Most design engineers in the U.S. are happy with their profession and what they are being paid. According to the August 2011 issue of Design News, salaries are $93,465, on average, and are up 4.3% from last year. Also, if you’re seen as a generalist, you may be rewarded more handsomely than if you’re a niche engineer. In recent years, companies have been seeking people who can work with hardware, software, and embedded systems, and can manage projects.
Salaries vary across regions. Engineers in the Mountain States are receiving $109,853, the Design News survey indicates. Those in California, Arizona, and Nevada are a close second, with annual pay of $107,407. Those at the other end of the salary range are in the Southeast region and are receiving $86,076. Engineers working in industrial controls and the defense industry are among those receiving the most pay.
As for satisfaction, more than half (52%) of survey respondents said they were very or extremely satisfied with design engineering. As many as 78% said they would recommend engineering to children. Solving problems, technical challenges, and the opportunity for creativity were the most cited reasons for satisfaction. About 25% said they were concerned about job security.
The picture presented by the Design News survey is quite favorable for the engineering profession. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said that their salary increased over the past year. Only 4% saw a decrease. Now is not a bad time to enter the engineering field, especially as we see product development and manufacturing activity increase. More information on the survey is at here.