Engineering and Technical Management
Engineering and/or Technical management is a career that brings together the technological problem-solving savvy of engineering and the organisational, administrative, and planning abilities of a good leader to oversee complex engineering businesses from product conception to completion and delivery.
Engineering management jobs exist in many high-technology industries. Most Technical Managers work first as a design or development engineer before advancing into a technical management job. Principal duties of engineering managers include project and staff management, research, and product development. They act as overseers who formulate plans to see that projects are completed on time. They also manage employees from various engineering disciplines, such as project management, systems engineering, software, electronics hardware designers, and mechanical engineers often cross-disciplinary and in some cases global teams. They also ensure that the final product is budgeted accurately and supported by upper management. Supervisory, project management and recruitment skills are key for any aspiring engineering manager.
Successful Engineering Managers typically require training experience in business, product strategy, project management, and engineering disciplines. Largely, engineering managers manage engineers who are driven by non-entrepreneurial thinking and thus require the necessary people skills to coach, mentor, and motivate technical professionals. Engineering professionals joining manufacturing companies sometimes become engineering managers by default after some time. They are required to learn how to manage once they are on the job, though this is usually an ineffective way to develop managerial abilities.
Typically, technical managers lead technological and R&D development activities within businesses. Technical managers tend to possess a high degree of expertise in each technical discipline, such as software development, electronics manufacturing, mechanical design, etc. Technical managers themselves aren't expected to sit down and write software code for instance, but they must be able to lead a team developing the mix of complex software often used in today’s high-technology environments such as C, C#, C++ and Java. Broadly, technical managers fill both managerial and technical expert roles. Most technical managers can dissect an assigned technological challenge and then keep the team focused on developing realistic and effective solutions.
Most engineers appreciate the value of an effective manager who consistently delivers on-time project completion. Some engineers eventually choose to pursue an engineering management job to achieve that same standard.
The three types of skills to make a manager effective are
Though engineers generally would have mastered the technical, and possible conceptual, what makes an engineering manager excel is the mastery over human skills.
If you’re planning on becoming an engineering leader, you may want to understand what qualifications are required. Below are some of the main requirements:
- A bachelor's or master's degree in engineering, computer science, or a related field.
- Several years of industrial experience in a design and development environment, including experience leading and managing a team.
- Technical skills and knowledge of the specific field of engineering relevant to the position.
- Excellent communication, and problem-solving skills.
- Emotional intelligence, and the ability to provide effective feedback.
- Experience with software development methodologies, such as Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall.
- Knowledge of industry standards and regulations.
- Time management, and project management skills
- Business acumen, with the ability to make decisions, delegate, motivate, and take responsibility for outcomes.
Once an engineer has transitioned into an engineering management career, you’ll likely be faced with many opportunities for these skills to be tested. One should always remember that you were promoted into this role for a good reason – remember to have confidence in your skills.
Other opportunities will always exist for further advancement within a company and industry. At each stage, technical engineering knowledge is still highly valued because of the ability it gives an individual to communicate effectively with a team, and other departments in the business, and the understanding of client and customer requirements. Three of the greatest strengths often cited when hiring an engineering manager are excellent communication skills, empowerment, and broad or domain technical knowledge.
In summary, no Engineering Manager is a star in all the above attributes. The good news is that most of those attributes can be learned. With the right tips and some serious development and learning, those attributes can become part of your everyday work nature.
Redline changes lives every day, building world-class teams for technology and engineering companies. For more information on Engineering Management or Technical Management jobs in high technology and engineering environments, call 01582 450054 or send an email to Info@RedlineGroup.com.