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Research Engineer

Research engineers plan, design, develop, and build innovative equipment and technologies using a research-driven process. They perform investigations, testing, modeling, verifications, comparative analysis, and other forms of research to make educated recommendations. 

They support and guide organizations or clients in making informed decisions based on this data, which is then used to develop action plans for designing and implementing systems and equipment that supports key objectives. 

They also play an active role in strategic planning by providing ongoing research-based input and advice.

Research Engineer

What does a Research Engineer do?

Research Engineer

Research engineers develop, investigate and evaluate new products and equipment to be used in engineering industries. They are involved in a wide range of research activities and the development of new technologies. They are also responsible for improving existing technical processes and creating new innovative technologies. Research engineers find improvement solutions in response to specific problems.

Research engineers usually report to a supervisor. They work in an array of industries, including petroleum, aerospace, and the automotive industry. A successful research engineer should have technical skills, critical thinking skills, research skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and attention to detail.

  • Problem Solving Skills

    This role requires you to develop solutions to problems faced by your organization or within your industry. You may receive assignments or you may identify issues yourself and work toward improving relevant processes or components of the product or system. As a research engineer, you need to use creativity to ask questions and look at problems from a variety of perspectives to form more innovative solutions.

  • Technical Knowledge

    Depending on your industry, you need to show proficiency in its relevant tools or equipment. For example, if your role requires you to develop software or technology, you may need familiarity with particular programming languages.

  • Project Management

    These engineers lead teams through the product development process or other projects. You will need to show organization and time management abilities to ensure you and your colleagues stay on track to complete goals on time.

  • Communication Skills

    You need to communicate your findings effectively in both verbal and written formats. Your duties may include conducting presentations or writing reports to convey important information or recommendations to team members, managers or clients. Communication skills include the interpersonal skills you need to collaborate successfully with members of your project teams.

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineering specifically deals with electricity, electro-magnetism and electronics. It also covers power, control systems, telecommunications, and signal processing. An electrical engineer applies the physics and mathematics of electricity, electromagnetism, and electronics to design and develop new electrical equipment and systems, to solve problems, and to test equipment.

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers look for various avenues in which to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They discover ways to use workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service in the most efficient way possible. Industrial engineer’s find efficient ways to use workers, machines and materials to maximize business profits. They develop management control systems to make financial planning more efficient. They meet with clients about product specifications and negotiate with vendors and review the status of projects.

Materials Engineer

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials that create products ranging from computer chips and aircraft wings to golf clubs or biomedical devices. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, or nanometals to create new materials that meet specific mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements. Materials engineers develop new ways to use existing materials, and they evaluate new projects and consult with other engineers and managers on projects as necessary.



Research engineers earn an average yearly salary of $84,000


Starting-level research engineer earnings begin at:

$29 per hour
$61,000 per year

Senior-level research engineer earnings begin at:

$48 per hour
$100,000 per year

Mid-level research engineer earnings begin at:

$41 per hour
$84,714 per year

Top-level research engineer earnings begin at:

$56 per hour
$117,000 per year

Junior-level research engineer earnings begin at:

$34 per hour
$71,000 per year

These are 2021 national salary averages and may fluctuate based on location.

What does the workplace for a Research Engineer look like?

Research engineers generally work full-time, which means at least 40 hours each week, often with the option to work overtime as needed. Depending on their engineering specialty, they can work in a variety of environments. Typically, however, they spend most of their time in an office or laboratory setting using tools, software and equipment relevant to their specialized field.

For example, a biomedical research engineer may work in a lab using advanced microscopes to observe and analyze chemical interactions. Meanwhile, a product research engineer may work in an office and use computer software to simulate the design and performance of a product, then write a report on their findings.

How to Become a Research Engineer?

Research Engineer

To begin your research engineer career path, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field is usually necessary in order to remain a competitive option for employers. Focus on industry-specific skill development during your education in order to be properly equipped when applying for entry-level positions and entering the job force. You should have hands-on experience with a wide range of research tools and programs, including verification and testing programs. 

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a research engineer. In fact, many research engineer jobs require experience in a role such as research assistant. Meanwhile, many research engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as internship or graduate research assistant.

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