Develop successful people and projects as an executive-level Engineer.
What does a Director of Engineering do?
A Director of Engineering heads up their company’s engineering departments. Like other directors, they oversee all the people, processes, and projects in their department, straddling “strategic” and “tactical” in order to meet their company’s business objectives.
When you’re a Director of Engineering, that means you’re at once a Manager and an Engineer. On the management side, you hire, supervise, and develop engineering staff, including Engineers. At the same time, you manage engineering resources, including budgets and vendors.
On the engineering side, you act as your company’s “Chief Engineer.” You develop its engineering goals (for example, completing projects on time and on budget) and establish its engineering priorities. Additionally, you create its engineering strategies and ensure engineering quality, all the while solving any engineering problems that rear their ugly heads.
What this looks like in practice depends on where you work. If you work for a construction company, for example, you might make regular site visits and communicate frequently with project stakeholders to ensure that a project is progressing according to plan. If you work for a technology company, on the other hand, you might design software products, then oversee their production.
Regardless, you don’t do it alone: A Director of Engineering typically has a staff of Engineering Managers below him who facilitate communications with front-line Engineers and enforce engineering standards and priorities on his behalf. Think of it this way: If your company were the world, you’d be President of your own nation, and the Engineering Managers would be Governors of their own states. They manage parts of the engineering department while you manage the whole!