What Is The Average IQ Of Engineers

June 17, 2024
What Is The Average IQ Of Engineers

Average IQ Of Engineers: 120

The average IQ of engineers falls between 120 and 130. This puts them well above the general population. In this article, we dive into these figures, compare different engineering fields, and discuss factors influencing IQ scores.

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Key Takeaways

  • The average IQ of engineers varies by specialization, with scores typically ranging from 115 to 130, indicating a higher-than-average cognitive capability compared to the general population.
  • Higher education in engineering, particularly at the master’s or doctoral level, tends to correlate with slight increases in IQ scores due to the rigorous analytical and complex reasoning skills developed through advanced studies.
  • IQ is not the sole determinant of professional success in engineering; qualities like emotional intelligence, practical experience, and social skills are equally crucial for career progression.


Delve into the fascinating world of engineers’ intellect, where we unravel the complexities of their cognitive abilities and examine how these relate to their professional success. From the logical labyrinths of software development to the structured creativity of civil constructions, we will explore the average IQ scores across various engineering specializations and consider factors that influence these figures.

Understanding IQ Scores

IQ, or intelligence quotient, is not merely a number but a gateway to understanding an individual’s potential for problem-solving and cognitive agility. An IQ test assesses a constellation of cognitive skills, including logical reasoning, mathematical prowess, and verbal comprehension, which together forecast a person’s problem-solving capabilities. However, it’s crucial to recognize that an IQ score is not the be-all and end-all of professional achievement. It is one of many factors that contribute to a person’s ability to secure and excel in their career.

While high IQ scores are often associated with academic success and intellectual capacity, they do not singularly dictate the trajectory of one’s professional journey. Emotional and social intelligence, for instance, can significantly influence career progression, underscoring the multifaceted nature of intelligence in the workplace. In fact, social intelligence significantly predicted success in various professional fields.

Average IQ of Engineers by Specialization

Engineers, known for their analytical minds and problem-solving acumen, tend to have IQ scores that reflect their specialized training and the intellectual demands of their field. A study published in the journal ‘Intelligence’ suggests that engineers’ average IQ scores typically fall between 120-130, varying by specialization. These scores position them well above the general population’s average, indicating that engineers are among the intellectual elite in the workforce.

Software Engineers

Contrary to popular belief, not all software engineers are walking geniuses with sky-high IQs. In fact, a software engineer possesses an impressive average IQ of around 128.5. Research suggests that even among the top percentile, scores hover just shy of 130. This dispels the misconception that all programmers are endowed with extraordinary cognitive capacities, instead highlighting a range more aligned with exceptional, yet not unparalleled, intellectual capabilities.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers, the architects of our urban landscapes, exhibit an average IQ score of about 115. While this may be lower compared to some of their counterparts in other engineering disciplines, it is still considerably higher than the general population’s average. This reflects their specialized skill set and the analytical thinking required in designing and constructing infrastructure that stands the test of time.

Aerospace Engineers

Navigating the complexities of aerospace technology, engineers in this field boast an IQ range from 117 to 122. The precision and depth of knowledge required for the development of aircraft and spacecraft demand a level of cognitive ability that is well above average, ensuring that the safety and functionality of these high-stakes creations are in the hands of those with a robust intellectual foundation.

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers, whose work underpins various aspects of modern technology, exhibit an average IQ of around 120-125.5. This bracket, which spans a spectrum of cognitive ability, suggests that a mechanical engineer possesses a high level of intelligence necessary for the intricate design and analysis of machinery and systems that power our world.

Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers, with their fingers on the pulse of electronic innovation, have an average IQ that typically ranges between 115-120. This score reflects the intellectual demands of a profession that requires a deep understanding of electrical systems, circuitry, and the principles of electromagnetism, all of which are essential to the functionality of our technologically driven society.

Educational Impact on IQ

The pursuit of higher education in engineering, such as master’s or doctoral programs, can be a crucible for cognitive development, leading to slight increases in IQ scores. The rigorous nature of these advanced studies, which emphasize analytical thinking and complex reasoning, challenges students to expand their intellectual horizons. Research from ‘The Journal of Educational Psychology’ supports this notion, illustrating a correlation between higher education in engineering and elevated IQ scores, with the average hovering around 120 for those holding advanced degrees.

Moreover, the continuous intellectual engagement and specialized knowledge acquisition that characterize graduate programs contribute to engineers’ cognitive proficiency. As engineers delve into the nuances of their chosen fields, they not only hone their technical skills but also sharpen their general cognitive abilities, as discussed in the ‘Engineering Education Research’ journal. This symbiotic relationship between education and intelligence demonstrates the transformative power of advanced academic pursuits.

Geographic Differences in Engineer IQs

The intellectual landscape of engineering is not uniform across the globe. Geographic differences emerge, with European engineers tending to have slightly higher average IQ scores (118) compared to their American counterparts (115). Factors such as education systems, nutrition, and healthcare can influence these disparities, underscoring the impact of regional conditions on cognitive development.

US Engineers

In the United States, engineers exhibit an average IQ score of approximately 115, which corresponds to above average intelligence. This figure, while impressive, suggests a modest disparity when compared with the slightly higher averages reported in some European countries. It is a testament to the quality and challenges of the American educational system, which, despite its strengths, may present areas for improvement to elevate the cognitive capabilities of its engineering workforce.

