Within an engineering department or firm, an engineering assistant (EA) provides support services. Individual responsibilities in an EA position can vary depending on the project, company, or program’s needs. While some engineering assistants assist more senior engineers with day-to-day tasks, others may be assigned to a specific technical portion or component of a larger program. Creating project scheduling and tracking spreadsheets, providing engineering drawings, managing program files, writing and updating technical documentation, and designing databases are some of the general tasks that an engineering assistant may be assigned.
Architecture, landscape planning, urban infrastructure, aerospace, medical devices, security systems, manufacturing facilities and equipment, and other specialties are all examples of engineering disciplines. An engineering assistant will typically work as part of an engineering team in each of these areas. An EA can be assigned to support the demands of the product, and a team of engineers can be responsible for the design, implementation, upgrade, and documentation related to a specific client need and contract.
Corresponding with clients, performing software or hardware testing, and attending and recording project meetings are some of the other responsibilities of an EA. A single engineering program manager who serves as a mentor may report to an EA. As program priorities and deadlines shift, an engineering assistant may be paired with a large number of engineers and support staff.
Although becoming an engineer takes years of study, an engineering assistant can be hired while still pursuing a degree. After graduating from a university or technical facility, other EAs begin their careers as entry-level employees. They may be hired for specific skills learned in school, or they may be hired with the intention of progressing to other positions as they gain experience. Others may assist on a project even if they do not have an engineering background. For example, a technical writer, computer support administrator, or administrative assistant may gain the necessary experience to work as an EA.
Due to the wide range of specializations, skills, and technical proficiencies required of engineers, conducting research and asking questions during job searches can be beneficial in assisting a candidate in understanding the expectations of the specific role being filled. At a large or small company, an EA may work independently or under close supervision on a short- or long-term project. It is widely accepted that an engineering assistant position should be carefully filled to meet the needs and goals of both the individual and the team.