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Engineering Management


  • Engineering management is the discipline where engineers combine management skills with technical expertise to coordinate work in various technical fields such as product design, development, and manufacturing. A person working in engineering management usually has an undergraduate degree in an engineering field, as well as a master's degree in engineering management. The aim of the field is to combine practical knowledge of the business side of engineered things — including the financial side of the business, as well as human resource management, communications, and other things that impact the overall success of the product as a commercial entity — with technical knowledge of design and engineering.
  • The breadth of opportunity is one of the most attractive facets of this specialty. Fields that require this experience include:
    • • Manufacturing management
    • • Logistics
    • • Technical consulting
    • • Chemical process consulting


  • Plenty of choices await prospective engineering managers, and most colleges and universities offer a wide variety of courses:
  • • Managerial Science This field involves management fundamentals, helping the student build a strong foundation in the science of engineering management specifically.
  • • Marketing Students in this course are exposed to the business and retail aspects of engineering management. They learn how common business practices and communication skills apply to the engineering field.
  • • Accounting Finance-oriented students can learn the fundamentals of money management and the integral accounting processes that keep everyday operations functioning correctly.
  • • Materials Handling and Plant Layout Students gain firsthand knowledge of the system that transports and process products during a typical workday, and how each area of the plant contributes to the overall success of the operation.
  • • Computer Science Information technology plays an increasingly large role in most industries today. This course equips the prospective management engineer to utilize IT appropriately.
  • • Physics and Chemistry These courses are integral to a proper understanding of how engineering works and how the theories are applied to daily tasks.
  • • Systems Engineering This course allows students to study in depth the various processes and systems that allow the mechanisms of engineering to function daily.


  • Depending on her educational background and prior work experience, an engineering management major may be able to customize her professional development by selecting specific courses that complement her career. Possible specialties to pursue include:
  • • Crisis, Emergency, and Risk Management. When engineering management professionals in this sector do their jobs well, citizens hardly notice. That's because the very best crisis and risk managers use sophisticated computer models and training scenarios to prevent catastrophes. Government agencies and insurance companies employ skilled engineering managers to lead teams of researchers to fully understand weaknesses in construction, civil, and military programs.
  • • Economics, Finance, and Cost Accounting It may seem like overkill to hire an engineer to oversee a team of accountants. But a skilled engineering manager can use his communication skills to motivate his staff members while relying on his problem-solving skills to find new processes to automate or streamline procedures.
  • • Environmental and Energy Management As oil prices skyrocket and fossil fuels become scarce, utility companies and auto manufacturers are scrambling to meet the energy needs of future generations. Engineering management specialists travel the world to deploy innovative new systems that generate power from wind, water, and other renewable sources. Other engineering managers lead teams that design efficient cars, computers, and generators, to prevent us from irreversibly damaging the planet.
  • • Information Security Management Engineering managers working in information security lead teams of experts who work to keep company data protected. Using techniques like encryption and diversion, engineers contribute to the law enforcement effort by drawing cybercriminals into the open, where they can be caught and prosecuted.
  • • Knowledge Management Many workers in small offices get a handle on a company's trends by hanging around the water cooler. Today's international conglomerates often employ tens of thousands of workers, spread out over a few continents. When the water cooler is the size of the Pacific Ocean, engineering management specialists step in to design systems and processes that keep team members informed about their projects, no matter what country they happen to be in at the moment.
  • • Management and Reliability of Infrastructure Systems Engineering management specialists oversee the operation of power lines, canals, dams, drawbridges, and other vital pieces of infrastructure that we often take for granted. By leading teams of planners and researchers, engineering managers can maximize taxpayer investment in these operations by building reliable facilities that perform efficiently over the long haul.
  • • Operations Research and Management Science At first, this specialty can seem like an exercise in corporate navel gazing. In fact, engineering managers can analyze the ways that companies communicate and operate in order to make recommendations for efficiency. As a result, companies run more smoothly and employees don't have to waste as much time on repetitive tasks.
  • • Software Engineering and Information Systems Management Today's complex software requires development teams of hundreds or even thousands of skilled programmers. Engineering management graduates coordinate the efforts of specialists so that their final product runs smoothly.


  • The purpose of obtaining a Master's in Engineering Management is to allow engineers the opportunity to begin managing projects. This degree prepares graduates to perform many of the management functions associated with engineering careers while simultaneously offering instruction in the general management skills that apply across careers, such as finance, marketing, statistics, accounting, and risk analysis. An MEM degree further offers graduates the ability to work as the liaison between management and the staff that actually carries out engineering projects. Strong technical and communication skills coupled with an MEM degree can afford a graduate many career opportunities.


  • Although salaries varied by expertise and seniority, the annual median salary for these workers was $132,800 in May 2015. Job opportunities for architectural and engineering managers are expected to grow by around two percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the government statistics. However, due to outsourcing, many engineering jobs are expected to be sent abroad, leaving fewer employees to be managed, thus increasing competition for management positions. Those with excellent technical, communication and business skills should find the best management job opportunities.


  • The primary job of an engineering manager is to determine and execute the technical objectives set forth by top company executives or government leaders. These objectives can include conducting scientific research, developing emergent technologies and seeking to improve existing processes. They achieve their goals by preparing detailed engineering plans that identify troublesome technical areas and possible solutions. They then employ their management skills to guide and supervise subordinate technicians, engineers and scientists to achieve company or governmental objectives.

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