How is industrial engineering better

Industrial engineer - a blessing or a curse?

I am currently studying industrial engineering at the university in ... How do you see future prospects for industrial engineers? I hear more and more often that the highly praised general knowledge of industrial engineers is no longer in demand, but that specialists are in demand again.


As an introduction it must be said that I belong to it myself, that is, I am somehow a party (even though I studied at a different institution that no longer existed in this form in a completely different time).

And then you have to give me credit for the fact that someone like me who expresses myself publicly takes on a great responsibility: Universities maintain their respective subject area, many professors devote their entire professional life to this topic, thousands of students study there or have recently completed their studies completed. If someone steps up now and makes serious negative arguments, they could throw an entire system of studies off balance. And make powerful enemies. But here now my - subjective - consideration, to the best of my knowledge and belief:

The basic concept of the industrial engineer is a problem solution that has been convincing in many individual cases. There are numerous interface functions in industry in which technical and commercial task details have to be solved without the absolute depth of the technical knowledge of a "pure" graduate engineer and the absolute depth of the commercial knowledge of a graduate businessman being required. Logically, the commercial side tries again and again to create a somehow comparable “techn. Kaufmann "to set up, z. B. with the discipline “techn. Business Administration ".

So there are quite a variety of areas of application for industrial engineers: B. in planning functions, in project work, in AV, in IT, in controlling, in consulting. Many of these graduates have made their successful careers. And I think that almost all sales engineers could or should actually be industrial engineers, but from my point of view there are at least two restrictions:

1. I observe that companies often accept and hire industrial engineers for some tasks - but “also”. So that they only very rarely address this professional group specifically and alone, as they do on the other hand, a “Dipl.-Ing. Mechanical engineering for the construction "request. From this it follows: The industrial engineer often has to look for his starting position and his further path, he has to fight for it alongside the primarily (and often out of thoughtlessness!) Exclusively addressed “pure” engineers or business people.

This in turn results: Anyone who analyzes personnel advertisements comes across much less explicitly requested industrial engineers than are actually employed. I also found work in the organization department and then in the human resources department of a corporation relatively effortlessly, but there I was always a “white raven” and although I was accepted with my training, I was never specifically sought.

2. In the classic "pillars" of industrial organization, z. B. in (also upper) medium-sized companies consistently lead from clerk to managing director, the BISE does not fit in seamlessly: It is technically not enough for the technical manager with the preceding career positions development manager or production manager, on the other hand, the same applies to the commercial manager with the career stations head of finance and accounting or controlling.

Conclusion: Basically, the industrial engineer is a compromise - with all the peculiarities in this regard. Let's put it this way: There is actually nothing speaking against the “pure” graduate engineer with subsequent postgraduate studies to become a graduate industrial engineer - apart from the individually weighted consumption of time. The BISE degree significantly reduces this. But for that ... (see above).

Short answer:

Question No .: 2053
Number of the VDI nachrichten edition: 36
Date of the VDI nachrichten edition: 2006-09-09

A contribution by:

  • Heiko Mell

    Heiko Mell is a career advisor, author and freelancer for VDI nachrichten. He is responsible for the career advice series within VDI nachrichten.