A Day in The Life of a Design Engineer

Updated: Mar 15, 2018

Below is an average day for me working as a full-time design engineer. As you can see I have listed the tasks I complete (generalised of course due to confidentiality) and also included some parts of my personal life. If you are an engineering student, I highly recommend looking at this as this is a likely itinerary for when you graduate.

Not myself but very similar to what I do. Source: Dassault Systemes

7am - Wake-Up. Hopefully with a positive attitude and outlook for the day ahead. The grind is real though, so sometimes this is harder than it seems but I am usually pretty excited for the day ahead as it involves doing what I am passionate about. If I have slept poorly or am not up to it, a motivational YouTube video of Bill Gates or Elon Musk will do the trick. (Sorry, cheesy I know, but it works!) This is followed by breakfast, shower and trying to get into my car as quickly as possible to miss the motorway traffic. I see this as wasted time so the quicker I can get up and into work, the better. I may also spend a bit of time posting on Instagram or publishing content on this site for the day ahead so you guys have something to look forward to as well. (Don't worry - these platforms are ALWAYS on my mind!!!)

8am - Into work and getting straight into it. I will usually review my emails, check my task list, something which I highly recommend everyone setting up, start Catia V5 and other appropriate business software and processes that I will be using throughout the day.

9am - At this point I am bogged down working hard on Catia and interacting with many other engineers. These may include product architects, project and quality engineers and manufacturing engineers. This is an important point, its not and shouldn't be the case that you are always sat down working on CAD. Interaction with the teams is vital and the only way to gain the knowledge is to go and see them. Ill try to get 3 - 4 hours of solid design work complete before lunch.

12.30pm - LUNCH TIME. If I have prepared anything then that's always a positive (save me a bit of money). If not it's a canteen job. If I am too busy I will often skip this time and just have a snack later in the day.

1pm - Back to work and again still undertaking design work. At this point I will be integration with other design engineers and checkers. If I have any parts that are required to go into production release, there will be a PLM process to follow. Any conceptualised work needs to be checked with integration and feasibility. Much of my time is spent on working on cost-down / weight-down activities.

2.30pm - I always like to get onto the shop floor and talk to the manufacturing engineers at this point. I will often spend anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours understanding the production process, checking quality that I can feed back to my team and understanding where any difficulties lie in the parts that I have worked on.

4pm - Usually back to my desk and involved in some more interactive discussions and work. If there isn't too much to discuss this is a good time for me to focus on getting some CAD work done without any clear distractions. Often there are briefings towards the end of the day whcih I like to sit in on. I may also grab a coffee with colleagues to again try to be as interactive and proactive as possible.

5.30pm - Review my days work. This is one of the most important activities I undertake and I really try to understand what I have learn't but also how I learn't it and what the differences were to previous times. I will take constructive criticism wherever possible and write down notes from this. I keep a daily logbook to mark my activities and track my leaning. The most important bit though is questioning; What have I really done today to improve the product?

6pm - If, and a big if as work always comes first, I have completed all my tasks I will spend some time doing some university work. I am currently studying on a part-time basis and will eventually (slower than usual due to its part-time nature) complete my Masters Degree. This is all part of my bigger plan of becoming a Chartered Engineer (highest UK professional engineering status). I aim to obtain this status by 2021 so putting in an hour a day during the week never hurts.

7pm - On my way home now, if it has been a successful day. I will try to relax and listen to so music. If it has been a higher than anticipated workload there wont be any gym (see below) and I will probably end up staying till 8 or 9pm.

7.30pm - Gym time now, I try to go as often as possible even if it is only a very short session

9pm - Finally home: give the cats some love, have dinner, iron some clothes and pack my bag for tomorrow, shower and try to head to bed without spending too much time working on the site or Instagram (often at this point I end up preparing some points, writing blogs or programming future site content.

>10.30pm usually closer to midnight - BED! Knackered by this point and really need to sleep. Ill probably end up reading a book or watching a film on Netflix to relax.

I hope you all enjoyed a little insight. If anybody has anything drastically different involved in their day working as a Design Engineer or wants to comment on improvements I could make to my working time, please leave them below. Any advice to time efficiency is always appreciated!

Luke T Seal Engineering