What Does a Quality Engineer Do? (with Skills and Salary)
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Quality engineers are instrumental to manufacturing industries that strive to meet stringent quality regulations. They typically spend their day ensuring that products meet quality standards and that the business complies with the law. Understanding what a quality engineer does may help you make more informed career decisions. In this article, we answer the question 'What does a quality engineer do?', explore quality engineering skills and provide a step guide to becoming a quality engineer.
What does a quality engineer do?
When answering the question 'What does a quality engineer do?', it's important to look at their everyday responsibilities. Quality engineers are instrumental to the safe running and effective leadership and training of manufacturing facilities. Below are some of the daily tasks of a quality engineer:
analyse legal regulation and standards to ensure that businesses meet best practices and product requirements
train new intake on safety and equipment usage
analyse customer feedback
liaise with supplies and manufacturers to ensure an adequate supply of materials and tools
reform safety standards if companies don't meet regulation
A quality engineer also oversees the safe usage of tools, equipment and processes in an industry setting. Quality engineers ensure staff abide by safety standards and manufactured products meet regulations. Quality engineers are vital to the manufacturing process, as they ensure products are safe for customer usage.
Related: What is Quality Assurance?
How to become a quality engineer
Becoming a quality engineer requires extensive experience, specialist training through education and nurturing relevant skills like attention to detail and critical thinking. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a quality engineer:
1. Get an education
To qualify as a quality engineer, completing a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related subject may be a requirement. Bachelor's degrees typically teach students vital background information, such as mathematical skills, technical skills and quality assurance. Having a comprehensive education provides you with the expertise necessary to train new staff on critical safety guidance. A thorough education may also reassure employers that you possess the necessary qualities for a career as a quality engineer.
2. Gain entry-level or part-time work experience
During or after your degree, you may consider a part-time role in manufacturing or quality assurance. This can provide you with useful industry insight that may help you in future job application processes. Experience in junior positions may impress recruiters, which could provide you with a competitive advantage. During your work experience, you may receive mentorship from a fully qualified quality engineer.
3. Get experience
Quality engineers require many years of work experience within the quality assurance industry before seeking certification. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of safety procedures, quality assurance and manufacturing regulation. Extensive experience assures recruiters that you understand project management and in-depth knowledge of quality engineering. This may help engineers transition into fully qualified roles.
3. Gain certification
Certification is an excellent way of demonstrating expertise to employers. Consider gaining a certification as a Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) or Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng). These certifications ensure candidates meet up-to-date safety and industry regulations and are knowledgeable on the best practices for engineering. Recruiters may only select candidates with the relevant certifications as they showcase professionalism and drive to succeed in the industry.
Quality engineering skills
Quality engineers require a combination of hard, industry-specific skills and soft, generic employment skills to succeed. These skills are expert qualities that allow them to conduct thorough safety checks and adequately problem-solve. Here's a list of quality engineering skills:
Communication skills are crucial for quality engineers to mentor and delegate tasks to new intakes and those in junior positions. Communication is fundamental to an effective working environment as clear channels of communication decreases misunderstanding and increases productivity. Good communication also establishes trust between team members, leading to healthier working relationships.
Critical thinking skills
Advanced critical thinking skills can help quality engineers deconstruct complicated industrial problems and brainstorm efficient and effective solutions. Critical thinking skills also help quality engineers generate new processes to improve manufacturing regulations and boost product quality. Quality assurance also requires critical thinking for identifying any potential challenges and forming preventative measures. Critical thinking skills are essential for team management and can teach engineers how to develop key leadership competencies.
Quality engineers may produce reports on relevant safety measures or monthly quality assurance data. To produce detailed reports, engineers require extensive analytical skills to notice any trends or changes in reporting. Displaying accuracy helps quality engineers inform new quality assurance strategies.
Engineering careers require mathematical skills for strategy formation and problem-solving. Quality engineers interpret data and statistics to construct reports and inform new processes in the business. Mathematical skills may be useful for operating some machinery and upholding industry standards. If quality engineers are self-employed, then mathematical skills may be useful for administrative tasks.
Quality engineers may face assurance strategies. These challenges require creative and innovative solutions to ensure efficiency and productivity across the business. Engineering challenges may be complex, so quality engineers can combine their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to resolve and prevent future issues.
Quality engineers may require technical skills for data entry and machinery operation. Displaying technical skills can streamline productivity and help quality engineers use software to organise reports and analyse safety regulations. Technical skills are essential for quality engineers in charge of teams as they may organise shift patterns, payroll and compile performance reports.
Quality engineering is a teamwork-based role that relies on team collaboration to assure manufacturing quality. Effective teamwork increases productivity, promotes healthy channels of communication and improves working relationships. Quality engineers may benefit from teamwork, as staff typically aim to work to a high quality and uphold stringent standards for the success of their team members.
Quality engineers may use leadership competencies to help unite teams and improve efficiency in the workplace. Teams may be more likely to produce high-quality work if they feel supported by their team leader. Some core leadership competencies include:
Quality engineers may produce reports for tight deadlines or contact suppliers with strict time frames. Time management can reduce stress in the workplace and lead to higher job satisfaction and retention. Effective time management and awareness are also key for managing teams, as engineers may keep track of their team member's workloads and deadlines.
The average salary of a quality engineer
The average national salary of a quality engineer is $114,119 per year. Quality engineers' salaries depend on whether they're on a contractor basis, full-time or self-employed. Salaries may also increase or decrease depending on education levels. A quality engineer's salary may also increase or decrease depending on the size and profitability of the business they work for. Smaller size companies may not pay as much as large corporate chains, for example.
Salaries can differ depending on the location and whether the job is in the city where the cost of living is higher. Below is a list of cities with their salary rates to demonstrate pay differentiation:
Melbourne: $106,860 per year
Sydney: $108,028 per year
Adelaide: $106,443 per year
Canberra: $131,511 per year
Related: 10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs
Frequently asked questions about quality engineering
Below are the most commonly asked questions in relation to quality engineering careers:
How can I construct my quality engineering resume?
You can customise your resume to showcase the specific quality engineer skills you have. Isolating the key qualities that qualify you for the job may increase your chances of success. Showcasing key skills ensures recruiters can get the relevant information quickly. Customising your resume for a quality engineering job demonstrates professionalism and expertise.
What industries can quality engineers work in?
Quality engineers oversee the general manufacturing and production process, so they can work in a variety of industries that follow a similar process. These professionals may work in logistics and transport, goods manufacturing, construction and even aerospace. Quality engineers are essential to multiple industries, so you can benefit from excellent job prospects and rapidly shifting work environments, which may lead to higher job satisfaction and increased retention.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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