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Engineering design

Design and development engineer

Design engineers improve product performance and efficiency while researching and developing new manufacturing ideas and systems.

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

3.4%
Future employment

There will be 3.4% more Design and development engineer jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on the project, but you could:

  • use mathematical modelling to research new developments and innovations
  • design technical plans for prototypes
  • use computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software
  • collect and analyse data from prototype testing
  • modify product designs ahead of manufacture or installation
  • write and present reports to project managers and clients

Working environment

You could work in an office or in a workshop.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
University

You'll normally need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree to become a design engineer.

You could choose from subjects like:

  • engineering product design
  • industrial design
  • computer-aided design engineering
  • engineering design and manufacture
  • materials science
  • maths and physics

Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications may also be welcomed by employers.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by taking a product design and development engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you have experience and qualifications in a particular branch of engineering, for example mechanical, aerospace or energy engineering.

More information

Further information

You can get more details about engineering careers and training from The Institution of Engineering Designers and Tomorrow's Engineers.

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You can use your design skills to work in industries from construction and biomedical engineering to electronics and renewable energy.

You can also improve your career opportunities by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status and registering with an industry professional body.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • persistence and determination
  • maths skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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