Rarely does an engineering job offer as much creative freedom as a design engineer. It is truly a left-brain, right-brain combination, requiring the technical and mechanical skills of the engineering field with the increasingly important creative vision for design aesthetics, functionality, and user experience.
The job is about taking conceptual ideas, for example, a product design, and transforming the idea into a real product.
Design engineers are tasked with making products that look good and are easy and safe to use. They also need analytical skills to ensure the product can be made cost-effectively and efficiently.
The field is a close cousin to mechanical engineering, and people in these two disciplines often work together on project teams
The field is broad, and many different industries and types of companies need to hire design engineers.
An article in Interesting Engineering, a publication dedicated to the art of engineering, explained how to first Computer-aided Design CAD system called Sketchpad developed in 1963 started the field of electronically rendering engineering designs.
Starting around the mid-1970s, as computer-aided design software systems began to provide more capability than just an ability to reproduce manual drafting. By the late 80s and early 90s, with CAD systems now able to include engineering calculations in designs, systems expanded rapidly and became capable enough to be practical in design engineering.
Now, new tools and technology, including computer-aided design tools, 3D printers, and even virtual reality are expanding what design engineers are capable of doing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected employment and the job market, however many sectors of the engineering field have played a critical role in combatting the virus.
National Academy of Engineering President John Anderson pointed out that “engineer” is an action-oriented verb, and engineers have been critical in so many areas of pandemic management. “Engineers consider themselves problem solvers and also creators. We create products, processes, and systems that address economic and societal needs,” said Anderson.
With this need for continued innovation in many industries, opportunities are not expected to decrease.
Recruiting the top design engineers can ensure you have the right expertise on the team for design, documentation, development, manufacturing, and testing and improvement of both physical and digital products, systems, and equipment. As mentioned previously, these roles are a necessary component for companies in many industries.
When building a successful team, it’s important to consider how new design resources will align with your current team.
If your current team members do not have a strong knowledge of the most current software systems for design, you have an opportunity to fill the gaps. You can source candidates that excel with a particular skill or fluency in software systems for engineering.
Creativity is another area that is key for design engineers. When you are looking for recruits, ask for samples of previous design work. With design engineering, looks and function go hand-in-hand.
To help you the best design engineers in Sacramento, here are some of the details of the job.
The design engineer usually works with a team of other engineers, as well as designers and creative teams, such as marketing, to develop conceptual and detailed designs for products. This can involve developing prototypes to ensure the product or system functions as it is supposed to and is fit for its purpose.
A career in design engineering allows a lot of variety as almost every consumer product imaginable for large-scale production— automobiles, phones, consumer electronics, medical equipment, kitchen appliances, software, and the list goes on.
A few additional responsibilities include:
Looking for another position? View other positions we place in Sacramento, California.
Often colleges and universities that have programs in the design engineering field offer specialties or concentrations such as:
Though some design engineer jobs require a master’s degree or doctorate, many project engineer jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, experience in the industry, and skills.
U.S. News and World Report ranked the top 3 undergraduate colleges for engineering (those that also offer a doctorate).
These programs train students in the principles of engineering and offer specialized courses in design engineering and its many specialized facets. Armed with a degree, graduates have a multitude of opportunities to work for large or small companies that need design and engineering skills to design both physical and digital products.
Nationally, annual compensation for design engineers ranges between $62,000 for entry-level and $150,000 for seasoned project engineers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 960,000 project engineers employed in 2019, with just 11.4% of those employed being women. It is estimated the 12.8% are Asian, 5.8% Black or African American, 8% Hispanic or Latino, and 79.6% are white.
The median annual wage for design engineers is $103,000 compared with $94,500, the median annual wage for all engineers.
The average annual salary for design engineers in California was 114k in 2019. The hourly wage averaged $55.
For more detailed compensation information for design engineers in Sacramento, download our free compensation/salary report below.
Do design engineers consider Sacramento, the state’s capital, a good city for living and working? Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are recruiting for jobs in the city.
The city is located almost dead center in the diverse geography of California. It’s considered a just-right sized city (not too big, not too small) with just 500,000 residents, making it big enough to offer city life but small enough to not have the overcrowding issues of California’s bigger cities.
As the state capital, there are many more government and public sector jobs, so for those with an eye on working in the government sector or an adjacent industry, Sacramento has more employment opportunities than other locations.
Here are the top reasons for living and working in Sacramento.
On the other hand, there are a few frequently cited downsides of living and working in Sacramento.
Not your city? View other cities where we place design engineers.
Although the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics does not list this title specifically, the position is very similar in scope and qualifications to a mechanical engineer. Based on this data, employment is expected to grow about 4% from 2019 to 2019, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Design and mechanical engineers are essential for various manufacturing industries, particularly automotive manufacturing. Engineers are needed to continually improve the looks and performance of automobiles, and the range and performance of hybrid and electric cars. However, employment declines in some manufacturing industries could temper the overall employment growth of design engineers.
The supply of candidates and demand for open positions have a direct correlation to a company's ability to hire. Download a free Supply and Demand report for design engineers in Sacramento, California below.
Finding and hiring the best design engineer candidates can save you money right away and well into the future.
The costs of making a bad hire are well documented. The cost can run as much as 30% of the employee's first-year earnings according to the US Department of Labor. Bad hires can cost a whopping $240,000 in expenses related to hiring, compensation, and retention per The Undercover Recruiter. 74% of companies who admit they've hired the wrong person for a position lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire according to CareerBuilder. These statistics support our long-held position that behavioral questions are the best way to get to know your candidates and past behavior is the best indicator of future performance.
The information below comes from the best practices Amtec uses for finding the highest quality candidates.
When defining the role you are creating, we recommend a position profile to fully evaluate the position you are hiring for. You must decide if the engineer can work remotely or must work in California. If working in Sacramento is essential, make sure you include that in your job posting so candidates can decide how many miles they can commute.
When you are looking to source the best quality candidates for your open positions, make sure you have done the legwork to hire an "A Player". You can do this by making sure your company's perspective is aligned with the current market, you have taken into account the job responsibilities, as well as what type of characteristics you are looking for to fit your company culture. Then proceed to write a job posting to attract high-quality candidates.
If you need to recruit the sharpest design engineers:
You wrote a job posting, posted the position online, and received a lot more resumes than you’d bargained for! Next comes the enormous task of sorting through those resumes to eliminate the ones that are clearly not a good fit. Now, you have a stack of resumes for candidates who have potential. So how do you go about screening the remaining candidates?
It starts on the phone! As a recruiter, the goal of your telephone screening is to learn more about your candidates. You can confirm that they have the educational qualifications and relevant experience, but you also need to determine if they would fit into your company's culture. To make this job easier, use a system to consistently evaluate results. This way you can equally and objectively compare candidates and evaluate their "soft skills", like communication and thinking process. Download Amtec's Professional Assessment Questionnaire below to help with screening candidates.
An individually customized questionnaire that helps assess a candidate's competence with written communication skills, thinking processes, and other relevant skills.
At Amtec, we believe in the power of behavoral interview questions to go beyond the experience and skills listed on the candidate's resume. Although you will want to confirm in the interview that the candidate does indeed have the experience listed on their resume, your assessment needs to go much deeper than that. An interview using behavioral questions can help you determine how well the candidate will fit with your company culture.
Download Amtec's best practices on conducting super effective interviews to find the best candidates and fill your open jobs.
Get the info you need to hire the best design engineersFree Interview Guide