As product design engineers, we possess a blend of imagination, technical intelligence, and problem-solving skills — attributes which are critical for us to build complex products and solutions for many different uses. We get to take creative thinking, technical knowledge, and innovation and apply it to our jobs every day. Here are some reasons it’s truly a rewarding career path:
You can be creative
When most people think of engineering, creativity doesn’t necessarily spring to mind. We are not painters or sculptors, for example. We don’t compose music. However, many of us do sketch out our ideas on low-tech materials such as paper, whiteboards, Post-It notes, and napkins. We often find ourselves lost in thought while sketching or using manual or automated tools to help capture ideas. And, while we may not sculpt with clay, we do work with our hands building prototypes and models, and tweaking “things” in the physical world.
You get to solve puzzles
Many of us enjoy facing new challenges every day. Frequently, the answers are to develop a unique solution or to create new technologies. Sometimes existing products need a makeover, but even if the improvements are just incremental, creativity is needed to envision and realize new product features or manufacturing cost reductions. Every new project brings new challenges.
Your work is appreciated
Enlightened companies and managers recognize the amazing achievements of design engineers. Everyone appreciates a pat on the back for a job well done, and engineers are no exception. We take pride in the work we do and enjoy the spotlight for a job well done.
Unfortunately, not all companies offer the same levels of recognition; but engineers understand that our works of “art” are often practical and ultimately help improve society, which is a great source of pride for us. We continue to create, earning satisfaction from the process as well as from the result — even if nobody else notices. Like artists, engineers have an end product – software, hardware or both — to show off at the end of the process.
Your career will be rewarding
In well organized and efficiently operated companies, it is common for the best engineers to advance within their field. In companies where there is a real dual career path, one does not need to give up the fascinating, challenging and creative work as an engineer in order to advance. Dual career paths let good engineers who like doing engineering work move up within their functions. They are compensated with benefits and salary similar to their peers in management roles.
Many places – especially those that are successful businesses – foster an atmosphere where engineering can be an enjoyable and personally satisfying profession. The most personal satisfaction is gained at an employer that sees engineering as a key value proposition in the creation and support of the company’s products. There, the engineer is recognized as a catalyst for product differentiation and is very much a part of driving company profitability and top line revenue growth. That environment supports the engineering process. However, even in the worst of environments, engineers can often “shut off the noise” and just enjoy their own creative process, drawing self-satisfaction and taking pride in their work.
Mitch Maiman, President and Co-founder Intelligent Product Solutions
Mitch is the President and Co-Founder of Intelligent Product Solutions (IPS), a company that delivers a new model for software and hardware product development, integrating the full spectrum of design and engineering disciplines as a single source solution. Always espousing a hands-on approach to design, he holds a portfolio of United States and international patents and has more than 30 years of product design experience. Mitch holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He can be reached at [email protected]