Project Engineer Vs. Project Manager

Project engineers and project managers are often times vital to a project. This article gives you a side by side comparison of these two positions as well as some important salary information.

Comparing Project Engineers to Project Managers

Project engineers are the technical leaders who need to make sure everything on site gets done according to the plans and the law. Project managers are those leaders of the team who are in charge of everything, especially meeting the budget and staying on schedule. Below is a comparison of these two project careers and a bit of financial information as well.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary* (2017) Job Growth** (2014-2024)
Project Engineers Bachelor's Degree $66,763 8% (civil engineer)
Project Managers Bachelor's Degree $71,613 5% (construction manager)

Sources: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Project Engineers vs Project Managers

Both of these positions are vital to large projects and necessary to keeping everything in proper check. Project engineers and managers take the final plans for a project and run the numbers with different goals in mind. Engineers will look at all the technical aspects of the project, including equipment needs, parts, labor force, raw materials and the timeline to get things done. Managers will consider the same things but under one umbrella. They will be looking at the budget and schedule as their gospel. Managers look at ways to save money, cut costs and streamline certain areas.

Project Engineers

Project engineers are those professionals who know the coding of an area, including the proper specifications for a variety of options and requirements. Project engineers are all about testing and retesting to make sure everything is being done right. Engineers fix problems between vendors, work teams and code supervisors. Periodically they must prepare reports of the weekly and/or monthly production status, update cost estimates and justify new expenditures.

Job responsibilities of a project engineer include:

  • Testing and evaluating blueprint specifications
  • Preparing pre-cost estimates of all aspects of a job for bidding purposes
  • Ordering materials, equipment, and other core needs
  • Reviewing subcontractor bids for certain parts of projects

Project Manager

The manager of a project is the boss. He or she takes total responsibility of a project to make sure everyone is doing their job, while also staying within the agreed upon budget and timeline. Managers are in on the process from the very beginning, of preparing bid numbers to hiring team leaders. They are technical enough in their backgrounds to understand what the engineers are doing and what they need, while also working with their team leaders to stay within budget or find ways to cut costs.

Job responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Communicating between management, team leadership, clients, and vendors
  • Initiating budget and scheduling of projects
  • Collaborating with designers and engineers to create budget estimates
  • Mentoring of junior managers and interns

Related Careers

Environmental engineers, like project engineers, are experts in engineering principles and use them to find environmental solutions through the additional study of soil, chemistry and biology. Cost estimating may be another related field for a project manager, as they both are involved in the research and cost estimation of a project's labor, materials, resources and more.

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