Ever wondered what it’s like to be a mechanical engineer? It is exciting and varied, but it can be hard to know what else to expect if you don’t know anyone who’s already in the profession.
Mechanical engineering is the creative use of science and mathematics to design things like mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers research, develop, build, and test to design and create tools, engines, and machines.
This article looks at the daily routine of someone in this exciting and challenging field. From developing new products to repairing old ones, we dive into a day in the life of a mechanical engineer.
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What is mechanical engineering?
Mechanical engineering is the study of motion, energy, and force. Engineers create safe, efficient devices to use in our everyday lives.
It is one of the most versatile branches of engineering, and it has played a vital role in developing many modern technologies. Mechanical engineers design and operate various machines, from simple tools to complex systems, such as automobiles and aircraft.
They also work on other projects, such as the development of medical devices, space satellites, and robots.
In addition to their work in design and manufacturing, mechanical engineers also play an essential role in research and development. They use their knowledge of mechanics to develop new technologies and improve existing ones.
As our world increasingly relies on technology, mechanical engineers are leading the way in its development.
The history of mechanical engineering
There are plenty of examples of how mechanics have been studied and developed worldwide, starting in ancient Greece, through medieval China’s prosperity (600 BC–300 AD), and during the Islamic Golden Age (between the 7th and 15th centuries).
Thereafter, mechanical design became widespread. The classic literary piece, The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, written in 1206 by Al-Jazari, is an excellent example of how people used to spread knowledge early on in an attempt to close the knowledge gap in the field of engineering.
Modern mechanical engineering began during the Industrial Revolution, alongside a growing demand for automation in the latter part of the 18th century.
This demand was followed by the development of steam engines, an evolution of mechanical engineering. Nowadays, there are many subfields related to mechanical engineering.
Job titles for mechanical engineering majors
Mechanical engineer was ranked number 29 of the highest paying majors; which means you will have a variety of job opportunities to pursue after graduation.
What a day in the life of a mechanical engineer looks like in detail, depends on their job title.
The most common job title is “mechanical engineer”, while others include the following:
- Design Engineer
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Aerospace Engineer
- Quality Engineer
- Process Engineer
- Industrial Engineer
- Biomedical Engineer
- Material Engineer
- Sales Engineer
- Electro-mechanical Engineer
- Systems Engineer
With a degree in mechanical engineering, you will be able to work in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, and healthcare.
What daily activities do mechanical engineers engage in?
As a mechanical engineer, there are several different daily activities that you may find yourself engaged in. Of course, the specific nature of your work depends on your industry and the company you work for.
However, a few core activities are common to most mechanical engineering jobs. One of your primary responsibilities will be to design mechanical systems, components, and products.
This will involve the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software to create detailed models and specifications. You will run simulations and tests to ensure that your plans meet the necessary performance criteria.
In addition to design work, you may also be responsible for manufacturing processes and quality control. This could involve developing assembly lines or overseeing the construction of prototypes.
Whatever your specific tasks may be, as a mechanical engineer you will need to use your technical skills and knowledge to solve complex problems.
What makes every day unique for a mechanical engineer?
No two days are alike for mechanical engineering professionals, which is why the career is so popular.
Below are two reasons why every day is unique for a mechanical engineer.
The diverse responsibilities of mechanical engineers
One of the main reasons why no two days are the same for mechanical engineers is the diverse range of responsibilities associated with the role.
These professionals may work on anything from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, to car engines, to medical devices. And within each of those broad categories, numerous subcategories must be considered.
As a result, no two projects are ever exactly alike, which helps keep things interesting.
Mechanical engineers also often play a role in several different aspects of a project. For example, they may be responsible for the design and implementation phases.
This means they need to think creatively to develop new ideas and critically analyze existing designs to identify potential problems. In other words, they need a broad skill set to be successful.
The importance of lifelong learning
Mechanical engineers need to have strong foundations in both theoretical concepts and practical applications. New technologies and methods are constantly being developed, so there is always something new to learn.
Mechanical engineers do not stop learning once they have landed a job, most of the time learning is an important element in the life of a mechanical engineer.
In addition to keeping up with industry trends, mechanical engineers must continuously deep dive into specific products or systems they’re working on.
After all, even small changes can have significant impacts on complex machines or systems.
A day in the life of a mechanical engineer
No matter what your day-to-day looks like, you can be sure that it will be both challenging and rewarding. Here is what it’s like to be a mechanical engineer.
Designing new products
One of the most common tasks for mechanical engineers is designing new products.
First, an idea is developed, either for a new product or for the improvement of an existing one.
Then it is time for research to ensure that the product is feasible and there’s enough demand for it.
After that, it’s time to start designing! This is where your engineering skills come in handy. You’ll need to create detailed plans and drawings of your product so it can be manufactured.
Throughout the design process, you’ll work closely with other engineers, designers, and marketing professionals to ensure that your product meets all the requirements.
Once your product design is complete, it’s time to develop prototypes. This is an essential step in the process because it allows you to test your design and ensure it works as intended.
Prototype development can be done in-house or outsourced to a prototype development company.
Either way, you’ll need to be heavily involved in the process to ensure everything goes according to plan.
Once the prototype has been approved, it’s time for production! As a mechanical engineer, you might oversee the production process from start to finish.
This involves working with suppliers, manufacturers, and quality control experts to make sure that each component of your product is up to standard.
It is also your job to troubleshoot any problems that may arise during production and find solutions quickly so that production can continue uninterrupted.
Managing a team of engineers
If you’re working for a large company or organization, you might also aim to become responsible for managing a team of engineers.
This involves delegating tasks, providing feedback and support, and helping your team members grow professionally.
It’s essential to foster a positive and productive work environment for your team to work together effectively to achieve their common goals.
The bottom line
When you work in mechanical engineering, you’re delving into a world of fascinating and far-reaching potential.
There’s plenty to explore in a day in the life of a mechanical engineer, from the design and analysis of electric motors to the motion of fluids under aerodynamic forces! And that’s just the beginning.
With mechanical engineering, you can open up new horizons regarding how we interact with the natural world around us.
After all, anything that involves movement or power is within your scope as a mechanical engineer.
So whatever your passion, there’s a way to make it your career!
Mechanical engineers use AG5 software
The AG5 skills management software is essential for any mechanical engineer looking to improve their team’s engagement and efficiency.
With this software, you can easily keep track of everyone’s certifications and ensure everyone has the required training at all times.
We would love to show you how AG5 works in a free demo. Contact us today to get started!