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Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

  I am still in school getting my degree in Mechanical Engineering and was curious to know what others think about where Mechanical Engineering is headed in the future. I see so much rapid growth in technology in the computer software and electronic industries that it got me thinking if I was in the wrong field! What kind of skills will be expected out of Mechanical Engineers? Will they be as useful as the other professionals?

David Mandis

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

Reading would be an essential skill.  Take some time and read some of these other threads.  Take some more time and read the site policies, as well.

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

Bit late to be thinking about that! Oh well, better late than never.

People have been predicting the end of mech eng since at least 1955. Most electrical projects fail mechanically. Almost any manufactured product will need a mechanical engineer on the plant or assembly side.

The other thing to bear in mind is that a mech eng degree probably has a wider scope than electrical engineering or other engineering degree (except possibly civil), so if you are happy learning from a book then you can pick up the details later. One word of advice - when solving mechanical dynamics problems, do NOT use electrical analogies.

However, you will find that in order to get interesting jobs you will have to move.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

I have a ME degree and used to wonder the same thing.

Look at it this way:  What are all those EE's and computer engineers gonna put their electronics into?  I guarantee they are not gonna design what it goes into unless they are extremely well rounded engineers ;)

From electronic packaging (our ME's do a lot of the circuit board routing/mapping and pinouts) to the equipment that builds it.  You still need an ME to design the components that go on a board (obviously working in conjuction with other proffesions but you get my point).  

We do a lot of Junction box work here and I don't even talk to our EE or computer guys.

But, as Greg posted if you want to work on something you find interesting you might have to move.

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

"One word of advice - when solving mechanical dynamics problems, do NOT use electrical analogies."

Feel free to use mechanical analogies when proposing solutions to an EE's dynamics problems, though.  It really messes with their heads.

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

My 2p...

In my view a mechanical engineering degree is one of the most versatile degrees going.  Get a good one and you can cherry-pick your career ... in almost any field that requires numeracy, literacy and intelligence.  A real banker of a degree.

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

What kind of skills will be expected out of Mechanical Engineers?

Common sense (with regards to technical stuff) and the ability to communicate is a start. When necessary; back common sense up with analysis/numbers/tests.

Will they be as useful as the other professionals?

define "useful", I consider this a personal trait, I know ME's that are useless...because they choose to be...if you want to be useful you will get involved with ME related things in which you will be able to see what you need to learn/know to be "useful" and you will teach yourself what you need to know to be "useful". (An example of this being this Forum)

This goes along with what TheTick stated but I was trying to be a little...nicer...
Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

I feel the big advantage with ME is that the knowledge you learn will take a long time before it is obsolete.  Software / Electronics technology will change almost every year, but heat transfer, static, dynamic, can be morphed into new situations from one fad to another.  The only big disadvantage is that your skills will not be the next big thing, however, you will have a big hand in developing the next big think.

"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?


One word of advice - when solving mechanical dynamics problems, do NOT use electrical analogies.


   Quite a few years ago, I was taking some electronics courses, and the professor was explaining resonance in AC circuits to us.  He ended by pointing out that AC circuit resonance is equivalent to resonance in mechanical circuits.  I think he actually said "circuits", but my memory may be faulty.  I have actually talked to an electronics engineer who said he was going to reduce vibration by controlling Q factor.

   How does one stop electronics types from using analogies?  I don't think mechanical types do this.


RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

It's probably because mechanical systems are often easier to visualize than electrical ones.

Although my degree was in Aerospace Systems, I have basically worked as a mechanical engineer.

I currently work on Atomic Force Microscopes related nanotechnology.

Mechanical guys here do mechanical design, thermal & vibration analysis (not much stressing as such but some), systems engineering, Project management ...

As others mention, electronic/electrical products still have a mechanical aspect.

KENAT, probably the least qualified checker you'll ever meet...

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

To all,

Asd a mechanical engineer with thirty plus years of service in several process and power assignments, I agree with most of the comments above.

However, there are two significant influences on careers and job satisfaction that have not been metioned.

They are the affects of geography and the timing of your specialty.

Geography has a significant affect on the dollars you can earn. Compare So. California vs. Vietnam as a software engineer.

Timing is also imporant. It is a grat time to be a mechanical engineer in the power industry.....it also was in the early 1970s.....other times....not so much...

My opinion only



RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

If you want to just push electrons around for the rest of your life become a computer/electrical guy, if you want to make real size things move, become a mechanical engineer.

Or if you want to design really big things that resist moving, become a civil engineer!

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

star to csd for epic generalizations.

RE: Where is Mechanical Engineering headed to?

I've been in mechanical engineering for quite a while.  I've seen a lot of my classmates move on to other fileds like selling insurance, management, business ownership, etc.

My advice to survival:

1) Don't get niched into doing one specialized thing or you will become obsolete in the job market.

2) Choose a lower paying engineering job over a higher paying one if it avoids niching.

3) Take advantage of free training that is offered.

4)Consider everyone to be your customer.  You never know who you might be working for.

5) Avoid a job that puts your skill set below that of a EE.  I pity MEs that have to live by the whims of EE design changes that they have no control over and don't understand.

6) Try to set a path of progression that maintains some kind of continuity and eventually you will be in very high demand.  Career changes are very costly -- try to stay out of that trap.  About 75% of your skill development goes to the scrap heap when you change fields.

7) Be willing to move a long way for the right opportunity.  Don't expect a job to come to you.


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