What Does A Mechanical Engineer Do? (With Career Advice)
Updated 26 January 2023
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Mechanical engineering is one of the more popular and broadest branches of engineering. Due to its widespread applications across industries, this branch of engineering offers enormous employment opportunities and various rewarding career paths for aspiring engineers. Knowing more about this career can help you develop a better understanding of the field and decide whether it is right for you. In this article, we answer “What does a mechanical engineer do?” and some other frequently asked questions about this profession.
What does a mechanical engineer do?
Mechanical engineers research, design, build and test various kinds of mechanical and thermal devices ranging from consumer products to engines and industrial machinery. They utilise their knowledge of mechanics, thermodynamics, mathematics, design and electricity to build highly functional and durable products. While their job duties may vary based on the industry and company, they typically perform end-to-end product development. The day-to-day job duties of a mechanical engineer often fall into the following categories:
Analysing problems: Mechanical engineers analyse a real-world problem with the goal of creating a mechanical device that might solve the problem.
Designing mechanical devices: They create blueprints and designs of the proposed solution using computer-aided design systems.
Developing product prototypes: They develop product prototypes to test designs and validate product hypotheses.
Testing prototypes: They perform various tests, conduct methodical experiments, gather real-world feedback, evaluate the prototypes and refine these prototypes further.
Supervising the manufacturing process: They supervise and help in manufacturing products to ensure successful outcomes.
Apart from these core job duties, mechanical engineers may also help the company with planning projects and estimating budgets, creating technical documentation and ensuring that the products meet industry standards and compliances.
What is the work environment of a mechanical engineer?
Mechanical engineers typically work in an office setting. They perform most of their work on a computer. This includes creating project plans, analysing data and designs or coordinating with team members. Occasionally, they may also visit project sites to personally inspect the work of others or to troubleshoot a device.
What is the salary of mechanical engineers?
The salary of a mechanical engineer may vary based on their job location, industry, employer, education and skills. For example, the national average base salary of a mechanical engineer is ₹16,515 per month, but in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the average salary is ₹24,127 per month and ₹24,362 per month, respectively. The salary of a mechanical engineer may vary based on their job profile. For instance, the average salary of a CAD Technician is ₹15,239 per month. The average salary of a maintenance engineer is ₹18,794 per month, while an instrumentation engineer may earn ₹25,592 per month.
Qualifications required to become a mechanical engineer
Most employers seek at least a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering (BTech), which is a four-year undergraduate program. You can enrol in BTech after completing your higher secondary in the science stream with physics, chemistry and maths as your core subjects. You may require an aggregate of 50% in these subjects to get admission into an engineering college. This may also require you to clear an entrance exam, such as the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) or Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT) and achieve the score required for the engineering college admission.
Upon successfully completing your degree, you can get a job as an entry-level engineer. You can also pursue a master's degree in mechanical engineering (MTech). With this two-year-long master's program, you can choose a specialisation, enhance your knowledge and get better career prospects with senior-level jobs and higher salaries.
Suggested: How To Become A Mechanical Engineer
What skills do mechanical engineers have?
Mechanical engineers have a combination of job-specific hard skills and excellent soft skills. Here are some of the most important skills that employers seek:
Problem-solving skills: Mechanical engineers use strong problem-solving skills to analyse and solve real-world problems. This may include creating a new product or improving existing solutions for better results.
Product design: Mechanical engineers require this skill to evaluate and create new products to meet the market needs. They may use various scientific methods to design products and solutions.
Mechanical engineering tools: Mechanical engineers have proficiency in using several engineering software and tools such as 3D printers, ohmmeters, callipers, cold forming presses, semiconductor process systems, vibration isolators, digital force gauges and flow meters.
Software: Mechanical engineers have expertise in using software programs like visual basic for applications (VBA), finite element analysis (FEA), computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and office suite software.
Creativity: Mechanical engineering jobs typically demand a significant amount of creativity to invent, design and develop products and solutions.
Mathematics: Strong math skills are necessary to execute various job duties, including data analysis and design. A mechanical engineer may use statistics, calculus and other mathematical concepts to design and troubleshoot successfully.
Communication: Mechanical engineers require superb communication skills to articulate and present their ideas and collaborate with other team members.
Teamwork: Mechanical engineers work closely with the members of the engineering and other cross-functional teams. They often use their teamwork skills to collaborate and perform tasks efficiently.
Read more: Mechanical Engineering Skills: Definition And Examples
Industries that employ mechanical engineers
Many industries require mechanical engineers, making these roles highly employable. As a mechanical engineer graduate, you may find a job in several industries. Here are some examples of industries that regularly employ mechanical engineers:
The automobile industry is rapidly growing and so are the job opportunities in the industry. Popular automobile brands and companies look for skilled mechanical engineers to develop innovative automobiles to keep up with advances in the industry. For instance, companies that manufacture self-driving cars and electric engines often hire mechanical engineers. As a mechanical engineer, you may work in a variety of roles, including research, design and manufacturing of automobiles and allied products.
Related: What Is Automotive Engineering? Definition And Career Tips
Architecture and construction industry
Employers in the construction industry often hire mechanical engineers to plan, design and install mechanical machinery and systems in buildings and properties. This includes elevators, ventilators, air conditioning and heating systems. Employers also hire mechanical engineers for large construction projects, such as offices, hospitals, shopping malls, airports and railway stations.
Consumer product industry
Mechanical engineers may work in the consumer product industry to create products that solve consumers' problems and help improve their lives. This industry demands engineers to build aesthetic and functional products as per the needs of the market and end-users. For example, mechanical engineers may design and develop consumer products like headphones, vacuum cleaners or air conditioners.
The aerospace industry involves research, design and development of aircraft and outer space machinery. As a mechanical engineer, you get to apply your knowledge of machine design, thermodynamics, physics and aerodynamics to build and improve machines and systems. Within the aerospace industry, you may get employed in government and private sectors, such as defence and military or private aircraft companies.
A mechanical engineer in the biomedical industry applies engineering and design principles to improve the healthcare system. The application of engineering knowledge may range from creating devices that directly aid the patients to tools and machinery that help medical professionals work more efficiently. For example, mechanical engineers may design and build clinical devices, robotic surgical machines, prosthetics implants or artificial valves.
Related: What Does A Biomedical Engineer Do? (With Salary And Skills)
Mechanical engineer job description example
Here is an example of a job description of a mechanical engineer with responsibilities and requirements:
Moon Tech Private Limited is currently looking for a dedicated mechanical engineer with extensive experience working for multiple industrial clients. Here are more details about the position:
Responsibilities of mechanical engineer
conceptualise, design and develop products
test and validate the designs and product hypothesis
create prototypes for testing and market demonstration
analyse data, blueprints and designs with software and tools
work closely with cross-functional team teams, including finance, operations and marketing to help achieve business goals
create process and documentation for the project
understand the industry and regulatory compliances and ensure its adherence
Education and skills requirements
bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering (Master's desired)
minimum three years of experience in the mechanical engineering field
minimum one year of experience in process development and design for manufacturability (DFM)
high proficiency in designing using CAD tools
exceptional analytical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills
self-starter, highly motivated with amazing time management and organisational skills
strong interpersonal, communication, listening and judgement skills
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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