How to Get a Promotion: Tips for the Engineer


Common engineer promotion levels for design and mechanical engineering professionals

If you want to learn how to get a promotion as an engineer, it’s important to know the roles you should be striving for next. Review the most common engineering promotion levels below, starting from entry-level positions to senior leadership roles.

Entry level

  • Design Engineer Specialist or Mechanical Engineer Specialist

Entry level to mid-level

  • Design Engineer or Mechanical Engineer

Mid-level to management

  • Senior Design Engineer or Senior Mechanical Engineer

Senior leadership

  • Director of Design Engineering or Director of Mechanical Engineering
  • Senior Director of Design Engineering or Senior Director of Mechanical Engineering
  • Vice President of Engineering

How to Get a Promotion as a Mechanical or Design Engineer

If you want your career in engineering to continue to advance, you have to prepare and make strategic choices along the way to reach your goal. Below are four actions you can implement today that will help you earn the promotion you deserve.

  1. Document your accomplishments
  2. When the time comes to ask for a promotion or raise, you’ll need to prove your value. Rather than trying to recall everything you’ve ever done on the spot, you should come ready with examples of what makes you indispensable. Make it a consistent habit to write down each and every one of your accomplishments, no matter how big or how small. This is one of your biggest allies in landing a promotion.

    How to Get a Promotion
  3. Create a feedback folder
  4. Creating a feedback folder takes the documentation of your accomplishments one step further. Anytime you receive positive feedback from a colleague, customer, or leader, throw it in a folder. If the feedback happens face-to-face, write down the positive feedback, and add it to the same folder. This will help you illustrate to your boss that you’re a team player and you’re valued by the people around you. (As an added bonus, you can browse through it when you’re having a bad day.)

  5. Drive your coworkers to make timely decisions
  6. Good leaders are decisive. Great leaders know how to guide others into being decisive. So much time can be lost in organizations because team members can’t make a decision. This is especially true in the engineering industry where teams consistently face pressure to reduce design cycle time and go to market faster. Strive to be the person who helps drive decisions to keep the project moving. If you can help colleagues and leadership make decisions, you’ll get noticed as an effective team member.

    How to Get a Promotion
  7. Earn CAD software certifications
  8. Improve your engineering design skills and show off your achievements by earning certifications online. With the rise of eLearning, there’s no shortage of classes you can take to help you earn certifications quickly. It’s a great way to build your knowledge, gain experience, and stand out from your colleagues.

    (Note: You can prepare for software certifications in as little as 2.5 hours with SolidProfessor’s SOLIDWORKS certification and AutoCAD user certification exam prep courses. You can also earn SolidProfessor Technical Certificates after you complete each course we offer.)

Unlock six additional tips, an action plan on how to accomplish each tip, and a step-by-step list on how to ask your boss for a promotion by accessing The Design Engineer’s Guide to Getting a Promotion.

Madie Norris Forcier
About the Author

SolidProfessor content writer and self-appointed World’s Greatest Dog Mom