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An Engineering Manager could...

Lead a team to create a product that revolutionizes transportation, like a self-driving car, from concept to reality. Tesla Oversee the design and manufacture of cutting-edge prosthetics, like carbon fiber blades for high-speed running. Runner on track with carbon fiber blade prosthetic ready for start
Guide an architectural team to overcome construction challenges, such as in building an energy-efficient skyscraper. people sitting at table looking at construction documents Meet with customers to understand their challenges and work to integrate solutions into the next product release. Meeting wwith clients
Find out more...

Key Facts & Information

Overview Engineering managers not only have to be knowledgeable about engineering, but they also need the right skills to be a good manager. Engineering managers supervise and coordinate a team of engineers. There are many specific engineering fields in which they could work, including manufacturing, electrical design, nuclear engineering, software, aerospace, and many others.
Key Requirements Analytical abilities, confidence in using mathematics, complex problem-solving abilities, a hands-on understanding of the world, outstanding communication skills
Minimum Degree Bachelor's degree
Subjects to Study in High School Biology, chemistry, physics, geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus, calculus, English; if available, computer science, statistics, applied technology
Median Salary
Engineering Manager
U.S. Mean Annual Wage
Min Wage
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) Little or No Change (-2% to 2%)
  • Sean Swearns, Project Engineering Manager at Fluor Corporation, has been part of building some amazing industrial projects; learn about the one that impresses him most.
  • Get to know Gitanjali Tomar, a Project Expeditor for Fluor Corporation, and what he values about his job.
  • Meet Kate Jackson, Chief Technology Officer at Westinghouse, and read about her work with nuclear power plants.
  • Read an interview with engineering manager Imran Akbar to find out what he does as the Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Networks & Communications at Motorola Solutions.
  • Read an interview with Julie A. Pollitt, a project manager and aerospace technologist at NASA Ames Research Center.
  • Read an interview with engineering manager Jeff Hagen to find out how, as a Medtronic software engineering manager, he works to make sure that the web-based software for helping doctors diagnose heart conditions works flawlessly.
  • Meet Blake Bullock, Civil Air and Space Director of Business & Advanced Systems Development at Northrop Grumman, and learn how she spends her time figuring out what will be the next big aerospace innovation and how to achieve it.
Related Occupations
Source: O*NET

Training, Other Qualifications

To become an engineering manager, experience in an engineering discipline is important in order to understand and guide the work of subordinate engineers, and to explain the work in nontechnical terms to senior management and potential customers. Consequently, most engineering managers typically have a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline and professional work experience as an engineer, as well as management experience or training (sometimes in the form of a specialized master's degree).

If an engineering manager is in an engineering discipline that is rapidly changing, they may pursue continuing education, attend professional development seminars and conferences, read research and trade journals, and do other activities to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

Education and Training

A bachelor's degree in a relevant engineering discipline is typically required for all entry-level engineering jobs. Most engineering-related degrees are granted in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, or software engineering. Occasionally, college graduates with a degree in a natural science, architecture, or mathematics may qualify for some engineering jobs, especially in specialties that are in high demand. Engineers trained in one branch may work in related branches. For example, many aerospace engineers have training in mechanical engineering.

Some engineering managers have more educational training in a management-related area than they do in engineering. For example, they may have a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance but not in an engineering discipline. However, they still need to be experienced in, and have technical knowledge of, the particular engineering discipline that they supervise.

A master's degree in engineering management (MEM), technology management (MSTM), or business administration (MBA) is common for an engineering manager to have to be more competitive.

Other Qualifications

Engineering managers should be creative and have strong problem-solving and analytical skills. They must also be able to effectively guide and supervise a group of subordinates to complete a given task, and communicate effectively (both orally and in writing) with subordinates, team members, specialists, other staff, senior management, and the customers they meet. Because they often must coordinate a number of tasks simultaneously, they must be able to concentrate and pay close attention to detail.

Watch this video to find how a love of problem-solving led Cynthia Munerol, who has a degree in mathematics, to become a manager of construction and engineering at AT&T.

