Dear Engineer, how close are you to the customer?

I believe that Engineers who work closest to the surgeon customer have the biggest career opportunities.

You will notice that most CEOs with tech backgrounds, worked closely with surgeons early in their career. This is part of my advice for young engineers here – Real Career Advice for Young Engineers.

RANKED from closest to the customer to farthest away from the customer.

Product Development Engineer (other titles are R&D Engineer, Design Engineer, Project Engineer, Principal Engineer) – This Engineer usually has Mechanical background. They work with surgeons, do CAD design, prototyping, testing, . Other Engineering disciplines in Product Development are Electrical Engineer, Software Engineer, and Mechatronics Engineer.

Technical Field Engineer – This Engineer works in sales but provides technical assistance in surgery with the sales rep.

Systems Engineer – This Engineer is responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining the information technology systems for medical device.

Testing Engineer – This Engineer breaks things and writes reports (usually found in bigger companies)

Quality Engineer (aka Quality Assurance Engineer) – This Engineer ss responsible for determining production standards for a company’s products by establishing quality control systems and setting product requirement rules. Their duties include identifying the specifications for an ideal product, determining an appropriate level of variation and monitoring quality assurance rates.

Remediation Engineer – This Engineer documents design processes (Design Control, DHF), usually a contract position, Zimmer-Biomet hired hundreds of REs to fix their quality problems in 2020.

Reliability Engineer (aka a Failure Analysis Engineer) – This Engineer is a manufacturing and production specialist who studies equipment life cycles and performs analyses to inform how a business invests in and maintains assets.

Manufacturing Engineer – This Engineer serves as a liaison between design engineering and manufacturing. It’s easy to make 5 parts, but really hard to make thousands. They converts a frozen design into processes, fixtures, BOMs, etc.

Process Engineer – This Engineer works in a manufacturing environment, usually larger companies with on-site manufacturing. They conduct research to develop new and improved processes for manufacturing such as 6-Sigma and statistical analyses.

Biocompatibility Engineer – This Engineer develops biocompatibility strategies and prepare biological evaluation plan and reports. They coordinate biocompatibility testing of materials and designs in accordance with FDA requirements, internal SOPs, and standards.