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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 ideas and systems.

Average salary (a year)

£25,000 Starter


£55,000 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 Design and development engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You can take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree course. 

Subjects include:

  • 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.

Courses accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) may help your career development later on.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information


You might be able to apply for a Product Design and Development Engineer Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship.

This can take around 4 and a half years to complete.

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 experience and qualifications in a particular branch of engineering, for example:

  • mechanical
  • aerospace
  • energy
  • automotive
  • manufacturing

More Information

Further information

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

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

As a design and development engineer, you could:

  • design and manage product developments
  • research prototypes and innovations, using mathematical modelling
  • create design plans with engineering and manufacturing software
  • test products under different conditions and analyse data
  • troubleshoot problems and fix them
  • write product manuals and reports for project managers and clients

Working environment

You could work in an office, in a workshop or in a laboratory.

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 lots of different industries, such as:

  • construction
  • biomedical engineering
  • electronics
  • renewable energy
  • automotive design

With experience you could become a lead design engineer, project manager or consultant

You can also improve your career opportunities by registering for chartered status with the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

R and D Technical Apprentice

  • Wage: £12,646.40 to £22,605.44 a year Annually
  • Location: , Wimborne, Dorset

Mechanical Engineering Degree Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £13,312 to £23,795.20 a year Annually
  • Location: Catcliffe, Rotherham

Courses In England

Engineering Design

  • Start date: 04 September 2024
  • Location: Retford

Design Engineering

  • Start date: 04 September 2024
  • Location: Leyland

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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