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Design

Design and development engineer

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

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £55,000

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%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Design and development engineer jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties would depend on the project, but could include:

  • research (using mathematical modelling to work through new developments and innovations)
  • design (turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software)
  • testing (collecting and analysing data from prototype testing)
  • modifying designs (ahead of manufacture or installation)
  • reporting (writing or presenting to project managers and clients)

Working environment

You could work in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
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

Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications may also be acceptable to 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

More information

Further information

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

You can work in industries from construction and engineering to electronics and renewable energy. You can progress your career by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status and registering with an industry 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
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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