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Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue
3

Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

(OP)
Same question as is the topic headline.

Let's say that we are in the year 1930. It was great to be in aviation, because it was starting to evolve. At first military and in the 50 and 60 also passenger aviation.

Can we bet what are fields with same potential today? Additive technologies? Renewables? Something else that we don't talk a lot about?

Let's see what others think.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

If you're talking about an undergrad degree I think the age old wisdom of "the fundamentals don't change" is good advice. Focusing on really understanding core principles and learning new technologies as they come up is what sets you up for success.

With that said I think learning a programming language or two is very important because software and automation are only going to become a bigger part of engineering as a whole.

Senior Application Engineer
enginsoftusa.com

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

(OP)
No, undergrad is behind me and I agree with solid basic knowledge foundation. I'm just thinking where it would be smart to persist, because I'm still in that kind of starting age area. I know no one has an exact answer but it doesn't hurt to debate a little. If one is in computer engineering, I would say AI, blockchain and quantum computers maybe. But for mechanical engineering? I don't know. I'm thinking sometimes that we are just in the second lines now as mechanical engineers, maybe as a commodity. We are just helping to build periphery for new technologies that come from other technical branches.
Name me some things that came as new stuff solely from mechanical engineering. I don't know any. In the past you could say an airplane, a car, etc.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Machine Design. There are more people working on the design and manufacturing of machinery than any other industry segment, at least that's been my understanding for some time.

Disclaimer: My degree specialty was in Machine Design, and I worked 14 years as a machine designer, before gong over to the dark-side (software sales and support).

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

(OP)
Well, machine design is pretty broad term, don't you think? Machines that need design can be numerous...

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

I would guess the field of robotics will continue to grow as it moves from the industrial arena to more mainstream and public applications. But I'm just a ChemE so there's no need to take me seriously.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Materials knowledge is timeless.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Quote (JerinG)


Well, machine design is pretty broad term, don't you think? Machines that need design can be numerous...

Hence, my comment that "There are more people working on the design and manufacturing of machinery than any other industry segment,..." winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Geometry rules all.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Go with the path you are more interested in. Life can suck when you work in an area you are not interested in even though it may pay better initially. In the long run, I bet it does not pay better forever. You will tend to be more successful in area you have a true interest in.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

I concur with the comment about pursuing what you enjoy. Beyond that I believe the key to distinguishing yourself is to find a niche and spend 3-5 years thoroughly learning it before allowing yourself to move on. There are MANY "jacks of all trades" in every corner of the ME world but far fewer that are truly masters of anything. Within any given industry or product there are going to be many niches, so resist temptation to jump around. As to specific industries which I believe have good job prospects for the future I would say anything not overly impacted by politics. It might sound strange, but I'd recommend govt work or teaching for exactly that reason. Many others like transportation and the broader energy industry are facing massive changes in the foreseeable future driven by fanatical politics, so I'm not sure I'd recommend those.

Another thought I'd interject is that you should focus on where you want to live rather than what you want to do. A happy life is usually well worth the cost.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

(OP)
I agree with all of you. But here in my country there is not a lot of options too choose from. We have a small economy and not a lot of companies are very interested in making hardware products. If you master one area and somewhere in the future company no longer exists (I saw it happen many times in last 10 years), then your only option is to leave this place if you want to work on something similar. A lot of my generation and with same degree of education left abroad, where options are more open. It is also why I'm asking.

As it goes for quality of living, it's quite OK, but the price is that someone needs to leave his area of interest to stay here and find work in other options.

On the other hand flexibility is something we will need to get used to, maybe in bigger extents we are currently aware. That sadly means also jumping from area to area of work and constantly learning.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

"But here in my country there is not a lot of options too choose from. We have a small economy and not a lot of companies are very interested in making hardware products."

