Starting a career in industrial engineering is an ideal choice for anyone who is naturally exploratory, innovative or creative. A qualified industrial engineer uses these features to maximise processes, reduce waste and improve operations. Moreover, most organisations hire industrial engineers to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing process and analyse their current systems.


An industrial engineer is a professional who seeks to increase the efficiency of a manufacturing process. They operate across a wide range of sectors to improve products and services. Additionally, Industrial engineers examine problems on-site before returning to analyse and improve what they see on a computer.


Starting a career in industrial engineering can be a rewarding and exciting pursuit for many professionals. In this career path, you have the opportunity to provide solutions that can offer significant value to a business.


In this guide, I will discuss the skills and the steps needed to start a career in industrial engineering.


How to Become an Industrial Engineer

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    The first step in pursuing a career in industrial engineering is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, electrical or industrial engineering. Additionally, you should apply to accredited universities that offer coursework such as mathematics, physics, operations research, computer science and manufacturing processes.

  2. Gain Field Experience

    Participating in internships is a great way to obtain field experience in industrial engineering. You can apply for an internship while in the university and immediately after the university. Furthermore, these opportunities can give you hands-on experience with industrial engineering and enable you to acquire vital skills.

  3. Obtain Professional Certifications

    It is important that you also acquire professional certifications in this field. This can demonstrate your expertise and make you stand out in the employment market. You can obtain certifications such as CIE, CESP, CQE, Lean Six Sigma and Project Management Professional Certificates.

  4. Obtain a Master’s Degree

    You can consider obtaining a master’s degree in this field as it can improve your future job prospects and your earning potential. Additionally, it can provide advanced knowledge and research possibilities which is useful if you want to seek leadership positions or specialise in a certain sector.

  5. Develop Technical Skills

    You need a strong foundation in technical skills to thrive as an industrial engineer. You should learn about CAD software, statistical analysis tools and simulation software. Additionally, you should use programming languages such as MATLAB, or Python. These tools can help you solve real-world challenges more effectively.

  6. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    Industrial engineering is a broad field. You can choose an area of specialisation and carve a niche for yourself. Additionally, you can gain expertise in any field you choose. This can increase your earning potential and give you relevance in the industry.

  7. Join Professional Organizations

    You can join professional organisations such as IISE or the Society of Manufacturing Engineers(SME). They can provide networking opportunities, access to industry events and resources for professional development. Additionally, networking with professionals can help you remain current on trends and job prospects.

  8. Gain Practical Experience

    You can gain practical experience by seeking entry-level positions in industrial engineering. However, you can apply for jobs at manufacturing companies, consultancy firms and other organisations that employ industrial engineers. These experiences can expose you to real-world challenges and allow you to use your academic knowledge and skills.

  9. Keep Learning

    Industrial engineering is a field that is constantly evolving. You should engage in professional development events, attend conferences and take courses to stay up to date on industry trends and innovations. Furthermore, this dedication to lifelong learning will aid you in remaining competitive and adapting to changing industry demands.


Areas of Specialisation in Industrial Engineering


  1. Supply Chain and Logistics

    The professionals in this field work in areas where the supply chain networks are created, optimised and managed for a variety of purposes such as shipping, logistics, control of inventories and predictions of sales.

  2. Operations Research

    Industrial engineers in this field tackle difficult managerial problems such as distributing assets and industrial management by using quantitative and statistical methods.

  3. Manufacturing Engineering

    Industrial engineers in this field are dedicated to improving business procedures, supplies and structures to boost efficiency, output and affordability.

  4. Healthcare Systems Engineering

    This field focuses on improving medical treatment, utilisation of assets and system productivity by incorporating industrial engineering concepts in the healthcare sector.

  5. Lean Manufacturing

    This involves the application of lean concepts to enhance the whole process circulation, minimise garbage, and decrease errors within industrial settings.

  6. Human Factors and Ergonomics

    This field deals with focusing on technology and merchandise development to enhance user experience, security and convenience while enhancing interaction with individuals.

  7. Quality Control and Six Sigma

    Industrial engineers in this field focus on efficiency enhancement and minimising flaws using quantitative evaluation and leadership techniques such as Six Sigma and Lean concepts.


Skills of an Industrial Engineer


  1. Advanced Mathematics
  2. Engineering
  3. Computer Systems
  4. Creativity
  5. Problem-Solving
  6. Communication
  7. Critical Thinking


Universities in Africa that Offer in Industrial Engineering


  1. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  2. Cairo University, Egypt
  3. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  4. Mansoura University, Egypt
  5. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  6. Zagzig University, Egypt
  7. University of Monastir, Tunisia
  8. Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria
  9. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  10. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria


In conclusion, starting a career in industrial engineering will enable you to explore a wide range of career prospects in both the public and private sectors. A career in industrial engineering offers a flexible career path that gives one the freedom to work in a variety of career sectors. Furthermore, industrial engineers are in high demand due to their skills, which is also reflected in their salaries.


Good luck!

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