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Industrial Engineering

The Breakdown

Do you pride yourself on being efficient? Is practicality one of your favorite attributes? Are you looking to marry your aptitude for all things technical with your passion for people? If you’re answering in the affirmative, industrial engineering might just be the major you seek!

Industrial engineers help companies streamline their work, designing and implementing complex systems to maximize productivity. In other words, as an industrial engineering major, you will learn how to apply scientific and engineering principles to any number of work place quandaries. Indeed, you’ll study how to best allocate people, time, equipment, money and energy. And you will master these concepts through coursework which covers statistics, management, mathematics and computer systems.

Successful industrial engineers are innate problem solvers with a talent for all things quantitative. It’s also imperative to be detail oriented and to possess solid communication skills. After all, industrial engineering is the one subset of engineering that focuses on people.

Nuts and Bolts

As an industrial engineering student, you’ll have to tackle classes such as: Engineering Economy, Cognitive Work Design, Human/Computer Interface Design, Linear Programming, Statistical Quality Control, Production and Inventory Control, Linear Algebra, Studies in Operations Research, Expert Systems Design and Probabilistic Models in Industrial Engineering.

Decisions, Decisions

Industrial engineers excel at combining technical prowess and business acumen. Therefore, they are also likely to enjoy human resources management, international business, industrial psychology, business administration, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, management science, information systems, computer engineering, statistics and mathematics.

What's Next

There’s good news for you budding industrial engineers. Your talents and skills can be utilized in virtually any industry. Indeed, while manufacturing might be the largest employment sector, you can definitely find industrial engineers everywhere from the government and the military to healthcare, banking and even entertainment. Work for an industrial engineer might entail designing a financial system for a company (from payroll processes to compensation evaluation). Additionally, it could also involve ensuring a certain product meets safety and quality standards or determining how employees might best optimize their work space. Possible job titles include operation analyst, quality engineer, ergonomist, management engineer, process engineer or management consultant. Unlike other branches of engineering, there is no national licensing body that certifies industrial engineers. However, depending on the specialty or field you pursue, certification might be required. This will vary by state.


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Don Munce