Career Development

What Does a Director of Engineering Do?

Find out what a director of engineering does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a director of engineering.

The director of engineering is a senior-level position within an organization. They are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the engineering department, including planning, budgeting, staffing, and execution.

The director of engineering may also be involved in developing long-term strategies for the company as a whole. This might include determining which technologies or processes to invest in, how best to implement them, etc.

Director of Engineering Job Duties

A director of engineering typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Evaluating the performance of engineering staff to ensure that they are meeting company standards
  • Managing the engineering department including hiring, training, and scheduling team members
  • Communicating with upper management about the status of projects and any issues that may arise
  • Determining the feasibility of new product designs or processes that are proposed by engineers
  • Directing the work of engineers to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget
  • Conducting research into new technologies that could improve business operations
  • Reviewing blueprints and other drawings to ensure that they are accurate
  • Planning and directing the installation of new machinery or other capital equipment
  • Overseeing the development of new products through the engineering design process

Director of Engineering Salary & Outlook

The salary of a director of engineering can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. Directors of engineering may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $152,000 ($73.08/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $225,000 ($108.17/hour)

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

Demand for engineering services will depend on the overall health of the economy and the level of infrastructure investment by governments. As existing structures reach the end of their useful lives, demand for engineering services will increase as these structures are rebuilt or repaired.

Related: Director of Engineering Interview Questions and Answers

Director of Engineering Job Requirements

A director of engineering typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, computer engineering or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in engineering or a related field. Relevant coursework includes classes in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer programming and engineering.

Training & Experience: Directors of engineering often have extensive training in their field. They may have worked as an engineer for several years before becoming a director. They may have worked in a management position before becoming a director.

Directors of engineering may also receive on-the-job training to learn about the company’s specific needs and procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Although certifications are not required to become a director of engineering, they can help you become a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs.

Director of Engineering Skills

Directors of engineering need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Leadership is the ability to guide and motivate a team. Directors of engineering often have strong leadership skills, as they are often in charge of a team of engineers. Effective directors of engineering can motivate their teams to work hard and achieve goals. They can also delegate tasks and responsibilities to their team members.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable way. As a director of engineering, you may be required to communicate with other company leaders, employees and clients. Effective communication can help you to convey your ideas and instructions clearly and to understand the needs of others.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. As a director of engineering, you may be responsible for overseeing the entire engineering department, which means you may be the first person to notice when something is not working properly. Your ability to identify and resolve issues can help you save time and money for your company.

Project management: Project management is another skill that can help you advance in your career as a director of engineering. This skill can help you manage the many tasks involved in completing a project, including assigning tasks to team members, monitoring the project’s progress and ensuring that the project meets the company’s standards.

Creativity: As a director of engineering, you may be responsible for developing new processes or procedures for your company. Creativity can help you develop innovative solutions to common problems. It can also help you find ways to improve existing processes.

Director of Engineering Work Environment

The director of engineering oversees all engineering departments within the company, including the electrical, mechanical, and software engineering departments. The director of engineering is responsible for ensuring that all projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet or exceed the company’s quality standards. The director of engineering works closely with the vice president of engineering and other senior managers to develop and implement the company’s engineering strategy. The director of engineering also works with the sales and marketing departments to ensure that the company’s products are able to meet the needs of the customer. The director of engineering typically works in an office environment and may travel to various company locations or customer sites. The director of engineering typically works a standard 40-hour workweek, but may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines or to resolve problems.

Director of Engineering Trends

Here are three trends influencing how directors of engineering work. Directors of engineering 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 driven by the increasing complexity of technology. As technology becomes more complex, businesses will need to hire professionals who can manage and maintain it.

This trend is having a significant impact on the engineering profession, as companies are looking for candidates with more technical expertise. Directors of engineering can capitalize on this trend by developing their own technical skills, or by hiring engineers who can help them manage and maintain complex systems.

More Collaboration Between Engineering and Other Functions

As technology becomes more complex, there is an increasing need for collaboration between engineering and other functions within a company. This is because many products now require a high level of integration between different components in order to work properly.

Directors of engineering can take advantage of this trend by becoming familiar with other areas of the business, such as marketing and product development. By doing so, they can ensure that the needs of all departments are taken into account when designing new products.

A Greater Focus on Innovation

In today’s economy, innovation is key to success. Companies that are able to come up with new ideas and products quickly will be the ones that end up dominating their industries.

As a director of engineering, you can use this trend to your advantage by encouraging your team to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. You can also provide them with the resources they need to do research and develop prototypes.

How to Become a Director of Engineering

A director of engineering (DOE) is responsible for leading a team of engineers in the development and implementation of new products and services. They must have a strong understanding of both the technical and business aspects of their organization, as well as be able to communicate effectively with both engineers and executives.

To become a director of engineering, you should have at least 10 years of experience in engineering management. You should also have a strong track record of success in developing and delivering successful products and services.

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance to this position is to be promoted from within the engineering department of a company. To be promoted, you will need to have several years of experience working as an engineer and have demonstrated strong leadership qualities. In some cases, you may be able to advance to this position by moving to a different company. To do this, you will need to have a strong engineering background and be able to show that you have the necessary leadership skills.

Director of Engineering Job Description Example

The Director of Engineering is responsible for the planning, organization, and execution of all engineering activities within the company. They will oversee a team of engineers and technicians, and be responsible for the development and implementation of engineering processes and best practices. The Director of Engineering will also be responsible for the budgeting and forecasting of engineering costs, and will liaise with other departments to ensure the smooth running of operations. They will report directly to the CEO.

The ideal candidate will have a degree in engineering, and at least 10 years of experience in a similar role. They will have a strong understanding of engineering principles and practices, and be able to lead and motivate a team. They will be proactive, with the ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Oversee all engineering projects from conception to completion, ensuring adherence to budget, schedule, and quality standards
  • Review project proposals and plans to determine time frame, funding limitations, procedures for accomplishing project, staffing requirements, and allotment of available resources to various phases of project
  • Direct and coordinate activities of project personnel to ensure project progresses on schedule and within prescribed budget
  • Confer with project personnel to outline work plan and to assign duties, responsibilities, and scope of authority
  • Direct and oversee an organization’s technical activities
  • Establish and monitor systems and procedures for measuring progress and for problem-solving with project managers, engineers, and customers
  • Coordinate the preparation of reports required by upper management or regulatory agencies
  • Plan, direct, review, or approve product or system designs
  • Develop budgets, schedules, and performance standards for engineering programs
  • Investigate complaints about engineering products or services and take corrective action
  • Evaluate and select vendors for engineering supplies and equipment
  • Negotiate research contracts and agreements with outside contractors

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or related field
  • 10+ years experience in an engineering leadership role
  • Proven experience managing and developing engineering teams
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver complex engineering projects on time and on budget
  • Expertise in multiple engineering disciplines, including software, hardware, and mechanical engineering
  • Strong understanding of quality assurance processes and best practices
  • Working knowledge of agile development methodology

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or related field
  • 15+ years experience in an engineering leadership role
  • Experience with product development in a regulated industry, such as medical devices or aerospace
  • Extensive experience with project management software, such as Jira or Rally
  • Certification in project management, such as PMP or Prince2


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