What is quality engineering?
Quality is considered to be the basis of all manufacturing principles. It embodies a company’s accountability to its customers and the standard of its product. Quality engineering brings this concept to life. Quality engineering is the science that deals with ensuring quality control in all the manufactured products. It ensures that a good standard of quality is maintained, minimizing losses by controlling errors in manufacturing, and reducing time lost in intervals. Thus, it is one of the most integral parts of a manufacturing process.
What does a quality engineer do?
The main job of the quality engineer is to ensure that there is only a minimum number of defective products and to minimize losses by wastage of time and resources. This means to essentially monitor every batch of products manufactured, survey the tools and accessories at the manufacturing end and keep coming up with new ways to improve the quality of the product.
The quality of the product is decided on various parameters. First, it may be the look and finishing of the object. Second, it may be its adherence to the customer’s requirement. Finally, it may be the strength or durability of the product. For example, the quality of the product can be quantified by seeing if the dimensions specified by the customer are met perfectly. If they are not fulfilled, it would be counted as a defective piece. Also, if the finishing of the product isn’t a smooth surface or has bad surface finishing, the engineer may have to check the tool used, which may have to be replaced.
The work profile of a quality engineer is quite dynamic and interesting. He has to always be on his feet, coming up with new and instantaneous measures to fix problems every day. He plays a very key role in the company’s success in the market, and hence, the job of a quality engineer is highly valued and always in demand. In the U.S., an average Quality Engineer gets paid around $76,919 per year. It would also include all health insurance and other benefits. Hence, it is a job that pays decently well and could very well be a great career option.
What would you need to study?
- Education: To qualify as a quality engineer, you need to at least have an Associate’s Degree in Quality Engineering. There are plenty of colleges in the U.S. that offer this course, such as Florida International University, University of Cincinnati, University of Tennessee, etc. This course would teach you about the principles of Quality Engineering and also the various standards followed at both the State and National levels. Some higher jobs may also require you to have a Master’s degree in Quality Engineering.
- Experience: Along with the degree or shortly after, it is a good practice to first hand see what the job is like, maybe through some visits or by doing internships. Take on as many internships as you can and dip your feet in the world of Quality Engineering to get a better feel of what the job entails.
- Certification: Once you get your Associate’s degree, you can apply for certification that is provided by the American Society for Quality. It conducts the CQE exam, where it checks for many parameters like principles, knowledge of standards, and management. This certificate has to be renewed every three years to make sure you are up to date with the current trends and technologies.
What Are The Skills Required For A Quality Engineer?
Quality engineering is actually an offshoot of Mechanical Engineering. So the skills you need would be pretty similar to that of the latter. The important skills you would need are listed below:
- Critical Thinking and Analysis
- Time Management
What Are The Responsibilities Of A Quality Engineer?
The responsibilities of a Quality Engineer would be, in a generic way, to perform the functions we had talked about above. However, to be more specific, here are some responsibilities you would have to take upon if you decide to become a Quality Engineer:
- Implement the standards efficiently.
- Talk to all the managers on the work floor to see what improvements can be made.
- Maintain proper documentation.
- Check the processes and products to make sure the level of quality is being maintained.
- Analyze data and reports collected to come to innovative ideas to increase quality.
- Use different methods like Six Sigma, quality by design, quality by control to come with continuous improvements to increase efficiency.
Which Are The Leading Companies That Employee Quality Engineers?
Quality Engineers are in a lot of demand across various companies and huge tech giants. Here are some top companies in the US that employ Quality Engineers:
- Flour Corp
- Jensen Hughes
- Vanderweil Engineers
- Syska Henessy Group
Which Sectors And Fields Look For Quality Engineers?
There are plenty of fields that use manufacturing processes to produce their products, and quality control is significant. Some of the fields are:
- Food and Beverages: These products require a high level of standards of quality that should be adhered to. If not, it could lead to serious repercussions on the consumers and eventually for the company.
- Oil and Energy: This is a very huge sector and generates a lot of income in the economy. The quality here is important as energy as fuel is used in many high-end applications and variations in quality may lead to disastrous events.
- Pharmaceutical Industry: The FDA has strict regulations and standards for pharmaceutical companies and it is to be adhered to strictly. Hence, the Quality Engineer is most needed in this once again, large sector.
- Aviation and Space: This is one of those sectors where precision is of utmost value and as billions are at stake, the Quality Engineer is most wanted in the field.
- Automotive Industry: This is again, a huge and very old sector of manufacturing where Quality Engineers have been serving for a long time.
In conclusion, if you have the right inclination towards engineering sciences and are open to getting creative and innovative, Quality Engineering is a beautiful field to explore. It would definitely be a great career option, give you job satisfaction and pay well too.