An engineering technician's primary task is assisting engineers or scientists, with specific duties usually depending on the technician's field of specialization. Engineering technicians primarily play three roles: support, diagnostics, and maintenance. However, the actual requirements and duties vary widely and include creative tasks such as aiding in product or tool design. Other duties may include maintaining assembly or manufacturing systems, assessing and controlling production quality, diagnosing flaws, and conducting repairs.
As most engineering jobs are team-oriented, good communications skills and teamwork are a necessity. An engineering technician must possess strong analytical skills and have an eye for detail, as well as be able to act decisively and independently when circumstances warrant it. Some level of physical fitness is also a requirement in fields that focus on large machinery and/or otherwise demand lifting. Hours can vary and are not consistent across the field; certain projects may require off-site work, and deadlines may demand longer workdays.
In most cases, employers prefer that applicants possess a college degree or another accredited form of training in a field relevant to the industry. However, some employers will hire applicants with sufficient previous job experience in engineering. As the majority of engineering jobs rely heavily on computers, experience with basic computer functions is a must; the more experience with technical writing, computer-aided design, drafting and office software, the better. Engineering technician jobs often require proficiency in high-level mathematics, with emphasis on calculus. Strong emphasis is also placed upon scientific training, particularly in physics.
Engineering Technician Tasks
- Create and review technical drawings, blueprints, schematics or specifications.
- Operate instruments, track test results, and troubleshoot when problems arise.
- Maintain equipment, including ordering parts and directing or performing preventative and repair maintenance as needed.
- Maintain logs and write reports of activity results and equipment maintenance.