What Does a Design Engineer Do?
Design engineers are mechanical engineering professionals who use computer-aided design (CAD) software to develop, launch and improve an organization’s manufacturing process and product designs. Design engineers work collaboratively with teams to ensure products and systems perform to their desired purpose. Additional responsibilities include:
- Use specialized software to create models and drawings of products.
- Research new materials and methods of development.
- Organize and maintain existing engineering records.
- Construct prototypes and confirm designs with design/purchasing team.
- Perform physical testing on engineering prototypes.
- Ensure components and assemblies adhere to applicable industry and business standards.
Common salary in US: $78,391 yearly
Typical salaries range from $48,227 – $127,423 yearly
Find more information on Indeed Salary
Common Skills and Requirements
- Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering or related field
- 3+ years’ experience in mechanical design
- In-depth knowledge of SolidWorks 3D CAD software
- Extensive knowledge of metal fabrication processes
- Understanding of current cutting tool technology
- Impeccable attention to detail
- Ability to plan, schedule, coordinate and problem solve effectively
How to Become a Design Engineer
- Gain the necessary education
While there is no national requirement to become a design engineer, most employers require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, product design, engineering technology or another related field. Employers may require you to have a master’s degree for more advanced design engineer positions.
- Familiarize yourself with industry requirements
In addition to obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree, some employers also require design engineers to complete an industry-specific certification program. For example, you may need to earn a certificate from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or a complete your Certificate in Engineering Design (CED).
- Seek internships
Successful design engineers are team-oriented professionals with skills in both design and engineering. Because many employers require at least some experience in the field, it can be helpful to develop your expertise through an internship role. This will allow you to gain real-world experience and expand your knowledge-base, which will help increase your value to future employers.
- Build your soft skills
To become a successful design engineer, you’ll need to build relevant soft skills such as problem-solving, creativity, active listening, time management, interpersonal communication, analytical skills, research and written and verbal communication.
- Develop the appropriate technical skills
To prepare for a career in design engineering, you should develop your skills in CAD software, project management, industrial control, production processes, advanced mathematics, and building and reading blueprints. You should also improve your familiarity with tools such as micrometers and calipers.
In addition to the above steps, you may also want to develop your skills and experience within a specific vertical. For example, if you’re applying to work as a design engineer in metal fabrication, you’ll likely need experience using metal cutting tools and applying metal fabrication processes.
Example Design Engineer Job Description
Our technology-driven firm’s engineering department currently has an immediate opening for a Design Engineer. The Design Engineer will be responsible for carrying out the duties of the Engineering department, including design, research, prototyping, engineering documentation, estimating and process improvement. The successful candidate will report directly to the Lead Designer, and collaborate with design/purchasing and shop/assembly teams on design projects. This an excellent opportunity to work in a friendly work environment with a team that is dedicated and passionate about craftsmanship and innovation.
Tips From Design Engineers
Learn more about the responsibilities, challenges and expectations you’ll encounter as a design engineer with Indeed reviews.
- “The most enjoyable part is getting deep into a design project with other engineers who are also passionate in finding the next best way to tackle the new technology constraints and opportunities.” – Intel Analog Design Engineer, Hudson, MA
- “I understand users and determine key aspects of user experience and interaction in all platform context… Drive all aspects of interaction design for a complex product… Design flows and visual experiences that are as user friendly as they are beautiful… Creates and maintain a library of interaction patterns and design elements along with icons and logo or other stuff…” – Design Engineer at Apple, Sunnyvale, CA
- “Typical day was always out of the gate… Internal customers were appreciative with the tool installs as well as the safety and industrial hygiene groups. The hardest part was to satisfy all parties involved with the tool and ownership.” – IBM Contractor Design Engineer, Yorktown, NY