Design engineering

Do you look at the inventors on Dragon's Den and think you could do much better? Are you desperate to indulge your secret creative side at work?

Choose a career as a design engineer and you can do both these things, as you help to research and design the next big thing...



So, what will I actually be doing?

Combining both your creative skills with engineering know-how, design engineers can work in a variety of fields, including, architecture, the car industry, and of course, IT. This is an exciting career and you'll be at the forefront of developing innovative ideas for new products or systems.

When you're not spending your time researching, developing and modelling new ideas, design engineers also spend time liaising with clients or meeting with other departments, so you'll never have time to be bored or browse on Facebook. As a design engineer you will:

  • Research new developments and innovations
  • Turn those research ideas into technical plans
  • Consider cost, effectiveness and safety of new designs
  • Modify and test designs (without doubt the most fun part)
  • Write and present reports

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The finer details...

Most design engineers are based in an office and work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday; however, there will be times when you will need to put in extra hours and travel to meet clients.

As a qualified design engineer a multitude of industries will open their doors to you, including construction, electronics, manufacturing, shipbuilding, aerospacerailways and the car industry. With experience, you can gain promotion and rise up the ranks to become a project manager, strategic planner or consultant design engineer.

Money, money, money

Starting salaries are between £18k and £25k a year. With experience, you can earn up to £40k while senior design engineers earn £50k plus per year.

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The good points...

The excitement of being part of a team that's developing innovative ideas that could change the way people live...just think you could be the next Steve Jobs...

...and the bad

When a design turns out to be unusable or impractical and suddenly your great idea ends up on the scrap heap! All that work for nothing!

Is there study involved?

Many design engineers are educated to HND/HNC or degree level with a qualification in engineering such as: industrial product design, computer-aided product design, engineering design or virtual product design. The Institution of Engineering Designers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology have a full list of accredited courses in this field as well as details of courses for post graduates and professional development courses.

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OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

If your engineering skills are matched only by a strong creative streak, then you’ll make a great design engineer. You also need:

  • Strong problem solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Sound knowledge of CAD software
  • Good understanding of manufacturing processes and construction methods
  • Ability to work in a team
  • An appreciation of business demands


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