Jobs for engineers continue to evolve rapidly as the technological landscape undergoes a massive change.
While job profiles may vary among different industry verticals, the major underlying trends remain common across most industrial and engineering companies.
Increased Focus on Process Optimization
Backed by new technologies and systems, the engineering function has an increased focus on optimizing processes across all major areas, including product design, production, supply chain, and production planning and forecasting.
As a result, the demand for high quality engineering will grow throughout the industry in 2019.
With companies emphasizing the importance of process and product quality and the wider acceptance of process optimization systems such as Lean Six Sigma, the need for high-end engineers, quality control specialists, production cost and quality analysts, and other engineering experts is rising.
Recent job postings for engineers reveal that nearly 20 percent of these jobs require skills in quality assurance, 10 percent in Six Sigma systems, and another 10 percent in Lean manufacturing, comprising nearly 40 percent of all engineering job postings.
Opportunities in Industrial Sustainability Projects
Industrial sustainability projects involving optimal resource utilization, energy conservation, carbon control, development of renewable sources of energy, and waste reduction require work to be performed by energy engineers, electrical engineers, and environmental engineers, among others.
According to the Department of Labor estimates, by 2021, the demand for environmental engineers will grow nine percent and for environmental engineering technicians by eight percent.
Light-weighting of goods and eco-friendly packaging are the other areas where sustainability engineering jobs will continue to expand in 2019 and beyond.
Rise of Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 or the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” is already knocking at our doorstep. This revolution will be driven by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. This is already driving demand for AI and big data engineers, technicians, and technologists across various industry verticals.
The rapid adoption of plant automation systems and robotics in 2019 will impact how engineering can support business across entire product life cycles. The trend will lead to increased worker productivity and reduction of talent gaps in manufacturing.
Opportunities for automation and AI engineers, deep learning systems designers, and controls and instrumentation technicians will grow in 2019 and beyond.
Implementation of AM Technologies
AM (additive manufacturing) technologies are assuming an increasing level of importance in many companies now.
Some of the world’s biggest manufacturers are investing in technologies such as 3-D printing, which can be used in diverse areas such as defense, aerospace, automotive sector, and medical device manufacturing.
These technologies will create more opportunities for industrial engineers skilled in AM in 2019, rather than traditional engineering professionals.
Emergence of Industrial IoT
Early steps are already underway in digital manufacturing, and these will have an ongoing impact on engineering jobs in the foreseeable future, with more innovative services and solutions becoming available on demand.
The “smart factory” concept, which is enabled by the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and features data connectivity between manufacturing equipment, ERP and CAD/CAM, and the suppliers, is paving the way for innovations in engineering operations.
In 2019, process and production engineers will be increasingly expected to be adept at data access and analysis within these environments.