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Is Quality Engineering a good stepping stone to understand/get into Design Engineering?

Hi there,

I currently a mechanical engineering graduate student interested in the Medical Device industry. I saw a company that is a Quality Solutions Service Provider in the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device industry, and I was curious if the experience gained as a Quality Engineer whether in the Medical Device industry or in general is helpful for getting into Design Engineering. Thanks!

#qualityengineering #mechanicalengineering #mechanicaldesign #designengineering #gradschool #medicaldevice #pharmaceuticals #givingiscaring

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John’s Answer

You normally don't learn the skills needed in the Quality world to be a designer, although, depending on the company needs and how much you learn about parts and products you may get an opportunity, but you need to be able to show that you know how to use the design tools and how to design and develop parts/products, the basics, before a manager may hire you into a design position. You can learn the process and tools from the current designers as well as taking other classes while working in the quality area.

Awesome, this is quite helpful. Thank you John! Also, do think it would be a good idea during an interview to ask the company if there are opportunities to overlap? Melvin S.

Yes, feel free to ask. Not all companies design things so worth finding out if they have this function at this company. John Oller

Sounds good. Thanks so much John! Melvin S.

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Jon’s Answer

This depends largely on the organization. Quality Engineering works with many facets of the product lifecycle, which means there will be opportunities to work with design engineers to resolve issues with the design phase of a product or service. Depending on the organization, this will give you an opportunity to learn about the things they do and broaden your experience, which can help lead into a design engineering role in the future. You can take the opportunity to network with them, learn the tools they use, and try to develop your skills and knowledge to be prepared when there is an opportunity in the design team. If it is design engineering that you'd like to be in, however, I think the quickest way would be to look for design engineering roles as it can be difficult to change roles/fields in some companies.

This makes sense as I shouldn't expect all organizations to work the same, especially across different industries making different products. I'd definitely like to work in design, so perhaps it's better not to take the risk with quality. This was helpful, thanks Jon! Melvin S.

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Nick’s Answer

Quality Engineering can be an excellent place to start an engineering career. Working in this field should give you a deeper insight into the importance of actual customer requirements, agency regulations and production capabilities. The job could involve reviewing and testing new designs or working on on active production issues and field issues. This wide exposure to the reality of quality would give a designer a high sensitivity to the critical factors that affect the quality of a design. The crossover to design would be supported when you do more than just find and identify problems and you show how you can provide technical solutions to the problems. When you graduate from school you need to recognize the unexpected stepping stones that will lead to a good career. This would be one of them.

Awesome, I was thinking somewhat along these lines. Thanks so much Nick!! Melvin S.