Engineer vs. Manager

This topic contains 30 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by  Parth D. Patel 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #3274


    This entire semester we went through a ton of topics and learned about different stages and phases of industry, projects, deadlines etc.

    My question to you is if you were given a choice between a management role vs engineer/tech/scientist role which one would you choose? And why?

    Share your experience.

    I would personally work as an engineer for 3-5 years and eventually want to move to management because that is where I truly see myself 10 years from now. I find I have the skill set and with my project coordinator position I see things from both ends and have aquired the skill set to lead a team.

  • #3277


    I would personally like to have my end goal to be a manager, but I first would want to get a couple of years working as an engineer to understand how the industry actually works. This semester we learned many important concepts of FDA regulation and how the project management process works. This is important background basis for a project management. However, in real life, nothing follows a textbook definition. For example, the design control steps may be different in one company compared to another. Thus, to answer the question, I would choice a management role after I garner some experience as an engineer or even a scientist. Moreover, I see a management role as more of leader who guides a project to completion. Almost like a surgeon conducting an operation. A surgeon not only has to know the procedure of an operation but also needs to know is the anesthetist is giving the right amount of anesthesia and if the surgical tools provided as the correct.

  • #3283

    Hiren Rana

    I agree you and say that I would like to work as an engineer for maybe 6-7 years and then move up to a managing role. I have always seen myself as some sort of manager and I think that it would be a good fit for me personally. I want to work as an engineer for quite some time because I really want to be able to understand that processes and techniques that engineers have and possess. This in turn would only make me a better manager. The best managers are those that have been in their employees shoes. This past summer, my manager worked as a frontline employee in the department that she now manages. The team has such a great communication between any issues and conveying them to her. This is because she has worked there before and she has experience in what her employees are doing. I think that this transition would be ideal for any manager to take. There would be great communication upstream to management. I’ve heard from a number of people who have managers that have no experience in engineering and communication is terrible. The manager has no clue what their employees are talking about because the manager does not have the technical skills.

  • #3284


    I completely agreed with hiren rana. I also heard this through my internship at hospital dealing with medical instruments such as calibrating, perform testing and problem solving on devices. I was surprised by knowing that there are places where manager doesn’t know what his/her employees job and need which makes communication worse. I think it is very difficult to work in that environment where manager and employees speak different languages. At my internship, manager knows employees need, and how long should take to finish project since he has been through everything and have technical knowledge. if employees get stuck, they just simply asked him which makes easier for employees to work and they also can explain it in better manner. I would like to work as an engineer at least 3-4 years to be familiar with environment before any managing position because I believe in quality work rather than just finishing project and not knowing what others are doing under me.

  • #3286

    Roberto Pineda

    I agree with most of the posts above, in the point that you have to start in the bottom and then rise up. It is key to start as an Engineer because you will be dealing with a lot problems and you will get a real sense of what that job is. Eventually if a manager position is reached then the person will have higher chances of becoming an effective manager since he/she has already performed the same job he supervises. This will lead to positive changes in the company such as getting rid of habits that are not necessary and implanting others that are necessary. As my father who is an Engineer always tells me: You have to start in the bottom, demonstrate what you are made of and then rise up. He first started as an Electrical engineer with a position that did not give him a lot of benefits but gave him a lot of experience. 20 years later he has created his own company and is a wonderful manager/owner who understands the scenarios that his employees work under.
    Let me know what you think
    Roberto Pineda.

  • #3307


    I believe that I would like to follow a similar path as some of our classmates. I would like to be an engineer during the first stages of my career to get a hands on understanding of the duties and responsibilities. Later I would like to move into management, but still have a heavy involvement in the engineering field. This is because managers often have a great deal of administrative responsibilities,which do not seem as interesting as the engineering work.

  • #3309

    Chris Vasquez

    Great question, but I am quite sure where ideally I would like to end up. Ideally, I would like to work as an engineer for a few years… gain experience within the field and develop my career. Ideally after maximizing my options through engineering, I would like to take a manager role. I don’t know exactly what type of manager role I would like to pursue, but it is something I would like to experience. I know people who went to manager roles but never enjoyed the position, they wanted a more technical aspect instead of leading the team.


  • #3312


    In my opinion, both engineers and managers make great supervisors. And engineers especially have those qualities which a managerial position demands as they are analytical, good at managing risk, innovative and very good with figures. So after working in the industry for a few years, i would definitely like to become a manager one day. Obviously, who wants to stay at the same spot all their life.

  • #3322


    I would choose a manager role. There were several engineers at my company who would never want to be in management and prefer moving up the ladder as a more senior engineer. This was due to that fact that managers needed to stay longer each day and do more paperwork. I would actually prefer to just stay longer each day and do the paperwork because I thought the benefit of actually having a say in how the place was run on a bigger level out-weighted the bad. I was very frustrated as an engineer and not being able to give feedback or really speak up about hiring practices and raises/benefits. I feel that as a manger you are put in a role that you can actually give feedback and be heard more than an engineer on these practices. Another benefit would be that you yourself would also get paid more as a manager than as an engineer.

