And Why People Don’t Talk About It Often
We’re going to take a quick guess that not a lot of non-engineering people have heard of engineering management. However, engineering management is one of those areas that are great for engineers to have. In this article, we will discuss what engineering management is.
What Is Engineering Management?
Engineering management in simple, layman’s explanation means having both the aptitude of engineering skills and management skills. Engineering management basically means preparing the engineer with business acumen. Having a combination of business and management with real technical expertise can bring many benefits to engineering firms. Engineers with strong business management skills play a key role in preparing the next generation of managers in the engineering sector.
The breakdown combination between the 2 is pretty simple. Engineering is a broad discipline that applies a variety of areas:
- Scientific application
- Social and practical factors
All of the above areas are for designing and building a structure. It can also be used to maintain and improve structures, machines, devices, systems and materials. The engineering part usually includes all branches of engineering. Then you partner or couple that skill with business management skills. It’s that straightforward.
The management part usually means having the social, economic, and theoretical (and practical) factors around. Then apply that to the coordination, planning, organizing, staffing, staffing and leading of all aspects of an organization. As an engineering manager, they are expected to lead the organization or team through the strategic direction of human, financial, technological and natural resources.
Areas of Engineering Management
Here are some of the common areas you can find engineering management in. Some areas are new, while some others are not.
Leadership and management.
Leadership and management are perhaps one of the common areas that you can find engineers with management aptitude. It should not be surprising as an engineer with many years of industrial exposure. It’s said that experience comes with time, and engineers are no exception to that.
Operations, research, and supply chain.
This is where the engineer should be the concern about the design and process control. They will have to overlook the production and redesigning business operations of the goods and services creation. And the engineering manager will have to overlook operations research. This is where they have to deal with quantitative models of complicated operations. Then they have to use these models to support decision making in any public service sector. Under supply chain, engineering managers will have to be responsible for planning, implementing and managing the flow of goods, among many things. They will also have to overlook the services and related information from the manufacturing stage until the consumption stage.
This area of engineering management deals more with IT. In this area, engineering managers are responsible for designing and maintaining software for professional use. Oftentimes, they will have to design and maintain software for accounting and finance industries, economical industries, among others. However, junior engineer managers (executives mostly) usually just help with maintaining the software. Rarely do they create and design the software.
New product development and product engineering.
Product development and engineering basically cover creating and designing new products. Engineer managers usually lead and manage a team of engineers in creating new products for the market. Read the previous point in new product creation.
Education and Traineeship
There isn’t exactly a fix education route for engineering management. Like many other areas and industries, there are universities offering “management” degrees. You can find management degrees designed for engineer and engineering students. The universities may offer degrees such as “(Engineering Type) with Management” or “(Engineering Type) for Industry Management”.
You can find a variety of such degrees in colleges and universities. Its popularity depends on the country the engineer resides in. Some countries have a huge demand for engineers. In those countries, it’s a lot easier for those engineers to climb up the professional ladder.
However, that does not mean as soon as the engineers graduate, they will get a management role. Not unless the engineer has connections. On the whole, most engineers will have to work their way up before getting that management role in an organization. It can take anywhere from a few years to half their lifetime before they land that engineering manager role.
In conclusion, engineering management does exist for pretty obvious reasons. Engineering management is for engineers who are very well-versed with the engineering sphere and industry they are experts in.
Engineer managers are most commonly people who have many years of experience in the industries. They are stereotypically natural experts at their field. They know the industry like it’s the back of their hand.
If you ever need engineering services, you may reach out to us. We will be more than happy to assist you.