what is a project engineer?

As a project engineer, you have the expertise to manage a technical project. You guide engineers and manage engineering projects from commencement to end. Your duties are similar to those of a project manager, like delegating tasks and monitoring project budgets. You also oversee the project's progress and mitigate risks associated with the work.

The role of a project engineer is to allocate tasks to technicians and engineers. Since you have technical knowledge, you can identify experts for a particular task. Most employers hire a project engineer to manage engineering projects or tasks that require technical expertise that a project manager doesn’t have. As a project engineer, you speak to the company's stakeholders and senior managers. You also provide updates and discuss other requirements of the project.

Since most construction and engineering projects are site-specific, you spend significant time monitoring on-site engineering works. You direct members and make time-sensitive decisions on the projects. You require technical expertise to establish the correct project plans for the teams. You also decide on the work procedures and the models of the projects. When working on-site, you consider the risks of a project and identify the necessary safety standards required.

Project engineers are useful in various industries. However, most project engineers work in manufacturingconstruction and aerospace vehicle development. Some project engineers also work in technology companies.

Would working as a project engineer suit your decision-making skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a project engineer role.

project engineer roles

average project engineer salary

According to our latest salary guide, a project engineer takes home an average salary of $130,000 per year. Project engineers with less than five years of experience or applying for an entry-level position receive a salary of $85,000 to $125,000 annually. An experienced project engineer can earn up to $160,000 yearly.

what determines the salary of a project engineer?

As a project engineer, your compensation package depends on your experience and qualifications. When you have minimal experience and qualifications, you are likely to earn less than a project engineer with extensive experience. With experience, you acquire additional skills and expertise which prepare you for complex roles in the company.

The compensation package of a project engineer also depends on the industry sector you work in. For instance, when you work on complex engineering projects in the construction and manufacturing industries, you earn a higher salary than project engineers working on smaller projects.

The company's size also influences the project size and your earning potential. When you work for a large company, you work on huge projects, and the unlimited resources increase your salary potential. Smaller companies handle less complex projects and have limited resources.

download our salary guide

types of project engineers

Some of the types of project engineers include:

  • mechanical project engineers: as a mechanical project engineer, you work in the automotive or aviation industry. Your job is to provide general management skills. You develop blueprints and perform market research for the projects. You also design and create the assembling prototypes.
  • electrical project engineers: as an electrical project engineer, you guide a team in designing and developing electrical systems involved in a project. You supervise the installation of electrical systems to ensure it meets safety standards.
  • software project engineers: as a software project engineer, you work in the IT industry as the technical lead in a software development project. You also have experience in designing various types of software components.

working as a project engineer

Project engineers manage the technical aspects of projects. Discover the duties, responsibilities and work environments of a project engineer.


project engineer skills and education

Here are the steps to becoming a project engineer in the UK:

  • complete your education: the first step in becoming a project engineer is to gain knowledge and technical expertise in a relevant field of study. You can complete an engineering degree relevant to your field of expertise. However, completing an engineering degree is not mandatory; a project management degree or diploma in a specialist area prepares you for the role.
  • gain relevant experience: you require extensive experience in project engineering. At the beginning of your career, take up roles in small projects to build your skills and confidence in the role. When you have experience and the necessary qualifications, you will have a competitive advantage in the job market. If your role requires a license, ensure you have the relevant license for your role.

skills and competencies

A project engineer requires the following skills and qualities:

  • project management skills: as a project engineer, you provide technical guidance to project teams. That means you require strong project management skills to lead and coordinate others. The project management skills necessary for the role include communication, delegation, problem-solving and organisation skills. You motivate and manage the entire team of engineers and technicians to ensure they perform their tasks.
  • initiative: as a project engineer, you make decisions that impact the project outcome. You require initiative to make changes that will benefit the project. Your proactiveness is also useful in making the necessary changes and improving the project quality. You also require innovation skills to improve the outcome of projects.
  • time management skills: projects have timelines, and time management is vital as a project engineer. From the beginning of the project, you have a strict schedule and timeline. Without time management skills, you are likely to miss deadlines. Your time management skills help you organize your work and have a realistic idea of the duration the work takes.
  • teamwork skills: as a project engineer, you lead a team of engineers or technicians to complete a project. Being part of the team and putting in the necessary work to complete a project is important. Your teamwork skills help you collaborate with others and listen to their ideas and suggestions for the smooth running of projects.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a project engineer.


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