Careers in engineering are varied, challenging, and rewarding. Ranging from engineering research to development work in any number of areas, this career path offers many opportunities for creative thinkers.
For those considering a possible career in engineering research or development work, here are some resources to help you explore the possibilities. Clean ERSJ has some more information about the research and development engineer’s to get your career on track.
We’ve collected resources on what R&D engineers do across different industries; how to prepare yourself for an entry-level role; how to be successful in academia as a researcher or professor; books that can help you learn more about specific types of engineering fields; and finally, our own blogs on all things STEM careers related.
1.What is Engineering Research and Development?
Engineering research and development (R&D) engineers are people who work at the leading edge of technology, developing new technologies, new processes, and new designs for future products.
They design systems of many different types including mechanical, electrical, civil, aerospace, chemical or manufacturing systems.
They are involved in research and development of new materials, or they work on enhancing existing systems to make them more efficient. They might be involved in the design of new processes, or they could be working to improve existing processes for better performance using new materials. They might also create new applications for existing products.
2.What do Engineers Research?
R&D engineers perform research on a wide range of topics, from leading-edge material science to improving how cars are manufactured.
Some R&D engineers develop new products while others work within the manufacturing process itself to develop improvements that lead to better products with lower costs.
3. How to get into R&D Engineering?
While the best way to get into this field is to get a PhD in engineering, you might be able to start out in another field of engineering and then move into R&D.
Jobs in R&D are often available for entry-level employees with engineering backgrounds, but you can also teach at an undergraduate or graduate level or undertake research while holding an engineering job. These jobs are typically based on academic qualifications rather than on experience in industry.
4. How to do Research as an Engineer?
In order to publish and be involved in R&D work, you will need to carry out your research and experiments. This requires preparation and systematic recording of your results. These memos and notes can be helpful when writing up reports later on, so keep records of all the work you do!
You will need a good understanding of the area that you are researching – if possible, learn as much as possible about the subject. It is also crucial that you consult with experts in the field attend conferences, local symposia or seminars, visit colleagues’ laboratories etc.
Try to learn everything that you can about the subject, but be sure to get specific details that are useful for your project. This will assist in deciding what experiments are likely to be useful.
5. How to write a good research report?
A good research report must be clearly written, well structured and logical, easy to read and with interesting content. A good research report must have good referencing using the guidelines of the journal or company guidelines.
The research report must be relevant to the topic at hand, be relevant to your work area, provide enough information to allow the reader to understand your work.
6. What are the Different R&D Fields?
There are many different types of R&D jobs available in mechanical, electrical or chemical areas of research. There are also lots of different types of companies where you can work as a general engineer, design engineer or systems engineer.
This list is intended as a guide only, it is not comprehensive. You should refer to your company website for information on their specific requirements.
7. What job opportunities are available for R&D Engineers?
R&D engineers can find work in many areas, such as:
- Aerospace research and engineering;
- Chemical engineering;
- Civil engineering;
- Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM); and, on the production line; and, more recently, wireless technology (the Internet of Things), robotics and artificial intelligence.
8. What is it like Working in an R&D Environment?
In a university environment, you would mostly be dealing with other researchers and graduate students. You may also come into contact with:
- Postgraduate students;
- Other staff, such as assistants and technicians; and, support services such as secretaries and librarians.
9. What is the Career Structure for Engineers?
The career structure for engineers working in R&D depends on the type of research you are carrying out. In general, positions can range from: researcher or professor to development engineer or designer engineer to production or project engineer.
10. How to build your Network for an R&D Career?
The most important factor in an engineering career is building a network of contacts that you can use to keep up-to-date with the new developments in your field. If you are just starting out there are lots of ways that you can get yourself known in your chosen field.
Some examples are joining professional bodies, attending conferences, contributing to newsletters, giving talks or training members of staff at your company or customers outside it.