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Engineering and Technical Management

01/02/17 David Philpott Manager - R&D / Engineering

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 manager in order 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.  Principle 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 successfully completed on-time. They also manage employees from various engineering disciplines, such as systems, software/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 a period of 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 a given technical area, 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. 

Once an engineer has progressed into an engineering management career, many other opportunities 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, other departments in the organisation, and the understanding of client and customer requirements. Two of the greatest strengths often cited for engineering managers are communication skills and broad technical knowledge.

For further information on Engineering Management or Technical Management jobs in high technology and engineering environments, please  contact David Philpott on 01582 878819 or send an email to DPhilpott@RedlineGroup.com