%

Unknown

4.6%

Black or African American

1.2%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

24.6%

French

12.3%

Chinese

11.4%

German

8.5%

Mandarin

6.1%

Korean

5.0%

Italian

4.4%

Japanese

3.8%

Russian

3.5%

Carrier

3.5%

Hindi

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Portuguese

2.3%

Persian

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Swedish

1.5%

Polish

1.2%

Turkish

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%
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Research Engineer Education

Schools

Georgia Institute of Technology -

10.8%

Pennsylvania State University

6.4%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

6.1%

University of Texas at Austin

5.7%

Texas A&M University

5.5%

Drexel University

5.5%

Michigan State University

5.1%

Purdue University

5.1%

University of Florida

4.7%

Stanford University

4.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.2%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.2%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4.2%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.1%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.1%

Case Western Reserve University

4.1%

Northeastern University

4.1%

Arizona State University

4.0%

University of Washington

3.8%

University of Arizona

3.8%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

20.6%

Electrical Engineering

15.2%

Chemical Engineering

14.0%

Biomedical Engineering

6.8%

Computer Engineering

4.8%

Business

4.7%

Computer Science

4.3%

Engineering

4.1%

Physics

4.0%

Materials Science And Engineering

3.9%

Civil Engineering

3.5%

Chemistry

2.7%

Aerospace Engineering

2.4%

Industrial Engineering

1.9%

Finance

1.4%

Systems Engineering

1.3%

Materials Sciences

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Mathematics

1.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

41.0%

Doctorate

27.5%

Bachelors

22.9%

Other

6.3%

Certificate

1.2%

Associate

0.8%

Diploma

0.2%
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Job type you want
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Real Research Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Engineer Google, Inc. Kirkland, WA Aug 10, 2015 $216,000
Research Engineer Google Inc. Kirkland, WA Jul 07, 2016 $216,000
Research Engineer JD.Com American Technologies Corporation Santa Clara, CA Nov 28, 2016 $200,000 -
$230,000
Subsurface Nanotechnology Research Engineer Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2015 $182,800
GNC Research Engineer Autel Robotics USA LLC San Ramon, CA Feb 15, 2016 $180,000
Research Engineer VIV Labs Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 26, 2016 $175,000 -
$191,000
Research Engineer ZOOX, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jan 08, 2016 $170,000
Research Engineer FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Jun 09, 2016 $167,500
Hardware Engineering Researcher IBM Corporation San Jose, CA Mar 10, 2015 $165,000
Research Engineers Exxonmobil Upstream Research Company Houston, TX May 29, 2015 $163,488 -
$163,600
Research Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Sep 18, 2015 $163,488
Research Engineer EBAY Inc. San Jose, CA Mar 11, 2015 $162,000
Research Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA May 08, 2016 $161,000
Research Engineer VIV Labs Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 26, 2016 $161,000 -
$185,000
Security Research Engineer Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 26, 2015 $110,484
Engine Research & Analysis Engineer Tula Technology, Inc. Plymouth, MI Oct 12, 2015 $110,250
Software Research Engineer Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 30, 2015 $110,094
Research Engineer, Data Science Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. Redwood City, CA May 25, 2015 $110,000 -
$140,000
Research Engineer Philips Electronics North America Corporation Cambridge, MA Aug 23, 2016 $110,000
Research Engineer, Machine Learning Cognitive Scale, Inc. Austin, TX Aug 15, 2016 $110,000
Malware Research Engineer Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 26, 2015 $110,000
Research Engineer, Data Science Bina Technologies, Inc. Redwood City, CA Mar 02, 2015 $110,000 -
$140,000
Research Engineer Mistras Group, Inc. Princeton Junction, NJ Dec 22, 2015 $89,648
Research Engineer Cargill, Incorporated Plymouth, MN May 08, 2016 $89,627 -
$100,000
Research Engineer III United States Steel Corporation Munhall, PA Sep 15, 2015 $89,604
Research Engineer III United States Steel Corporation Munhall, PA Mar 09, 2016 $89,604
Research Engineer III United States Steel Corporation Munhall, PA Sep 11, 2015 $89,604
Research Engineer SRI International Menlo Park, CA Dec 19, 2016 $89,502 -
$214,400
Research Engineer-Applications Convergent Science, Inc. Madison, WI Aug 15, 2016 $89,300

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Top Skills for A Research Engineer

LabLaboratoryEquipmentHardwareRSafetyResearchProjectsDataAnalysisAlgorithmFacilityFiniteElementAnalysisVehicleCADLabviewC/C++DataAcquisitionProductDevelopmentComputationalFluidDynamicsNasaImageProcessingLinux

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Top Research Engineer Skills

  1. Lab
  2. Laboratory Equipment
  3. Hardware
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with medical doctors, researchers, physical therapists, and patients to devise solutions to meet user needs.
  • Designed and developed electronic test equipment that monitored and tested the performance characteristics of laser-based laboratory equipment.
  • Embedded hardware and firmware development and integration
  • Developed composite pressure filament winding process.
  • Researched and summarized international and U. S. government automotive safety standards, including the Code of Federal Regulations.

Top Research Engineer Employers

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