The EVS Metal Blog

Metal Fabrication Careers: Spotlight on Industrial Design & Engineering

While many jobs in metal fabrication and manufacturing don’t require a 4-year degree, there are still a few careers that do. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the great job “rivalries” in this area — industrial designer vs industrial engineer.

Industrial Design vs Industrial Engineering

One of the most popular blogs we’ve ever published at EVS Metal (4000+ unique reads and counting!) covered the differences between industrial design and engineering. While we were somewhat surprised by the activity, we can’t say we were entirely shocked. After all, there does seem to be quite a bit of confusion around what each of these jobs covers and how they differ — a quick Google search on the topic returns more than 520 MILLION hits for the keyword phrase.

Job Outlook for Industrial Designers vs Industrial Engineers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are just under 40,000 commercial and industrial designers (IDs) employed in this country as of 2016, and job growth is expected at around 4% between 2016 and 2026. The median wage range for IDs in the manufacturing industry was just over $62K for 2017.

In contrast, the BLS puts the number of industrial engineers (IEs) at nearly 260K, with average job growth expected at 10% through 2026 (faster than average). This equates to more than 25K more IE jobs becoming available over the next 10 years. The median wage for an IE working in metal fabrication was approximately $74K for 2017.

How do the job responsibilities of IDs differ from IEs?

In general, industrial designers are concerned more with form than function. This doesn’t mean that IDs think function is unimportant; rather, their job is to focus on usability with an emphasis on the aesthetics of the end product.

Industrial engineers, on the other hand, are tasked with a greater focus on the underlying mechanics and functionality of an end product — function over form. Their job is to ensure that a part or finished item works correctly and satisfies the requirements set by QA and the customer.

Ideally, IDs and IEs work as a team to design and engineer products that are attractive, economical and usable.


EVS is proud to employ an outstanding staff of skilled industrial engineers and designers; they play a huge part in our end-to-end manufacturing capabilities. Discover how our IEs and IDs can add value to your manufacturing supply chain by simply requesting a quote online, or giving us a call at (973) 839-4432 today.

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