Industrial Engineering Career Choices

Industrial engineering degree career choices encompass a wide range of possibilities. The more advanced your qualifications and experience is, the wider the range of possibilities. The problem is there are so many choices and the amount of commitment required for a career in this field can involve many tough choices. Your best guide to the areas that are best suited for you are the areas where your strengths and skills can be most effective.

Career Streams

The mainstream in industrial engineering is the design of commercial products. Because it is such a wide range of products, it has to be narrowed down by a range of refining the range:

  • Design: In industrial engineering this represents a hierarchical structure of degrees of expertise. It's one of the major career path identifiers.
  • Production: This relates to the production systems, and in some cases their design. The industrial engineer is the problem-solver for quality control issues, responsible for dealing with the idiosyncrasies of production methods and finding and unscrambling design issues.
  • Testing: An extremely important element in the entire product design process. Testers are experts and are able to analyze the most obscure problems in a product. They are very highly valued for their expertise.
  • Simulation and research: One of the most important career options. Simulations are product evaluations at the theoretical level. They're a type of modeling, essential in research to debug designs and to analyze design issues. Research is a huge field in all types of engineering, and industrial engineers will be pleased to hear that it's also a potentially very good career track. It includes everything from heavy industry robots to the finer points of laser molding of toys.
  • Consultancies: Consultants in industrial engineering perform a lot of valuable work for many sectors of industry.


The traditional career mode of an industrial engineer tends towards specialization. The progressive specialization mode is a potential limiter on career development. However, the defining terms of specialization are more basic. The traditional flow of specialization is a schematic:

Subsector, broken into:

  • Product type/ genre
  • Design functions
  • Production roles
  • Testing roles
  • Simulation and research functions

There are options in this process for industrial engineers which create opportunities, and don't impose limitations, and your industrial engineering degree is a good start to opening up career potentials. You can develop your industrial engineering degree in a very effective, logically structured way. You can start specialization on a much broader base, at the industrial level, rather than the many different types of specialization which devolve from it. This also prevents "niche" employment, a very vulnerable type of job as technology progresses.

For example, if you're interested in robotics, as a general class of industrial engineering, your specialty doesn't need to be rooted in a particular form of robotics. In this field, your technical knowledge base needs to be much larger, because this is a vastly expanding type of engineering. That, in turn, drastically improves your career possibilities. Your industrial engineering degree can expand your career horizons before you even go looking for your first job. You can use it as a platform to design your career.