What is the Job Description of a Mechanical Engineer

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Being a mechanical engineer is just icing while having full knowledge of your job description, duties and responsibilities is the main cake.

As a mechanical engineer you have a duty to provide efficient solutions to the development of processes and products.

This ranges from small component designs to extremely large plants, machinery or vehicles. 

You also have the responsibility of working on all stages of a product, from research and development to design and manufacture, through to installation and final commissioning.

The fact is that most industries rely on a form of mechanical systems or another, and mechanical engineering is thought to be one of the most diverse of all engineering disciplines. 

Due to this, there are employment opportunities across several sectors.

But being certified mechanical engineer alone is not guarantee that you will eventuall get a job when you apply.

You need to present yourself as one who is fit for the job.

And one way to do that is by have an understanding of the job description of a mechanical engineer.

This is important because understanding your role in a business prior to being hired sends a satisfactory message to the hiring team.

So, if you want to stand out as the best candidate to fill in one of these many opportunities in this industry, then read this job description guide for mechanical engineers.

Who is a mechanical engineer

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A mechanical engineer is someone who designs, develops, builds, and tests mechanical devices.

Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and most diverse form of engineering.

It is a branch of engineering that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems.

As you will find out in this article, mechanical engineers are designers as well as producers.

As a mechanical engineer, you have the responsibility of designing power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, as well as steam and gas turbines.

In addition, you have the duty of designing power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

All of these and more describe who a mechanical engineer is.

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What are the duties and responsibilities of a mechanical engineer?

Mechanical engineers spend time producing specifications for designing, developing, manufacturing and installing new or modified mechanical components or systems every day of the week.

On a daily basis, they may also spend time analyzing mechanical and thermal devices, troubleshooting problems, determining solutions, and completing repairs. 

They also develop and test technical and mechanical prototypes of new designs and devices.

All these they do to ensure that they produce new mechanical prototypes, designs and devices that will ease human activities.

What do mechanical engineers do on a daily basis?

The following are the core duties and responsibilities of a mechanical engineer as you may find in their job description.

1. Mechanical engineers research and develop products

Mechanical engineers produce a lot of different products for different sectors of the economy.

For instance, they produce combustion enginess for auto industry as well as mechanical hearts for the medical industry.

2. They help to improve production processes 

It is part of the duties and responsibilities of a mechanical engineer to improve production processes such as those in large oil refineries, or services within buildings.

In this case, they produce drilling and piping equipment for the oil refineries as well as lift and other components for buildings.

3. A mechanical engineer helps to improve safety and reliability

Mechanical engineers design and implement cost-effective equipment modifications with the aim of improving safety and reliability.

4. They develop and use new materials and technologies

One of the duties of a mechanical engineers is to develop project specifications, new materials as well as new technologies.

They achieve this collaborating with colleagues, often including those from other engineering disciplines.

5. It is the duty of mechanical engineers to complex mechanical problems

Mechanical engineers discuss and solve complex problems with manufacturing departments, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers.

They achieve this by developing, testing and evaluating different theoretical designs.

Other duties and responsibilities of a mechanical engineer you can find in the job description

  • manage people, projects and resources – this will depend on your role
  • make sure a product can be made reliably and will perform consistently in specified operating environments
  • manage projects using engineering principles and techniques
  • plan and design new production processes
  • produce details of specifications and outline designs
  • recommend modifications following prototype test results
  • use research, analytical, conceptual and planning skills, particularly those in mathematical modelling and computer-aided design
  • consider the implications of issues such as cost, safety and time constraints
  • work with other professionals, within and outside the engineering sector
  • monitor and commission plant and systems.

Types of mechanical engineers and their duties and responsibilities

There are different types of mechanical engineers, and in the same way, their job description varies.

Here are some examples of mechanical engineers as well as their duties and responsibilities;

1. Automotive Research Engineers

This type of engineers try to improve the performance of cars by working to improve traditional features of cars such as suspension, and work on aerodynamics and new possible fuels. 