  • #3324


    After graduating from college, I would initially choose to work as a scientist or an engineer in order to gain experience and learn more about the current technology and field. I think it would be a great opportunity to start from the bottom and understand the ins and outs of the business and eventually rise to the top. By doing so, I would have gained insight within the workforce and the different sections of the company which will allow me to better run the company if I get a management position in the future. More importantly, I want to better understand the science and my goal is to make a positive impact in society through biomedical engineering and that is why I want to become an engineer. For now, I care more about the science than the money and that greatly influences my choice to become an engineer.

  • #3341


    I personally have zero desire to be a manager. It could be a function of the experiences that I have had with managers that I have worked for currently and in the past. While there is a large salary increase to be had at the manager position, it comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure. Not only is their pressure from above (higher level managers and C-level officers), but there is also the pressure of dealing with individuals and being responsible for their growth, output, and security/stability. As I mature, I am sure my feelings may change, but as of now, I think I would be content with attaining senior level engineer status. Making me an expert in my area of application.

  • #3345


    I want to keep working as an Engineer because I will be directly involved in the project. Engineer also have an important part to perform in the project. If an engineer’s job is done so poorly as to make the product non-marketable, the product will fail and won’t be used. When the quality along all dimensions passes the adoption threshold, every improvement along any dimension is effectively a gift to the users – who’d be using the product anyway. This is false where improvements contribute significantly to popularity, but true where they don’t.

  • #3346


    Given the options of a management vs an engineer/scientist/tech’s role in a company, I would prefer to eventually end up as a manager much like many of my classmates before me have answered. However, my desired path to achieve this terminal position would be a bit different because I would like to spend a large majority of my career in a lead engineer role. Currently, my last few positions I have held are of the entry level scientist/ tech/ engineer variety and I look forward to moving up the ladder soon. Eventually, when I reach a lead engineering position, I will be in a situation where I am able to manage my staff of middle/ entry level engineers while still being able to physically be involved with the creative process. Only after many years in this role will I choose to make the final step and move into a pure management position where I am mostly hands off and purely administrative.

    Also, I would make sure to spend time at each “rung of the ladder” on my way up to a management position because I have personally seen that managers who have worked the lower jobs are most effective. In my experience, I have seen both situations where a manager is hired with little background and knowledge in what his/her staff actually preform and managers that have risen through the ranks. It makes all the difference in both effectiveness of management and respect from their staff if they see that their manager is both knowledgeable what is going on in the lab and is able to effectively lead the team. Those managers that have just been ‘given’ the position due to unrelated experience or an advanced degree always seem to do worse in my opinion.

  • #3349


    After becoming more familiar with managerial roles over this past semester, I can say that I don’t particularly want to become a manager anytime soon. I have a newfound understanding and appreciation for what managers do, but I think I’ll use that knowledge to be a better employee rather than become a manager. I think once I have more understanding of a specific company’s workplace culture I’ll feel more comfortable in a managerial role. Ironically I really management simulation games, but I feel like when you’re managing actual people, the stakes become real and stressful instead of enjoyable.

  • #3352


    This is a great question to discuss. After graduating from college, I would start working as an engineer or at least be on the technical side of a project. I believe most people choose this path to gain some experience technically as an engineer and move up to management. I want to work 6-8 years as an engineer to gain more insight into the technical world of things. I would like to be constantly involved in a project technically to keep me busy while experiencing new things every day. Eventually, I want to move to a leadership / manager role that guides the team on completing a project. After having an engineer experience in the past, it will be easy as a manager to communicate to the team on the issues that arise. It is very important to speak the same language as an engineer to facilitate and resolve the problems quickly and effectively.

  • #3358


    I would rather be an engineer for a good number of years before considering trying to become a manager. It all comes down to you want the extra responsibility and accountability. Speaking with the general manager at my workplace now, he asked if I would consider doing an internship for the company in some assistant manager position. I respectively declined as I am only working in the company while I am in school and he said it was for the best not to take it if I wasn’t behind it. He said that management easily becomes “babysitting” when you do it long enough and that is not what he originally wanted to do going into management. If you want to be in management you have to have the experience of running the gauntlet and you have to be ready for the responsibility and accountability as I stated before. It is not for me at this point, and at this point I am content with working as an engineer and taking direction.

  • #3359

    Akshay Sakariya

    I need to continue filling in as an Engineer since I will be specifically required in the venture. Build likewise have an imperative part to perform in the venture. On the off chance that a specialist’s employment is done as such inadequately as to make the item non-attractive, the item will come up short and won’t be utilized. At the point when the quality along all measurements passes the reception edge, each change along any measurement is adequately a blessing to the clients – who’d be utilizing the item in any case. This is false where upgrades contribute essentially to ubiquity, yet genuine where they don’t.

  • #7519


    I believe most of us go into engineering hoping to start out on the technical side of things. For me, that was what I was interested in for sure. I enjoy utilizing the skill set learned through school and internships to solve real life problems either on the manufacturing side or the design side. I see myself working on the technical side of things for at least 5-10 years experience while gaining all that technical knowledge. After a while I would like to transition into the managerial side of the business to gain more visibility to projects. Being a manager would be more beneficial with all that technical knowledge to supplement the need soft skills to thrive within a managerial role.

