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Industrial - Engineering

Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering dealing with the optimization of complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis and synthesis, as well as the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering design to specify, predict, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems or processes. Its underlying concepts overlap considerably with certain business-oriented disciplines such as Operations Management, but the engineering side tends to emphasize extensive mathematical proficiency and usage of quantitative methods.

 Depending on the sub-speciality (ies) involved, industrial engineering may also be known as operations management, management science, operations research, systems engineering, or manufacturing engineering, usually depending on the viewpoint or motives of the user.

 The various topics of concern to industrial engineers include management science, financial engineering, engineering management, supply chain management, process engineering, operations research, systems engineering, ergonomics, cost and value engineering, quality engineering, facilities planning, and the engineering design process. Traditionally, a major aspect of industrial engineering was planning the layouts of factories and designing assembly lines and other manufacturing paradigms. And now, in so-called lean manufacturing systems, industrial engineers work to eliminate wastes of time, money, materials, energy, and other resources.


 The total number of engineers employed in the U.S. in 2006 was roughly 1.5 million. Of these, 201,000 were industrial engineers (13.3%), the third most popular engineering specialty. The average starting salaries being $55,067 with a bachelor's degree, $64,759 with a master's degree, and $77,364 with a doctorate degree. This places industrial engineering at 7th of 15 among engineering bachelor’s degrees, 3rd of 10 among masters degrees, and 2nd of 7 among doctorate degrees in average annual salary. The median annual income of industrial engineers in the U.S. workforce is $68,620. Often, within a few years at a company, industrial engineers will become strong candidates for technical supervisory or engineering management positions because their work is more related to management than most other engineering disciplines.