Career Development

What Does a Planning Engineer Do?

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

Planning engineers are responsible for creating and implementing plans that help organizations achieve their goals. They commonly work with a team of other engineers, architects, designers, planners, etc., to develop new products or services, improve existing offerings, or expand into new markets.

Planning engineers may also be tasked with developing long-term strategies for their organization. This might include identifying new opportunities for growth, determining how best to allocate resources over the course of several years, or even deciding which technologies to invest in next.

Planning Engineer Job Duties

A planning engineer typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Participating in regular meetings with clients, architects, or contractors to discuss projects in progress or upcoming projects
  • Gathering data on land usage by collecting aerial photographs or using satellite imagery
  • Preparing construction plans and estimating materials and labor costs for new buildings, additions to existing buildings, or other construction projects
  • Developing plans for public works projects such as roads, bridges, sewers, and dams
  • Conducting feasibility studies of proposed construction projects to determine if they are likely to be successful
  • Preparing contracts with clients and managing the bidding process for construction projects
  • Analyzing soil conditions, designing drainage systems, and recommending construction techniques to prevent flooding or soil erosion
  • Determining preliminary designs for buildings based on client requirements and codes for safety, insulation, and energy efficiency
  • Preparing technical reports based on analyses performed by engineers working under the supervision of senior staff members

Planning Engineer Salary & Outlook

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

  • Median Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $163,000 ($78.37/hour)

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

Demand for planning engineers will stem from the need to plan for new types of infrastructure, such as microgrids and smart grids, that are being installed in some areas. In addition, demand for planning engineers will continue to come from traditional sources, such as transportation and water resource planning, because these engineers are needed to ensure that existing infrastructure continues to function properly.

Planning Engineer Job Requirements

A planning engineer typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for most planning engineers. Some of the most common majors for this profession are civil engineering, construction engineering and management, and industrial engineering.

Training & Experience: Planning engineers typically receive on-the-job training after they are hired. This training may last for a few months and may include shadowing a current planning engineer or performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: Planning engineers do not need any certifications to earn their degree, but many opt to earn one or more certifications to show their competence in a specific skill set or to increase their earning potential.

Planning Engineer Skills

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

Technical skills: Technical skills are the knowledge and expertise you have in a specific field. Planning engineers use technical skills to research and develop plans for projects. Technical skills can also be used to solve problems that arise during the planning process.

Communication skills: Planning engineers communicate with many people throughout the course of their work. They often communicate with clients, other engineers and other planning professionals to discuss ideas and gather information. They also communicate with suppliers and manufacturers to discuss product specifications and design requirements. Effective communication skills can help planning engineers to be more efficient and to build stronger relationships with others.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential for planning engineers, as they are often responsible for identifying potential issues and finding solutions to them. Planning engineers may use their problem-solving skills to find ways to reduce the cost of a project, find alternative materials for a project or find ways to complete a project in a shorter amount of time.

Critical thinking skills: Critical thinking skills are the ability to analyze a situation and make decisions based on the information you have. Planning engineers use critical thinking skills to make decisions about the best way to design a project. They use these skills to determine the most efficient way to build a project, the best materials to use and the most cost-effective way to build a project.

Project management: Project management skills allow planning engineers to oversee the planning process and ensure all aspects of a project are completed on time and within budget. Planning engineers may also use project management skills to create schedules, track project milestones and communicate with clients about project updates.

Planning Engineer Work Environment

Planning engineers work in a variety of settings, including engineering firms, construction companies, government agencies, and utility companies. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Planning engineers who work for consulting firms may travel to meet with clients. Planning engineers who work in manufacturing or other industrial settings may be exposed to noise and dirt. However, most planning engineers work in clean, well-lit, and comfortable office settings.

Planning Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how planning engineers work. Planning 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 Planning Engineers

The need for more technical planning engineers is a trend that is quickly emerging in the engineering industry. As businesses become more reliant on technology, they are looking for professionals who can help them plan and implement complex systems.

Planning engineers with strong technical skills will be in high demand as they are able to provide the necessary guidance and support needed to make sure that projects run smoothly. In addition, they will be able to identify potential problems before they occur and suggest solutions to fix them.

More Collaboration Between Engineering Disciplines

As businesses continue to grow and expand, they are increasingly turning to engineering firms for help with their projects. This is because engineering firms offer a wide range of services, including project management, design, and construction.

As a result, planning engineers will need to be able to work effectively with other disciplines in order to create a cohesive team that can meet the needs of the client. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with clients in order to understand their needs and expectations.

Greater Focus on Cost Optimization

As businesses strive to become more efficient, they are placing a greater focus on cost optimization. This means that planners will need to be able to find ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.

Planners can utilize this trend by becoming experts in sourcing materials and finding suppliers who can provide products at a lower price. They can also develop relationships with vendors who can provide support after the product has been purchased.

How to Become a Planning Engineer

A planning engineer career path can be rewarding and fulfilling. It’s important to consider what type of engineering you want to specialize in, as this will have a big impact on your career. For example, if you want to work in transportation engineering, you would need to focus on civil engineering.

If you want to work in environmental engineering, you would need to focus on chemical or biological engineering. No matter which type of engineering you choose, it’s important to have a strong foundation in math and science. You should also be able to think critically and creatively when solving problems.

Advancement Prospects

Planning engineers typically start their careers in entry-level positions and advance to higher positions as they gain experience. With experience, planning engineers may advance to supervisory or managerial positions, such as project manager, engineering manager, or operations manager.

Some planning engineers may choose to become independent consultants. Others may move into sales or marketing positions with engineering firms. Still others may use their engineering skills in non-engineering positions, such as financial analysis or management.

Those with strong computer skills may advance to positions such as computer systems analyst, software engineer, or information technology manager.

Planning Engineer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for an experienced Planning Engineer to join our team. The Planning Engineer will be responsible for developing, managing, and updating project schedules, as well as performing earned value analysis. He/she will also be responsible for developing and maintaining good working relationships with project stakeholders. The ideal candidate will have experience with project planning and scheduling software, as well as a strong understanding of the project management process. He/she should also be able to effectively communicate with project stakeholders of all levels.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand the project requirements and objectives, and develop the project master schedule
  • Identify the activities required to complete the project, and estimate the time and resources needed for each activity
  • Develop and maintain the project baseline schedule, ensuring that it is realistic and achievable
  • Monitor and report on progress against the project schedule, highlighting any potential risks or issues
  • Update the project schedule as required, based on changes to scope, resources, or other factors
  • Coordinate with the project team to ensure that all tasks are completed on time and within budget
  • Assist with the development of project plans, including work breakdown structures and resource allocations
  • Prepare reports and presentations on project progress, risks, and issues
  • Conduct regular meetings with the project team to review progress and identify any areas of concern
  • Manage the change control process, ensuring that all changes are properly documented and approved
  • Provide input into the development of project budgets, and monitor actual costs against the budget
  • Perform earned value analysis to assess project performance

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, construction management, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in planning/scheduling engineering role for construction projects
  • Proficient in Microsoft Project and Primavera P6
  • Strong understanding of the project lifecycle and engineering processes
  • Ability to develop detailed engineering schedules and track milestones
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills
  • Highly organized with excellent attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering, construction management, or related field
  • 10+ years experience in planning/scheduling engineering role for construction projects
  • Experience working on large-scale, complex projects
  • PMP certification
  • Thorough knowledge of Earned Value Management (EVM)

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