Last edited 08 Feb 2017

Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers develop processes and products ranging from small mechanical components to large plant, machinery and vehicles. They are involved in all stages of the project life cycle from design through to testing and final manufacture.

Mechanical engineers may be employed by a variety of sectors including:

  • Transportation organisations including road and rail.
  • Aerospace and automotive industries.
  • Armed forces.
  • Oil and gas, including petrochemical industries.
  • Government agencies.
  • Manufacturing and industrial producers.
  • Construction industry.
  • Engineering and consultancy firms.
  • Medical engineering.
  • Research establishments.
  • Sports engineering.

Mechanical engineers work on a variety of projects from research and development into products, to improving industrial production systems, and designing services in buildings.

The typical activities of mechanical engineers might include:

  • Designing and implementing equipment to help reduce costs, and improve reliability, safety and production.
  • Developing project specifications.
  • Solving problems with manufacturing departments, sub-contractors, suppliers and employers.
  • Developing, testing and evaluating designs.
  • Ensuring products can be produced consistently.
  • Managing projects using engineering principles and techniques.
  • Planning and designing new production processes.
  • Monitoring and commissioning plant and systems.
  • Developing designs.
  • Recommending modifications following testing.
  • Working in multi-disciplinary project teams.

Mechanical engineers require technical expertise and often, project management skills and commercial awareness.

Generally a degree is required in an engineering discipline such as:

A relevant professional body will support career progression, such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) or the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In order to become a chartered engineer (CEng), postgraduate qualifications are often required. It is possible to become an incorporated engineer (IEng) with a degree level qualification.

To see some of the modules studied as part of an engineering degree course, see Construction engineering management course essentials.

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