Engineering Career Resources

Control and Instrumentation Engineer Job Description

Control and Instrumentation Engineer Job Description

Control and instrumenation engineers (CI engineers) typically plan, design, develop, implement and manage equipment used for controlling and monitoring different engineering machinery, equipment and processes. Their main responsibility is to make sure that all the processes and tools are functional, efficient, and safe for users.


Control and instrumentation engineers must have an excellent understanding of operational processes and a good knowledge of many fields, including control disciplines such as programmable logic controllers (PLC), distributed control systems, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and advanced process control (APC).

CI engineers must be able to work efficiently in a team environment and have good communication and interpersonal skills, as they usually work with operations engineers, design engineers, and staff responsible for purchasing. They must be very good at creative problem solving and be able to work with high level hardware and software.

Good business skills and commercial awareness are a big asset in the field, as is the ability to motivate others. Project management skills will usually become important after a few years of experience.


Control and instrumentation engineers usually have a degree in electrical or electronic engineering, with an emphasis on courses that include control and instrumentation modules. Courses in control and instrumenation are available to candidates who want to pursue a career in the field and get an MEng qualification.

Candidates can also enter the profession with academic backgrounds in mechanical engineering, systems engineering, computer engineering, physics, or chemical engineering. Some companies may ask candidates whose degree course did not include CI elements to obtain additional qualifications, such as an MSc in Control Systems.

People with HNDs can enter the field at technician level jobs only, and will need to work on obtaining a degree if they want to advance to senior roles and obtain professional engineer status.

Engineers with an academic degree and some experience in the field can obtain the status of incorporated engineer (IEng), which allows them to move on to more responsible roles, while CI engineers with a master's degree can work toward the status of chartered engineer (CEng) and progress to senior positions. For chartered status, engineers also need further training and significant work experience.


Control and instrumentation engineers are typically employed either by companies that manufacture equipment or by businesses and organizations that use it. Their duties usually include work on new control systems, managing the existing systems, proposing modifications with the goal of making the systems more efficient or reducing costs, project management, selecting and purchasing equipment, solving problems, making sure that all systems comply with quality standards and the relevant health and safety regulations, and managing operations.

CI engineers will usually work closely with other staff and frequently meet with contractors, management, clients, vendors, and relevant authorities when necessary. They will advise management on all issues related to control and instrumentation and produce business proposals for new projects.

CI engineers have skills that are transferable to other jobs, and those who do not move to senior jobs often choose careers in consultancy, academic research, or lecturing and training.