By Nsim Team
If you’re an aspiring engineer, then you should consider becoming a design engineer. This career has it all. It offers you a chance to flex your creative muscles, while remaining technically challenged in your work.
Unlike many mechanical and electronic engineering roles, design engineering allows you to get more involved in the front-end design side of engineering projects, and not be so heavily focused on the hardcore technical elements. Best of all, you’ll get to see your own ideas become prototypes, and if it all lines up for you, your product could become the next “can’t live without” item.
Design engineers are engineers that design completely new products, and re-thinking older ideas. They work on all sorts of products, from smart phones, to vehicles, to vacuums. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure they create products that are not only effective, but also very user friendly, while also pleasing (or at least not offensive) to the eye.
At the outset of the project, a design engineer is given a description of what is needed from them; a gap in the market that needs to be filled with a new product, or an improvement of a design on an existing product.
Based on this need, the design engineer creates a design of a new product, or-redesign of an existing product to meet the outlined need. From that point, they create manual sketches, and use computer-aided design (CAD) software to produce an initial design.
To become a design engineer, you typically need a degree in mechanical, civil or electrical engineering. A degree in a field that’s even more specific to design engineering is ideal. Luckily, some schools offer degrees in engineering design, and closely related areas such as engineering product design, and engineering manufacturing.
Regardless of how closely related to engineering design your degree is, you should take classes in the following areas if you want to become an engineering designer:
• Engineering product design
• Industrial design
• Computer-aided design
• Engineering design
• Materials science
In order to succeed in this field, you’ll need to have a certain knowledge base and skill set, including:
• Strong problem-solving skills
• A sound knowledge of various computer assisted design (CAD) software
• An excellent grasp of engineering and design principles
• Knowledge of the qualities of metals and other materials
• Excellent understanding of manufacturing processes and construction methods
• An awareness of the environmental impact of design ideas
Design engineers are hired by organizations in many different types of industries, so your job prospects would be quite diverse. Types of organizations that might hire you include:
• Building services companies
• Colleges and universities
• Construction companies
• Consumer goods design/manufacturing companies
• Engineering firms
• Private and public research organizations
• Self-employed (as freelancers, contractors, or business owners)
• Transportation manufacturers, including shipbuilding, aerospace, railways and motor vehicles