Sounds like a business opportunity for a local engineer.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

(OP)
There are always business opportunities and of course we are looking after them. But that usually requires some money and in hardware sector that means more than somewhere else usually.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

I'd say Automation engineering and robotics. If I could go back and do my career again I'd stick with automation; specifically machine tending. Now that robots and automating have come down in price CNC/machine OP's are being replaced with pick and place auto-loaders.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

I would amend Ron's comment. There will be a lot of opportunities presented that have various qualities. If you understand what you like in a job, you can position yourself into jobs and a career that has those qualities that you enjoy. If you limit yourself by thinking that "I only love designing rollercoasters or jet fighters" or doing whatever, you severely limit the opportunities to having a satisfying job or career. Sometimes, it makes sense to completely switch fields if you still get those things from your job that keep you happy.

15 years ago, I would not have guessed my career path. I hated the power classes I took during my undergrad. Now, I have a masters in power, my PE license, and have been working in power engineering for the last 12 years. I enjoy it and found from it the qualities that I need from a job in spite of the fact that I hated anything and everything related to power in my undergrad. Try to find what you like in a job and don't try searching for a specific job. That said, most positions I take now are in things I have been thinking about getting involved in for awhile already but I have an idea of what I need from a job to enjoy it.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

20 years ago I worked on Cell phones. It was excited because of the amount and speed of innovation.

Electrical components have a limited number of MEs but it is going to be a growing innovative industry.

Batteries and energy storage will definitely be an industry getting lots of investment and seeing big changes.

Energy production and delivery will be very dynamic. Same thing for transportation.

If you are looking for the birth of a new technology additive manufacturing is definitely growing but it is really a mature industry. Maybe a new type of mechanical simulation.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Medical devices would seem to be an obvious one. Heart stents and hip implants are expensive and need mechanical engineering.

My micro area is seeing grown in kinetic architecture (everything from crazy doors for billionaires to stadium roofs).

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

2
I pursued a career in robotics/automation after graduating. Worked for a bit doing robotics and machine design. A few years in I came across a startup developing medical robotics and made the jump to medtech even though the last biology course I took was in high school. Within a month they asked if I'd be interested in putting together concepts for an MRI machine with a visiting group of physicists. 5 years on, they have submitted for FDA/Health Canada clearance and the first emergency room MRI of its kind is being installed right now in Eastern Canada, and I'm immensely proud to have played a leading role in it.

I've since moved on to another med startup developing laboratory diagnostic devices. Pay isn't as much as some fields like energy but the potential to improve patient care has become my innate driver.

Point is, if you're lucky enough to find something that makes getting up in the morning and schlepping to work easy, the rest will take care of itself.

Regarding feeling like a commodity, that's a matter of perspective. I'm almost always the least educated one in the room (even though I have a master's degree), but they can't build their product without folks like me, and they know to treat me with the respect that should come with that.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

justkeepgiviner you are in a very good spot and it is good you recognise that.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

(OP)
Can anyone comment this sector of electric motors: Wheel hub motor?

One company here is looking for R&D engineer and I wonder what do fellow engineers think about technical aspects of the idea. What are the opinions about future applications of this? Pluses and minuses?

My own opinion is that this could be great for small vehicles like small motorbikes, scooters, etc. It is a little bit more questionable for larger vehicles. First thing that comes to my mind is larger unsprung mass, but I don't know what are losses for common everyday drivers in this area. I know that it matters much in competition driving, but it could be possible that plus points, like space and volume improvements could be more important than perfect driving experience for common every day drivers. Every comment is welcome.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Hydraulic/Hydro-static wheel-hub motors have been used for years in off-road construction equipment, but due to the low speeds, and in many cases, a lack of any sort of traditional suspension systems, the problem of unsprung weight has never been an issue.

With that in mind, at least when it comes to electric over-the-road vehicles, if there HAD been a practical way to overcome the issue of unsprung weight, it would have been done by now and we'd see wheel-hub motors being widely utilized already.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

Hub motors depend on the application and to a larger extent, the cost. There have been front-wheel-assist electric and hydraulic hubs available for semis for years, modern supercars started exploring the technology ~10'ish years ago, and even the offroad crowd has been playing with it as the ultimate traction control. In many cases however its still cheaper simply to add an electric motor to the standard differential/axle setup so that is the route taken.

RE: Which field of mechanical engineering should one pursue

If you like vehicles go for it. The experience on cutting edge R&D will be valuable even if the technology has limited application. Also knowledge of motors and gearing is in demand and can be applied to inboard motors.

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