Engineering directors play a role that mixes equal amounts of management and production because they are in charge of planning and coordinating research, design, and production activities. The engineering director’s job involves supervising other engineers and technicians, setting scientific and technical goals within the organization’s overall business goals. These goals may include improving manufacturing processes, advancing scientific research, or developing new products. Engineering directors then create detailed plans to achieve these goals.
To enter this profession, one typically needs a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty as engineering directors usually rise from the ranks after years of employment in the front lines. In fact, many complete master’s degrees in business administration (MBA) or an MBA with a concentration in management of engineering and technology. Engineering directors are specialists in the work they oversee, which could mean they possess a master’s degree or a doctorate in a scientific field.
Engineering directors plan, direct, or coordinate research and production in such fields as architecture, civil engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, or environmental engineering. They oversee research and development in the fields they manage and supervise work done by their subordinates.
Engineering directors need to be proficient in both business and resource management because their job entails:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual salaries for engineering directors averaged at $117,000 with the top 10% earning up to and beyond $166,400. Job prospects for engineering directors are expected to grow as fast as average. In fact, this profession is projected to increase 8% by 2018.