An engineering supervisor must have a strong knowledge of engineering and excellent supervisory skills. However, requirements can vary by employer; for example, an engineering supervisor at a large manufacturing company may need a postsecondary degree in engineering, while an engineering supervisor at a large hotel may need substantial deal of experience in building maintenance.
By and large, however, engineering supervisors are engineers who work at the upper levels of an organization. The specific details of their jobs are primarily dictated by the type of organization for which they work. For example, an engineer working for a manufacturer of plastic products needs a very different skillset from an engineering supervisor overseeing the building of ships or bridges. In fact, some industries are so specialized that employers give preference to a specific institution or class of schools. One such example would be the above-mentioned ship building application; an engineering supervisor in that position may be expected to have graduated from one of the nations many Maritime Academies.
Engineering supervisors work in a wide variety of environments, dictated by the type of engineering work they are doing. If they are overseeing the building of ships, for instance, they will likely split their time between an office environment and visits to the site of construction. Similarly, engineering supervisors who oversee manufacturing operations will need to not only be able to design solutions using a computer, but also oversee the implementation of those designs down on the production line.
As mentioned, leadership is another key skill set. Because engineering supervisors generally lead a team of engineers, their ability to communicate and motivate their subordinates is essential in their day-to-day work. Similarly, if overtime work, or work at odd hours (hours other than first shift) are required of their subordinates, the engineering supervisor often need to be available at least some of those times to ensure that work is being performed properly.
Engineering Supervisor Tasks
- Collect, analyze, and report on engineering team process and project progress.
- Evaluate materials, supplies, and prototypes for fit to project specifications and designs.
- Supervise engineers in design and production of products, including mentoring, setting schedules, and assigning to projects.
- Interact with customers, suppliers, and engineers to provide cost and time estimates.