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What is a Mechanical Engineer?

A Mechanical Engineer is a specialized type of Engineer. Also known as: Chassis Engineer, Chassis Systems Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer.

A mechanical engineer is someone who designs, develops, builds, and tests mechanical devices, including tools, engines and machines. They work mostly in research and development, manufacturing industries, and the federal government.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

Interested in becoming a mechanical engineer? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good mechanical engineer? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A bachelors degree is required to be a Mechanical Engineer. A mechanical engineering degree is preferred. Schools offering education in this field include:

    Columbia College | Columbia, SC
    Offers: Associates
    Asnuntuck Community College | Enfield, CT
    Offers: Certificate, Associates
    University of Bridgeport | Bridgeport, CT
    Offers: Bachelors
    Central Connecticut State University | New Britain, CT
    Offers: Bachelors
    Charter Oak State College | New Britain, CT
    Offers: Certificate
  3. Get Hired

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    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.

What does a Mechanical Engineer do?

Mechanical engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze problems to see how a mechanical device might help solve the problem
  • Design or redesign mechanical devices, creating blueprints so the device can be built
  • Develop a prototype of the device and test the prototype
  • Analyze the test results and change the design as needed
  • Oversee the manufacturing process

Mechanical engineers use many types of tools, engines, and machines. Examples include the following:

  • Power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines
  • Power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning
  • Industrial production equipment, including robots used in manufacturing
  • Other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators
  • Machine tools and tools for other engineers
  • Material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations

Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Computers help mechanical engineers to produce and analyze designs, simulate and test how a machine is likely to work, generate specifications for parts, monitor the quality of products, and control manufacturing and production.

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What is the workplace of a Mechanical Engineer like?

Mechanical engineers are the second largest engineering occupation. They work mostly in engineering services, research and development, manufacturing industries, and the federal government. The rest are employed in general-purpose machinery manufacturing, automotive parts manufacturing, management of other companies, and testing laboratories.

Mechanical engineers generally work in professional office settings. They may occasionally visit work sites where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention. Most mechanical engineers work full time, with some working as many as 60 hours or more per week.

What types of industries can mechanical engineers work in?

Mechanical engineers can find employment virtually anywhere where innovation takes place, and are sought out by employers within a variety of industries, such as: aerospace, automotive, chemical, construction, defence, electronics, consumer goods, marine, materials and metals, pharmaceuticals, rail, and utilities.

Mechanical engineers can also work in non-engineering types of jobs, both within and outside of the engineering industry. These can be in areas such as: finance, management, law, the military, government, medicine, research, technical sales, technical consulting, technical publishing/science journalism, and teaching. From developing a prosthetic leg to a new child's toy, a degree in mechanical engineering gives you a diverse choice of industries and projects you can be a part of.

What makes a good mechanical engineer?

A good mechanical engineer is an innovator at heart, and truly enjoys complex problem solving. They have excellent communication skills (both oral and written) and enjoy working with others as a team player. They are excited to be on the edge of technology, learning how to make things work more efficiently. They feel a sense of accomplishment when turning their ideas into reality and solving problems that better society. Mechanical engineers are naturally curious, innovative, creative, and practical, and have a desire to help people and the world around them.

What is some good advice for mechanical engineering students?

Becoming a well-rounded student with real work experience and good academic success is what will give you the optimal chance in landing a great engineering job. Note that top jobs will require both good grades and real engineering experience. Every summer that you're in university, make it a top priority to get an internship; there should be opportunities even for first or second year students.

When going to a job interview, be as prepared as possible by reading up on interviewer's techniques and what questions will typically be asked. How you present yourself at the interview is as important as the experience or grades you have. It is recommended to write out notes and study them before every interview, even practicing with a friend if possible.

What is it like being a mechanical engineer?

Depending on what field of work you go into will depend on what your job will be like. Mechanical engineering is a broad career that deals with mechanical issues, and engineers typically work with mechanical physics, vibrations, forces, rotation, and velocity on a daily basis.

In today's world, computers have changed how mechanical engineers do their job, allowing complex analyses to be completed in a matter of seconds versus the days or weeks of hand calculations that were once the norm. However, mechanical engineers will still use industrial production equipment, material-handling systems, and electric generators to produce a fully refined product, and using calculus and trigonometry is needed when confronted with the more complex and analytical portions of the occupation.

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Further Reading

  • ASK AN ENGINEER! – What Do Engineers Do Day-To-Day? www.wastedtalent.ca

    MOST of what engineers do can fall into four categories: Analysis, Problem Solving, Planning, and Communicating. Every engineer's day will consist of a different mix of these functions, depending on their role, level, industry, and interest... So I asked our panel: what is YOUR role, and what do YOU do in your day-to-day?

  • Day In The Life - Mechanical Engineer www.careercornerstone.org

    There is no typical day for most mechanical engineers. Engineering projects are multi-disciplinary organizational efforts often involving scores of people inside and outside the company.

  • What Is Mechanical Engineering? me.columbia.edu

    The role of a mechanical engineer is to take a product from an idea to the marketplace. In order to accomplish this, a broad range of skills are needed.

  • What Are Three Personal Characteristics Of A Mechanical Engineer? work.chron.com

    A mechanical engineer uses computer software programs to design or redesign various types of mechanical devices, such as engines, machines and robots. While technical abilities and math skills are vital to success, top mechanical engineers also possess certain personal qualities, including creativity and strong communication and problem-solving skills.

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How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

Interested in becoming a mechanical engineer? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good mechanical engineer? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A bachelors degree is required to be a Mechanical Engineer. A mechanical engineering degree is preferred. Schools offering education in this field include:

    Columbia College | Columbia, SC
    Offers: Associates
    Asnuntuck Community College | Enfield, CT
    Offers: Certificate, Associates
    University of Bridgeport | Bridgeport, CT
    Offers: Bachelors
    Central Connecticut State University | New Britain, CT
    Offers: Bachelors
    Charter Oak State College | New Britain, CT
    Offers: Certificate
  3. Get Hired

      Loading jobs...

    View all jobs →

    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.