Career Story: Manager Of A Group Of Hardware And Firmware Engineers

Manager Of A Group Of Hardware And Firmware Engineers

Job Title: Engineering Manager

Type of Company: I work for a company that is the world leader in producing industrial automation equipment. Our division designs sensors.

Education: BS, Electrical Engineering, University of Lowell •• MS, Electrical Engineering, Northeastern University

Previous Experience: I started as a test engineer developing test equipment. I then became the test engineering manager and then moved into the position of engineering manager for product development.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is managing a group of hardware and firmware engineers that designs networked and industrial safety components. I work with the marketing manager to develop plans for the development of new products and technologies for the next five years.

My job can be broken up into several categories and my time is spent working on what needs the most attention at any given time.

New product development is the area where I prefer to spend my time as this is the most interesting for me. This part of the job consists of writing requirements for the product, designing and building prototypes and finally releasing the product for sale.

Another part of my job is maintaining existing products in manufacturing. One of my tasks is finding replacement components for ones that have been discontinued by the manufacturer. This is not always easy and a re-design of the product is sometimes necessary.

Visiting and interviewing customers for ideas for future products is typically done with the marketing product managers. I feel it is important for engineers to talk directly with customers to hear their issues and application problems.

Another part of my job is writing reports on the status of various projects for senior management.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with my engineers on the architecture of new firmware platforms or new technology concepts for future products. Although this is the stimulating portion of the job it is theoretical and there is still nothing better than seeing a new product released for sale.

The worst part of being a manager is the time I spend putting together PowerPoint slides and other presentations on the status of various projects.

Job Tips: If you are considering a career in engineering because of the physics, math and electronics, do not underestimate the amount of paper work that is needed to document your designs and ideas.

If you go into engineering, do not try to do it all. There is too much to keep up with in analog, digital, software and firmware. Pick a limited concentration and throw yourself into it.

There are two tracks you can follow in engineering. One is management and the other is the technical route. The sooner you decide which one you prefer the better off you will be.

Additional Thoughts: Engineering has so many aspects and technologies that it is difficult to keep up with. When you are in school you learn the basics and backbone of engineering, but when you get out of school and start your career, the learning never stops. Magazines on the latest developments in engineering and technology become your homework when you are not at work.

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