Engineering Career Resources

Design Engineer Job Description

Design Engineer Job Description

Design engineers apply their creative skills and knowledge of engineering principles to design projects and products across a variety of industries, from electronics and construction to aerospace, automotive and manufacturing. Their jobs include doing extensive research, creating concepts and prototypes, testing and developing the prototypes, and occasionally overseeing the production process. Design engineers are sometimes involved in the entire lifecycle of a product and can be responsible for making corrections and requested changes, and for providing support and maintenance services.

Design engineering isn't limited to mechanical engineering design. Design engineering may also include environmental and computer design engineering, each of which require different academic qualifications and work experience. Design engineering as applied specifically to mechanical engineering includes the design of bridges, tunnels, roads and industrial equipment.

Computer design engineering is a relatively new field of design engineering. The scope of computer design engineering may include computer system designs, industrial robot designs, or computer designs that relate to aeronautical, automotive or military industries.

There are several other branches of design engineering, among them architectural engineering, industrial design, electrical engineering, and civil engineering.

Skills & Qualifications

For most design engineering roles, experience in mechanical engineering design is required as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. Another requirement is experience with AutoCAD, a software application used by most mechanical design engineers. In these jobs, engineers create designs using AutoCAD, based upon specifications from their clients or from the government agency requesting the designs.

Environmental engineering design requires a Bachelor of Science degree in the design of mechanical engineering and full knowledge of environmental equipment designed to control oil, water or soil pollution. Some environmental engineering design jobs require knowledge of regulatory compliance to create designs that meet with environmental regulations.

Computer design engineering requires a degree in computer science as well as excellent knowledge of engineering design.

All design engineers must have strong communication and problem solving skills and an excellent knowledge of manufacturing methods and processes. Commercial awareness and project management skills are crucial to long-term career success. Since a lot of their time is spent collaborating with experts, communicating design specifications to their employers, clients and co-workers, strong teamwork skills are always an asset.


The typical day-to-day duties of a mechanical design engineer include following specifications outlined in proposed project documentation and creating designs that will be forwarded to manufacturers. Manufacturers build the equipment parts from the mechanical designs provided. Mechanical design engineers spend most of their days ensuring that the designs they create are safe, efficient and easily understood by manufacturers and installers, and that they are designed to the satisfaction of the client.

The duties of environmental design engineers are to create environmental control equipment that complies with the current environmental regulations. The job may include consultations with clients, manufacturers, estimators and suppliers of materials. Day-to-day duties of computer design engineers include using a computer aided design application to create or upgrade computer systems for a wide range of uses. The system design is usually linked to the proposed use of the system specified by the customer.