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Design and development engineer

Alternative titles for this job include Research engineer, industrial designer

Design engineers improve product performance and efficiency while researching and developing new manufacturing ideas and systems.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a design and development engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree to become a design and development engineer.

You could choose from courses like:

  • engineering product design
  • industrial design
  • computer aided design engineering
  • engineering design and manufacture
  • materials science
  • maths and physics

Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications might also be accepted by employers.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You might be able to do a Robotics Engineer or Product Design and Development Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You could apply directly for design and development engineer roles. 

You'll need to have experience and qualifications in a particular branch of engineering, for example mechanical, aerospace or energy engineering.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about engineering careers and training from the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) and Tomorrow's Engineers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • persistence and determination
  • maths skills
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on the project, but you could:

  • use mathematical modelling to research new developments and innovations
  • use computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) software
  • design technical plans for prototypes and analyse data from testing
  • modify product designs
  • write and present reports to project managers and clients

Working environment

You could work in an office or in a workshop.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You can use your design skills to work across different industries such as construction, biomedical engineering, electronics and renewable energy.

You can also improve your career opportunities by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status and registering with an industry professional body.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Product Design & Development Degree Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £13,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Fordhouses, Wolverhampton

Degree Apprentice Product Design & Development Engineer

  • Wage: £10,296.00 Annually

Courses In England

Design Engineering

  • Start date: 04 September 2024
  • Location: Leyland

Design & Technology : Design Engineering

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

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