Picking a career is hard. More so, when you’re interested in a field but confused between your specialization options. Since this article focuses on design engineering, let’s begin with a demonstration.
Engineering is a massive field in itself. It is divided into mechanical, civil, electrical, aerospace, mechatronics, etc.
Mechanical, in turn, is divided into different specializations: design engineering, artificial intelligence and machine learning, thermodynamics, and so much more. The same is true for other divisions as well.
While AI and ML have picked up pace in recent times, design engineering has always been around. Does that mean the demand and value for these engineers have slid down?
We don’t think so. In fact, this is one specialization that has maintained its respect in the field and will continue to do so in the future.
Over time, design engineering became the basis for Tesla’s latest model, the screws you use to fix your kitchen mixer, and the home appliances you rely on every day.
In essence, design engineers revolutionize life by working on unforeseen ideas! To understand how this branch of engineering is important in the modern world, we must first look at what purpose it serves.
What Are Design Engineers Responsible For?
A successful business needs to stay at the top of the game. And that requires the need for constant innovation of new products and systems.
New products and systems expand business models, which broadens the consumer base, yields rising returns, and records handsome profits.
In order to maintain the momentum of growth, businesses need creative and driven design engineers to change the game with innovative products. Here’s what design engineers bring to the table:
A Balancing Act
Research is a design engineer’s professional ally. To bridge market gaps, it’s imperative to find opportunity loops and work to close those spots.
After much deliberation and planning, if (and when) things get approved, the next step involves the creation of blueprints and prototypes. And that’s where it starts to get challenging.
Factors such as cost-effectiveness, environmental standards, user experience and expectations, and brand image and vision need to be integrated with the designer’s imagination to create a result worthy of acceptance.
Tools Of The Trade
As a design engineer, tutorials in tools such as ANSYS Fluent, MATLAB, PYTHON, etc., are necessary to survive in the industry.
These tools assist professionals in creating and testing prototypes before settling on the final design. To simplify things, we can consider this as a 4-step process:
- Visualizing the idea and writing the code.
- Running the code to gauge usability and safety standards.
- Evaluating results to make revisions.
- Repeat until satisfied with the result.
However, the job of a design engineer doesn’t end here.
Every detail needs to be recorded in reports, which are used to make presentations and pitches to senior executives and customer-references – on account of unforeseen claims in the future.
So far, we’ve covered only one side of the engineering coin. Moving onto the next:
Navigating Risks As A Team
A company has existing products that need up-gradation for better efficiency.
For this, a design engineer is expected to study the product and make detailed recommendations to solve existing challenges. To masterfully dodge setbacks, they must keep an open eye for unforeseen risks.
These responsibilities are not a one-man’s job. Rather, brainstorming sessions and execution strategies are divided amongst the team to bring in the desired results.
As Helen Keller, a famous American author, quotes, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
What Skills Does A Design Engineer Need?
A successful design expert checks against the following skill-sets:
- Analytical thinking
- Ability to think out-of-the-box
- Strong command in Maths and Physics
- Great spatial and computational understanding
- Excellent communication (oral and written) skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work in a team – trust us; this soft skill often makes the lives of most engineers difficult at work!
How Do You Weave Your Career As A Design Engineer?
A 4-year bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is a must. During this period, it is recommended to earn experience through summer internships and assisting projects with professors on campus.
Since the field is highly technical and practical, the more you practice, the better you are at your job.
Being able to simulate 3D prototypes and showcase them to clients are essential skills. You also need a strong command over Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and other engineering software.
It’s not easy to gain access to expensive industry tools. Most of the campuses do not even have the required facilities. This is where an internship helps you weave your path towards a successful career.
You may even consider an in-depth course in CATIA to keep up with the growing demand for technical proficiency in the field.
Most of the students immediately opt for postgraduate programs, like a master’s degree in mechanical engineering or industrial designing, to strengthen their expertise in the field.
Either way, the success mantra to becoming a good design engineer is perfectly blending theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
This powerful combination makes for a strong portfolio, credibility, and, resultantly, a good shot at the future!
What Is The Scope Of Their Employability? How Well Do These Engineers Earn?
Given the nature of their work, it is evident that design engineers have a good chance to secure a position in a multitude of places. The list is as follows:
- Research and Development (R&D)
- Computer hardware
- Plant manufacturing organizations
The job is undoubtedly demanding, but it more than compensates the engineers with generous rewards.
According to PayScale, the average design engineer Pay is Rs 3.5 L/year in India (minus bonus, profit sharing, and commissions).
This being said, an engineer can choose to work either as a mechanical engineer or a mechanical design engineer, with the foundations of both responsibilities lying on the same principles.
What Does The Future Hold For Design Engineers?
The future for design engineers holds promise. With automation rising, the demand for robust designs and innovations is on fire.
Even with artificial intelligence setting threats of replacing human intervention, design engineering is one space that is difficult to replace with smart machines.
With this comprehensive guide to the skills and career map in design engineering, you can easily catch up with the industry requirements and even surpass them with hard work and patience.