Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest disciplines within the field of engineering. This means that a trained mechanical engineer can specialize in nearly any subfield and branch out into other segments as their career blossoms over time. Mechanical engineering concerns itself with the function and motion of objects and the ways in which they interact with one another, touching “virtually every aspect of modern life.” All this adds up to a fulfilling and versatile degree that can make for an excellent career in the building of tomorrow’s tools and machines. But that is a broad overview of the profession.
To know mechanical engineering, you must dig into the nitty gritty of everyday life in the engineering profession in order to determine whether this path is the right one for your individual dreams for the future.
What are mechanical engineers?
Simply put, mechanical engineers think about the tools, devices, and machines that power everyday lives and seek to build innovative industrial design concepts that simplify daily tasks. These can range in use case from coffee makers and door knobs to game controllers or bowling balls. Everything that you use has been carefully researched, designed, and tested for optimal user experience and functionality. These product design considerations were made by a mechanical engineer.
The profession can be exceedingly rewarding for those who like to wrap their hands around a problem and experiment with little tweaks and changes until they have crafted something that is just right. The financial incentives in the engineering world don’t hurt; either. In fact, the median pay in 2018 was over $87,000 a year!
The path to becoming a mechanical engineer
Mechanical engineers are highly important members of a broad spectrum of business teams. They are essential to the automotive industry, medical equipment manufacturing, gaming design, and construction crews. As well, to break into this industry, often times higher education beyond your Bachelor’s can help make you stand out, but is not essential. A rigorous undergraduate program – typically lasting an extra, fifth year – is enough to prove you have the conceptual framework required to perform the complex mathematical and physical testing required in designing solutions that will be implemented in future design projects. Because of the high demand for mechanical engineering expertise, the field is often understaffed, meaning that there are a number of engineering staffing agencies that have cropped up to help companies fill their vacancies, and you in finding a job as you prepare to graduate from your undergraduate program.
Employment as a mechanical engineer
Some soon-to-be grads know exactly where they hope to work, but no matter your personal situation, a staffing agency is a great first stop in seeking work in the industry. They can be particularly helpful in aiding you to narrow down your focus if you are still unsure of the subcategory you are most drawn to. Conversely, staffing agents are great at helping you to target particular industries or companies for applications, They are effective liaisons in earning callbacks and interviews in these highly coveted businesses, and finally locking down the perfect job for your particular skills and interests.
Mechanical engineering is a highly skilled and highly rewarding profession that grants hundreds of thousands of Americans the freedom to conceptualize, build, and test the tools and gadgets that people use to make their lives easier every day. It is a cutting edge career that requires a significant commitment to study, but pays its workers back in spades over time. From a high salary and great benefits to great career mobility, mechanical engineering is a profession that deserves your attention while you ponder the choices that will direct the work you do for a lifetime.