Whether you’re preparing to launch your first career or are considering making a change and pursuing a new field, determining which path is best isn’t easy. There is a wide range of exciting roles available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. However, one opportunity that’s often worth exploring is process engineer.
Process engineers are critical to product development processes in many industries, including the industrial manufacturing and scientific sectors. Here’s a look at what process engineers are, the skills and education you need to get started, and how to determine if becoming a process engineer is right for you.
What a Process Engineer Is
A process engineer is a skilled professional who designs, develops, implements, and optimizes continuous flow production biochemical and chemical processes. Essentially, they create procedures for taking raw materials and converting them into valuable products people and companies use on a daily basis.
Along with outlining workflows, process engineers develop new equipment, optimize procedures, manage timelines, run risk assessments, collect data, report on findings, and ensure compliance with associated regulations.
Process engineers differ from many other types of engineers in one key area. Many engineers focus on the assembly of physical pieces, such as the components in a vehicle, which are each discrete. Process engineers concentrate on continuous-flow manufacturing. Continuous-flow processing usually involves mixing or combining raw materials using specific formulas or recipes, allowing them to functionally create new solutions or materials.
Process engineers often work in chemical, agricultural, food production, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, mineral processing, and similar facilities. Often, they spend most of their time in manufacturing facilities, though they also spend time in office environments within those workplaces or at company headquarters buildings.
Required Education and Skills
As with many engineering professions, process engineers usually start their career journey by earning a college degree. In most cases, a Bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement, typically in a relevant engineering or scientific discipline like chemistry. At times, a related Master’s degree is necessary, though that’s more common for upper-level roles in the field.
Regarding skills, process engineers need a high degree of understanding in fields like math, chemistry, and biochemistry. The required calculations are potentially complex, and professionals in these jobs need solid knowledge of how various raw materials may react when combined. Technical drawing skills are also a must, along with spatial reasoning.
Analytical and critical thinking are similarly essential. The same is true of creativity, as that supports problem-solving and spurs innovation. Strong written and verbal communication skills are also vital, as that allows process engineers to effectively collaborate, report on findings, and otherwise share complex information with others.
Is a Career as a Process Engineer Right for You?
Generally, process engineering is a solid choice for scientifically or mathematically inclined individuals who enjoy innovation and optimization. The role is largely technical, but it has a creative element that keeps it highly engaging. If that sounds appealing, a job as a process engineer could be an excellent fit.
Find a Process Engineer Contract Assignment in Seatle
If you’re looking for your next process engineering position in Seatle or across the nation, Alpha Consulting wants to hear from you. Contact us today.