Three keys to pursue an industrial engineering career

Employers in all organizations are looking for the same thing: industrial engineers who can increase profits by reducing internal costs, while keeping systems safe and sustainable.


As the director of admissions at Florida Polytechnic University, Lauren Willison is responsible for supporting the university’s recruitment efforts. Courtesy: Lauren WillisonIndustrial engineers have historically set the bar high for innovation and are frequently the pioneers of improving mechanical processes. As a result, students who pursue an industrial engineering degree are in line to become the next great creators of safer, faster, and more cost-efficient systems.

The next generation of industrial engineers will find themselves in an arms race with peers to stand out for jobs. These engineers must immerse themselves in the most intensive, highly elaborate work and study programs to master their craft. Industrial engineers need to understand current systems in addition to how to develop new improvements. Here are some key concepts to consider when pursuing a career in industrial engineering.

1. The raw materials

A career in industrial engineering doesn't have to start after college. Many high school students gain a head start by enrolling in higher-level science and mathematics courses to prepare for the more advanced courses in college.

As with most specialized careers, aspiring industrial engineers need a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and some valuable, relevant experience to stand out.

Beyond these requirements, professionals in the industrial engineering field are also judged by a set of unique personal attributes. Candidates for employment in industrial engineering must be:

  • detail-oriented
  • critical thinkers
  • excellent communicators (both verbally and on paper),
  • be self-starters.

2. Career choices

Industrial engineering has applications in nearly every industry, and employers in these organizations are looking for the same thing: industrial engineers who can increase profits by reducing internal costs, while keeping systems safe and sustainable.

This gives industrial engineers the creative freedom to pursue organizations they are most passionate about. Although opportunities may become more limited with advances in manufacturing machinery, employers can always benefit from the industrial engineer's ability to increase efficiency and lower costs.

The health care industry, for example, needs industrial engineers to act as consultants for existing health care systems. Their main role is to ensure systems are working efficiently and producing top-notch health care services or products.

Future industrial engineering careers will focus heavily on next-generation technology. This includes developing socio-technical systems based on cognitive human behaviors, and using nanosciences to improve materials and structures at the atomic level for enhanced products.

3. A look at the future

Industrial engineering is an evolving industry. New technology and machinery have completely reshaped the role of industrial engineers, particularly in the manufacturing industry. These advancements mean competition for industrial engineering jobs will be fierce, but will offer engineers plenty of opportunities for innovation.

A career in industrial engineering proves to be intensive and challenging but with great reward. Experts in this field are not only cutting costs and maximizing profits for organizations, but also creating cutting-edge systems to improve the way we operate as a society. Hard work and research, paired with drive and tenacity, are the key qualities that can help future industrial engineers stand out among competitors.

- As the director of admissions at Florida Polytechnic University, Lauren Willison is responsible for supporting the university's recruitment efforts.

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