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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Occupation Details

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Design & Development Engineer

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€20k > 55
Design Engineer
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€20 - 55
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
Sigmar / CPL

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Employers are frequently citing these occupations as difficult to fill although the demand is likely to be small in number given the size of the employment stock. Demand is mostly for roles requiring sector- specific experience (e.g. medium-high, high-tech and food/beverage manufacturing.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Production, Design & Quality Control Engineers

Also included in this category:

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 7%
Male / Female: 44 / 56%
Non-Nationals: 11%
With Third Level: 91%
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At a Glance... header image

Works on the technical design of new products, selecting materials, researching manufacturing processes, testing prototypes etc.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records:7

Liam McCaul
R&D Engineer
Liam McCaul is an R&D Engineer. His daily job activities include carrying out research to develop new ways to make products more energy efficient, more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use. He holds a degree in Electronic Engineering and Product Development.
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Neil Murrey
Aerothermodynamics and Propulsion Design Engineer
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Leanne Leonard
Consulting / Design Engineer
Leanne loves adventure, she describes her educational journey and explains what her work as an engineer designing building structures entails. She loves the challenges and excitement of working in a small design enterprise where she gets involved in every aspect of the business.
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Elaine Kelly
Mechanical Design Engineer
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Tracey Roche
Design Engineer

Tracey works as a Design Evaluation Engineer for Analog Devices in Limerick. She holds a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering from UL. She did her co-op 8 month placement during college with Analog and spent her summer after 4th year working for Analog in California.

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Sharon Rabi
Design Engineer / Entrepreneur
Engineer, creative designer and entrepreneur Sharon Rabi speaks about her new innovative hair straightning tool along with her role models growing up, how she thinks and the opportunities for women engineers to shape the world through engineering creativity.
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Sinead Kenny
Design Engineer
Sinead Kenny works with Creganna in Galway as a Design Engineer in the Medical Device Sector. She did a degree in Material Science from the University of Limerick where she continued with her studies and was awarded a PhD in Biomedical Cements.
Go to Interview

The Work header image

Design engineers begin each project by looking at a 'brief', (a set of instructions) which explains what the aim of the project is. A car manufacturer, for example, may want to increase sales of one of their cars by reducing fuel consumption or improving the look of a new model. Design engineers are responsible for making sure the product meets the manufacturer's needs and is safe, efficient, reliable, and economical to produce. Before they prepare a design, engineers gather information by talking to other experts, reading engineering literature and looking at the results of test data on materials and processes. Engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) techniques to produce a design on a visual display screen. The computer performs all the necessary calculations relating to the weight of parts and the loads they must bear. The engineer can compare possible solutions by using drawings, calculations, and physical and computer models. Engineers work on models to check and measure the way a product works; they may have to modify their designs as a result. Design engineers work in teams alongside other engineers, technicians and production staff. They may supervise and lead teams of design draughtspeople. They are also responsible for regular progress reports for project managers and clients.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Identify opportunities or implement changes to improve products or reduce costs using knowledge of fabrication processes, tooling and production equipment, assembly methods, quality control standards, or product design, materials and parts.


Determine root causes of failures using statistical methods and recommend changes in designs, tolerances, or processing methods.


Provide technical expertise or support related to manufacturing.


Incorporate new methods and processes to improve existing operations.


Supervise technicians, technologists, analysts, administrative staff, or other engineers.


Troubleshoot new or existing product problems involving designs, materials, or processes.


Review product designs for manufacturability or completeness.


Train production personnel in new or existing methods.


Communicate manufacturing capabilities, production schedules, or other information to facilitate production processes.


Design, install, or troubleshoot manufacturing equipment.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment: Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.


Scheduling Work and Activities: Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


Production and Processing: Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


Design: Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.


Mechanical: Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.


Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Equipment Selection: Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.


Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Technology Design: Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

To be a design engineer, you must have an understanding of scientific principles and mathematical concepts. You need a creative approach to problem solving; you must be patient and willing to modify designs several times until you achieve exactly the right result. You must have good communication skills and be able to work well with others. You must also have a good understanding of manufacturing processes and construction skills. As well as being able to draw and interpret technical drawings and plans, you need computer skills to use computer-aided design programmes. The ability to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines is important. You need to be able to visualise ideas.

Entry Routesheader image

Design Engineers typically complete an appropriate engineering degree or equivalent qualification.

Most engineering courses involve some element of design work. It is essential to explore course details to make sure the engineering course you chose is appropriate to the branch of engineering you want to follow.

Depending on level of entry, Design Engineers can gain Chartered Engineer or Associate Engineer status. You can apply for these professional titles through Engineers Ireland after first gaining an accredited degree, diploma or certificate, followed  by three or four years experience in the workplace. All professional titles are highly regarded by employers throughout industry.

Last Updated: October, 2014

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Design Engineer - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Product Designer - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

No records

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 665 1300
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Biomedical Technologies & Medtech
Engineering & Manufacturing
Computers & ICT

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