What Is Project Management Engineering? (With FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 13, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project management is the task of guiding a project from conception to completion, using the essential skills and expertise to keep the project on time, cost-effective and in compliance with all relevant requirements. Project management in engineering is an extension of project management that focuses on engineering-related projects. Understanding how to manage an engineering project can help ensure you deliver and complete your project on time and on a budget that works for you and your client or organization.

In this article, we define project management engineering, explore how to become a project manager engineer, analyze the skills needed to be successful in this field and discuss frequently asked questions about engineering project management.

What is project management engineering?

Project management engineering is a subset of project management that specializes in engineering projects. It employs similar conventional procedures and processes as other forms of project management. Anyone with technical expertise who wants to work in project management may likely be interested in this specialization. It entails managing and evaluating the day-to-day activities of an engineering team. Engineering project management includes monitoring the process when engineers, architects and manufacturers collaborate to design and deliver a project. It also entails assessing proposals and coordinating much of the project budgeting and cost analyses.

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  • What Is Technical Project Management? (With Skills)

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How to become a project management engineer

To become a project management engineer, you can follow these steps:

1. Obtain a bachelor's degree in engineering or engineering management

You can begin your career as an engineering project manager by pursuing a university degree in engineering or engineering management. Generally, the undergraduate engineering program begins with mathematics, physics, and chemistry classes to enhance students' core grasps of physical events inside complicated systems and their ability to reason logically using basic mathematical equations.

After understanding these fundamental theoretical ideas, most engineering programs include rigorous study in one or more specific areas of engineering specialization, including aerospace or electrical. Classes in project management, economics, statistics, anthropology, and ethics are common in engineering management programs. Many engineering management schools adapt these curricula to a certain engineering subject.

Related: How to Become an Engineer (With Tips)

2. Consider obtaining an advanced degree

Some organizations favour people with post-graduate degrees for higher-level positions. If you want to work in the area of research and development, you may need a doctorate. A master's degree normally takes two years to finish, while a doctoral program may take an extra three to five years. You can pursue such studies immediately after finishing your undergraduate degree or after gaining professional experience. Part-time master's programs are also available at some academic institutions, allowing you to get professional experience while completing your degree. You may discover more about postgraduate degree programs by researching them.

Related: What Is an Engineer in Training? A Complete Guide

3. Get work experience

A smart way to begin gaining relevant experience in the industry in engineering is to become involved with school clubs or explore internships that may help you get practical experience. You may also work in a lab, which can expose you to real-world circumstances in the sector. Whatever form of work experience you pick, you may be able to locate a mentor who can teach and lead you through the early phases of your professional growth. You can also perform an individual job search to pursue professional engineering opportunities.

Related: How to Write an Engineering Internship Cover Letter in 6 Steps

4. Get a relevant regional practice license

Following that, you can apply for a regional engineering license, which is formal paperwork that allows engineers to work within the boundaries of a given province. Licensing requirements may differ by province and engineering specialty, but you generally require a degree in engineering from a regionally or nationally academic institution, a passing mark on the foundations of engineering exam and some years of professional practice as an engineer. Some regions may require engineers to submit their license application as a formal petition with accompanying documentation to work in their selected region.

5. Apply for jobs

Once you have obtained your professional engineer license, you can start looking for full-time engineering jobs. Job prospects are frequently available through internet job boards or your professional network. You can also conduct a study on popular engineering interview questions to prepare for discussions with possible companies. Creating responses can help you realize what skills and credentials you want to emphasize and boost your confidence.

When applying for jobs, thoroughly examine the job descriptions to verify that your resume and other application materials are relevant to each position. Using this method can assist in demonstrating your interest in the position and why you are the best fit for it. When you have the precise skills desired by the organization or experience performing similar activities to those mentioned in the job postings, you may demonstrate that you can successfully handle the position and its regular duties.

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Skills needed in engineering project management

Certain skill sets can help you efficiently deliver and lead a project. The following are skills needed in engineering project management:

Communication skills

Project management entails successfully communicating information to other managers and team members. Communication is the ability to convey, receive and understand information, and project engineering managers can use this skill effectively to guarantee that each team member understands each task. People in teams often collaborate, and the fulfillment of one person's task frequently influences accomplishing other people's tasks. The team can meet more deadlines and be more productive if they communicate effectively during team projects.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills

Problem-solving skills

When problems develop during a project, the engineering project manager acknowledges the issue and suggests a solution as soon as possible to avoid any delays, emphasizing the importance of problem-solving. A successful project requires people who can assess events and identify solutions calmly. Problem-solving abilities are qualities that allow you to do so. To hone this talent, look for expert practice books for your field and also online problem-solving scenarios.

Math and literacy skills

Because project managers frequently engage with cost management, budgeting and project statistics, it's critical that they are fluent in math and equations. If you lack this skill set, you can cooperate with others to ensure the project's successful completion. You can hone this skill by taking a few online classes or enrolling in a training institution.

Attention-to-detail skills

Noticing minute details and drawing conclusions based on available facts is critical for every engineer, especially for project managers. The capacity to detect potential problems in production or teamwork enables project managers to plan for challenges and assist an effective team. This necessitates a high level of attention to detail to detect and address errors before they impact the overall efficiency of the project.

Creativity skills

Creativity is essential because engineering project managers may collaborate with their teams to build and plan. Being creative can assist project managers in developing alternate solutions to difficulties and contributing to product development innovations. To obtain a new viewpoint, try reading something different. Read something new to broaden your horizons and expose yourself to new ideas and knowledge. You may not only learn something new, but you can also expand your imagination, analytical abilities and open-mindedness.

Adaptability skills

Engineering project managers may work on multiple projects at the same time or switch between them quickly. Engineering project managers need the ability to adapt to new projects, parameters and timelines. This fluidity can help you prepare for minor problems and also significant setbacks. Your adaptation skill allows you to ensure that the project runs smoothly.

Related: Project Management Techniques (Definition and Importance)

FAQs about engineering project management

Below are frequently asked questions about project management in engineering :

Do I need a degree to pursue a career in engineering project management?

The standards may differ based on the sector, organization and project. That said, it's possible to manage an engineering project without having a background in engineering. The key is to have a background in project management and technical engineering experts on your team.

What's the difference between project management and project management engineering?

The primary distinction between engineering project management and project management is the volume and complexity of the work. Engineers and project managers typically work in distinct roles, with engineering managers primarily focused on managing a team of engineers and project managers primarily focused on overseeing a specific project.

Engineering managers are primarily in charge of supervising engineering projects and coordinating activities across divisions, such as quality assurance. They also collaborate with suppliers to verify that raw materials meet standards and develop new goods or procedures to help their client's company compete in its industry. Project managers organize resources and coordinate tasks for a specific project, offering guidance throughout its course to ensure their teams fulfill deadlines on time or ahead of schedule.

Is project engineering software useful?

Engineering project management is a complex task that calls for managerial, interpersonal and technical abilities. The project manager needs the ability to organize and steer the course of a project to keep everyone participating on the same page. That said, if something goes wrong, the project manager needs tools to get the project running again while wasting as little time and money as possible. There are several logistical tools you can consider, but project management software can assist.

Related: Tools of Project Management You Can Use as a Project Manager

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