what is a maintenance engineer?

As a maintenance engineer, you apply engineering concepts to ensure the smooth running of industrial machinery and equipment. Your activities include installing, repairing and maintaining different types of equipment. Using specialised equipment, maintenance engineers monitor and diagnose machine failures. In case of breakdowns, it is your job to restore faulty equipment and ensure optimal performance.

Typically, maintenance engineers use their specialised training for strategic problem-solving and guiding technicians to repair problems in the system. Depending on your employer and company size, you are likely to deal primarily with significant installations and the maintenance of critical machinery. The rest of the time, you take on managerial tasks. However, you are expected to do hands-on work in smaller companies, like performing generalised repairs and maintenance.

A career as a maintenance engineer allows you to work in mechanical repair workshops or companies dealing with machinery and equipment maintenance. You may choose to work for consultancy companies, or you can work in-house in large factories and manufacturing plants in various industries, including the automotive, oil and gas, and electronics sectors.

Would working as a maintenance engineer suit your analytical and problem-solving skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a maintenance role.

maintenance engineer roles

average salary of a maintenance engineer

According to Payscale, the average maintenance engineer salary in India is ₹309,427. In an entry-level position, your base salary starts at around ₹187,000. As you improve your skills and certifications, your salary can increase to over ₹500,000 and close to ₹800,000 with more experience. Your base salary forms most of your compensation package, but maintenance engineers can enjoy additional benefits such as healthcare, transport and housing allowances. Some employers also offer bonuses and profit sharing.

how to increase your salary as a maintenance engineer

Your compensation package depends on the company you work for and the complexity of your tasks. For instance, large manufacturing plants and factories have complex equipment and machinery that require specialised maintenance or installation. Your employer will pay more when you are handling specialist work and have to be on call anytime time of the day in case of system failure.

Your qualifications and experience level also determine your wages. Experienced maintenance engineers earn more due to their additional transferable skills and expertise in dealing with machinery faults and problems. Maintenance engineers with higher qualifications may also take up managerial roles, which pay more than technical and hands-on work.

maintenance engineer roles
maintenance engineer roles

types of maintenance engineer

Maintenance engineering spans a vast range with various areas of specialisation, including:

  • mechanical maintenance engineer: as a mechanical maintenance engineer, your job involves installing and maintaining mechanical systems and equipment used in industrial, commercial and domestic environments. You focus on repairing and maintaining machines' mechanical parts, such as lubricating gears and replacing motors and pumps.
  • maintenance technician: as a maintenance technician, you perform hands-on work during the maintenance and repair of machinery. That involves disassembling equipment to remove defective and damaged components and testing whether the repairs were successful.

working as a maintenance engineer

Working conditions and responsibilities for maintenance engineers vary widely depending on your job type, industry sector and specialism. However, you always benefit from familiarity with technical equipment and processes.


education and skills

If you want to become a maintenance engineer, relevant academic qualifications include:

  • university degree: a first degree is the preferred route for most maintenance engineers. Choose a degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. Depending on your strengths and interests, you can choose to specialise at this stage in the industry of your choice. For some highly specialised technical areas of engineering, you may also benefit from a master's level qualification. 
  • apprenticeship: if you prefer to pursue a more hands-on route, you may also qualify through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships combine course training with on-the-job experience and can result in a B-tech degree or diploma.

skills and competencies

Experience and knowledge of machines in maintenance engineering are important. The following transferrable skills enhance your career success, too:

  • leadership skills: as a maintenance engineer, you may be in charge of a technical team, and leadership skills help you integrate with other staff. Motivating team members and bringing them together to accomplish a task is useful during equipment failure. Your leadership skills enable you to manage stress levels during unfavourable conditions and promote accountability for mistakes made during inspections.
  • problem-solving skills: multiple problems arise when operating equipment and machines. Despite creating procedures for dealing with problems, you cannot exhaust all possible system failure scenarios. You benefit from creative problem-solving skills when tackling issues outside the standard maintenance procedures.
  • attention to detail: becoming a good maintenance engineer depends on your ability to pay attention to small details. An error or miscalculation can have serious consequences; an enthusiasm for diagnosing faults in equipment is invaluable.
  • aptitude for physics: to learn how machines and equipment work, maths and physics skills are essential. Sometimes, complex calculations are required to identify faults in a system. An aptitude for physics helps you understand machines' schematics from their blueprints and plan to fix the problems.

FAQs about working as a maintenance engineer

FAQs about working as a maintenance engineer:

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