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Project Engineer vs. Project Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in project management can be both challenging and rewarding. If you’re interested in this field, you may be wondering whether you should pursue a role as a project engineer or a project manager. Both positions are important in ensuring the success of a project, but they have different responsibilities. In this article, we compare the job titles of project engineer and project manager, and we discuss the key differences between the two.

What is a Project Engineer?

A Project Engineer is responsible for the engineering aspects of a project. They work with the Project Manager to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required specifications. The Project Engineer is responsible for the day-to-day management of the engineering team, and for ensuring that the engineering team has the resources and information they need to do their jobs. The Project Engineer is also responsible for ensuring that the project meets all relevant safety and environmental regulations.

What is a Project Manager?

Project Managers are responsible for leading and coordinating a team of employees to complete a specific goal within a set timeframe. They develop project plans, track progress and ensure that deadlines are met. Project Managers also work with clients to ensure that their needs are being met and that they are satisfied with the project’s progress. To be successful, Project Managers must have excellent communication, organizational and leadership skills.

Project Engineer vs. Project Manager

Here are the main differences between a project engineer and a project manager.

Job Duties

Although project engineers and project managers share some job duties, they also have key differences. One of the primary differences is that project engineers focus more on the engineering aspects of a project, while project managers focus more on the managerial aspects of a project. This means that when a project engineer is involved in a project, they’re likely to concentrate on things like ensuring the project meets the necessary engineering requirements, determining the budget for engineering needs, evaluating the current engineering plans for a project and communicating with other engineers who are working on the project.

While a project manager is involved in a project, they’re likely to concentrate on things like making sure the project team is meeting their deadlines, monitoring the budget for the project, planning communication strategies for stakeholders and clients and troubleshooting issues that arise during the project. They may also be responsible for delegating tasks to the project team and providing direction for the project team member as well as reporting back to the client or higher-level management with updates about the project.

Job Requirements

Project engineers and project managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, business administration or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many project engineers and project managers pursue certifications through the Project Management Institute (PMI). These programs offer training that teaches professionals how to use project management software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Project engineers work in a variety of environments, depending on the project. They may spend time at construction sites to monitor and ensure that projects are completed correctly. This can involve working outdoors or in buildings under construction. Project engineers also spend time in offices reviewing blueprints and other documents related to their projects.

Project managers typically work in an office environment where they manage all aspects of a project from start to finish. They may travel to visit job sites to meet with clients and team members. Depending on the type of project, project managers may also need to be present during construction to ensure that deadlines are met and quality standards are maintained.


Both project engineers and project managers need to have strong problem-solving skills to identify issues that arise during a project and develop solutions to address them. They also both need to be able to effectively communicate with other members of their team, as well as customers or clients, to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the project’s goals, timeline and budget.

Project engineers often use more technical skills in their job, such as engineering and design skills, to create plans for projects and oversee their implementation. They may also benefit from having CAD software skills to create models or drawings of their designs. Project managers typically use more business-related skills in their job, such as budgeting and scheduling, to keep track of a project’s progress and ensure it stays on track. They may also need to have negotiation skills to resolve conflicts that arise between team members or with outside vendors or contractors.


Project engineers earn an average salary of $81,905 per year, while project managers earn an average salary of $87,628 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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