  • #7597

    Aasutosh Purohit

    For me, I will work as an engineer for 3-4 years and learn most of the technical stuff that I can use to enhance my career so that i have a proper experience and then I will shift to management positions.

  • #7599


    I would say at the moment, I would want to work as an engineer. I have been in the field for less than a year and I noticed manager’s do more paperwork while the engineers are more hands on. I want to gain as much experience as possible and be exposed to several situations. Eventually I would like to move into a management role since I enjoy being in charge and having tons of responsibilities.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  ala26.
  • #7605


    I would love to continue as an engineer until I become a principal engineer. Once I am a principal engineer for a few years, then I would consider looking into a management position so that I understand how to manage every level of engineering because I’ve already gone through those positions. I really do love the hands-on work that engineers do, especially in R&D. It’s really cool to be on the front line of innovative product development where you can really exercises all the engineering concepts learned in school.

  • #7622


    I think most of us had the same Idea is to have at least couple years of experience and then target a management level of a role. And, I agree with that. I would like to focus on one industry to learn as much as I can about it. Also, I do enjoy more hands-on work and testing rather than managing the tasks and people doing the work As it was mentioned in the slides ” engineering roles, Alignment of maximum job satisfaction with maximum job contribution.” But I think to be a good manager you should know as much as you can the background of the project. It helps for a better judgement and taking the right decision. Also, I noticed most of the top management have an engineering degree with management degree such MPA. So, I would like to follow the same path as it’s the growth path in most companies Senior engineer, engineering management then higher up to top management.

  • #7626


    I began as administration position and afterward I chose to go for engineering job without a doubt that going back to my technical roots was the right choice for me. As an engineer, your value is considerably more direct — you achieve a piece of the engineering work that requirements to complete to send the product. I took in a great deal about myself all the while and found that there are extra things associated with whether a person can flourish with the administration track than I initially figured it out. It’s important to remember what energizes or de-energizes you, how you feel achievement and what drives and excites you.

  • #7634


    I would like continue being an engineer. I would like to find my area of interest, build my expertise over the years and a reputation in the industry. Once, I’m at the senior, expert level, I would like move ahead and become a consultant.

  • #7646


    For me I would like to work as an engineer and after 4-7 years I would like be a manager. Also, I think after getting more experience in the field I can start my own company. My goal to start my own company to do maintenance and installing for different medical imaging modalities equipment.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  merzkrashed.
  • #7692


    I have been working as an engineer for 3 years and enjoy what I am doing. I still am not sure if I want to take a technical or managerial career path. I think I would like to gain some more technical experience over the next several years, but I could see myself transitioning into a managerial role sometime in the future.

  • #7696


    I would love to be a research/scientist for some time and work on projects. I have some leadership skills and wouldn’t mind going back to something like that. I agree with most of you in that I would stay where I was to get experience and then move into a manager position so that way I have that experience to help lead others. I wouldn’t want to give up the research position as easily though.
    I also firmly believe in hiring from within the company than to hire outside help. I would rather be promoted or someone I work with be promoted to a manager position than to have someone with little knowledge of staff and background come in and become a the new boss. That being said I do understand why it happens as sometimes you need the experience that only outside help can provide.

  • #7701


    I would prefer to be an engineer and then transition into a manager role once I’m more experienced and have more knowledge of how the industry I am working for works. I first want to be an engineer working in the industry because that will give me a more technical background because of working directly on the products. Once I’m more comfortable, I wouldn’t mind transitioning into a manager role at a company after a few years. By then I will have plenty of experience under my belt and I would be able to lead the team better because I’ll understand what they will be going through more and be able to assist on the technical side.

  • #7707


    As posted above, after graduation everyone need to gain experience and enter into manger role. I am working for a big organization for 6 months now . I also have engineers who is experienced for 25 years. They have all knowledge about the work. But why they are not interested in becoming a manager. I asked one of them, He told its is hard to manage a group. The manger is first one to loose the job if something get bad. That means managers have no job security. That may be true. But for me, I really believe i do have a manager skill and i can become a manger after couple of years of experience. What i believe in becoming a leader or manager you should have a good communication skill, management skill, and always a team leader need to be a motivator.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  ial4.
  • #7709


    As my colleagues have posted above, I also agree that I would prefer to continue as an engineer for a few years. In that process, I would like to quickly rise to Principal Engineer then transition into a managerial position and continue to move up that ladder. I believe that I possess and will continue to gain managerial skills that I can transfer to a managerial position. I do like the technical aspect but I always believe in diversification which transitioning to the business aspect of the company can bring.

  • #7736

    Parth D. Patel

    I also feel like I should work as an engineer for couple of years before moving up to a higher management position. I had always set a goal for myself to move up within a company to higher position, such as a manger. You obviously need the experience first before moving up to manager. As an engineer you will soon understand your role in the company and make good connections. When you become manager you want have relations with the people under you, so starting from the bottom you will have more of an understanding what the work is like.

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