Engineering managers combine their engineering and management skills to direct teams of specialists in technical tasks and projects. Engineering management oversees the planning and functions of manufacturing and industrial operations. They're also responsible for the preparation and administering of budgets.
The title engineering manager is used to describe project management or functional management. Engineering managers usually need training and experience in basic management and also the particular engineering subject that will be utilized by the engineering staff.
Many engineering managers focus on fields such as materials management, product development, architecture, technology, construction and manufacturing. Other popular fields are industrial engineering, software engineering, research and development and production processes.
Some of the job titles of engineering managers are project engineering manager, director of engineering, civil engineering manager, chief engineer, and process engineering manager.
- Asses the feasibility of projects
- Direct, review and approve changes in product design
- Discuss with marketing, production and management personnel product specifications and procedures
- Coordinate and oversee projects
- Make detailed plans in order to accomplish objectives
- Plan and oversee the installation, testing, operation and maintenance and repair of equipment and facilities
- Assign, oversee and evaluate the work of employees
- Create bids, budgets and contracts
- Develop and implement policies, standards and procedures regarding engineering and technical work
- Evaluate and recommend or approve cost estimates and contracts
Engineering managers should have strong communication skills and math skills and be detailed oriented. They should have the skills to coach and motivate technical personnel. They also need to be effective at coordinating the work of employees.
They spend a lot of time in their office and they also spend a significant amount of time in meetings. They typically work a 40 hour week but often work overtime due to deadlines and other issues.
In general the growth in engineering management is connected to the growth in engineering jobs and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the growth for engineers is forecasted to be about as fast as average for all occupations. Environmental engineers are expected to have the fastest growth and civil engineers should have the largest employment increase. In addition, the median annual wage for engineering managers in 2008 was $115,270.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Candidates for graduate level engineering management degrees need to have an undergraduate with a major in engineering, the sciences, mathematics or computer science. Some of the titles for the degrees are MS in engineering management, master of business and engineering, MS in management science & engineering and MS in technology or innovation management.
Usually, engineering management programs include coursework in management, engineering economy, accounting, management information systems, financial management, quality control, mathematical modeling and optimization, marketing, environmental program management, innovation and operations research.
There are numerous education programs that offer bachelor's, master's and Ph.D degrees. The Master of Engineering Management is a technically based degree that is useful for engineering management positions.
Professional and industrial associations, including engineer's societies provide certification programs that validate engineering management knowledge and skills. Specialization areas in degrees and certification programs include product and process, management of technology, operations management, organizational management, program management, finance and marketing.
Not all employers require professional certification. Some engineering managers take the licensure exam given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. A license can improve a candidates chance of getting some types of engineering manager positions.
- IEEE Engineering Management Society
- American Society for Engineering Management
- Engineering Management Certification International
- The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering
The largest area of employment is architectural, engineering and related services. Other large employment sectors are navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing, scientific research and development services, semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing, and aerospace product and parts manufacturing.
Schools for Engineering Managers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.