The world we live in is unpredictable and engineering systems are not free from fault. In order to ensure the optimal functioning of these systems and minimize the occurrence of failures within them, engineers must first comprehend how and why failure occurs.
Reliability engineers are key players in ensuring that the systems and functions of our modern society perform how they are designed and account for the risks. They are also charged with determining the risks associated with each system. Overall, these skilled professionals keep systems functioning cost-effectively and safely in their lifespan.
Reliability engineers are needed across a range of industries and are employed in an array of capacities. Let’s unpack what reliability engineering is, some job functions of a reliability engineer and six examples of jobs reliability engineers hold.
>>Discover more on the realm of reliability engineering in our new interactive resource: The Future of Engineering Risk Management and Analysis: Machine Learning, Uncertainty Analysis, and Digital Twins
What is Reliability Engineering?
Reliability engineering applies scientific principles to a process, product or component to ensure that it performs its intended function, without failure, for the estimated time duration in a certain environment. This relates closely to a product’s dependability, which is a product’s ability to perform its intended functions under specified conditions for a determined period of time.
What Does a Reliability Engineer Do?
Reliability engineers are charged with identifying areas that affect asset reliability and business operations. Essentially, they identify the likelihood of success or failure in the operation of a system in its lifecycle. They manage and track production losses and high maintenance cost assets and seek ways to mitigate these losses. By conducting root cause analysis, they identify areas in a system’s function o remove or reduce losses.
Reliability engineers primarily operate in three areas of asset management
- Prevent — Reliability engineers ensure the life and function of a product or process and seek to extend its life while maintaining quality. They do this by designing the product or process for reliability, maintainability and for life cycle cost.
- Find — Charged with the early detection of problems, they conduct predictive maintenance and continuous monitoring to identify potential failures.
- Analyze — Reliability engineers analyze equipment and process data to identify issues that should undergo root cause analysis. This is to minimize safety incidents and production costs, lessen the environmental impact, etc.
Reliability Engineer Jobs
Reliability engineer jobs can be found across an array of industries—from infrastructure to tech, reliability engineering is needed for the proper functioning of all major systems. Below are five examples of reliability engineer jobs:
1. Site Reliability Engineer
Site reliability engineers oversee the functioning of a process or system and ensure that all functions are performing properly and as expected. They often collaborate with a variety of teams, such as operations and development. A Reliability engineer’s salary ranges from the high 70s to the mid-100s.
Average salary: $118,152
2. Cloud Engineer
In collaboration with engineering and development teams, cloud engineers identify optimal cloud solutions. They seek to adapt and improve existing systems while ensuring the reliability and efficient functioning of data storage. With risk management in mind, they identify and mitigate infrastructure vulnerabilities.
Average salary: $130,086
3. DevOps Engineer
DevOps engineers typically work within a team of engineers to create systems within a company and seek ways to improve existing ones. They analyze the technologies being used and identify production issues and implement integrations to meet a company’s needs. They also regularly identify and employ cybersecurity measures by regularly conducting risk management.
Average salary: $132,064
4. Network Reliability Engineer
Network reliability engineers develop and employ software and systems to improve the reliability and performance operations of computer networks. They apply an engineering approach to measuring and improving network reliability to align with the objectives and goals of a company or business. They also automate troubleshooting by implementing regular proactive testing
Average salary: $115,000
5. Product Reliability Engineer
Product reliability engineers ensure the proper functioning of a product for a given company. They are the first to respond when a malfunction occurs and coordinate a resolution of the problem. They also identify additional areas to improve functionality to ensure optimal efficiency for the product.
Average salary: $133,065
Reliability engineers are dynamic professionals that play a variety of roles in ensuring systems, processes and products function properly and with maximum efficiency.
Vanderbilt School of Engineering Master of Engineering in Risk, Reliability and Resilience (RRR) program is designed to form the next generation of leaders charged with making informed decisions that properly account for uncertainty and risk, in order to enhance quality, efficiency, safety, security and environmental protection.
You can explore more on the ground breaking field of risk, reliability and resilience engineering in our new interactive resource: The Future of Engineering Risk Management and Analysis: Machine Learning, Uncertainty Analysis, and Digital Twins