European Engineers

European engineers, on average, outpace their American colleagues with an IQ score around 118. This advantage is partly attributed to:

  • The more consistent and higher quality educational systems prevalent across Europe
  • Environments that foster intellectual growth and innovation
  • The cultivation of engineers with superior cognitive abilities and potential for groundbreaking work in their respective fields.

Gender Comparison in Engineering IQs

In the engineering realm, gender does not dictate cognitive capacity. Both female and male engineers share similar average IQ scores, hovering around 115. This parity dispels any myths of intellectual disparity between genders in the field, emphasizing that engineering prowess is not gender-specific.

It is the individual’s knowledge, skills, and dedication that determine their potential, irrespective of gender.

IQ and Professional Success in Engineering

Although engineers typically score one standard deviation above the mean IQ, setting them apart as high achievers, IQ is not the sole predictor of professional success. Empirical studies show that while engineers’ IQ scores generally fall within the 110-130 range, their effectiveness on the job is not significantly predicted by these figures alone.

Qualities such as soft skills, practical experience, and the ability to navigate complex social dynamics are equally, if not more, important in carving a path to career success in engineering.

Entry-Level Engineers

For those just beginning their engineering careers, the average IQ typically falls between 110-115, reflecting the foundational knowledge and cognitive readiness required to enter the profession. Entry-level engineers, equipped with a solid base of technical skills and intellectual capacity, are poised to build upon their abilities as they gain real-world experience and confront the multifaceted challenges of the engineering industry.

Engineers in Top Schools

Engineers who attend top-tier institutions such as MIT or Stanford often boast average IQ scores exceeding 130. This elite group represents the crème de la crème of the engineering world, with their exceptional cognitive abilities laying the groundwork for a career that may very well redefine the boundaries of technology and innovation.

R&D Engineers

In the realm of research and development, engineers tend to have an average IQ of about 125, a reflection of their aptitude for engaging in complex problem-solving and pioneering new technologies. This higher average IQ underscores their role as the vanguards of engineering, where intellectual creativity is paramount to discovering novel solutions and advancing the frontiers of science and industry.

Correlation Between IQ and Skills

The proficiency of engineers is intricately linked to their cognitive abilities, as higher IQ scores correlate with enhanced problem-solving skills and a strong foundation in quantitative reasoning. These cognitive competencies are essential tools in the engineer’s arsenal, allowing them to navigate the technical and analytical challenges that their profession demands.

Problem-Solving Skills

Engineers with higher IQ scores are often distinguished by their superior problem-solving abilities, a testament to their:

  • Logical reasoning
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Practical application of knowledge

These individuals excel at devising sophisticated problem-solving strategies.

While innate intelligence lays the groundwork, it is the combination of education and experience that ultimately refines these skills into a potent force for innovation.

Quantitative Abilities

Reflecting the technical rigor of their discipline, engineers typically score higher on quantitative IQ subtests. These scores are indicative of their mathematical and analytical acumen, honed through years of study and practice. The ability to untangle complex numerical problems and apply mathematical principles with precision is a hallmark of the engineering mind, one that is underscored by their impressive performance in this cognitive domain.

Practical vs. Traditional IQ Tests

While engineers generally perform well on traditional IQ tests, it is in practical, hands-on assessments that their problem-solving skills truly shine. The real-world application of their knowledge, which often involves tactile and spatial reasoning, gives engineers an edge in practical IQ evaluations.

This aptitude for applying theoretical concepts in tangible scenarios is a defining characteristic of the engineering profession, often seen in engineering students.

Emotional and Social Intelligence in Engineering

The efficacy of engineers is increasingly being recognized as intertwined with their emotional intelligence (EI), which encompasses the ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions, both their own and those of others. Leaders with high EI foster innovation by creating collaborative environments where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks. This aspect of intelligence, often overshadowed by the emphasis on IQ, significantly predicts an engineer’s effectiveness, trumping the predictive power of cognitive ability.

Moreover, emotional and social intelligence play pivotal roles in leadership within engineering. Leaders who can manage stress, communicate expectations clearly, and empathize with their team members are better equipped to motivate and guide their teams to success. The empathy component of EI, in particular, enables leaders to align tasks with individual skills and interests, promoting job satisfaction and productivity.


The insights presented in this blog post are rooted in robust academic research and empirical studies. Key among these are findings from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Robert M. Hauser’s study, ‘Meritocracy, cognitive ability, and the sources of occupational success,’ and the Journal of Psychological Science’s exploration of cognitive abilities across different engineering specializations. These sources offer a scientific foundation for understanding the multifaceted nature of intelligence within the engineering profession.


In summary, while engineers boast above-average IQ scores, reflecting their specialized knowledge and problem-solving abilities, it is clear that IQ is just one piece of the puzzle. Educational background, geographic factors, gender parity, and, importantly, emotional intelligence all contribute to the tapestry of an engineer’s professional success. As we’ve navigated the intellectual contours of the engineering landscape, it becomes evident that what truly distinguishes the great minds in this field is not just how smart they are, but how they apply their intelligence to innovate, lead, and inspire.

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