If you are a fresh engineer, looking at applying maximum imagination and creativity towards proper development of products, then experts suggest that you opt for design engineering careers because the domain lets you apply creativity without boundaries. Now, you should remember that design engineering has more to do with mechanics than automation.
Design engineering involves you physically coming up with design for aspects that could go up to complicated equipments, machinery, and manufacturing devices. To understand the scope for design engineering, we spoke to experts in the domain and career counsellors in a bid to collect and present maximum information:
Design engineering will make you a researcher throughout
“As an engineer, into engineering design, you become a ‘research & development’ scientist throughout your career,” states Mumbai-based Kumar Bansal who is viewed an expert career counsellor by engineering students.
“Design engineering is an off-beat stream in comparison to core information technology enabled services (ITes) considering the nature of work,” adds Kumar.
With research competency being a key requirement, you should be able to make good careers in core industries often working as part of comparatively large teams. Basically, you would be involved in all the stages of product development, in case of in-house projects taken up by your company. In client service scenarios, degree of real-world exposure is higher as you would be required to fine-tune your skills to match the requirements of the clients.
Life as a design engineer across industries
Design engineers in India are also known as Industrial Designers or Industrial Design Engineers. Other designations also include Mechanical Design Engineer, Instrumentation Design Engineer, and more.
Information collection for projects is one paramount activity that would involve your key research skills. After data gathering, you are required to present blueprints or initial sketches based on the requirement of the project (in-house or clients).
Design mechanisms are generally based on Product Engineering Drawing and heuristic analysis. These designs are then applied to generate actual engineering components.
“Design engineers should possess eye for detail, and the ability to tweak designs in addition to generating these,” states Ramesh Manipal a senior engineer at Cognizant Technologies.
Developing designs is not the only task that you would be associated with. While working with large industries, you also get to learn a lot about the industrial nuances and processes. These naturally help you acquire additional manufacturing (and production skills) which should lead to career enhancement and help in switching-over career roles & responsibilities whilst remaining associated within the same firm.
“Working within design departments is generally a bonus considering the number of opportunities that an engineer can look at and associate with, intra-organisation,” adds Ramesh.
What does it take to associate with engineering design teams?
A majority of the engineering universities across the country offer a bachelor’s program in Industrial Design Engineering. This course should give you enough momentum to kick-start your engineering career within industries (proper manufacturing firms as well).
“A Masters in Industrial Design Engineering also has wide scope. Multi-national corporations and large Indian conglomerates often seek qualified design engineers to handle multiple large-scale client projects,” states a leading Bengaluru-based counsellor who did not wish to be named.
As design engineering is inter-disciplinary and multi-domain, engineering graduates from other streams viz. Mechanical, Instrumentation, and even Information Technology (IT) related subjects can also work as designers provided they acquire additional engineering design skillsets in addition to academic aspects.
Knowledge of computer-aided engineering drawing, and skills like CAD and CAM are vital and almost mandatory for engineers to work within design firms. Additional expert-recommended skillsets, for career enhancement (as well as pay rise) include Product Development, ANSYS software suite, and other designing courses. It should also do a world of god for engineers to associate with firms imparting design training through in-house teams headed by experts.
Design engineering careers are lucrative
As per folks at multiple job portals and Bengaluru-based recruitment firms, engineers possessing robust design skillsets can expect to earn an average of ₹2.5 Lakhs per Annum to begin with.
Design engineers possessing 2-5 years of experience should be able to make more than ₹7 Lakhs per Annum. An aspect worth noting here is that, pay scales for design engineers are directly proportional to skill-set enhancements.
Designations to expect include Design Engineers, Product Designers, Mechanical Design Engineer, Industrial Design Engineer, Design Managers, Design Leads, Structural Design Engineers, and more enhanced job titles. However, experts caution engineers not to fall for fancy designations, but rather focus on the level of skill enhancement offered by the job (while applying at firms) along with the pay package.
Finally, when it comes to firms offering lucrative careers, the MNCs are naturally in demand, followed by the large Indian manufacturing firms. Examples here include the likes of companies viz Cognizant, UTC Aerospace Systems, CRI Pumps, Oracle, Intel, JP Morgan, and more.
“A design engineer is the primary architect for any product. Better the skills, finer the product,” signs-off Kumar Bansal.
Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY