What Is An Industrial Engineer? (With Skills And Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Industrial engineers are professionals who optimise industry-related operations in an organisation to increase productivity and efficiency in the production process. This career path involves different skills and comprehensive practical training. Understanding the duties and skills of an industrial engineer can help you discover your determine if this is a suitable career path for you. In this article, we explain what an industrial engineer is, discover their duties and skills and outline the steps to become an industrial engineer.

What is an industrial engineer?

An industrial engineer is a professional who investigates and reviews various components of the industrial plants including equipment, materials, facilities and operational processes. They focus on improving product quality and efficiency in various industrial, commercial and production environments. Industrial engineers play an important role in a variety of industries such as communication, transportation, healthcare, banking and energy. Their job role involves finding ways to increase the output and reduce the waste of resources, energy and time.

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What does an industrial engineer do?

Here are some common duties and responsibilities of an industrial engineer:

  • monitoring industrial processes and operations to improve efficiency and productivity

  • reducing waste and increasing efficiency of systems

  • designing efficient manufacturing processes and workflows

  • reviewing schedules and specifications of production processes

  • evaluating industrial plants and facilities to identify issues and implement possible improvements

  • coordinating with other departments to devise new and efficient ways of improving production processes

  • preparing inventory analysis to address production needs

  • training production personnel and supervising their work

  • applying engineering methods to improve system integration and company operations

  • adhering to industrial safety protocols and rules

  • making simulations of supply chains and process flows by using computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD)

Skills of an industrial engineer

These are the skills you may require to become an industrial engineer:

Creative skills

Creative skills help industrial engineers to use their imagination and minimise the use of time, energy and physical resources for achieving business goals. The job role of an industrial engineer requires innovation and smart thinking to design mechanisms for increasing the efficiency of manufacturing processes. They use their creative skills and imagination to simplify production and ensure the optimisation of processes for maximum output.

Management skills

Management skills help industrial engineers understand business requirements and manage their teams to reach those goals. They often discuss and communicate plans with their team and may have to supervise many complex processes simultaneously. With management skills, industrial engineers can handle more than one project or task at a time. They also learn how to prioritise tasks prioritise as per urgency. Self-awareness is important to develop management skills as it enables you to bring out the best in yourself and others.

Quality control

The primary responsibility of industrial engineers is to make industrial processes more efficient. They have to identify areas of improvement, perform quality checks and maintain compliance with industry regulations. The ability to maintain the quality of products and processes, alongside sustaining the quality of work of the team, is essential for industrial engineers. Their performance in ensuring quality control is one of the biggest determinants of their career and overall success.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help industrial engineers identify minute and commonly-missed production issues and provide the best solution for them. Similarly, undertaking basic research and data collection to identify the source of the problem is also necessary. Engineers can enhance their problem-solving abilities with practice and experience.

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Communication skills

Good communication skills help industrial engineers effectively communicate with their team members and senior leaders. You can improve their communication skills by listening actively, speaking clearly and being mindful of their articulation. Body language and listening skills are also important parts of communication skills. Industrial engineers often have to lead teams and convey clear instructions to subordinates and contractors. Aside from communication skills, you can also work on your reporting and presentation skills as the job of industrial engineers requires writing and understanding technical reports.

Project planning

From project initiation to project closing, industrial engineers usually plan every step in detail to execute the project. Industrial engineers require project planning skills to coordinate with other team members and complete projects on time. It is important for them to know how to finish the project within the stipulated budget, timeline and resources. Completion of each project requires an optimum amount of workers and technology. Industrial engineers use their project-planning skills to determine to strike this balance and oversee the appropriate use of equipment and materials for maximum efficiency.

How to become an industrial engineer

Follow these steps to become an industrial engineer:

1. Complete your senior secondary (10+2)

Completing your senior secondary (10+2) with a minimum of 50% marks is the first step to becoming an industrial engineer. Studying science disciplines like physics, chemistry and maths is mandatory at this stage. After completing your higher secondary education, you can appear for entrance exams and apply for industrial engineering courses in various institutions.

2. Qualify for entrance exams

You can get admission to industrial engineering institutions and colleges in two ways. Some colleges conduct their own entrance examinations for admission, while others take admissions on the basis of higher secondary examination results. The process of enrolment may differ from college to college. Some popular entrance exams to become an industrial engineer are the joint entrance examination (JEE) - Main, JEE Advanced and Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT).

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3. Select a reputable college

It is important to keep a few things in mind while choosing an industrial engineering college. Always opt for an institute that has a high graduation rate and a low student-to-teacher ratio. Getting admission to a college that offers internships and research opportunities can help you have both practical and theoretical knowledge about the industry. Qualifying competitive examinations like JEE Main can help you get admission to top government institutions.

4. Earn a bachelor's degree

The basic requirement for getting an industrial engineering job is a bachelor's degree. However, you have to choose the specialisation as per your internet and career goals. You can pursue any of these courses for becoming an industrial engineer:

  • B.Tech in industrial & systems engineering (ISE)

  • B.Tech in industrial & operations engineering (IOE)

  • Bachelor of science & engineering (BSE) in industrial engineering (IE)

5. Develop your skills

Study the job postings for industrial engineers to identify essential in-demand skills. Be sure to focus both on hard and soft skills. For example, focus on developing specific soft skills like communication, leadership, problem-solving alongside hard skills like mathematical calculations, CAE, industry-specific knowledge and machinery. You can work on undertaking projects and studies during your degree programme or seek the mentorship of seniors, professors or industry experts. Keep applying theoretical skills to practise and building your expertise by learning new tools, technologies and processes.

6. Gain relevant experience

Gaining one to four years of entry-level professional experience can lead to advanced and better-paying employment opportunities. Employers often choose experienced candidates over candidates having only course degrees. Internships are a great way for you to gain professional experience and understand how things work in the industry. Joining internships or entry-level jobs while pursuing a degree can increase your chances of getting selected as an industrial engineer. Furthermore, consider taking up short-term projects or assisting seniors or academicians in research projects.

Related: What Is Production Engineering? Degree, Opportunities And Skills

7. Earn a master's degree

Pursuing a master's degree in industrial engineering can result in better job opportunities. Many recruiters prefer candidates with master's degrees. You can pursue a PG diploma in industrial engineering or industrial safety management or a master of science and engineering (MSE) in industrial engineering. Many companies may require candidates to have a post-graduation degree to apply as a senior industrial engineer. Pursuing an advanced degree also improves your chances of getting a promotion to senior leadership roles.

What is the average salary of an industrial engineer?

The average salary of an industrial engineer is ₹28,460 per month. The salary usually depends on the job location, years of experience, certifications and company. In general, industrial engineers with master's degrees and certain certifications can negotiate for higher salaries. For example, the average salary of industrial engineers in Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand is ₹34,380 per month, among the highest in the country.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries 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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