MS in Design and BS in Engineering; now what?

I am breaths away from finishing my graduate program and would really like my next job to be something that doesn’t involve washing dishes. I’m told that with an engineering background a job should be easy to find but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Any advice from the community?

Design and Engineer a new dishwasher…

Do you have a P’folio that can define your skillset?

Are you looking to get hired as an Design Engineer, or as a Product Designer (Industrial Designer)

That is going to determine allot.

I’m very interested in the answer to this as well. I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and will hopefully soon be entering an industrial design master’s program, so this is right up my alley.

Also, yeah, what’s up with that “oh, you have a degree in engineering, you’ll get a job in no time!” It’s more of a hindrance than a help because you can’t even get a waiting/retail job because everyone is under the impression you’ll get a job at an engineering company the next day.

Unlike (or like?) the OP, I’m trying to be a design engineer and the master’s will just be to make me more attractive to ID firms since I see many executives with BSME’s and MID’s. Personally, I would think someone with both degrees (assuming they are actually proficient in both roles) would be head and shoulders above everyone else because they understand structure and function better than the industrial designers and understand design and the human aspect better than normal engineers.

I am having issues with this right now. Can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve applied for to wait tables and gotten no response because I’m over educated.

I would realistically like to work more in research as someone who is capable of communicating across disciplines yet is more focused on facilitating the design process. A project lead or something similar. Which is a bit unrealistic since I’m just starting out and have no substantial product design experience. I’ve always been good with people and my interest; as idealistic as they might be, lead me to ultimately want to be more empathetic towards advocating for the user when the team is trying to decide issues. There are countless products produced everyday, which while aesthetically appealing only give lip service to the actual needs of the user group. I would be tickled to death to be able to work in an environment in which I could work as the person who informs and inspires a group of highly talented/skilled professionals to solve the problems of today. If that means I’m working on toothbrushes, medical, automotive, or social issues then I don’t care. I just want to be able to guide the process towards the most correct direction and still be able to get in and occasionally cut up some Styrofoam for a sweet model concept.

For my graduate project I’m focusing on the role of emotions within the Design process and how they can be utilized in real world Design environments to make deliverables more attuned with actual human issues. I think in any given situation someone who is focused specifically in Industrial Design or Engineering is going to be better suited to do that work better than I could hope to ever be. I can do both and communicate that information affectively but I will not be as efficient or produce as high fidelity a concept as that individual. I would hope that this would make me substantially more appealing to future employers but as this post is testament to I have not found that to be the case.

*Maybe this is a naive question but what are the differences between: Mechanical Engineer, Design Engineer, and Industrial Design? I am asking more in regards to the Design Engineer.


God yes, even my sister has gotten screwed over this. She has a BA and MA in art (specifically sculpture I believe), which really doesn’t lead to much outside of making your own stuff and selling it, but she was denied a high end fashion retail job because the hiring manager said she probably wouldn’t stick around long. Meanwhile, she’s working a poorer paying fashion retail job.

I really don’t know what to do at this point. I don’t know if I should try to get a masters in industrial design and stay the course, try to grab a livable intermediate job and just get a standard mechanical engineering position once the economy improves, or try to get a double major in computer science or something like that since computer jobs are everywhere and I was actually considering going for a computer-related major until my mother somehow convinced me that they didn’t make any money (why oh why did I listen!?). Oh, and I have a minor in English too to add to the unemployableness, woohoo! I never would’ve thought MORE education would make people LESS likely to hire you. I’m almost tempted to deny my college education to get a simple retail job because it’s starting to feel like that’s the only way to get one. Employers need to get off of this “match to the job” bullshit and start hiring the most competent person turning in an application. If I didn’t want the job, I wouldn’t apply.

Me too! I also wanted a role mediating between ID and engineering to come to conclusions that result in minimal compromise. I always saw that as my strength compared to other engineers because most engineers completely suck at explaining ANYTHING in common terms.

Agreed, but have you seen any jobs for Design & Engineering mediation? If I had the money I would just start up my own firm and start wowing the world! I never really felt like I fit in with the other engineering students. I really like the group projects because it gave me a chance to really shine as a group leader.

dude, same here, brothers from different mothers I guess. I feel like there’s a need for guys like us, but I don’t know if we’ll ever see a proper position available. I guess if we make it to the top we’ll make good project managers, but getting there is looking like a long and difficult road. I honestly wish colleges would start offering a combined program that focuses on strictly the machine design elements of mechanical engineering (minimal thermodynamics and fluids, just enough heat transfer for mold design and such) and combine it with a few sketching and design classes. I think consumer product design needs people with dual backgrounds to make the most optimized combinations of design and engineering.

Hey Guys,

I just been reading about all your problems. I feel like I am quite close to your situation. I am about to graduate in Engineering with Product Design with B.Eng but really dnot know what is goona happen in 6 months time. I have sent application for masters programme, but it had to be to do with engineering since my portfolio sucks. Although they call it here (Liverpool) Eng with Product Design, there isnt much of product design at all. They gave us a sketching module in my last year, can you imagine?!
@ mwilkins1: Is there any point in going for masters? Do you feel like you have gained enough benefits from it?
When it comes to employability I dont really have problems with that. But just like you, I dont want to work as an engineer but as a designer in creative team. Dont know where will I find employment like that. And I am too really curious about the difference between Industrial Designer and Design Engineer.

for those who are confused, there are a few threads concerning the definitions of the job descriptions your talking about, it might help your job search to understand that better.

ID is a very small and pragmatic profession. Everyone starts at the bottom. Whatever else you bring to the party doesn’t really matter for the first gig - sketching and ideation does. If your boss can earn money from the day you first sit down, then you get to move on.

I can’t speak to how engineers get started, but where I work the attitude is that the college degree only means you’re capable and ready to learn.