Engineering management is a specialized form of management that focuses on applying engineering principles to business practices. Engineering managers apply planning and operational management techniques of industrial and manufacturing operations in their day to day work. This unique role brings together the skills of tech-savvy problem solving with the organizational, and planning aspects of traditional management.
Engineering Management: A Perfect Blend of Technical Expertise and Business Acumen
In order to become a successful engineering manager, proper training is usually required in both business and engineering. Lacking either one of these skills can be highly detrimental to an engineering manager. A manager who lacks technical expertise will lose buy-in from their team, whereas an engineering manager who lacks entrepreneurial thinking will fail to deliver in a market economy. If you’re looking to get involved in engineering management, there are a number of high-quality programs across the world that you can look into.
There are Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees available in engineering management. An undergraduate program will provide a more generalist degree, and a Master of Engineering Management will give you a technical-based alternative to an MBA program. It is also possible to seek certification through professional associations such as engineering societies.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the areas that engineering managers often work in.
Whether you’re working on a construction project, or the latest app for the app store, engineering management will help you to navigate your team of technical professionals to success. As a product development manager, you’ll drive product development while offering leadership to a team of engineers. You’ll need a proven track record of project management, team building, and the ability to drive action cross-functionally.
Engineering managers are needed by manufacturers to determine budgets, resources, and timelines for a wide variety of manufacturing projects in plants and factories. They provide detailed progress reports as a project progresses, and liaise with top management. Engineering managers in manufacturing also have to determine when outside vendors are needed to supply certain key materials. They also provide leadership and motivation to their team.
Construction project management is the planning, coordination and control of an entire construction project from beginning to end. As an engineering manager in construction, one must handle public safety, cost and quality management, as well as setting performance requirements. Maximizing resource efficiency is always top of mind for engineering managers in construction, as well as strict planning for time, as many construction projects are operating on tight schedules.
Design engineering managers head a team focused on developing products or processes with a focus on functional utility, and design. While design engineers work to form detailed schematics of a product’s innerworkings, the engineering manager coordinates their efforts and ensure the viability, and timeliness of the project.
Continuing your education in engineering management
If you already hold an undergraduate degree with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) major, then you might want to consider an advanced degree in engineering management. Keep in mind that candidates are often expected to already possess a variety of work experiences. Therefore, if you’re fresh out of undergrad, consider gaining more experience before applying for further education degrees.