The Ultimate Guide for Design Engineering Jobs

Engineering is a multi-billion pound industry that is vital to the UK’s infrastructure. Design Engineers are majorly important to the processes that take place, and so we give a unique guide into how to become a design engineer, what qualifications you will need and much more. 


Chapter 1: Design Engineering: The Introduction
Chapter 2: Design Engineering: Skills and Qualifications
Chapter 3: Design Engineering: Where next?

Design Engineering Jobs

Chapter 1:

Design Engineering: The Introduction

What do they do?

 A Design Engineer is a general term that covers multiple engineering disciplines including electrical, mechanical, chemical engineer, aeronautical engineer, civil, and structural/building/architectural.

The role of the Design Engineer is to create and transform conceptual ideas into a product that satisfies customer requirements. Unlike much of the mechanical profession, design engineering allows you to get into the front-end of design projects. They may work with industrial designers and marketers to develop the product concept and specifications and may direct the design effort.

In short, the emphasis tends to be on utilising engineering physics and sciences to develop solutions for society.

Industries include:

  • Construction and building services
  • Electronics and consumer goods
  • Transport such as shipbuilding, aerospace, railways and motor vehicles
  • Power generation
  • Research and development

How do you become a Design Engineer?

There are two main ways to become a Design Engineer – the vocational path through an apprenticeship or working your way up at a company, and the academic path with ‘A’ Levels in Maths, Physics and other relevant subjects before moving on to degree level Engineering.

To become a qualified Design Engineer typically means obtaining a degree in mechanical, electrical or civil engineering. There are also degrees specifically tailored to design engineering, which would be ideal.

Chapter 2:

Design Engineering: Skills and Qualifications


Key Skills

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Work well in a team
  • Imagination
  • Creativity

Desirable Skills

  • Research
  • Design Visualisation



Advanced/Higher Apprenticeship

  • Typically 3 to 4 years

Higher National Certificate or Diploma (HNC/HND)

  • Typically 1 to 2 years

Foundation Degree (FD)

  • Typically 2 years
  • Further learning required for Engineering registration

Bachelor’s Degree (BEng)

  • 3 years
  • 4 years if including a year in industry


  • 1 year MSc to register as a Chartered EngineerMaster’s Degree
  • A master’s degree isn’t a necessity, but it can make you stand out from other potential hires and teaches a raft of information that would otherwise not be learnt
  • Background in Maths and Science
  • Computer Experience
  • Experience with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software

 Chapter 3:

Design Engineering: Where can you go next?

Salaries for design engineers range from £20,000 per annum for an entry-level role to £50,000+ per annum for a senior design engineer. There is a huge variety of industries looking to hire Design Engineers, so opportunities are not limited to just one or two core sectors.

If someone wanted to change careers, there are two main options: first, there is a Mechanical Engineer, which is less design-heavy and focuses on the testing and manufacturing of mechanical devices. Then there is what is known as a ‘Drafter’, the main role of a Drafter is to convert engineers’ and architects’ designs into plans and technical drawings. This is a lot less hands on and much more computer heavy role than a Design Engineer.
Design Engineering Jobs