Production Engineering focuses on the design and management of systems that involve people, materials, equipment and the environment. It is tied to the traditional engineering courses and lately it has become a favorite among engineering degree candidates.
It is undoubtedly the least technological of the engineering courses, as it is more broadly encompassing and generic, covering a wider set of knowledge and skills. Production engineering students learn subject matters connected with economics, the environment, finance, etc. But they also acquire the basic technological knowledge of engineering.
The difference between Production Engineering and Business Administration is that the former includes technological content that is complemented by a set of engineering subject matters, such as materials, technical drawing, electro-technology and industrial automation. Both careers include courses on administration, commerce, accounting and management techniques, but these are more strongly geared to an industrial reality in Production Engineering.
Production engineers are the only type of professional in the market trained to consider problems from a global rather than a fragmented point of view. Their specific field of knowledge is connected with management methods, implementation of computerized systems to manage enterprises, methods to improve the efficiency of companies and the use of systems that control company processes. Everything that concerns the basic activities of a firm, such as planning purchases or planning and scheduling production and product distribution, is part of the typical duties of a production engineer. This is why a production engineer can work for practically any type of industry.
The job market for production engineers is extremely diverse, because, in addition to the traditional job market (companies and industrial concerns), a number of other sectors and areas have started looking for production engineering graduates from the best universities.
Adapted text, prepared by Ricardo Naveiro (a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro /UFRJ and Technical Director of ABEPRO – 2004/ 2005 Administration).