Research and development engineers create new business opportunities by researching and inventing new engineering and manufacturing methods, as well as applying new knowledge and technology to improve existing methods. In this way, they help enable greater efficiency in manufacturing and in bringing new ideas to fruition in the marketplace. Research and development (R&D) research teams may work on their own or with scientists and/or product design teams to take a product concept, create prototypes, and test completed models to ensure that the new product is functional, safe, and appealing to the target market.
R&D engineering is a complex job that requires a vast array of skills. Successful applicants ideally possess superior analytical skills, an innovative approach to solving problems, and the ability to conceptualize ways to invent and improve design methods. Strong organizational skills are required, as is the ability to manage time in a deadline-oriented environment. R&D engineers may work in large teams, with individuals focusing on specialized tasks; for this reason, it is important for the engineer to be able to effectively communicate with other team members and on an independent basis. Engineers often work during regular business hours within industrial or manufacturing plants, and the physical demands of the job can vary greatly.
The minimum requirement for many R&D engineering positions is an associate's degree in engineering technology from a vocational-technical school, community college, or universities; the program should emphasize science, algebra, and trigonometry and be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Research and Development Engineer Tasks
- Transfer products designed for manufacturing throughout the development cycle and into full production.
- Lead a design team to create and develop new products and innovations.
- Verify and validate designs and transfer new products into production.
- Define material properties, develop concepts, verify prototypes, create and execute clinically simulated bench tests.
- Manage multiple project timelines, resources and responsibilities to achieve goals.