Mechanical Engineer Job Description
A mechanical engineer is an engineer who deals with the design and production of machinery. Mechanical engineers design, develop, manufacture, operate, simulate, test, maintain and manage all kinds of machines and moving parts.
A mechanical engineer should be imaginative, creative, analytical, practical, patient, persistent and detail-oriented, and have the ability to design, read and interpret blueprints and schematics of mechanical systems. They should also have good knowledge of mechanical system principles and operations.
Famous mechanical engineers include Archimedes (Archimedes’ screw pump, block-and-tackle pulley, etc.), Johannes Gutenberg (movable-type printing press), James Watt (steam engine), Robert Fulton (steamboat), Eli Whitney (cotton gin) and Henry Ford (automobile assembly line).
Pursue a career in mechanical engineering if you have aptitude for mathematics and science, and interest in the design, production and use of machines and tools.
What does a Mechanical Engineer do?
Mechanical engineers may do some or all of the following:
- research and design mechanical systems to solve human problems
- improve the design of existing mechanical systems
- use computer-aided design (CAD) software to design and model systems
- write technical reports and proposals to clients or colleagues
- develop a prototype of the designed system
- run tests and simulations, evaluate the results and change the design if necessary
- oversee the building, installation, repair and replacement of mechanical systems
- keep up to date with advancements in the field
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does a Mechanical Engineer work?
Places of work for mechanical engineers include:
- Bio-technology companies
- Oil refining companies
- Automotive companies
- Aerospace companies
- Construction companies
- Chemical companies
- Engineering consulting companies
- Nano-technology companies
- Robotics companies
- Agricultural companies
- Government organizations
Mechanical engineers usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work in workshops, laboratories, factories, offices and building sites. There job may involve working around heavy machinery or at heights, or in noisy and dirty conditions. They may travel to attend conferences or workshops, or to inspect and supervise projects.
What is Required to Become a Mechanical Engineer ?
To become a mechanical engineer, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related discipline.
Secondary school students interested in studying mechanical engineering should take should take preparatory subjects such as chemistry, physics, computer, and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Differential equations
- Applied linear algebra
- Numerical analysis
- Engineering statistics
- Computer-Aided Design
- Statics & Structures
- Materials Science
- Mechanics of Solids
- Fluid Mechanics
- Heat Transfer
- Component Design
- Mech. Design and Manufacturing
- Stress Analysis
- System Dynamics
A mechanical engineer may specialize to become any of the following:
- Automotive Engineer - an engineer who deals with the design, manufacture and operation of automobiles
- Industrial Engineer - an engineer who deals with the design of efficient plants and procedures, and the management of materials, energy, and labor
- Materials Engineer - an engineer who studies the features and applications of materials used in science and technology
- Mechatronics engineer – an engineer who deals with the design and production of computer-controlled electromechanical system
- Power Engineer - an engineer who deals with the design, construction and operation of power systems such as transformers, generators, motors and power electronics
- Nuclear Engineer - an engineer who deals with the design, construction and operation of nuclear reactors
- Aerospace engineer - an engineer who deals with the science and technology of spacecraft and aircrafts
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Mechanical engineers need to have:
- scientific aptitude
- mechanical aptitude
- creativity and innovation
- diligence and persistence
- manual dexterity
- physical and mental stamina
- good memory
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good hand-eye coordination
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- time management and organizational skills
- leadership skills
- math, computer and programming skills
- technical drawing skills
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to design and conduct experiments
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with new developments in the field
- the ability to identify real world problems that can be solved by engineering principles and techniques
- the ability to apply the knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering to solve real word problems
- knowledge of scientific rules and methods
- knowledge of electronics/electrical systems
- knowledge of mechanical processes
- knowledge of thermodynamics
- knowledge of safety regulations and quality standards in mechanical engineering
- knowledge of machines and tools, including their design and use
- knowledge of software used in mechanical engineering such as Matlab, CATIA, Ansys, and LabView
Should I be a Mechanical Engineer ?
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