Nature of the Work

Engineering managers plan, coordinate, and direct research, design, and production activities. They may supervise and manage junior engineers, technicians, specialists, and other support personnel. Senior management typically outlines projects and goals that need to be accomplished in general terms, and engineering managers then break the projects and goals down into smaller, feasible goals. Engineering managers must use relevant engineering skills to create detailed plans to accomplish these goals by specific deadlines. This can involve planning, strategizing, and innovating with other engineers for years in advance, and may include developing a new product, and/or upgrading and improving an existing product. Once detailed plans are made, the engineering manager must then guide, supervise, and coordinate subordinates to meet specific deadlines, while anticipating potential delays, troubleshooting, and setbacks.

Engineering managers may need to carry out several administrative-related procedures. In addition to planning and coordinating production with engineers, this can include hiring, interacting with people in sales, going over financial reviews and budgeting, and overall helping to determine the best financial strategy to pursue in the marketplace for the company to succeed.

Engineering managers also frequently interact with customers, typically showing them the company's product, discussing how it could help customers, and discussing how the product could be improved/altered (or a new product developed) to better meet customers' specific needs. Customer feedback is passed back to the company and the company determines whether it should be altered, or if a new one should be made. Frequent travel may be involved.

Work Environment

Engineering managers spend most of their time in an office, but depending on how involved they are with the production aspect, they may also work in manufacturing plants, laboratories, or other places where production is being done. Engineering managers may also travel to meet with customers. Many engineering managers work at least 40 hours a week and might work much longer, on occasion, to meet project deadlines. Some might experience considerable pressure to meet production goal deadlines and work within a tight budget.

On the Job

  • Create a detailed schedule to accomplish feasible goals by setting specific deadlines, while taking into consideration possible delays and setbacks.
  • Use engineering skills to improve and troubleshoot a product.
  • Interact with senior management to understand and incorporate bigger-picture and longer-term goals for the company.
  • Work with other engineers to design a new product based on customer feedback.
  • Work with other engineers to improve, or tailor, a product based on specific customer needs.
  • Hire a person with the right skill set for a project.
  • Supervise and manage a team of engineers and others involved in a project to accomplish a goal by a specific deadline.
  • Meet with customers to understand their product needs and advise them on using a certain product.
  • Meet with customers to get feedback on a product.
  • Relay customer feedback on a product back to others in the company and discuss how the product should be improved, or how a new one should be designed.
  • Determine how to meet specific goals while staying within a tight budget.
  • Meet with people in sales and go over financial reviews and budgeting records to determine what financial avenues to pursue for the company.
  • Travel to meet with customers, and possibly collaborators, at other locations.
  • Write summaries and give presentations on a project and its progress.
  • Interact with specialists that may be required for a specific project.
  • Train customers in using the company's product.
  • Update senior management on the progress of a specific product or project.

Companies That Hire Engineering Managers

Explore what you might do on the job with one of these projects...

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Science Fair Project Idea
Try your hand at this engineering challenge. Can you build a "launcher" device to launch a ball as far as possible and a "receiver" to catch it? Building a receiver provides an extra twist to a traditional catapult project. Add to the challenge by using a limited set of materials to build your machine and calculate a score based on your throw distance and materials used. Read more
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Science Fair Project Idea
Can you build a volleyball machine? It will need one part to launch a ping pong ball over a net and another to return the ball. How many back-and-forth volleys can you get before the ball touches the ground? While the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge is over, you can still try this fun project out yourself. Follow the rules and compare your score to top scores from around the world! Looking for this year's challenge? Check out our main Fluor Engineering Challenge page for all the latest… Read more
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Science Fair Project Idea
In this cricket-inspired engineering challenge, you will build a machine to launch a ball and knock down a target (called a wicket). How many times can you knock down the wicket in three minutes? Follow the contest rules to try it out and enter the 2020 Fluor Engineering Challenge! Available in Spanish (Español). Teachers, lesson plan versions of this challenge are also available. Read more
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Science Fair Project Idea
You've heard of gold mining and coal mining, but think outside the box...or the planet...what about asteroid mining? Scientists, engineers, and business people believe asteroid mining is feasible, and they are in the beginning stages of long-term plans to mine asteroids for valuable resources during space missions. You don't want to miss out on all the fun; in this science project, you will come up with your own scientific plan for an asteroid mining company. We will help get you started by… Read more
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Science Fair Project Idea
Hold onto your hats! In this science fair project, you will make a device that sends a film canister across the room with a small chemical explosion. The energy for the explosion is derived from the combustion of ethanol. You will determine the launch velocity of the canister, as well as devise ways to study changes in gas pressure and volume due to the explosion. This science fair project is sure to take your breath away! Read more

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