Career Map: Quality Engineer

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Quality Engineer

Position TitleQuality Engineer
Alternate Title(s)Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Health and Safety Engineer
Education & Training LevelAdvanced, Bachelors required, prefer graduate degree or equivalent experience
Education & Training Level DescriptionQuality engineers need a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field, plus experience. Professional certifications may be required.
Brief job description Quality Engineers work with manufacturers, developers, project managers and many others within each sector of the wind industry. They work with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure the products and processes fulfill quality standards, meet safety regulations, and satisfy client expectations. 
Preferred Level of EducationMaster’s Degree or relevant experience, advanced certification
Preferred Level of ExperienceSee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Estimated/Expected SalarySee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Job Profile

Quality Engineers work with manufacturers, developers, project managers and many others within each sector of the wind industry. They work with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure the products and processes fulfill quality standards, meet safety regulations, and satisfy client expectations.

As companies are developing and manufacturing turbines and their components, the quality engineer is involved in developing, implementing, testing, analyzing, revising and improving the process in which they are manufactured. They do this through continual process and product audits, both internal to their company as well as at their supplier locations. They also achieve improvements through company and supplier trainings that establish an understanding of requirements and provide the tools necessary to meet schedules, specifications and organizational goals.

Quality engineers work closely with manufacturing suppliers to ensure turbine parts and components are produced according to product specifications. When a problem or nonconformance is reported, they analyze the root cause of the issue, develop and implement a plan to improve performance, and monitor and evaluate improvements. Quality engineers keep detailed records of product and equipment inspections, root cause analyses, corrective action plans and other reporting requirements.

During the project development phase, quality engineers assist project engineers in planning a project. Their knowledge of construction and component requirements allows project engineers and developers to determine whether a proposed site is acceptable, if quality issues exist, recommend modified or alternate plans and estimate how various scenarios will affect the project deployment timeline and cost. Project engineers need to be aware of any aspects of the site that would impact the time line, so information on site needs such as where to store components or how timelines are affected due to machinery or inspection schedules need to be accounted for.

After construction begins on a project, the quality engineer will ensure that the prerequisites for installation of each component are met. They are responsible for controlling the quality of the installation and confirming that everything has been completed to specification and in proper order. When issues arise, the quality engineer is responsible for finding alternate solutions to keep the installation on schedule and within budget.

During the operations and maintenance phase, the quality engineer may work with wind turbine technicians to identify the cause of malfunctions, component failures or other issues that prohibit a wind turbine from functioning properly. The quality engineer will make sure that repairs are done properly or they may conduct a failure analysis to determine whether the flaw should have been designed for by the manufacturer. If this is the case, they will work with the manufacturer to resolve the problem.

Job Skills

A quality engineer will usually possess the following skills:

  • Attention to detail. Quality engineers must have attention to detail to ensure that products are being manufactured, installed or are operating to the required specifications.
  • Analysis/Critical thinking/Problem-solving skills. Quality engineers review established processes in order to find manufacturing and cost optimizations. When problems arise, they conduct root cause investigations and develop and implement corrective or preventative action plans.
  • Communication skills. Quality engineers must be able to communicate current and new processes clearly. They are also required to document many aspects of their job including inspections, root cause analyses, and process improvements in a clear and understandable manner.
  • Ethics. Quality engineers must be able to operate under pressure and still ensure that standards are met while managing potentially detrimental effects to timeline and budget.
  • Interpersonal skills. This skill is critical for quality engineers. They work in teams across organizations and should be able to provide leadership to, collaborate and work with many different types of people at varying levels of seniority.
  • Math skills. Quality engineers use the principals of statistics, calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Quality Engineer

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