2 answers

What are the everyday tasks of an engineering manager? Does this career normally require travel? What education does this job require? How could I advance in this career?

Asked Boaz, Alabama

Hi, I'm Becca
I really want to become a engineering manager and I would like to know a few things about it before I commit. I want to love my job so it doesn't seem like work so I would like to know if this job is the one for me. I like to build, I've been told I'm a leader, I like to better myself, and I'm a hard worker. If someone could talk to me a little bit about it that would be greatly appreciated. #engineering #mechanical-engineering #manager

2 answers

Glenn’s Answer

This is a great question and difficult to answer. I am a Mechanical Engineering Manager in R&D consumer electronics and I have also done this in a medical device company. So as a minimum for education, I would say a BS in engineering. Ideally, MBA or Management in technology.

From a travel perspective, it depends on the area and the company. I have traveled for position as engineering manager. I have had resources that were not co-located with me and I had to work through issues with the suppliers and audit potential new suppliers.

From a daily task standpoint, my experience is based on product development. There generally are more meetings in management than as an individual contributor. There is a certain amount of time in making sure my direct reports are delivering to their expectations, and time in developing my direct reports. I also work with a wide group of people from other areas of the company to support the projects and my employees. It is important to build relationships with peers, other managers, and individual contributors. One of the least fun parts of the job is the employee evaluations, typically this is once a year. I also visit suppliers, do audits, work with issues when the supplier does not meet expectations.

Every day is different and there is single answer for what I do daily.

I hope this helps.

Glenn recommends the following next steps:

  • BS in Engineering in the area that you want to develop skills and eventually manage
  • Work as an individual contributor with in your degree and the area that you wish to manage
  • MBA or Master in Management of Technology
  • Pay attention when you are working to what works well and what does not work well for managers

Jennifer’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas

Hi Becca

I am not an engineering manager but I have some thoughts to share with you about this topic when it comes to what education you would need.

I would find a school with a strong business school and a strong engineering school. Major in your engineering branch of choice (looks like you are interested in Mechanical Engineering). I think you should then consider a minor in an area of business (for example: I have a BS in Industrial Engineering and a Minor in Supply Chain). This would give you a step up on other mechanical engineers applying to the same position as you. In addition, I would also consider getting an MBA as this would set you apart from other candidates even more!

As far as what your day to day will look like - that will depend on the company you work for and the specific role you are given. Work on defining what being an engineering manager means to you. If you know what you are wanting from a position it will help you narrow down your search and also help you in your interviews. Best of luck!

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