While originally focused on streamlining manufacturing processes, the field of industrial engineering now improves processes and systems in virtually all industries, to make them more efficient, yielding less waste, and costing less. To maximize efficiency, industrial engineers balance many factors such as the number and type of workers involved in a process, available equipment, safety, environmental impact, and cost. They might design faster production methods… choose new materials to make longer-lasting products… or devise ways to move customers through a line faster at an amusement park. Some engineers focus entirely on automated manufacturing and work with robots and computer networks. Industrial engineers often rely on teams to identify problems and solutions in their work. They generally work in offices… or travel to the settings they are analyzing to identify improvements. For example, they may watch workers assemble parts in a factory, then return to an office to analyze the data they have collected. Most industrial engineers work full time, but hours may vary depending on the needs of specific projects. Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, in industrial engineering or a related engineering field. Employers value practical experience in the field, which many programs offer as part of a degree program.
What they do:
Design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes, including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
On the job, you would:
Plan and establish sequence of operations to fabricate and assemble parts or products and to promote efficient utilization.
Review production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and related information to obtain knowledge of manufacturing methods, procedures, and activities.
Estimate production costs, cost saving methods, and the effects of product design changes on expenditures for management review, action, and control.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
reading work related information
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
pay attention to something without being distracted
do two or more things at the same time
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Finite element method FEM software
The MathWorks MATLAB
Computer aided design CAD software
Dassault Systemes CATIA
Industrial control software
Allen Bradley PanelView
Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
bachelor's degree or certificate after high school usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.