Published: Jan. 9, 2019

Two students sitting in class and talkingThere’s a new reality emerging in 21st-century business and industry that’s turning the traditional notion of an engineering career on its head. The reality is that today’s engineers make outstanding leaders and managers in companies, corporations and organizations of all sizes. That’s one major reason why engineers need a technical management degree as a way to take advantage of an expanding range of higher-level professional opportunities that are out there waiting for them.

As technology increasingly becomes a centerpiece in the day-to-day operations of most organizations, the need for leaders and executives who can bring both a proven background in real-world engineering practice as well as acumen in the principles of business management will continue to grow.

“As they move up, skills such as working across divisions, strategizing for future growth, product development and communicating effectively with sales, marketing, finance and HR become critical to an engineer’s ability to succeed,” says Michael Readey, Professor of Engineering Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program.

Professor Michael ReadeyThe benefits of advanced management education for engineers can be eye-opening. While everyone’s career priorities and goals in life are unique, there are some important reasons why any engineer can benefit from a management degree that’s tailored specifically to the technical professional.

  • Business and Leadership Training Makes You a More Well-Rounded Professional

A technical management degree equips you with additional skills in team leadership, communication, management, entrepreneurship and other areas that aren’t typically found in the curriculum of engineering programs. As a more well-rounded professional, you’ll be able to take on a wider range of challenges that are inevitable as you move up the ranks in your career as an engineer. And in the eyes of potential employers, you’ll have a clear advantage over others who just have an engineering degree.

  • A Technical Management Degree Can Help Advance Your Career

When you earn an engineering management degree, you position yourself for career growth that might otherwise not be possible. You’ll be ready to climb the ranks within your current organization or explore opportunities with other potential employers. And the future for growth and opportunity is bright: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for engineering managers between 2016 and 2026 will grow six percent per year.

  • Advanced Education Brings Higher Earning Potential

The opportunity to earn more is a significant benefit for anyone considering enrolling in an engineering management master’s degree program. While engineering salaries vary according to the engineering specialty, years of experience, geographic location, and level of education, the BLS reports the median annual salary for engineering occupations was $79,180 in May 2017, while the median annual salary for engineering managers stood at more than $137,000. BLS data indicates the median annual salary for computer and information systems managers stands at over $139,000. Having managerial skills and experience has a definite impact on earning potential over the life of your career.

  • You’ll Be Better Placed to Position Yourself as an Industry Thought-Leader

Augmenting your engineering degree and professional experience with a management degree sets you apart in your industry. Even as more engineers join what’s been an emerging trend of advanced education over the past several years, engineers who earn a technical management degree still represent a small fraction of those working within the field. As such, you’ll be looked upon as a leader in the field capable of providing valuable insights, perspectives and unique skills.

  • Management Education Provides Confidence to Launch Your Own Venture

For many engineers with an entrepreneurial inclination, a technical management degree program provides an excellent opportunity to gain the confidence and foundational skills it takes to launch their own start-up. Many believe we’re in a golden era of entrepreneurship, and approaching any kind of venture with a technical background and foundation in engineering management can be a crucial element to help ensure the success of a new business.

The Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program at CU Boulder

With a clearer picture of the key benefits that a technical management degree can deliver, the next step is finding a program with a proven record of helping engineers develop the skills to pursue opportunities for career growth.

For the past 30 years, The Lockheed Martin Engineering Management Program (EMP) at CU Boulder has empowered technical professionals to advance their careers through relevant programming, flexible scheduling options and exceptional instruction from seasoned executives.

The EMP offers graduate degrees, as well as professional certificates designed to prepare engineers and other technical professionals to advance their careers, make themselves more marketable to potential employers and take on new leadership challenges. You can even try our program out for size so you can decide if it’s right for you: prospective students may enroll in up to three courses before committing to a certificate or master’s degree program.

All the programs are offered through the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder, which was founded in 1893 and is widely recognized among the top public research institutions in the country.

With programs available both online and on campus, EMP students explore a variety of issues and skills that prepare them for a variety of opportunities in the profession, including:

  • Leadership and ethics
  • Project and portfolio management
  • Product management, technology innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable, resilient and regenerative enterprises
  • Production and operations for the 21st century
  • Management and leadership across engineering industries

If you would like to speak with an advisor or request more information about the Master of Engineering in Engineering Management or any of our programs, please visit the CU Boulder EMP website. You can also contact our graduate advisor, Kendra Thibeault, at or call 303-492-0954.