Job titles and Majors

I have a problem…

I’m 2 months away from graduating and am beginning the dreaded job search!..But I don’t know how to present myself, or what job title I should be looking for.

I’ve been going to school for a 4 year BS in Engineering Graphics and Design Technology(Part of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering department). My school here in Michigan has dubbed this title (they actually just changed it to Engineering Design Technology because employers only thought of drafting… but that doesn’t help me) and no one really recognizes it. Engineering employers think I just do drafting, and they only want ME’s. Industrial Design doesn’t quite cut it either, we do very little emphasis on aesthetics and art, so I can’t really go down that road either.

Here’s the basic breakdown of the degree:

_-The degree emphasizes advanced 3D Solid modeling through Pro/E, CATIA, IDEAS, and AutoCAD. (also have used 3DS Max & Photoshop on my own)

-We dove into programming(2 semesters), including programming for CAD.

-A lot of math. Up to Calc. 2,Phys. 2, Chem. 2, 2 semesters of electric circuit theory,Statics, Fluid Hydr. & Mech, and Thermodynamics… shudder

  • Engineering economics, Engineering Statistics
  • Machine design(Calculating gears, belts, etc) 3D Statics

    -FEA by hand, and using Pro MECHANICA and CATIA
  • Material Science
  • GD&T
  • Metrology
  • Multiple machining classes (including CNC)
  • Concept/brainstorming/Engineering Design Process_

On top of all of this, I have a minor in automotive design. If I were to have to explain my degree in a sentence, I would say

“We are kind of like Mechanical Engineers, but focus a lot more on practical application/implementation and total design as opposed to theory and math.”
The program website is

Any suggestions as to what job titles, or what I am!, would be greatly appreciated.

I’d put you square in the category of Mechanical Drafter (sorry). But, only by title. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do more than your title, it’s just where I’d put you looking at the coursework you’ve taken. Since you have no “Design” (with a capital D) coursework, you wouldn’t be I.D., and since you don’t have the extensive engineering background you wouldn’t be an ME.

However, there are lots of jobs out there looking for this exact profile. Medical instrument manufacturers, electronics, machine designers, etc. all require people with your skill set working under the direction of a senior engineer. It’s interesting what colleges do these days to differentiate themselves by re-wording major descriptions. Sadly, it hurts the graduates because most employers can see right through the BS. But, you’ve got your degree (or will soon) so that helps you these days. You’ll probably have to cast a wide net, but you’ll get a job out there some where.

Look for smaller companies in your area that might need your help. They probably don’t have the cash to pay a professional engineer salary, which is where you’ll slide in. If you need some help with cover letters, post it up I’m sure lots of us here on the boards can help you out.

(and welcome to Core77!)

You must be from Western…(edit: just saw the link) Looks like they finally got rid of CADkey!

I think that if you look up “design engineer” in job hunts, it will come close to your qualifications. Check out some basic job search sites with your skillset and see what they are listing it as. Also, you may want to get in contact with Aerotek downtown and ask one of their consultants about it. They should be more than able to help you out.

design engineer

I would agree with Design Engineer.
You should also think about what industry you have most interest in pursuing.
With the info you provided, I would think motorsports:

The most accurate description for you, IMO, is Mechanical Designer. The basic engineering hierarchy is like this:

Engineers - 4 year ABET accredited BS or more in an engineering (not technology) discipline
Technologists/Designers - 2 or 4 year engineering technology (ET) programs, some ABET accredited, some not
Drafters/Checkers - may or may not have a degree

The bottom two are now typically rolled into one position now, with specialized drafters being a rare thing these days. Throw in
industrial designers, and there can be a lot of confusion. However, there are employers who will hire technology grads for
‘engineering’ positions. It depends on what they are looking for and what your skills are. This list also doesn’t account for those capable people wihout engineering degrees who worked their way into ‘full’ engineering positions through their experience alone. Some employers (mostly larger/government orgs.) tend to be more biased towards the engineering degree. The ‘official’ take on this is given by the ASME link below. I don’t necessarily agree with how narrowly they define capabilities of the graduates, but here is how they break it down:

Thanks for the replies! This is more unbiased information than I’ve received in my 5 years here.

We are a 4 (more like 5) year ABET accredited program to clear that up. Also every class has a hands on lab for the most part.

Design Engineer looks like the best description to me as well. That was what I’ve been mostly looking for in job descriptions thus far, so it’s refreshing to hear that that sounds like the group consensus on this.

I’m not sure if I entirely agree with NURB about me being a Mechanical Drafter. You can literally draw lines connecting ME coursework and ours. In my research, the main difference is that we focus more on Design but lack calculus 4. My senior design project is actually in conjunction with Parker to design and build a full sized hydraulic testing bench utilizing LabVIEW, which sounds like a ME SD project right off the bat. The curious thing as for sliding into professional engineering positions with a pay cut, is that our school has a giant board with 15 or so engineering majors listed along with their grads 1st year salary, and we’re number 2 (paper engineering 1st). It actually says we average 10k more than ME’s? I don’t know what’s up with this. The only thing I can think of is that we are able to take specialized positions with a pay cut since we are kind of the jack of all trades in the school. Or they just flat out lie… I’m able to accept that fairly easily.

It is depressing that colleges change program names around to suit themselves and that employers see right through it, because they do. I’ve been to so many career fairs where they won’t even give me a chance because they don’t know what my major is about and are only looking for ME’s. Classmates are however getting jobs, so it’s not a doomed situation. I’ve been frustrated with my program since day 1, but it sounds like I just need to learn to sell myself.

I wish I would have found this website years ago!

And yes, we finally got rid of CADKey!
Pro/E all the way… heh.

I based my answer on’s pseudo generic job titles. Which is why I prefaced it saying that doesn’t mean you are limited to drafting positions. I just have an issue with the title Design Engineer as its very often used to describe a position that is made up or combines several disciplines. I wanted to say Mechanical Designer, but showed that as mainly HVAC stuff (which if you’re looking for a mechanical contractor, is what you’d be looking for.) But, I’d say that likely fits your description better.

I know you’re more than a drafter because you didn’t simply take night classes for AutoCAD. But, if you’re looking for a more common title, I still say Drafter.

However, I wouldn’t try to lump in your title in your job search. Look for a job that fits your abilities rather than your desired title. Companies create titles all the time for people that may be something as simple as Project Manager.

Best of luck in your search.

A post from today’s front page via Coroflot:

More fodder for why I don’t think Design Engineer is accurate.

Specific Skills

• a BS in Mechanical Engineering?
• at least 8 years experience in Mechanical Design, with most of that in a consumer products industry?
• a fundamental understanding of the challenges to executing intricate solutions in plastic?
• a passion for designing mechanical systems and a comprehension beyond the mean for mechanical movements?
• high level CAD skills, including surface manipulation and finite element analysis (ProE/Solidworks equivalent)?
• a portfolio that includes innovative, elegant and robust solutions to complex design problems?