Career Development

What Does an Engineer Do?

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

Engineers are responsible for designing, building and maintaining the world around us. They use their knowledge of science, mathematics and technology to solve real-world problems in a variety of fields, from construction to electronics to aerospace engineering.

Engineers may work on teams or individually, but they all have one thing in common: they’re problem solvers. They take an idea and turn it into reality by figuring out how to make it happen.

Engineer Job Duties

Engineers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Ensuring the safety of construction sites by providing appropriate safety equipment and training to workers
  • Inspecting blueprints, sketches, plans, models, and prototypes for accuracy and conformity with building codes and regulations
  • Preparing bid proposals that detail the scope of work required, materials needed, time frame, cost estimates, and any special conditions that may apply
  • Reviewing computerized construction drawings to ensure they are accurate and complete
  • Preparing written reports on project progress and any issues or concerns with construction methods or materials
  • Analyzing soil samples to determine the presence of harmful chemicals, minerals, and other substances that could damage infrastructure or interfere with construction projects
  • Assisting architects with the design phase of projects by drawing up plans for new structures or improving existing ones
  • Monitoring construction sites to ensure that contractors are following safety procedures and project schedules
  • Consulting with clients on technical issues regarding the design or construction process

Engineer Salary & Outlook

Engineer salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company or project they are working on.

  • Median Annual Salary: $86,500 ($41.59/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $145,000 ($69.71/hour)

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

Employment growth will be driven by demand for engineering services, particularly in fields such as biomedical engineering and nanotechnology. Engineers will be needed to design and implement new products and processes for many industries, including healthcare, alternative energy, and information technology.

Engineer Job Requirements

There are a number of requirements that an engineer must meet in order to gain employment, which may include:

Education: Engineers need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. There are many types of engineering disciplines, including aerospace, civil, computer, electrical, industrial, manufacturing, materials, mechanical and software engineering.

Engineering students take courses in mathematics, science, engineering and design. They also complete a design or engineering project, which is typically a requirement for graduation.

Training & Experience: Most engineering students receive on-the-job training in their first few years of employment. This training allows them to learn the specific procedures and methods of their new company. It also allows them to build relationships with their new co-workers, who can help them learn more about the company and the industry.

Certifications & Licenses: Engineers need a license to work in their field. Each field has a different process for getting licensed, so check the requirements before applying.

Engineer Skills

Engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Engineers use technical skills to solve problems and create new products. They use technical skills to research and develop new processes and products. They use technical skills to communicate with others about technical topics.

Communication skills: Engineers often communicate with other engineers, clients, project managers, suppliers and other stakeholders. They may also need to communicate complex technical information to non-technical audiences. Effective communication skills can help engineers convey their ideas and information clearly and concisely.

Problem-solving skills: Engineers use their problem-solving skills to find solutions to complex problems. They may use their problem-solving skills to find the cause of an issue, develop a solution and implement the solution.

Creativity: Engineers use creativity to solve problems and develop new ideas. They may use creativity to find ways to improve a product or develop a new product. Creativity can also help them find ways to save money and improve processes.

Teamwork skills: Engineers often work in teams to complete projects. They may also work with other professionals, such as architects, to complete a project. Engineers who are good team members can help their teams work together and complete tasks efficiently.

Engineer Work Environment

Engineers typically work in offices, but they may spend time outdoors at construction sites and plants, where they monitor or direct operations. When working on construction sites, they often wear hard hats and safety glasses to protect themselves from injury. Some engineers travel extensively to worksites or to meet with clients. Engineers who sell their services publicly must be able to make persuasive presentations. Many engineers work more than 40 hours per week. At times, deadlines or design standards require them to work evenings and weekends.

Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how engineers work. 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 driven by the increasing complexity of technology. As technology becomes more complex, businesses will need to hire engineers who can help them to understand and manage it.

This trend is good news for engineers, as it means that there will be a high demand for their services in the years to come. Engineers who are able to understand and manage complex technology will be in high demand, and they will be able to command higher salaries as a result.

More Collaboration Between Engineering and Business Teams

As engineering teams become more collaborative with business teams, there will be an increased need for engineers who can bridge the gap between the two disciplines.

By working together, engineers and business teams can create products and services that better meet the needs of customers. This collaboration also allows engineers to have a greater impact on the company’s bottom line, which is important for those looking to move up the corporate ladder.

Greater Focus on Innovation

In today’s economy, businesses are placing a greater focus on innovation. This is because innovation is one of the key factors that leads to success in today’s competitive marketplace.

As engineers, you can capitalize on this trend by developing skills that make you valuable to employers. These include creativity, problem-solving, and communication. In addition, you should also focus on developing your team-working skills, as teamwork is essential for successful innovation.

How to Become an Engineer

Engineers can have a variety of career paths, so it’s important to consider what you want from your engineering career. Do you want to work in research and development, design, or construction? Or do you want to manage projects or teams?

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends in engineering. You can do this by reading professional journals and attending conferences. You should also network with other engineers and share your ideas with them.

Related: How to Write an Engineer Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many different types of engineering, so advancement prospects vary depending on the field. In general, engineers with experience and good job performance can advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some engineers may also become independent consultants.

Engineers who have a bachelor’s degree and are interested in research may become research engineers. Those who want to teach at the college level can become engineering instructors or professors. Some engineers may also choose to get an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or a PhD, which can lead to positions in upper management or in research and development.

Similar Jobs


What Does an Operations Coordinator Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Civil Engineer Do?