Studying mechanical engineering or thinking about it as a career? The opportunities are vast and exciting.
You’ll have a natural aptitude for maths and numbers and when this is combined with a passion for design in the broadest sense, you’ll be ideally placed to pursue a career in engineering. The work can range from designing aircraft and robots to developing ways to make energy use more efficient and cleaner, and even sound proofing or artificial intelligence.
As the degree courses offer a wide range of specialisations, the career fields are just as broad. There will be opportunities to contribute towards modern technology and be at the cutting edge of innovation. Having studied statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, stress analysis and mechanical design, you could go onto specialise in something like vehicle design or nanotechnology.
Mechanical engineering is a combination of many areas including maths, technology, business and management and science which then opens up a very wide range of career paths across a broad spectrum of industries. Within the various sectors there will be different roles including:
The more obvious careers which are directly related to your degree will be things like: Aerospace engineer, Automotive engineer, Contracting civil engineer, control and instrumentation engineer, maintenance engineer, mechanical engineer and nuclear engineer.
Other engineering sectors include:
Here you could be designing and building or servicing the mechanical and electrical systems that are used in rolling stock and train engines. Alternatively you may be looking at designing new engines or carriages.
You can be involved in the development and improvement of cutting edge technology – roles will range from research and development, to design and testing as well as maintenance. If you think about all the machinery used in hospitals and research laboratories, the scope is vast.
Here there will be opportunities within the military to work on design, construction and the maintenance and repair of all kinds of military vehicles and equipment. As an incorporated engineer, you would be working and specialising in the day to day management of any engineering operations. If you work at the chartered level you could have a more strategic role which will involve planning, research and development as well as within management roles looking at streamlining for example.
Robotics engineering works across the agricultural, military, medical and manufacturing industries – designing new and improved robots and maintaining industrial robots. There are many hands-on technical roles as well as more inventive and creative roles in experimental areas – the choice is yours!
However, you will be just as employable in the following roles and be able to use your mathematical and analytical mind: corporate investment banker, mining engineer, patent attorney, production manager, technical sales engineer or a water engineer.
Try and get a work placement during your degree or in one of your summer holidays – this way you’ll find out first hand about the industry and you can make an informed choice about what to do next. Network while you are on a placement and make as many useful contacts as you can. Word of mouth is still an excellent way to find out about new roles.
And if none of that appeals, you will have gained strong mathematical skills and shown an aptitude for analytical problem solving which prepares you for a role within all kinds of industries and roles from IT support to the finance industry. The choices are broad so go out and find out where you think you’ll be happiest working – offer to work your holidays in different places so that you have a bank of experience and hands on practical experience.
More information can be found at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers - http://www.imeche.org
Good luck from the mybrink team!