what is an industrial engineer?

Industrial engineers use their skills to find ways to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and increase productivity. They devise systems that use resources, such as people, machines, and materials, to ensure that they deliver all products and services efficiently and effectively. They use data in mathematics, analysis, and engineering skills to improve system performance.

You should have at least two to three years of manufacturing experience and should be able to identify areas that need improvement. You should have the ability to develop new manufacturing processes, including layouts, PFD, PFMEA, CP, work instructions, and training materials.

You should also have experience with AutoCAD, Inventor, Solidworks, and M.S. Office software. In this role, you will need to collect and analyze data concerning ergonomics, productivity, and safety.

You need to have project management expertise as well. The job will require you to create and implement well-organized manufacturing systems that will reduce the overall cost but still maintain performance standards. Companies will need you to identify areas where you can make changes to improve products using your knowledge of equipment, quality control standards, product design, materials, and processes.

Would working as an industrial engineer suit your professional skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an industrial engineer role.

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average industrial engineer salary

The salary of an industrial engineer varies depending on several factors, such as the industry, geographic location, level of experience, and education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial engineers in computer and electronic product manufacturing companies earn an average of $99,530 annually. Engineers in the architectural, engineering, and related services industry earn an average salary of $82,870 annually.

Alaska and Wyoming are the highest-paying states for industrial engineers, with an average of $121,750 and $106,450 annual salary, respectively. The lowest-paying states were Arkansas, with an average annual salary of $70,530, and Puerto Rico, with an average annual salary of $58,640.

The level of education and experience of industrial engineers also determines their salary. An industrial engineer with several years of experience or a master’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field will earn more than those with less experience or a bachelor’s degree.

Wondering what you can earn as an industrial engineer? Find out immediately with the Randstad salary checker! You can quickly and easily see what the average salary of an industrial engineer is.


types of industrial engineers

There are different types of industrial engineers who specialize in different areas of industry, such as:

  • Manufacturing engineers design production layouts and develops and optimizes manufacturing processes, equipment, and facilities. They work on tasks such as reducing production costs, increasing output quality, and ensuring safety standards.
  • Quality engineers ensure that products and services meet customer expectations and comply with quality standards and regulations. They perform quality audits, inspections, and tests, identify defects and nonconformities, and implement corrective actions and preventive measures in addition to monitoring quality performance.
  • Project engineers manage engineering projects and ensure you and your team complete them on time, within the budget, and that you meet the necessary quality standards. They oversee the project’s technical aspects and communicate the progress to stakeholders.
  • Systems engineers design, integrate, and manage complex systems comprising multiple components and subsystems. They include chain networks, transportation systems, and healthcare systems. They consider the system as a whole and its interactions with its environment. They apply mathematical models and simulation tools to define the system requirements, architecture, and behavior.
  • Ergonomics engineers study how humans interact with machines, systems, or environments. They apply ergonomics principles to improve product or workplace usability, comfort, and performance. They conduct ergonomic assessments, tests, and evaluations, design ergonomic solutions, and provide recommendations for improvement.
Woman in suit in an office smiling. Primary color: yellow.
Woman in suit in an office smiling. Primary color: yellow.

working as an industrial engineer

Working as an industrial engineer can be rewarding and fulfilling. You can apply your engineering knowledge and skills to solve problems and improve industrial processes, systems, and operations.


industrial engineering skills and education

To become an industrial engineer, you need certain skills and education to effectively perform your duties and responsibilities.

skills and competencies

Some of the skills and education that you need for an industrial engineer include:

  • a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field, such as mechanical or electrical engineering or industrial engineering technologies. You may also need a master’s degree in one or more of those specialties, especially for senior or managerial positions. You may also require certifications such as the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) or the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
  • strong technical skills in engineering methods, scientific principles, and mathematical models. They need to be proficient in using computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD) software.
  • excellent analytical skills to identify problems, collect and interpret data, evaluate alternatives, and propose solutions. You need to be able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex and multidimensional problems.
  • effective communication skills to convey your ideas and findings clearly and persuasively.
  • good teamwork skills to collaborate with other engineers, technicians, workers, and specialists on various projects.
smiling man in sideview
smiling man in sideview

FAQs about working as an industrial engineer

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about industrial engineering.

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