Career Development

What Does an Industrial Engineer Do?

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

Industrial engineers are responsible for ensuring that companies operate as efficiently as possible. They do this by studying the processes used in various industries and identifying ways to improve them.

Industrial engineers may work with a variety of different industries, including manufacturing, construction, mining, or transportation. Regardless of their industry of choice, they all have one thing in common: they’re tasked with improving efficiency and quality while reducing costs.

Industrial Engineer Job Duties

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

  • Conducting research to identify new methods of improving production processes or developing new products
  • Developing and implementing automation systems that use computers and other technology to improve efficiency and productivity
  • Consulting with managers to ensure that production goals are being met, using computer models and other analytical tools
  • Working with management to develop a manufacturing process that meets company goals for labor efficiency, material use, and cost
  • Analyzing production methods to determine where time can be saved or costs reduced
  • Ensuring that production runs smoothly by creating and implementing maintenance schedules for equipment
  • Conducting feasibility studies to determine whether new products or processes will be profitable
  • Designing production processes to ensure efficient use of materials and labor while meeting safety standards
  • Preparing reports on production methods or equipment issues and recommendations for improvement

Industrial Engineer Salary & Outlook

Industrial engineers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company size and industry. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of industrial engineers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for industrial engineers will stem from the need to improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing industries. Industrial engineers will be needed to help companies automate processes and increase the use of computer technology.

Related: In-Depth Industrial Engineer Salary Guide

Industrial Engineer Job Requirements

Industrial engineers typically need to have the following background:

Education: Industrial engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, engineering technology or a related field. Some of the coursework they complete includes engineering mathematics, engineering economics, engineering management, engineering design and engineering communication.

Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in engineering or a related field. Some of the coursework they complete includes engineering management, engineering design, engineering economics and engineering communication.

Training & Experience: Most of an industrial engineer’s training will take place while obtaining their education through hands-on projects and internships. Students can also gain training through part-time or summer jobs.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement as an industrial engineer, but they can make you a more competitive job candidate. Some employers may require certain certifications or licenses for experienced industrial engineers.

Industrial Engineer Skills

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

Technical skills: Technical skills are the ability to use software, equipment and machinery. Industrial engineers need to be able to use the tools and technology available to them to solve problems and complete tasks.

Analytical skills: Industrial engineers use analytical skills to solve problems and develop solutions. They use analytical skills to evaluate processes, develop strategies and make decisions. Effective industrial engineers are able to analyze data and information to identify trends and patterns.

Problem-solving skills: Industrial engineers often work with teams of other engineers and professionals to solve complex problems. They use their problem-solving skills to find solutions to issues like improving production, reducing costs and improving safety.

Critical thinking skills: Industrial engineers use critical thinking skills to solve problems and develop solutions. They use these skills to evaluate processes, develop strategies and make decisions. This profession requires the ability to analyze situations and develop effective solutions.

Project management: Industrial engineers often work on teams to develop new processes or products, so project management skills can be very helpful in this profession. Project management involves planning, organizing and overseeing the completion of a project, so having strong project management skills can help you advance in your career.

Industrial Engineer Work Environment

Industrial engineers work in a variety of settings, including factories, office buildings, and hospitals. They may be exposed to noise, dust, and dangerous machinery in factory settings. They may also be required to work in uncomfortable or cramped positions when conducting on-site observations or collecting data. Many industrial engineers work a standard 40-hour week; however, overtime is often necessary to meet deadlines or to solve unexpected problems that arise in manufacturing or other production processes. Industrial engineers who are employed in management, scientific, or technical consulting services may work more than 40 hours per week. They may also travel to client sites or to manufacturing plants or other workplaces to observe processes or to collect data.

Industrial Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how industrial engineers work. Industrial 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 looking for employees with specialized skills. This is especially true in the manufacturing industry, where industrial engineers can play an important role in helping to automate and improve production processes.

As businesses look for ways to become more efficient and productive, they will be increasingly interested in hiring industrial engineers who have the expertise to help them achieve these goals. In order to stay competitive, industrial engineers will need to develop their technical skills and learn how to use new technologies to improve efficiency.

More Collaboration Between Engineering and Manufacturing

There is a growing trend of collaboration between engineering and manufacturing teams in order to create products that are both high-quality and cost-effective. This trend is driven by the need for companies to be more efficient and competitive in the global economy.

As industrial engineers, you can capitalize on this trend by developing skills that allow you to work effectively with other departments. This includes communication, project management, and team leadership skills. By collaborating with other teams, you can help your company produce products that are both high-quality and cost-effective.

A Greater Focus on Quality Control

As businesses strive to produce higher quality products, they are placing a greater emphasis on quality control. This means that industrial engineers will need to be able to ensure that products meet the necessary standards before they are shipped out.

Industrial engineers can utilize this trend by becoming experts in quality control procedures. They can then use this knowledge to help businesses ensure that their products are up to par before they are shipped out.

How to Become an Industrial Engineer

An industrial engineer career path can be tailored to meet your specific interests and goals. However, there are a few common paths that many engineers take. One is to specialize in a particular area of engineering, such as manufacturing or process engineering. Another is to become a manager or leader within the engineering field.

No matter which direction you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends in your field. You can do this by reading industry journals and attending conferences and workshops. You should also network with other professionals in your field, both online and offline.

Related: How to Write an Industrial Engineer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Advancement prospects for industrial engineers are good. With experience, industrial engineers can move into management positions or become consultants. Some may open their own engineering firms.

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