During the COVID outbreak, many previously in-person jobs went fully remote and it got people wondering why they had ever gone into the office in the first place. Now more than ever, people are looking for either fully remote or hybrid positions. According to a survey by Owl Labs, 59% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.
Engineering responsibilities are often hands-on, and it can be hard to find a remote job. Here are 8 work from home engineering jobs.
- Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Patent Examiner
- CAD Engineer/Drafter
- Quality Engineer
- Simulations Engineer
- Project Manager
- Production Engineer
1. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Engineer
FEA is a computerized method that is used to determine how a product or device will react to real-life forces. It provides a virtual method of testing a variety of situations without having to assume the time and cost associated with physical tests. FEA provides reasonable predictions that can then be tested in real life if chosen.
FEA is an integral part of most engineering companies. Engineering companies hire specific people to run their FEA simulations. It’s a very in-demand field seeing as few engineers specialize in it. Most universities require at least one FEA course as part of the standard undergraduate curriculum. This should be sufficient to land an entry-level FEA position.
If you want to go this route, try to take as many undergraduate FEA courses as possible. It is not necessary to get a master’s degree to become an FEA engineer. However, there are master’s programs available. Getting a master’s in Finite Element Analysis, computational science, or computer simulation engineering would all prepare you to specialize in FEA or simulation engineering (which we’ll talk about later).
FEA engineering is one of the few positions that can be a true, 100% remote engineering position. It requires no in-person testing, only computer simulations, and communication with design teams, which can be done online.
2. Software engineering
If you have an interest in coding, this one is for you. Software engineering is in high demand, provides a great salary, and can easily be fully remote.
You also don’t need a degree in software engineering to be a software engineer. Many software engineers have degrees in electrical engineering or other traditional engineering fields. Companies care that you have the coding knowledge, not how you got it.
If you’re interested in becoming a software engineer and are still in undergrad, try to take as many coding classes as possible. This can be through majoring in software engineering or computer science, or taking coding electives to supplement your current major.
If you’re looking to switch to software engineering, there are plenty of online resources to learn to code. Coding boot camps are a great way to learn to code. However, if you’re completely new to coding, try learning some basics on your own before jumping straight into a paid program.
3. Patent examiner
Being a patent examiner isn’t a career path that’s often talked about for engineers. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hires engineers to do patent reviews.
This position requires a 4-year science or engineering degree from an accredited college or university. The USPTO uses the General Schedule (GS) which is the primary pay scale used for federal employees. This scale ranges from GS-5 to GS-15. For reference, patent examiners typically start as anywhere from a GS-7 to GS-9. The average starting salary ranges from $55,000-$83,000 and increases according to the pay scale.
Prior to covid, the work from home policy was that you had to be a GS-12 (roughly 2-3 years of experience) before you could qualify for full-time work from home. However, with the outbreak of covid, most patent examiners switched to remote work and the policies are still changing as covid regulations change.
While this job isn’t what people typically think of as a “true engineering” job, it can be a great choice for engineers looking for non-traditional engineering work. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for a fully remote job because it is possible within 2-3 years, if not immediately.
4. CAD Engineer/Drafter
CAD engineers or drafting engineers use CAD programs such as SolidWorks, AutoCAD, or Creo to draft engineering designs and drawings. This can be creating the design based on engineering specifications or taking an existing design and drafting professional drawings for the product.
Since this position consists entirely of computer work, these positions are often fully remote or hybrid.
5. Quality Engineer
Quality engineering is not a traditionally remote position. However, it may be possible at some companies. Quality engineers develop testing procedures and work with various teams to ensure the product meets safety and customer standards.
While a quality engineering position could be fully remote, a hybrid position is more likely. Quality engineers do a lot of paperwork that can be done remotely. However, they often need to visit manufacturing lines or be present for testing, which would need to be done in person.
Quality engineering would be a good field for someone who wants the option to go into work, stay at home, or have a combination of both.
6. Simulations Engineer
Simulations engineer falls into a similar category to FEA engineer. In fact, an FEA engineer is often considered a type of simulation engineer. Simulation engineering expands to other types of simulations, such as fluids and thermodynamic flow.
This is another likely 100% remote position. If you’re interested in this line of work, make sure to include both FEA engineer and simulation engineer in your job search.
7. Project Manager
Being a project manager is a great choice if you want a leadership position in engineering. Project managers typically manage a specific product and oversee all of the cross-functional teams.
Do not confuse this with an engineering manager. An engineering manager typically oversees a team of engineers and the role is more technical and hands-on. Project managers are typically non-technical roles and are more communication-based, which lends themselves more to being remote positions.
The ability to work remotely as a project manager varies by company, but it is definitely not uncommon to find a remote or hybrid project manager position.
8. Production Engineer
Production engineers are often confused with manufacturing engineers. Manufacturing engineering can be thought of as a cross between mechanical and industrial engineers. Manufacturing engineers work hands-on with manufacturing lines, design, machines, and maintenance. It would be hard to find a remote manufacturing job.
Production engineering is mostly associated with industrial engineering. Production engineers deal more with cost optimization and statistical analysis. Due to the nature of the job being less hands-on, many of the job responsibilities of a production engineer can be done remotely. This position lends itself well to a fully remote or hybrid work situation.