Heads of engineering are in charge of designing of new products and technologies at their organisations. Big picture thinkers, they are found leading teams of junior and senior engineers in project development, and coordinating research into the improvement of current products and processes in their field. In most cases they have risen through the engineering ranks from junior to senior level before reach a coordinating position.
While overseeing the design and development of products plays a major part in this position, the head of engineering must also balance the needs of the company and its customers when it comes to product development. This can require taking research on board, conducting analysis and offering practical solutions. As a managerial position, heads of engineering can also be involved in everything from performing quality assurance at manufacturing sites, to documenting engineering processes, hiring engineers and establishing training programs.
As a starting point, the head of engineering will usually have a specialised bachelor's degree in their field of choice. Being such a senior role, a degree is often not enough and it can take as much as a decade of experience from junior to managerial level before a candidate can be considered suitable.
Exceptional communication is also a must. The head of engineering will not only be expected to coordinate their team(s), but to also break down and report on complicated technical processes for other departments in the organisation. An element of public relations savvy is also helpful, as the role can demand a strong understanding of customer wants and needs, and the ability to tailor products to them.