You probably already have an idea about what to expect when studying Mechanical Engineering, but what about the jobs you can look forward to when taking such a degree?
If your answer is the typical "be solution-oriented, creative, and have at least passing knowledge of Math and Technology" you’re only at the base of the mountain. There’s still some hiking to do to reach the peak.
We’re here to fill in the blanks and cover the things that will truly make you stand out on the job market if you study a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. So be sure to read about these steps when considering undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering.
What is Mechanical Engineering?
Before we dive into the steps that will help you become a successful mechanical engineer, let's look at what Mechanical Engineering really is and what you can expect during your studies.
Mechanical Engineering focuses on the design, manufacturing, testing, and improvement of mechanical systems, which are used in virtually any industry you can think of.
One of the reasons Mechanical Engineering students choose this discipline is its versatility and the various career options available after graduation. You can work in fields, like construction, the automotive industry, robotics, the energy sector, and many others.
The type of courses you'll take will vary depending on the curriculum of your Bachelor's programme. In general, you can expect to study subjects like Engineering Service and Statistics, Engineering Economy, Materials Science, Technical Writing, Design & Automation, Thermodynamics, Mathematics, Engineering Analysis, etc.
To be a successful mechanical engineer, some of the most important skills you can develop are:
- Problem-solving: essential to solve all the complex puzzles that stand between you and the perfect mechanical product/device/system
- Creativity: the only way to come up with innovative solutions, see what others do not, and create something from nothing
- Communication: needed to work with your team, and even more important when explaining clients and users how to use your product or solutions
- Teamwork: mechanical engineers often work in groups, which helps them brainstorm ideas, compare suggestions, and find the right answer to a given challenge or task
- Math skills: solving mechanical engineering problems most often requires the use of mathematical principles, like Calculus or Statistics
1. Choose a good international engineering school to make a name for yourself
We live in a world where names sell. This can’t come as a surprise to you, but it does mean you have to be extra careful about what you include in your CV and how you can impress your higher-ups, even before they get to see your great mechanical skills at work.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd, you should orient your Bachelor’s or Master’s studies towards prestigious engineering schools. Some of the most renowned and top-ranked engineering schools in the world include MIT, UC Berkeley, or RWTH Aachen, among others.
But many other international universities offer good-quality Mechanical Engineering studies which are worth bragging about in your CV. If you’re looking for Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, some top picks you can make are:
- Queen's University Belfast
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
- Kaunas University of Technology
- University of South Florida
2. Make sure you pick the right country for Mechanical Engineering
Whoever you are and whatever you choose to do, your forming years are important. This applies to you too, aspiring mechanical engineer! The more cultures and people you get to know, the more you learn about different ways to find solutions to problems. And isn’t this what all engineers do?
And here’s a secret: the countries where most Mechanical Engineering degrees are available are also likely to need most Mechanical Engineers. Here’s how the offer for Bachelors’ in Mechanical Engineering looks like:
- Mechanical Engineering in the United States
- Mechanical Engineering in the United Kingdom
- Mechanical Engineering in Canada
- Mechanical Engineering in Germany
3. Start gaining experience as a mechanical engineer early on
Yes, universities matter. Yes, choosing a country which needs mechanical engineers matters. But you know what’s something employers value even more? Experience! Hardcore, getting-hands-dirty experience.
Start developing your Mechanical Engineering skills by doing internships, taking part-time jobs, volunteering, or shadowing professionals during your undergraduate degree. You’ll have the best chance to not only graduate with a great diploma, but also with practical insight about how to get the job done.
Consider this as an investment, seeing how you offer your time now, so you could exchange it later for money, power, and world domination. (Just joking!)
4. Take the example of famous mechanical engineers
Quick: what do Nikola Tesla, Rudolf Diesel, Karl Benz, and Henry Ford have in common? No, they’re not all “car parts”, but they are Mechanical Engineering graduates! They are some of those who managed to stay on top of their field and bring new and fresh ideas to the table.
The point is this: you need to know about the big names in your field and follow their methods, to avoid making rookie mistakes and get inspired when you’re stuck or everything seems overwhelming.
If you want to see how it is to study abroad, you can also check out the study experience of Madvesh, who studied Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. He says: “My primary focus was the international environment, teaching quality and a healthy learning atmosphere. RWTH Aachen has all of these and it was an easy choice to make.”
5. Mechanical Engineering careers and salaries
Mechanical Engineering jobs are not only profitable, but also in high demand. The number of available work opportunities is both stable and growing. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, in America alone, there will be a 4% increase in Mechanical Engineering jobs through 2028.
To give you a better idea about the potential income you can earn after graduation, here are the salaries for some of the most popular Mechanical Engineering jobs in the US, based on data from Glassdoor:
- Automotive Engineer - 72,320 USD/year
- CAD Technician - 47,445 USD/year
- Mechanical Engineer - 70,965 USD/year
- Nuclear Engineer - 77,120 USD/year
- Aerospace Engineer - 79,700 USD/year
- Civil Engineer - 76,540 USD/year
- Mining Engineer - 72,320 USD/year
Mission accomplished! You are now equipped with the key guidelines to go rock the world of Mechanical Engineering. And remember, if studying abroad is not an option, you can always check out online Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.
Best of luck, enjoy your studies and have an amazing career!