What is a simulation engineer?
When a company is designing a complex project, such as a brand new helicopter, aeroplane, or satellite, the immense cost and attention to detail required means there is little room for mistakes. Simulation engineers create virtual models of real-world projects, using complex computer software to represent physical objects and natural phenomena. The use of simulations is highly valuable, as it reduces costs, saves time, and allows for situations where physical testing is impossible.
What are the typical responsibilities of a simulation engineer?
Given that you’ll be working with a product from design to launch, simulation engineers have a wide range of responsibilities.
Day to day responsibilities include: determining the adjustments needed to replicate real-world conditions, creating computer models that simulate natural phenomena, researching new technologies that can improve existing simulations, designing computer models using computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and identifying potential design issues.
What skills are needed to be a successful simulation engineer?
Coding is used to create simulations, so all simulation engineers have strong coding skills. You might have learnt some code during your undergraduate degree, otherwise you can take an online coding course.
Furthermore, you’ll also need strong problem solving skills. For instance, if the simulation isn’t matching what you expected, you’ll need to find a solution to the issue. This ties in with resilience. It is frustrating when things go wrong, but you’ll need to find the strength to be optimistic and keep going.
Finally, team-working skills are important. Successfully launching the product requires effective communication with a range of different people, such as other engineers or press teams.
How can I become a simulation engineer?
To become a simulation engineer, you’ll need a qualification in a relevant field, with ideal degrees including Maths, Physics, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. If your qualification is in a different discipline, it's often advised to complete a postgraduate qualification. Even if your undergraduate degree is related to simulation engineering, having a postgraduate qualification can result in increased responsibility and a higher salary. There's also a number of engineering apprenticeships available, such as a civil engineer degree apprenticeship, which allows you to gain a degree at no cost, as well as paid work experience in the sector. Amazing apprenticeships has some great resources for anyone considering the apprenticeship route.
To boost your chances of employability, why not get some work experience with an engineering company? The hands-on experience you receive will help you realise whether engineering is right for you, and will also allow you to network and build relationships with leaders in the field. If you’re struggling to gain work experience, take a coding course online. Coding is essential for a career in the field, so a coding course will be looked at favourably by employers.