Design and development engineer

Research engineer, industrial designer

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Design engineers improve product performance and efficiency while researching and developing new manufacturing ideas and systems.

Salary range: £20,000 to £55,000

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How to become a design and development engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
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University

You’ll normally need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree to become a design engineer.

You could choose from subjects like:

  • engineering product design
  • industrial design
  • computer-aided design engineering
  • engineering design and manufacture
  • materials science

Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications may also be acceptable to employers.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by taking a product design and development engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More information

More information

Further information

You can get more details about engineering careers and training from the The Institution of Engineering Designers and Tomorrow’s Engineers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties would depend on the project, but could include:

  • research (using mathematical modelling to work through new developments and innovations)
  • design (turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software)
  • testing (collecting and analysing data from prototype testing)
  • modifying designs (ahead of manufacture or installation)
  • reporting (writing or presenting to project managers and clients)

Working environment

You could work in an office.

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Career path and progression

You can work in industries from construction and engineering to electronics and renewable energy. You can progress your career by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status and registering with an industry body.

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