Career Development

What Does a Contract Engineer Do?

Find out what a contract engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a contract engineer.

A contractor is a professional who specializes in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, and other structures. They are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the project from start to finish, including planning, scheduling, purchasing materials, hiring subcontractors, etc.

Contract Engineer Job Duties

Contract engineers typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Communicating with clients, project managers, and other engineers to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget
  • Managing projects from start to finish, including managing budgets and hiring subcontractors as needed
  • Reviewing blueprints and design plans to identify potential issues that could impact safety or other factors
  • Analyzing existing structures to determine if they meet code requirements or need repairs
  • Preparing bids and proposals for new jobs and obtaining contracts
  • Conducting field inspections to assess the progress of projects, note any deficiencies, and recommend solutions
  • Working with architects to create drawings and models of proposed structures
  • Performing calculations using engineering design software to ensure that designs meet industry standards
  • Scheduling work crews to complete construction projects within deadlines

Contract Engineer Salary & Outlook

Contract engineers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of contract they are working on. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $92,500 ($44.47/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $174,000 ($83.65/hour)

The employment of contract engineers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for contract engineers will stem from the need to reduce costs and improve efficiency in research and development (R&D) activities. Contract engineers will be needed to help companies develop new products and processes that are more efficient and less expensive.

Related: Contract Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Contract Engineer Job Requirements

Contract engineers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Contract engineers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, information technology or a related field. Some of the most common majors for contract engineers are computer engineering, software engineering and mechanical engineering.

Training & Experience: Much of the training for this role happens on the job, where new hires learn the specific processes and procedures of their company. Contract engineers can also receive training through internships or entry-level positions.

Certifications & Licenses: Not being certified could limit the contract engineer’s career advancement opportunities. Some employers may not consider an uncertified candidate for a critical position. A contract engineer can earn certifications to improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills and show their dedication to the industry.

Contract Engineer Skills

Contract engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the abilities you have to complete tasks. Contractors need to have the right skills to complete their work, including the ability to read and interpret technical documents, understand complex processes and apply their knowledge to complete their work.

Communication skills: Communication skills are also important for contract engineers. You may be working with a team of other engineers, clients and other stakeholders, so it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with them. This can include written communication, such as emails, as well as verbal communication, such as phone calls or in-person meetings.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are also important for contract engineers. You may be called upon to solve issues that arise during the course of a project, so it’s important to be able to identify the problem and find a solution. You may also be called upon to solve issues that arise during the course of a project, so it’s important to be able to identify the problem and find a solution.

Project management skills: Project management skills can be helpful in your role as an contract engineer. This can include planning, organizing and overseeing the various aspects of a project. Contract engineers may be responsible for ensuring that a project is completed on time and within budget. Having strong project management skills can help you to be an effective leader in this role.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills are the ability to solve problems and make decisions based on the information you have. Contract engineers use analytical skills to determine the best course of action for a project. They also use analytical skills to determine if a project is on track and if changes need to be made.

Contract Engineer Work Environment

Contract engineers work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, and construction sites. They may be exposed to noise, dust, and fumes, and they may have to work in uncomfortable positions. They may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, to meet deadlines. Contract engineers typically work for engineering firms, but they may also work for government agencies or private companies.

Contract Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how contract engineers work. Contract engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Talent

The need for more technical talent is a trend that is being felt across all industries, as businesses are increasingly relying on technology to run their operations. This has led to an increased demand for contract engineers who have the skills and experience needed to design and implement complex systems.

Contract engineers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in specific areas of technology. This will allow them to provide valuable services to businesses that need help with specific projects. In addition, they should also focus on developing strong communication and interpersonal skills, which are essential for working with clients and team members.

More Focus on Quality Control

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for quality control has grown. Contract engineers are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they can specialize in quality control and ensure that products meet the high standards set by their clients.

By focusing on quality control, contract engineers can set themselves apart from other contractors and establish a reputation for excellence. They can also develop relationships with clients and become trusted partners in the process.

Greater Attention to Security

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for security professionals will continue to grow. Contract engineers can capitalize on this trend by specializing in security engineering.

This field requires a deep understanding of how to protect computer networks and data from hackers and other threats. By becoming an expert in this area, contract engineers can be in high demand and earn a good salary.

How to Become a Contract Engineer

A career as an engineering contractor can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the engineering field. As a contractor, you’ll have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects with different companies and teams. This will give you the chance to learn about different engineering disciplines and gain experience working with different technologies.

Additionally, being a contractor gives you the flexibility to work remotely or part-time if that works better for your lifestyle. You can also choose which projects to accept based on your interests and skills.

Advancement Prospects

Contract engineers typically start their careers working under the supervision of a more experienced engineer. As they gain experience and knowledge, they move up to positions with more responsibility. With experience, contract engineers may advance to project manager, engineering manager, or other managerial positions. Some contract engineers eventually start their own engineering consulting firms.

Those who wish to move into executive-level positions or become partners in their firms may need an advanced degree, such as a master’s in business administration or a master’s in engineering.

Contract Engineer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are always looking for ways to improve our products and processes. We are currently seeking a contract engineer to help us with a variety of projects. The ideal candidate will have experience in project management, engineering, and manufacturing. He or she will be responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of new products and processes. The contract engineer will also be responsible for troubleshooting any issues that arise during production. This is a great opportunity for an experienced engineer to join a growing company.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all engineering and technical questions related to assigned projects
  • Review project proposals or plans to determine time frame, funding limitations, procedures for accomplishing project, staffing requirements, and allotment of available resources to various phases of project
  • Estimate costs and prepare bids for engineering, construction, or maintenance services, based on contract specifications and knowledge of rate of equipment, labor, or materials
  • Examine project site to ascertain if it is suitable for intended purpose, considering such factors as location, drainage, availability of utilities, and access to transportation facilities
  • Investigate damage, accidents, or delays at construction sites, to ensure that proper procedures are being followed
  • Direct activities concerned with investigating, testing, and evaluating new products or processes to improve current methods
  • Prepare reports and compile data regarding existing and potential engineering studies and projects
  • Develop and administer contracts for engineering, construction, or maintenance services
  • Plan, organize, direct, control, and coordinate work activities of subordinates and staff relative to specific projects
  • Confer with clients, vendors, staff, and management personnel regarding purchases, product and production specifications, manufacturing capabilities, or project status
  • Coordinate activities of project personnel to prevent delays
  • Negotiate changes in scope of work with client, contractor, or supplier

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, construction management, or related field
  • 3+ years experience as an engineer or project manager in the construction industry
  • Proven experience with contract negotiation and administration
  • Working knowledge of construction methods, materials, and equipment
  • Ability to read and interpret blueprints, technical drawings, and specifications
  • Thorough understanding of applicable codes and regulations

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering or business administration
  • 5+ years experience in the construction industry
  • PE license
  • CCM certification
  • LEED accreditation
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency with Microsoft Project


What Does a Lighting Project Manager Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Sales And Marketing Specialist Do?