What Do Manufacturing Engineers Do? Are you looking for a challenging and innovative career path where you can have a tremendous impact by focusing on how to turn raw materials into a new or updated product in the most economic, efficient, and effective way possible?

Do you dream about innovative ways to mass-produce or package products?

Would you like work that enables you to assess how to improve processes involving machinery, plant layout, and worker development?

The field of manufacturing engineering offers unique opportunities to make a real difference by applying various manufacturing sciences and practices including the research, design, and development of systems, processes, machines, tools, and equipment.

Manufacturing Engineers

  • Are involved with the process of manufacturing from planning to packaging of the finished product.
  • Work with tools such as robots, programmable and numerical controllers, and vision systems to fine-tune assembly, packaging, and shipping facilities.
  • Examine flow and the process of manufacturing, looking for ways to streamline production, improve turnaround, and reduce costs.
  • Work with prototypes, usually created electronically with computers, to plan the final manufacturing process.
  • Figure out methods and systems to produce a product in an efficient, cost-effective way in order to provide a marketing edge for the final product.


  • Mechanics, the study of forces and their effects on matter.
  • Kinematics, the study of the motion of bodies (objects) and systems (groups of objects), while ignoring the forces that cause the motion.
  • Drafting, or technical drawing, is the means by which manufacturers create instructions for manufacturing parts.
  • Machine tools and metal fabrication employ some sort of tool that does the cutting or shaping.
  • Computer-integrated manufacturing is the manufacturing approach of using computers to control the entire production process.
  • Mechatronics is an engineering discipline that deals with the convergence of electrical, mechanical, and manufacturing systems.

Famous Manufacturing Engineers

  • Beulah Louise Henry – known as “the lady Edison,” made a large fortune during her career by capitalizing on her inventions through manufacturing companies to produce her creations
  • Henry Ford – American industrialist, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of development of the assembly line technique of mass production
  • Nikola Tesla – Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current, AC, electricity supply system
  • Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. – American entrepreneur, film producer, and influential figure in the aviation industry; known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world

Areas of Employment

  • Aerospace industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Computer industry
  • Food processing industry
  • Garment industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Toy industry

Career Guidance Suggestions for Pre-University Students

Coursework to consider
  • Pre-algebra
  • Geometry
  • Advanced algebra
  • Engineering fundamentals
  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Trigonometry
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Robotics
  • Programming
  • Design
  • Computer-aided drafting
  • Technical writing
  • Manufacturing tool design
  • Industrial or occupational safety
  • Process design and analysis
  • Quality control
  • Engineering materials
  • Automation and robotics
Suggested extracurricular activities:
  • Competitions
  • Summer programs
  • Afterschool programs
  • Clubs
  • Internships
  • Online puzzles and games
  • Online courses
  • Maker Faires
  • Design projects
Local programs offered by:
  • Science centers and museums
  • Professional societies like IEEE
  • Universities
Important Skills
  • Analytical skills: identify elements in the manufacturing process that may not be optimal and then formulate alternatives to improve the performance of those elements.
  • Business skills: meet cost goals through analysis of and recommendation for efficiency, requiring knowledge of standard business practices, as well as knowledge of commercial law.
  • Communication skills: articulate problems relating to inefficiencies and recommendations for improvements to diverse audiences.
  • Critical thinking skills: translate a set of issues into requirements and figure out why a particular design or process is inefficient; ask the right questions and then find acceptable answers.
  • Math skills: apply principles of algebra, accounting, and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.
  • Problem-solving skills: use education and experience to upgrade designs and troubleshoot problems when meeting new demands, such as increased efficiency of machinery and labor and logistics.
  • Writing skills: write papers that explain designs clearly and create documentation for future reference.

Links and Resources