Design engineers research and develop new products, equipment and systems or make improvements to existing products. They would usually follow guidelines specified by the client including quality, cost and timescales.
You could be:
preparing detailed technical drawings to a relevant standard and specification
using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software to produce designs and drawings
researching new developments and innovations and working out how to use them within budget
selecting appropriate materials, making a prototype and testing it
generating, collecting and analysing data
modifying and re-testing prototypes, repeating the process until ready for production
meeting with clients and project managers to discuss the progress of the project
leading a team of engineers and managing projects to deadline and budget
specialising in a particular area, such as mechanics or electronics.
Pay rates vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for newly qualified design engineers in the UK tend to be in the range of £20,000 to £25,000 a year. Experienced engineers can earn up to £30,000 a year. Senior engineers can earn £45,000 a year or more.
You could work for a manufacturing company, a design consultancy or a design engineering company.
You would be based in a studio, office or workshop, but may travel around visiting clients.
Hours are usually normal office hours, Monday to Friday, but you may have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.
As a graduate, you would train on the job with an experienced design engineer.
You would need to go on short courses throughout your career to learn about new software packages and technologies that come on the market.
The Institution of Engineering Designers has a list of accredited training courses on their website.
After gaining your degree and some further training with an employer, you can register with the Engineering Council as a professional engineer – either as Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
For IEng you need to have either a recognised Bachelor’s degree or a recognised Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) plus further study to Bachelor’s degree level.
For CEng you need to have a recognised Bachelor’s degree with Honours plus a recognised Masters degree (or equivalent), or a recognised integrated Master of Engineering (MEng) degree.