A manufacturing test engineer is mainly responsible for testing products to see if they meet company, industry or regulatory standards.
This person in this position must develop and oversee test processes that can determine if a product functions as it is designed. A test engineer is also in charge of figuring out the best ways to completely test all aspects and components of parts, products or machines.
The responsibilities of a test engineer can vary according to the industry or products being tested. A test engineer’s involvement in the testing process typically starts with the design phase, moves through development, continues into evaluation and ends with support.
Specific Job Duties
The obligations of a test engineer normally include offering technical knowledge of testing methods, developing testing programs for products, sourcing necessary hardware, setting up proper testing environments and offering technical insight on testing-related issues.
There are usually dozens of tests for any given attribute of a product, machine or part, and it is a test engineer’s responsibility to pick the most suitable test. Increasingly, testing facilities are using automation and machine learning. Test engineers should be familiar with these emerging technologies.
The responsibilities of a test engineer do not stop when a finished product leaves the production facility. As users and consumers report various issues, a test engineer must review this field data and possibly conduct more testing, revise testing processes or develop new tests altogether.
Often, test engineers will be responsible for composing reports on test outcomes and issues, as they track and review various testing operations.
Employers require that a test engineer has a bachelor’s degrees, usually in electrical engineering, and prefer applicants who have earned a master’s degree. Applicants should have experience in electrical engineering, as well as a command of PCB troubleshooting, product design and test design. Test engineers are expected to continue their education due to the changing nature of testing technologies and computer systems.
A test engineer should be able to challenge teams that design PCBs circuitry and embedded software based on very strong knowledge of mechanical components and sub-assemblies. They should also have software experience in LabVIEW, TestStand and LabWindows/CVI. Test engineers should have a working knowledge of Lean Manufacturing practices.
This professional should also have strong technical writing, communication, problem-solving, organizational skills and interpersonal abilities. The best test engineers are self-motivated, reliable technically competent and able to work in a fast-paced environment.
Job Conditions and Pay
The typical test engineer work in an office environment for most of the time, occasionally spending time in testing areas. These professionals may be asked to occasionally work off-hours; in the evening or on the weekends. Travel is standard for a test engineer, but often no more than 25 percent of their time is spent on the road.
As with most professions, the salary expectations of a testing engineer depend on location, industry and experience. This is a senior-level role with a base salary of $130,000 to $145,000 and bonus.