While majoring in engineering management essentially means that you’re qualified to manage engineers, the reality is that a degree in engineering management prepares you to work in a number of professions. These jobs include, but are not limited to, management positions in engineering and architecture, though you could work in a variety of fields. Here are five careers you can pursue with a Master’s in engineering management.
Why Getting a Master’s in Engineering Management is a Good Choice for All Engineers
Before we start looking at the different positions available for people who get a master’s in engineering management, let’s take a look at why it is rising in popularity these days and why it’s so sought after.
Engineers nowadays do not work in a vacuum, and it’s not uncommon for new engineers to be trusted into managerial positions early on in their careers. There was a time when an engineer was presented with a specific problem and had to come up with a solution. This approach also influenced the way engineers were formed.
But with an MEM degree, engineers learn how to have a more holistic view of their organization and how they can correct problems on a macro level instead of seeing it as a simple engineering issue. MEM students learn how to solve customer, organizational, stakeholder, and engineering problems and come up with the proper solution.
But engineers don’t only have to understand the context of issues they’re dealing with, but also often have to make quick decisions even if they’re faced with fuzzy data and blurry end-zones. Engineers today have to be able to make quick judgment calls even if the information they’re getting is ambiguous.
That’s why, even though students with an engineering management masters are trained to become leaders and fill managerial positions, engineers with an MEM will have a leg up on other applicants every time since their skillset is increasingly sought after by employers. This is why every engineer or aspiring engineer should consider getting an MEM degree.
Now let’s take a look at some of the things you can do with a master’s in engineering management.
Engineering Project Managers
A degree in engineering management prepares you to manage construction projects. Your job is to ensure the timely, cost-effective completion of everything from new construction to building retrofits.
Engineering project managers are typically there from the initial project proposal to the cleanup of the construction site. They’ll review proposals, calculate and implement the timeframe, assign teams, hire contractors and subcontractors, and oversee nearly every aspect of the project. The next level up would be the senior project manager who will be responsible for multiple projects or programs. A senior project manager will also oversee very complex, interdependent programs.
A construction management engineer will oversee a specific construction project. This could include replacing an HVAC system or building a new home. They will do everything from managing labor costs to inspecting construction sites and managing tradespeople. While they may spend part of their time in the office, much of it will be onsite. They often report to engineering project managers. The assistant project manager reports to the engineering project manager, ensuring that all tasks remain on track. This is a good entry level position for those who want to become engineering project managers in their own right.
Senior Lead Analyst
A senior lead analyst leads and manages a team of analysts. These analysts may work in IT, finance, the sciences, or government agencies. They will oversee the suggestions the team produces, assign people to do a detailed analysis of a problem or solution, and monitor their progress.
If you’re already an analyst, this means that earning a master’s in engineering management gives you the skills and credentials you need to be promoted. And you won’t have to leave your current position since you can earn a masters in engineering management online from home on your own time. This will give you a chance to graduate from the test lab to team management or the financial analysis division to management of the financial group.
Cost Systems Analysts
Cost systems analysts are experts who analyze the cost needs of a project and determine the most cost-effective way to complete the project. While this can include construction and architectural projects, cost system analysts may work in IT, manufacturing and other industries. They may work with project managers to estimate the cost of a construction project or with industrial management engineers to estimate the cost of a production line upgrade. They often work closely with project coordinators and project schedulers.
Project Coordinators/Project Schedulers
A project scheduler may do everything from scheduling meetings to scheduling subcontractors’ work. For extensive and complex projects with a large number of team members and strict timetables to meet, they need a dedicated person to handle project schedule change requests.
A project coordinator may develop reports, track the progress of work, schedule status meetings, schedule work to be done, and give management updates. They will flow down information from management to those that need to be informed. A project coordinator is often a relatively inexperienced person who could eventually move up in the program management hierarchy.
Industrial Management Engineer
An industrial management engineer is similar to a construction management engineer, but they specifically oversee industrial projects. They may supervise a group of industrial engineers as well as oversee the operations of an entire manufacturing facility. They may test product designs or lay out new production lines.
They often oversee the upgrades of manufacturing facilities or supervise the installation of manufacturing equipment. They also might plan that project from start to finish or work with construction management engineers. When the business is humming along in a steady state, they will work to eliminate waste and increase the quality of the finished product.
If you earn a master’s degree in engineering management, you’ll be qualified to step into roles from project management to team leadership and everything in between. Always make sure that you weigh all the options that are open to you, and find one that fits your strengths and interests the most.