If you have an interest in managing people within an engineering space and you’re a natural problem solver, a career as an Engineering Manager could be for you.
Becoming an Engineering Manager is a potentially broad role depending on the company you work for. There are many different engineering fields to choose from, you’d need to ensure you specialise in one that interests you the most. An Engineering Manager is generally positioned in a manufacturing space or factory. You’ll be involved in the production side of engineering, managing projects from start to finish, as well as employees. You might also find yourself managing mines, or other kinds of industrial plant companies. You would oversee engineers, processing, mechanical and industrial engineers. You’d also be responsible for the machinery.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- Pure Mathematics
- Physical Science
- Engineering, Graphics and Design
- Visual Arts
The following institutions are highly recommended for further studies:
- Rhodes University – APS of 45
- University of Johannesburg (UJ) – APS of 30
- Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) – APS of 28
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – APS of 42
To become an Engineering Manager, you will need to study for a degree in one of the many engineering fields. The degree is 4 years and includes an honours year, so you qualify with honours. Once you have the necessary degree, you’ll need at least 1 – 4 years of engineering work experience before you can become a manager.
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as an Engineering Manager:
- an ability to work with people
- strategic thinking
- out-of-the-box thinking
- able to implement and project manage
- technical developmental and communication skills
- problem solving
- IT proficiency
- attention to detail and accuracy
- time management
- management of multiple projects
- good technical ability
As an Engineering Manager, you will be able to work in one of the following areas:
- Building and developmental companies
- Manufacturing companies
- Mining companies
- Private engineering companies
- Governmental research and factories
Regular working hours would be between 40 – 45 hours per week but if your projects are highly demanding, you may be required to work overtime on any given day. As an Engineering Manager, you might work a fair amount of overtime, weekends and shift hours.
The average annual salary for a Senior Engineering Manager in South Africa, according to PayScale is R1 024 255 with an hourly rate of R775.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as an Engineering Manager:
- Expect to manage manufacturing projects, factories and developmental engineering projects from start to finish and to potentially work overtime.
- Expect a high level of responsibility as an Engineering Manager, including responsibility for staff, projects and manufacturing machinery.
- Expect to work many hours, including shift hours and overtime.
- Expect to work with people from unique backgrounds, have a good set of communication and listening skills.
- Expect to make decisions that would impact a whole production line.
- Expect to have issues almost everyday that people will look to you to solve or delegate.
- Expect to empower and train the staff and members below you.