Mechanical Engineer Career Information
What a Mechanical Engineer does
The creation of mechanical engineers impacts all of us. They are the wheels of the world.
Mechanical engineers, design, develop, and manufacture every kind of vehicle, power system, machine and tool. Simply put, mechanical engineers are involved with anything that moves. In fact any type of machine that produces, transmits or uses power is most likely the brainchild of a mechanical engineer. There is hardly any aspect of life that is not influenced by a mechanical engineer.
As a mechanical engineer in this field you will research, develop, design, manufacture and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. You will work on power generating machines such as electricity generators, internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, and jet and rocket engines. You can also develop machines such as refrigerators and air-conditioners, robots, materials handling systems, and industrial production equipment's. Mechanical engineers also design tools needed by other engineers for their work.
Your work will also include designing and developing jet engines, steam engines, power plants, underwater structures, hydraulic systems, measurement devices, etc. You can also work in testing or product maintenance. As you see, mechanical engineering is the broadest and most diverse engineering discipline. Not many people can perform their jobs without mechanical engineers.
Mechanical engineering may be broken down into many sub-specialties. Some Mechanical Engineers work in specific industries, building and designing nuclear plants, or automobiles, or railway equipment, or aircraft. These mechanical engineers are sometimes called nuclear engineers, automotive engineers, railway engineers and aerospace engineers, respectively.
Other areas where mechanical engineers play an important part are in fossil fuel, solar, wind, geothermal energy, energy storage, waste disposal and management, environmental control, fuel research, and ocean engineering.
Some mechanical engineers also work in areas not usually considered to involve engineering.
Biomechanical engineers cooperate with physicians to investigate the workings of the body and to design aids and instruments for medicine. Other Mechanical Engineers, work closely with trainers and athletes, to design sports equipment. In the textile industry, they work with fabric designers and artists. In fact, it would be hard to find an area or object in every day life that was not in some way affected by a Mechanical Engineer.
The explosive development in the use of computers is causing enormous changes in the analysis, design, manufacture and operation of many mechanical engineering systems. This refers not only to recognized 'high technology' areas such as the use of lasers, automation, computer aided engineering and design, but also to a host of mechanical engineering systems related to transportation, automotive engineering, manufacturing, power generation, biomechanical engineering, materials behaviour in design, fuel alternatives, pollution control and many others.
Here's the good news. Mechanical engineers probably have the maximum number of employment opportunities. The most traditional careers in mechanical engineering are those working as design and manufacturing engineers for companies that produce a mechanical product, such as cars, planes or refrigerators. In the government sector some of the largest employers include the Indian Railways and the armed forces. In the public and private sector almost all industries require mechanical engineers. Maximum openings exist in the sectors of power generation, automobile, machine tools.
Mechanical engineering students can go on to work for international giants such as General motors, Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, General Electric, Ford and many other 'mechanical engineering' companies. In these firms you have the choice of entering the field, where you will design and manufacture products, or supervise teams of younger engineers. The other option is to enter the management track. Most of the large technical firms are still run by managers with degrees in engineering. General Motors, for instance, had a succession of mechanical engineers as CEO’s during the years when they prospered. The military research labs and NASA all employ large numbers of mechanical engineers.
Today, mechanical engineering has merged and inter-faced with the worlds of electrical, electronics, computer engineering. As a mechanical engineer you will find work in many industries and your work will vary by industry and function. Some specialties include applied mechanics; computer-aided design and manufacturing; energy systems; pressure vessels and piping; and heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning systems. You can work in production operations, maintenance, or technical sales as administrators or managers.
You can also work in the research and development team (R and D) of any industry. Here you will have to come up with optimal, efficient, accurate, cost-saving and safe designs of the product under consideration. If you are employed in the automobiles industry you be involved in the safety testing of the vehicle being manufactured, designing safe, crash and crumple zones for cars. You can also find easy employment in the Shipping Industry. Initially you will have to begin as an apprentice or a trainee in the Research and Development (R and D), Production or Quality Control departments. If the company finds you good enough you could be retained after a year as an officer. Managerial posts start coming once you have completed 7-8 years in this field. It will be a long way before you are promoted to the post of a General Manager of the firm.
Virtually every company that produces a product employs some mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineers are also involved in the computer industry in the design of hard disk drives, in the cooling of electronic components and of course in the manufacturing of all of the components of a computer.
The scope for mechanical engineers in manufacturing will only increase as the demand for improved machinery and machine tools grows and industrial machinery and processes become increasingly complex. The demand for mechanical engineers in business and engineering services firms is expected to grow faster than average as other industries in the economy increasingly contract out to these firms to solve engineering problems. In addition to job openings from growth, many openings should result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labour force.
Abilities & Traits Required
Strong technical ability, communication skills and high motivation are equally important characteristics for a successful engineer in today's competitive and demanding workplace.
If you want a job that challenges you each and every day, and provides you with a wide variety of career opportunities, mechanical engineering is an excellent choice.
In order to qualify as a mechanical engineer you need to have a BE Mechanical Engineering, BTech Mechanical Engineering or ME Mechanical Engineering, MTech Mechanical Engineering. There are both degree as well as diploma courses in mechanical engineering. If you want to make an early beginning you can choose this route. After the Class 10 exams you can do a three-year diploma course. After this course you have two options. Join an engineering firm straightaway or enrol for a three-year degree programme, which will enhance you job prospects.
There another way you could be a mechanical engineer. Instead of jumping into a diploma after Class 10, you could study science (Physics, Chemistry, Maths) all up to Class 12 and then enrol for a four year degree course in mechanical engineering. Both ways, the number of years equal to six years (10+3+3 or 10+2+4). The degree awarded will be B E (Bachelor of Engineering) or BTech (Bachelor of Technology).
The subjects covered in mechanical engineering are theory of machines, applied thermodynamics, machine design, fluid mechanics, refrigeration and air-conditioning, machine tool design, heat transfer, prime movers, pumps and compressors.
If you wish to study further after graduation you could choose between doing a Masters in mechanical engineering, like an ME (Master of Engineering), MTech (Master of Technology) or MS (Master of Science-if pursued in the US). All these courses need you to study for another two years. You can also do a Ph.D if you want to enter the field of teaching of advanced research.
Most engineering institutions in India offer a four-year degree course in mechanical engineering. Some of the Mechanical Engineering colleges and Universities are:
The IIT's viz; IIT Mumbai, Delhi (for under-graduate and graduate studies).
IIT BHU (Benaras Hindu University)
Veer Jijamata Technical Institute (VJTI), Matunga, Mumbai.
Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Andheri, Mumbai.
With a degree in mechanical engineering you can expect to earn a starting salary of about Rs 30000 –40000 or more a month. However your earnings will be much lower if you are just a diploma holder. Salaries differ with the years of experience and industry you wish to pursue.