How much are dual degrees worth?

I did a search for this but couldn’t find a good answer. I’m going to graduate next May with bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design. Assuming I have a strong portfolio(working on it), how much would I be worth to a potential employer? I know this is an open ended question and depends a lot on the employer, but any insight that you could provide would be helpful.

60k for engineering minus for 30 for being a designer equals 30k.

Ouch. :open_mouth:

Its all about the portfolio. I don’t even have my bachelor’s degree and I’m making over 60k as an Industrial Designer. It helps to work for a smaller company too. Ours is family owned, and there are only two designers. My designs have impacted the bottom line in such a way that my bosses have no
problem showing me the money. (it helps when Target orders over 200,00 units of something you did).

Also, I don’t know the software you use, but I use Pro/E primarily. I just got an email from a headhunter who is DESPERATE to find people who know Pro/E. There where six positions in the Chicago area alone.


I’m well aware of how important my portfolio is. If anyone else could shed some light on the issue, I would appreciate it.

It’s all about the portfolio, and experience, what you can do and what a potential employer needs.

It will be difficult to pinpoint what, if anything, a dual degree is worth over just having one.

you may want to focus on development rather than design. i would think with both degrees and some talent, companies are going to knock down your door with a couple of years of experience under your belt.

Wow. That’s a pretty snotty reply to my posting. I’m glad you’re well aware of how important your portfolio is. Good luck with that attitude buddy.

Fresh out of school I could see this going a few ways:
1-You are the design savy engineer in an ME group
2-You are the studio engineer in an ID group
3-You are an ID with great ME
4-You find the right place that can truly make use
of your multi-disciplinary skill-set.

Many places (mostly larger companies) are going to
define you as one disc. or the other, simply due to
organizational structure. So if you are an ME with
ID skills the Eng group may want to use you to go
around design group (bad) or better speak to design
group (good). This can obviously work the other way
too. Basically, in a larger company it would be hard
to live on both sides simply due to org structure,
politics, etc. outside of maybe a r&e or adv. concept
group as has been suggested.

I definitely see a smaller company being more apt to
allow you to better utlize both of your skillsets, hopefully
they also value this (and are profitable) enough to compensate
you for both.

Along the lines of a small operation, I would imagine your needs
may be best met by getting some good work experience under your
belt (on both side) then marching out on your own.


I didn’t mean for my post to come off like that. I appreciate your insight and advice. If anything, I was just trying to get more info, not discount what you had to say. Again, I apologize. Thanks to everyone else who responded.

Good luck with that attitude buddy.

yeah, I was sort of joking earlier… sort of.

anyways I’m going to move down the same vane as Yo here and say that while ME and ID are both important pieces of a larger puzzle, chances are you are going to end up having to choose one or the other to specialize in. While it is possible to be an engineer that is also a great designer, as a young person entering competitive fields, you are probably going to need to pick one and get good at it. Yeah you need a good portfolio, or you need to work as an engineer and get your licensing, everyone knows that. The thing is, can you work as a junior designer and junior engineer at the same time and build that portfolio while at the same time preparing to take all the necessary exams to actually be able to offer your engineering to a company? Only you can answer that.

Honestly, at this point in time, in the midwest, there are probably at least ten jobs for a junior mechanical engineer for every one for a junior designer. lol just kidding, its more like 50 to one.

I should clarify that by “worth” I mean financially. I’m sure it is worth a great deal to you personally, and could make you a better designer or engineer compared to your peers (as long as your primary skills are strong). The most likely place where both might come in handy is in an advanced R,D&D team, where you are not designing the go to market solution, but focusing instead on how it works.

Well, my inclination is to market myself as an engineer with design skills and sensitivity (which will hopefully be apparent from my portfolio). I planned to pursue a job with a smaller firm/consultancy. My two main interests are transportation design (of all types, not cars per se), and medical design. I feel that these are two fields that someone with a background in design and engineering could excel. I’ve had a few discussions with individuals working in the design field, and they seem to agree that having both is an advantage and could be worth a lot(both personally and financially), assuming I have the skillset to back it up. Compensation is not my primary concern, I’d much rather do work that I enjoy and is fulfilling.

That being said, I believed that qualifications in two disciplines that are central to what product development firms do would be worth a premium over that of a starting engineer’s salary. After reading this thread, now I’m not so sure. I guess I just don’t want to step on anyones toes or leave a bad impression by asking for compensation that I may or may not be worth? The design world seems to be a small one, and its not one that I want to ruin/damage a reputation in as I start out. I fully realize that this depends as much on a prospective employer’s needs as it does my skills, but it would be nice to have some clarification/idea of what do in this kind of situation. Thanks again to all that took the time to reply to this thread. Your advice has been most helpful.

No problem. Sorry to get offended. You should have no problem finding work. Good luck!!!

it can cut both ways. some times small firms like people who are hybrids (everyone has to take out the trash) because they don’t have to pay x2 specialist salaries, but this can also be an indication that they don’t know the value of someone who is a good designer/engineer and are just looking for a warm body/CAD/sketch monkey.