Mechanical Engineering

Engineering Resources >> Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering professions. It applies engineering, physics, and mathematics while its core areas are mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, and materials science. Mechanical engineers are usually proficient in the field of electrical subjects as well. You can find a Mechanical engineering job in almost all industries, ranging from military, technology, science and exploration to all kinds of engineering such as electrical, aerospace, automotive, and civil engineering. It is also one of the oldest engineering disciplines that also focuses on computer-aided drawing or CAD and computer-aided manufacturing or CAM. Together with other engineers, mechanical engineers develop and design mechanical devices, heating, and energy production systems.

Job Responsibilities

Because of their wide field, the responsibilites for both entry-level and advanced positions can vary a lot. However, there are some responsibilities which you can expect in most position.

  • Planning and creating designs for new products. This also includes testing the design and collaborating with other engineers for design optimization.

  • Designing and overseeing the working of generators and other power-producing machines, such as internal combustion engines and steam turbines.
  • Assessing design changes while managing your own time and workload efficiently.
  • With strong mathematical knowledge, you will have to perform various calculations to support the design work.
  • Oversee manufacturing work.
  • Visit project sites and collect data or assist with measurements.
  • Maintain and optimize project schedules to ensure timely completion of projects.
  • Work in a team with other experts from other engineering disciplines, such as civil and electrical.
  • Create performance and technical reports and train technicians using the technical manuals.
  • Explain requirements and project specifications to clients.

Since their field of work is so broad and they have to work closely with other engineers, great communication skills, written and verbal, are a must for mechanical engineers.

Salary and Job outlook

In May 2018, the annual median pay was $87,370 for a mechanical engineering job, with the lowest average around $57 000 and the highest $106 000. The engineers in scientific R&D services earned over     $99,000 annually, while those in machinery manufacturing earned over $80,000. The pay in other sectors was somewhere in between these two. The manufacturers of computer and electronic products earned over $93,000, the services related to architecture and engineering paid $90,000, and the transportation equipment manufacturing sector paid over $88,000. The profession is expected to grow by 4% from 2018 to 2028.

Job Specializations

Mechanical engineers with a bachelor’s degree can find a well-paid position, but those looking for more responsibility or a deeper understanding of a specific field should look for specializations. Here are some specialist fields within the field:

Fluid Mechanics

With additional knowledge of mechanics of liquids, gases, and plasma, you will become better equipped to work on dams, irrigation, hydraulics, and even agriculture. Fluid mechanics while interesting is one of the hardest branches of physics, especially when brought down to the engineering level and the real-world problems that surround.

Materials Engineering

Those mechanical engineers interested in materials and their production processes should look for specializations in the same field. Exceptional knowledge of materials combined with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering will open door to advanced positions in designing and overseeing the production of the newest engines, electrical vehicles, etc.

Nanotechnology

Mostly used in the health industry and robotics, nanomaterials are a novelty showing much promise. Designing materials and creating innovations like micromotors and actuators while also optimizing circuits in the newest processors are only some examples mechanical engineers with this specialization might encounter.

Automobiles and Automotive industry

This is probably the most popular choice among those looking for further specialization after graduating. Automobile Master’s often teach courses related to IC Engines, fluid mechanics, automobile design, but also about electric motors.

HVAC

HVAC or Heat, Ventilation and Air Conditioning is an important specialization that usually finds solutions to large problems regarding ventilation and heating in big systems. Locations like multi-story buildings, mines, and factories need proper ventilation and a heating system which doesn’t falter. 

Job Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field is a must to find a mechanical engineering job. Further education like a master's degree or even a Ph.D. will open the door to academia. Anyone with a wish to teach at a university should follow this path.

For most private companies, a bachelor's degree is enough education-wise. However, they will look for those with relevant years of experience, exceptional knowledge in CAD software like Solidworks and AutoCAD. Furthermore, Microsoft Office and great overall computational skills are often sought after.

Depending on your career path, a possible requirement will be to become a licensed engineer. This certification will equip you with technical knowledge, local legal systems, real-world experience, and the title of Professional engineer. Licensing is often required in government provided mechanical engineering jobs



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