Generally, automotive research engineers focus on the development of passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles or off-road vehicles. 

They also design new products, modify existing ones, troubleshoot, and solve engineering problems.

2. Heating and Cooling Systems Engineers

Heating and Cooling Systems Engineers work to create and maintain environmental systems that help to keep temperatures and humidity within certain limits where they are needful.

They develop such systems for homes, airplanes, trains, cars, schools, as well as computer rooms.

In addition, they calculate energy losses for buildings, using equipment such as computers, combustion analyzers, or pressure gauges.

3. Robotics Engineers

A robotics engineer is a behind-the-scenes designer, who is responsible for creating robots and robotic systems that are able to perform duties that humans are either unable or prefer not to complete.

These engineers plan how robots will use sensors for detecting things based on light or smell, and they design how these sensors will fit into the designs of the robots.

Through their creations, a robotics engineer helps to make jobs safer, easier, and more efficient, particularly in the manufacturing industry.

4. Materials Engineers

Materials engineers attempt to solve problems in several different engineering fields, such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, nuclear, and aerospace. 

They do this by developing, processing, and testing materials in order to create new materials that meet certain mechanical, electrical, and chemical requirements.

Materials engineers study the chemical properties, structures, and mechanical uses of plastics, metals, nanomaterials (extremely small substances), ceramics, and composites according to the place of usage.

What are the education qualifications and requirements for the job of a mechanical engineer?

To become a mechanical engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. 

Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design. 

On the other hand, mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. 

They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. 

Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

You give yourself a unique edge by gaining a license to operate as a professional engineer.

And to do so you need to enroll to an accredited degree program that will grant you such certificatification.

In fact, most employers prefer to hire students from an accredited program therefore a more notable reason to enroll.

What special skills do you require as a mechanical engineer?

Besides the educational qualification and certification from different programs, a mechanical engineer still requires some skills to carry out his duties and responsibilities optimally.

Some of such skills a mechanical engineer requires include;

  • Effective technical skills
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Strong knowledge of CAD/CAM software and drafting procedures
  • Excellent prioritization and project development skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Teamworking skills.

What kind of companies employ mechanical engineers?

When it comes to employment, mechanical engineers can work in a vast array of industries.

Mechanical engineering usually comes to play in the production of almost all the products and services we see around us.

Some examples of employers of mechanical engineers include:

  • aerospace and automotive industries
  • the armed forces and the Ministry of Defence
  • construction and building services
  • energy utilities, including nuclear
  • engineering consultancies
  • government agencies
  • manufacturing industries
  • medical engineering
  • oil and gas industries, including petrochemical industries
  • process industries, including pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetics
  • the public sector, including the Civil Service, local authorities, hospitals and educational institutions
  • research establishments, both academic and commercial
  • sports engineering
  • transport, including road and railways.

How much does a mechanical engineer earn per year?

The salaries of mechanical engineers vary from company to company and some sectors attract higher salaries, according to demand.

However, here is a breakdown of the salary of mechanical engineers with regards to their level of experience.

Starting salaries for mechanical engineers, and for those on graduate training schemes, are in the range of £20,000 to £28,000.

With experience this can increase to between £25,000 and £35,000. At a mid-level for lead or principle engineers, salaries are around £35,000 to £50,000.

When a senior level is reached, such as chief engineer, salaries of £45,000 to £60,000+ can be achieved.

Please not that these salary figures are intended as a guide only.

Summary of mechanical engineer job description guide

Mechanical engineers play an important in providing efficient solutions to the development of processes and products.

These may range from small component designs to extremely large plants, machinery or vehicles. 

Whatever the case may be, a mechanical engineer that will last on the job is one who fully grasps the content of this job description.

Undestanding your duties and responsibilities as a mechanical engineer is important to perform at your best and keep this amiable job.

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