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Design and development engineer Research engineer, Industrial designer

Design engineers research and develop ideas and systems for manufacture. They also work to improve the performance and efficiency of existing products.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £55,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need a foundation degree, an HND or a degree in a subject like:

  • engineering product design
  • industrial design
  • computer aided design engineering
  • engineering design and manufacture
  • materials science

Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications may also help.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent knowledge of computer assisted design (CAD) software
  • knowledge of engineering, construction, design and materials
  • business skills
  • environmental design skills

3. What you'll do

You'll work in a variety of industries, from electronics to synthetic textiles, on projects as diverse as the redesign of consumer products like mobile phones to the construction of motorcycle parts.

Your day-to-day duties would depend on the project, but could include:

  • research (using mathematical modelling to work through new developments and innovations)
  • design (turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software)
  • testing (collecting and analysing data from prototype testing)
  • modifying designs (ahead of manufacture or installation)
  • reporting (writing or presenting to project managers and clients)

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £27,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: £55,000 and over

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

Most of your time would be spent in a design or drawing office, with occasional travel to meet clients.

6. Career path and progression

You can work in industries from construction and engineering to electronics and renewable energy. You can progress your career by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status and registering with an industry body.

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Last updated: 22 December 2016