Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Engineer, or Project Engineer, is responsible for designing, building and maintaining structures or processes. Their duties include drawing up plans for a new design, running quality-control tests on a new product and overseeing construction projects.


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Engineer duties and responsibilities

An Engineer is primarily responsible for providing solutions to practical problems, be they electrical, mechanical or civil. Due to the wide-ranging nature of the role, the exact day-to-day duties will vary depending on the industry in which they work. An IT Engineer will spend a lot of time behind the computer, while a Civil Engineer may be outside taking measurements for a new road. Their main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Taking ideas from the initial design stage through to the production process
  • Drawing up detailed technical plans for ideas and concepts
  • Using mathematical and scientific skills to create workable, real-world solutions to problems
  • Selecting the appropriate materials for a new product or a new construction
  • Calculating an accurate cost analysis forecast for a project
  • Completing the required technical and regulatory documents
  • Rigorously testing products, software or infrastructure
  • Ensuring projects are completed on-time with the specified budget
  • Maintaining and developing their personal engineering skills and knowledge


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What does an Engineer do?

An Engineer can work across a wide range of different industries the exact job role depends on the sector. An Engineer will have a speciality, which determines their responsibilities and types of projects on which they work. Some examples of specialities include a Civil Engineer, Aerospace Engineer or a Software Engineer.

Regardless of the specific sector, an Engineer employs their scientific and mathematical knowledge to solve complex technical problems. For example, a Civil Engineer will focus on construction problems, such as spanning a river with a bridge. A Software Engineer may focus on designing new software to streamline a user’s online experience. An Aerospace Engineer will work on designing and testing new parts for aeroplanes.


Engineer skills and qualifications

A successful Engineer will have an extensive array of technical skills that they can use to problem-solve, design and build new products and analyse results. A successful Engineer will need strong communication skills, the ability to work well in a team environment and extensive knowledge of their own speciality or industry. They will require relevant engineering qualifications within their sector. A successful Engineer candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications, these include:

  • Extensive mathematical and scientific knowledge
  • Specific knowledge of their specialisation, such as knowledge of aviation if employed as an Aerospace Engineer
  • Excellent analytical and reporting skills
  • Knowledge of design, manufacturing and construction processes
  • Knowledge of design and engineering software, such as CAD
  • Ability to communicate complex information in an easy-to-understand format


Engineer experience requirements

A successful Engineer will require extensive experience within their field. Entry-level candidates should demonstrate relevant work experience or placements. They can often arrange work experience through an apprenticeship, higher education college or university. Many university students will be able to demonstrate a year in industry, where they will undertake comprehensive on-the-job experience.

Senior engineering roles often require a minimum of four years of experience. Extensive experience within the correct engineering specialty is essential. For example, a Civil Engineer may work for a government planning department, while an Electrical Engineer may work for an energy provider.


Engineer education and training requirements

An Engineer needs a strong academic background, regardless of the field in which they specialise. Engineers require excellent GCSE and A-level results to progress onto engineering courses at university. Courses require strong results in maths and physics. A chemical engineering course would require a strong result in chemistry, while mechanical engineering would require further maths.

Candidates also require strong academic results in their chosen university course. Engineers usually specialise through their course. Strong candidates complete relevant training and work placements while they are at university. Postgraduate courses can help to further a candidate’s knowledge of their speciality. Professional engineering qualifications from reputed bodies, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers or the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, are helpful.


Engineer salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an Engineer is £33,938 per year. Salary may be dependent on experience, location and company.


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Engineer job description FAQs


Which qualities does a good Engineer have?

A good Engineer will require strong practical and theoretical skills in their chosen specialisation. A good Engineer needs to be a team player, well organised and should have precise attention to detail.


What makes a good Engineer job description?

A good Engineer job description will specify the sector of the role and focus on and the specialisation skills that the role requires. A good job description will outline the education, qualifications and experience the company requires.  A good job description will also outline the values of the company and the working environment that the candidate can expect.


What are the different types of Engineers?

There are many different types of Engineers, working across a multitude of industries. The most well-known engineering roles include: Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Electronic and Electrical Engineer, Chemical Engineer and General Engineer.

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