“The ideal engineer is a composite… He is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems.”
N.W. Dougherty, professor of civil engineering at the University of Tennessee, wrote these words in 1955. Today, our world faces even more complex challenges than those of decades past. These challenges demand new thinking, innovative ideas, and best practices offering solutions that are socially conscious, sustainable, and contribute to bettering our global society.
Engineers, at the beginning of their career, focus on mastering the technical aspects and responsibilities of their job. After establishing an effective skill-set and a firm work ethic, some engineers feel ready for more – more responsibility, more variety in their daily tasks, and more of a desire to contribute to their company’s ability to achieve its strategic goals. One way to accomplish this is by becoming a manager. The Master of Science Engineering Management program from Kettering University Online (KUO) delivers the holistic leadership and communication skills needed for engineers to manage technology driven, high-performing, cross-disciplinary teams.
Engineering Managers Are In Demand – Let KUO Prepare YOU!
The discipline of engineering management lies at the intersection of applying sound engineering principles to projects and having the savvy business acumen necessary for all financial, administrative, and planning activities that support project development from conception to design to completion.
The good news is the field is expected to grow nine percent through 2020 (GETEDUCATED, 2019). This demand will most likely be in the scientific research, manufacturing, automotive, and advanced mobility industries. Competition is high for engineering management positions. As such, companies are placing a higher priority on candidates with advanced technical knowledge, excellent interpersonal communication skills, and expert business management and financial skills. Kettering University Online’s Engineering Management program was designed with these priorities in mind.
Courses such as Enterprise Information System Models, Managing People and Organizations, Marketing Management, and Internal Business, among others, not only provide students necessary knowledge and skills, they display the combined academic and industry experience of Kettering University Online’s faculty. Courses in this program also highlight Kettering University Online’s motto, “Learn Today. Use Tomorrow” through providing opportunities for students to bring work scenarios to their classes and the knowledge they gain from classes back to their work scenarios.
Two recent Class of 2019 graduates, Rich Noble and Ashley Keyes, speak directly to this idea. Rich notes: “Interestingly enough, every class I took as the curriculum would come up that was what would be happening at work” (KUO, 2019). Ashley says: “Being able to apply what you learn in the classroom directly to what you are doing on a day to day basis in your workplace is priceless” (KUO, 2019).
Engineering management requires different skill sets than engineering alone. For example, engineering managers lead research and development teams working on new products, processes, or designs, or trying to improve existing ones. They also create project budgets, hire and manage staff, prepare staff training, determine equipment needs, monitor equipment maintenance, and create detailed plans for reaching both technical and overall company goals.
In addition to mastering academic content, students are challenged to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone and learn how to facilitate a variety of managerial processes, communicate effectively with both their team and executive leadership, manage conflict, and demonstrate sound leadership. They also learn how to:
- Be better prepared to navigate human resource issues
- Look at the big picture and motivate their employees to do the same
- Delegate appropriately
- Be clear about the expectations they have of their employees
- Seek advice from other leaders and alumni who have made the successful transition from engineer to manager
- Lead by example
- Be prepared to take risks
- Solve complex problems regarding change management
Jessica McKellar, successful startup founder and software engineer explains that "When engineering management is done right, you're focusing on three big things. You're directly supporting the people on your team; you're managing execution and coordination across teams; and you're stepping back to observe and evolve the broader organization and its processes as it grows" (First Round Review, 2019, para. 2).
Further, those studying to become engineering managers learn how to effectively utilize technical, financial, and human resources. They also hone their conceptual skills such as critical thinking, analytical thinking, and problem-solving. Engineering managers in training are not only advancing their career, they are contributing to the goals of their organization in ways that are both sustainable and impactful to the clients they serve and the population at large.
Your Next Step:
Many professionals in the engineering field are deciding which path to take to reach their next level of professional development. If you are an engineer, scientist, or computer scientist wanting to add management and leadership expertise to your already established technical skill-set, enrolling in Kettering University Online’s Master of Science Engineering Management program allows you to combine your engineering knowledge and apply it to a project management context, distinguish yourself among your colleagues, and add to your salary. Below are current salary expectations for those graduating with a Master’s in Engineering Management:
- Corporate/Executive Management: $179,929
- VP, Manufacturing/Production: $183,400
- Director, Manufacturing/Production: $137,100
- Engineering Management: $106,400
- Research & Development/Product Development Management: $110,700
Successful companies understand that engineering managers must take an integrated view of management in order to streamline operational activities, meet deliverables on time, and achieve organization goals so they are motivated to hire engineers who can integrate technical expertise, savvy business acumen, and effective interpersonal communication skills.
Let Kettering University Online prepare you for this integrated view of management and your next professional adventure. KUO offers you:
- Rolling admission
- Ability to study 100% online during the times, and in the places, that work with your schedule
- The opportunity to learn within an interactive online classroom
- The steady support of a Professional Advisor who is dedicated to reinforcing your academic success.
- The opportunity to work with renowned scholars and leaders of industry
- A chance to connect with thousands of Kettering University graduates in a variety of industries across the globe
Once you have completed the transformation from engineer to manager it is likely that you will play a more direct role in the success of your company and feel a sense of both personal and professional accomplishment with this achievement. Check out Kettering University Online for more information and an Online Program Guide. It is time for you to be Kettering Built!
First Round Review (2019). This is what impactful engineering leadership looks like. Retrieved from https://firstround.com/review/this-is-what-impactful-engineering-leadership-looks-like/
GETEDUCATED. (2019). Engineering Manager. Retrieved from https://www.geteducated.com/career-center/detail/engineering-manager
IEEE. (2017, January 12). 10 quotes to spark engineering inspiration. Retrieved from https://transmitter.ieee.org/10-quotes-spark-engineering-inspiration/ Kettering University Online. (2019). See what our graduates and faculty have to say [Video file]. Retrieved from https://online.kettering.edu/