Design engineering lies at the intersection between pure creativity, engineering skills, and a fascination with all the combined elements that lead to perfect product design, including psychology, cost economics, marketing and aesthetics. If you have an eye for the kinds of designs that appeal to potential consumers—including product shape, visual appeal, and flawless functionality, and you also have strong problem solving abilities and an analytical mind, then design engineering might be the perfect career path for you. Here are some of the credentials and skill sets you’ll need in order to impress employers in this challenging field.
A career in design engineering usually starts with a four year undergraduate degree in any subject related to engineering, design, business, or the arts. But regardless of the degree field, candidates should graduate with strong course work in computer aided drawing and design (CAD), and a strong understanding of manufacturing process and business models in every field from electronics to aerospace to shipbuilding to railway design. A master’s degree can help boost your marketability to potential employers.
Most design engineering managers want candidates who can build up digital systems using VDHL or Verilog code targeting Xilinx FPGAs. Other highly valued skills and experience areas include: C/C++, Design for BIT/TestC, Modelsim, Mathworks EDA simulator skills, and familiarity with Synplify Pro and backend Xilinx tools. Experience with Source Control Management tools (like GIT), and bug tracking (like GForge) are also strong selling points. Generally, managers are interested in candidates who understand signal processing and digital communications.
Very few design engineers work in total isolation or a state of independence. Design engineering is usually a team enterprise, and each branch of the process—from research to planning to implementation and design revision—will usually be completed by groups of hardworking, highly trained professionals. Hours are usually steady (40 hour weeks from Monday to Friday) and pay rates can be high (between $50,000 at the entry level and $110,000 for mid-career professionals). But teamwork is essential; those with strong interpersonal skills and social flexibility are in high demand in this industry.
For more on the kinds of skills and personality traits that can lead to a successful career in design engineering, contact the IT staffing and career development pros at Tech Needs.