How to Become a Design Engineer

13th March 2018

If you have great technical knowledge and design skills, a career as a design engineer may be the perfect choice for you. In this role, you’ll play a key part in the development of projects and products: from building and software, to mobile phones and vehicles.

Alongside this, you’ll likely be responsible for putting ideas into action, testing prototypes, modifying designs and presenting these back to project managers and clients. This is a varied role, which enables you to be creative, while also remaining technically challenged.

But how do you go about becoming a design engineer? We explain everything you need to know, below.

Key skills

There are a few key skills that you’ll need to demonstrate to secure a job as a design engineer. First off are the technical skills. You’ll need to have excellent knowledge of computer assisted design (CAD) software, as well as an understanding of engineering, construction and design.

Alongside this, it’s beneficial that you’re good at problem-solving, you’re creative, you can work well as a team and are a good communicator. Essentially, a strong mixture of these soft and hard skills will put you in a good position.


In order to become a design engineer, you’ll usually need to obtain a foundation degree in a subject such as industrial design, engineering product design or computer aided design engineering. However, you could also have qualifications in electrical, mechanic and civil engineering.

It may be possible to become a design engineer without one of these degrees, though it’s likely that you’ll have to take a postgraduate conversion course. Alongside this, you could kick-start your career in this area through an apprenticeship scheme, where you’ll train on the job and work towards a qualification in design engineering.


Like any job, you’re more likely to stand out if you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt. It may be that your university course included a placement, but if not, it’s worth exploring your options further. Consider a work experience stint, or a summer job within the industry.

Alternatively, you could have a go at designing your own project in your spare time. This will look great on your CV and will show that you have experience in designing a product from scratch.

CV and cover letter

Finally, it goes without saying that you need to write a winning CV and cover letter to bag yourself the job. List out your key skills, qualifications and experience and checkout handy templates online to see the best order for laying these out on your CV.

Alongside this, your cover letter needs to complement everything you’ve included in your CV and is your opportunity to really sell yourself. Again, do your research online to build an understanding of what you need to include.

Design engineering can be an exciting career, especially if you have a technical mind and a creative streak. Use our handy advice to get ahead of the competition and kick-start your job hunt today.

Engineering Jobs is a leading job board in the sector and is part of the CV-Library network. For more expert advice on engineering jobs, careers and the workplace, visit CV-Library’s Career Advice pages.