what is a project engineer?

As a project engineer, you oversee the design and implementation of projects. Most of the projects you handle are engineering and technical. Hence, you require specialised knowledge of the industry you are working in. Your expertise helps you design and schedule the project plan and ensure it meets the quality standards. As a project engineer, you act as the coordinating figure who interprets the needs and expectations of stakeholders to develop actual projects. You also manage personnel and complete administrative tasks like budgeting and scheduling.

where do project engineers work?

Project engineers work on diverse projects in various industries. For instance, some project engineers work in government agencies guiding the completion of projects. You update government buildings, install new traffic systems and complete bridges and railways. Some project engineers work in architecture or construction firms providing design and concept stage input. You also ensure the construction projects follow a timeline.

In manufacturing industries, project engineers refine the production process and manage teams to ensure the company produces high-quality items. You ensure the production process follows the safety regulations and complies with quality control. In mining, you provide technical support like conducting risk assessments for mining operations and calculating budgets.

project engineer jobs

types of project engineers

Some of the types of project engineers include:

  • construction project engineer: you assist the project manager in overseeing project teams during construction. For instance, you study the specifications and building drawings and create work schedules and a project timeline. With your technical knowledge of building plans, you can ensure that safety protocols and requirements are adhered to during construction.
  • manufacturing project engineer: as a manufacturing project engineer, you focus on producing products or items for manufacturing companies. Your job is to refine the manufacturing process and improve efficiency. For instance, you determine the supplies and materials required for the job and find ways to improve efficiency. You also ensure the production processes adhere to the regulations.
  • mining project engineer: as a mining project engineer, you coordinate the project in consultation with relevant stakeholders and ensure the timelines, budget and quality standards are met. You also conduct risk assessments and maintain compliance with site safety procedures. The role involves monitoring performance targets against operational costs to ensure the project is within budget.

average project engineer salary

The median remuneration package of project engineers is $90,000 annually. The salaries depend on experience and the industry you work in. For instance, when you are relatively new to the role or fresh out of university, you earn less than $70,000 annually. Improving your skills increases your salary and benefits, which is why senior project engineers take home over $120,000 annually. Some employers provide additional benefits as part of the remuneration package, including car allowance, medical insurance and house allowances.

what factors affect the salary of a project engineer?

As a project engineer, your remuneration package depends on your experience and qualifications. Extensive expertise and better educational qualifications allow you to take senior project engineer roles with higher remuneration. Your area of specialisation also influences your earnings. For instance, working in the mining, resources and energy sectors attracts the highest remuneration packages due to the complexity of the roles. However, working for government agencies attracts lower salaries.

Sometimes, the location also influences your remuneration package. Companies in metro areas and large cities tend to pay higher remuneration packages to reflect the cost of living. The demand for project engineers in an area also affects the salaries.

Womale operating a touch-screen display.
Womale operating a touch-screen display.

working as a project engineer

Working as a project engineer requires excellent organisational skills since you juggle multiple tasks. Here is a closer look at project engineers' specific responsibilities, work schedules and job outlooks:


education and skills

You require an engineering degree to work as a project engineer. Some relevant qualifications for the role include:

  • bachelor's degree: to become a project engineer, you should complete a bachelor's degree in engineering in a relevant field. For instance, you can pursue a degree in civil or building engineering, such as a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours).
  • postgraduate degree: after acquiring your engineering degree, consider improving your project management skills through a postgraduate degree. Most project engineers pursue a master of engineering management or a master of business administration.
  • work experience: you should gain experience through internships, work placements and entry-level jobs in the field. Most project engineers start their careers as project team members.

project engineer skills and competencies

Project engineers require the following skills:

  • project management skills: as a project engineer, project management skills assist you in implementing and executing projects. It helps you communicate, prioritise workflows and tasks, organise teams and manage budgets for a project.
  • problem-solving skills: as a project engineer, you are responsible for resolving issues during a project. Problem-solving skills help you handle conflicts between workers, resolve design issues, and find corrective actions to project defects.
  • attention to detail: as a project engineer, you juggle the technical requirements of a project. Being detail-oriented helps you complete the project to all technical specifications. Strong attention to detail prevents you from making mistakes in high-stakes projects.
  • leadership skills: as a project engineer, it is important to provide effective guidance and motivation to the project teams. Leadership skills encompass qualities like empathy, communication, confidence and accountability.

FAQs about working as a project engineer

Here are the most asked questions about working as a project engineer:

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