Have you ever wondered: what does a mechanical engineer do all day? Wonder no more! Scroll down to get an inside look at the job description of a mechanical engineer. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot of solving problems and designing cool things!
As a mechanical engineer, you’ll be responsible for designing, creating, and maintaining mechanical systems. This might include anything from engines and power plants to heating and cooling systems. But what does a mechanical engineer do, exactly? Let’s find out.
What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do?
What does a mechanical engineer do in general? A mechanical engineer is responsible for designing and manufacturing, as well as developing, and maintaining mechanical systems. These systems can include anything from small components like watch springs to large machines like aircraft engines. In addition to design and development, a mechanical engineer may also be responsible for testing prototypes, troubleshooting problems, and overseeing production.
Mechanical engineers work in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, and healthcare. They may work in research and development, product design, project management, or production engineering. Some mechanical engineers also teach at the college level.
What does a mechanical engineer do on a daily basis? A typical day in the life of a mechanical engineer might include:
- meeting with clients to discuss project specifications;
- designing a component using computer-aided design (CAD) software;
- creating models and simulations;
- analyzing data from tests to refine designs;
- building prototypes and testing them;
- collaborating with other engineers, technicians, and managers.
What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do? Top Industries
A mechanical engineer designs, develops, builds, and maintains mechanical systems. They may work in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, and more. It is actually one of the broadest engineering fields.
What does a mechanical engineer do in different fields? Some of the top fields of mechanical engineers include:
- Automotive: automotive engineers design, develop, and test vehicles and components (like turbines, generators, sensors). They may work on the structure, powertrain, or other systems.
- Aerospace: aerospace engineers are responsible for designing, developing, and testing aircraft and spacecraft. They may work on the propulsion, guidance, or other systems.
- Manufacturing: manufacturing engineers create, develop, and oversee the production of different products. They may work on the manufacturing process, quality control, or other aspects.
- Power generation: power generation mechanical engineers generally design, develop, and maintain systems that generate power. This can include nuclear, fossil fuel, or renewable energy sources.
- Building construction: building construction engineers design, develop, and oversee the construction of buildings. They may work on the structural, electrical, or other systems (like elevators).
- Environmental: environmental engineers create, develop, and implement solutions to environmental problems. They may work on pollution control, waste management. They work on aerodynamics and new possible fuels.
- Biomedical: biomedical engineers design, develop, and test medical devices and treatments. They may work on prosthetics, implants, or other products.
- Robotics: robotics engineers create, develop, and test robots. They may work on the mechanical, electrical, or software systems.
There are many other industries and engineering disciplines. These are just some of the most common.
Mechanical Engineering. Education, Skills and Work Experience
What does a mechanical engineer do? Since you already know that, let’s focus on some tips on how to become a mechanical engineer.
A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is the minimum requirement to become a mechanical engineer. Many colleges and universities offer programs in mechanical engineering, and some also offer specialized programs in areas such as biomechanical engineering or automotive engineering. In addition to completing an accredited engineering program, students must also pass the Engineer in Training (EIT) exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam to become licensed professional engineers.
Required Skills and Knowledge
Mechanical engineers need to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. They must be able to design systems that meet the specifications and requirements set by their clients or employers. In addition, they must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to communicate their designs to other engineers and technicians who will be responsible for constructing and testing the systems.
Successful mechanical engineers typically have a strong understanding of physics and mathematics. Mechanical engineers use a variety of computer-aided design (CAD) software and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software, so they must be familiar with all of them. In addition, they should have a work experience and knowledge of thermodynamics, automation, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer.
Mechanical Engineering. Job Outlook
The outlook for mechanical engineering is positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 7% growth in employment opportunities between 2020 and 2030. This growth is due in part to an increase in demand for mechanical engineers in the field of renewable energy. In addition, the aging population is expected to drive demand for engineers who can design and maintain medical equipment.
The median annual salary for mechanical engineers was $95,300 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are many different specialties within mechanical engineering, and each has its own unique job outlook. For example, those specializing in automotive engineering may see a decline in employment opportunities due to the increasing popularity of electric vehicles. However, those specializing in aerospace engineering are expected to see an increase in job opportunities as the demand for new aircraft grows.
Job Openings and Prospects
Overall, the outlook for mechanical engineers is positive. There should be plenty of job openings for mechanical engineers that just entered the field. However, competition for jobs will be strong, as there are already more qualified applicants than there are available positions. The best way to improve your chances of landing a job is to obtain a degree from an accredited engineering program and to gain practical experience through internships or co-op programs.
What does a mechanical engineer do? Now you know that mechanical engineering is a branch of engineering that involves the design and develop of mechanical systems like gas turbines, electric generators, improving the performance of cars, solving mechanical problems and much more. Does it sound like a perfect job for you?