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An engineer works in various technical fields and is significantly involved in the research, development, design, and production of products and technical processes.

Engineer Job Profile

What Is An Engineer?

As an engineer, you work in various technical fields and are significantly involved in the research, development, design, and production of products and technical processes. The professional title “engineer” has been protected since the 1970s and requires a successfully completed degree in engineering. When choosing your course of study, you lay the foundation for a specific field of specialization such as industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or chemical engineering. Emerging specializations like robotics, renewable energy, and aerospace engineering are also gaining importance. The search for innovative, economical, and sustainable solutions based on current scientific and technical knowledge is a central concern of engineers. Employment opportunities can be found in companies, engineering firms, research institutions, and the job prospects are excellent.

At ElevateX, we have a variety of highly qualified and certified engineers in our network. Our engineers are experts in their field and can assist companies in overcoming their technical challenges. Whether you need a software engineer, a project manager, or a data scientist, we have the perfect expert for your project.

What Tasks Does An Engineer Have?

This question is not easy to answer because there are civil engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, mechatronics engineers, industrial engineers, and many others. The specific tasks in different fields of engineering vary accordingly. However, one thing remains the same: the engineering profession is extremely diverse. As an engineer, you deal with the development, technical mechanics, research, analysis, production, and design of various technologies, products, and services. There are also numerous tasks that go beyond your field of expertise but still need to be taken on.

You ensure that your assignments are completed on time. In doing so, you oversee the team and know what tasks can be accomplished within a given timeframe. You assess whether processes can be accelerated and optimized. As an engineer, you also play a crucial role in team leadership, as the team must meet certain requirements. Motivation and good working conditions are key to success. Additionally, as an engineer, you make economically significant decisions, such as investments, that have strategic implications.

Various Profiles For Engineers

The world of engineering professions is diverse and offers you numerous opportunities based on your education, industry, and areas of expertise. For example, as a trained mechanical engineer, you could work in various fields such as machine manufacturing, research and development, design, or sales.

The Association of German Engineers (VDI) categorizes engineering professions into eight categories in its regularly published “Ingenieurmonitor”:

  • Construction, surveying, building services, and architecture

  • Energy and electrical engineering

  • Mechanical and automotive engineering

  • Metal processing

  • Plastics manufacturing and chemical industry

  • Raw material production and extraction

  • Technical research and production control

  • Computer science (typically classified under engineering sciences at universities)
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How To Become An Engineer

To become an engineer, you need to complete an engineering degree program at a university, technical college, vocational college, private university, or professional academy. Regardless of the path you choose, it is essential to have an interest in natural sciences and a fundamental understanding of technology. Engineering studies are highly demanding and have one of the highest dropout and transfer rates, at around 50 percent.

Some common engineering degree programs include:

  • Industrial engineering

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Electrical engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • (Business) informatics

In addition, there are numerous specialized engineering programs, such as:

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Robotics

  • Automation engineering

  • Biotechnology

  • Medical engineering

To study at a university, you need a general higher education entrance qualification, while a specialized technical college degree is sufficient for studying at a technical college. Additionally, you can also pursue dual study programs in the field of engineering and technology.

What Competencies Does An Engineer Need?

An engineer should have a strong inclination towards mathematics, not only to understand relationships but also to be able to calculate them. The ability to develop mathematical algorithms for software is increasingly in demand in this profession. It is also important to understand technical devices and systems and have a broad interdisciplinary knowledge base. Knowledge in lean production and performance evaluation is crucial for optimizing resources and efficiently planning and implementing projects.

For significant investment decisions, an engineer must also possess economic knowledge. Questions that need to be answered include:

  • Machines or labor?

  • What is the market price?

  • How to plan the budget?

  • Which metrics are important?

  • How to measure success?

Business decisions are becoming increasingly important for engineers.

In addition, there are numerous soft skills that can be significant in this profession. These competencies can be further developed through suitable seminars. Logical and conceptual thinking is required to analyze and optimize processes and systems. Teamwork and good communication skills are equally important for successful collaboration with colleagues. Creativity is also valued in order to improve processes or develop new products by thinking outside the box. English language skills are gaining importance due to the progressing internationalization, especially for engineers working in internationally operating companies or participating in international projects.

In Which Industries Do Engineers Work?

The workplaces for engineers are as diverse as their fields of activity. You can work in civil engineering or construction engineering and specialize in installation or design. There are also opportunities to work in research or engage in purchasing and sales activities within companies. A career in the public sector is also possible. Currently, industries such as energy supply, medicine, biotechnology, IT, mechanical engineering, and the automotive industry are booming, offering promising perspectives.

How Do Consulting Or Freelance Engineers Work?

A special type of engineers are consulting engineers. This title is exclusively reserved for certified members of the engineering chamber or the professional association VBI. To carry this title, several years of professional experience are also required.

Consulting engineers practice their profession independently and provide independent consulting services in the areas of development, planning, and control. They are also capable of creating technical concepts or overseeing the implementation of construction projects.

How Much Does An Engineer Earn?

As an engineer, you can expect to earn an above-average salary. Your starting salary primarily depends on your academic degree and the chosen industry. The most lucrative industries in terms of salary for engineers are the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, telecommunications industry, and management consulting. The construction industry, textile industry, and public administration tend to pay less. The size of the company also influences your salary, as larger companies tend to pay more. Additionally, there are regional differences, with average salaries in Eastern Germany being lower than in the western part.

According to a salary study by Ingenieur.de, engineers with a vocational degree earn an average gross salary of 46,800 euros per year at the beginning of their careers. With a university degree, you can expect an average starting salary of 48,996 euros. Experienced engineers earn an average of around 65,000 euros per year, according to Gehalt.de.

What Factors Influence Salary?

Your salary as an engineer is significantly influenced by various factors that can either boost it or bring it down:

  • Work experience: The more years of experience you accumulate, the higher your average engineering salary. According to de, engineers with less than 3 years of work experience earn a gross salary of 52,919 euros per year. With 3-6 years of experience, the salary increases to 55,218 euros, with 7-9 years to 58,266 euros, and with over 9 years of professional experience, it can reach up to 67,921 euros.

  • Specialization: Your salary can also depend on your specific field of specialization. Certain engineers with sought-after specializations can achieve higher salaries than others.

  • Federal state: Salary levels can vary depending on the federal state. In some regions, higher engineering salaries are generally paid, while in other regions, it may be lower.

  • Company size: The size of the company you work for can also have an impact on your salary. Larger companies often offer higher salaries.

What Are The Prospects For Engineers?

It can be assumed that the demand for engineers will strongly increase in the medium and long term. The digital transformation, the transition to a low-carbon economy, and demographic change require numerous technical experts who actively drive change. According to the VDI (Association of German Engineers), approximately 700,000 engineers will retire from their professional careers due to age between 2015 and 2029. Without immigration, it would be extremely difficult to ensure an adequate number of skilled workers. The number of engineers with foreign nationality who are employed and covered by social security has increased impressively by 92.2 percent from the end of 2012 to the end of September 2020.

If you are looking for an engineer, contact us today. We are excited to help you overcome your technical challenges and take your company to the next level.

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Sören Elser ElevateX GmbH

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Sören Elser

Co-founder of ElevateX GmbH and your contact for the strategic use of freelancers.