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How and why did you choose mechanical engineering?

The reason I want to pursue mechanical engineering is because of my time spent with Girls Who Code over the summer. I spent seven weeks learning to code and I really like what I can do. I know that I have a big interest in robots and I looked into mechanical engineering and am considering that career path. Now, I am wondering what motivates someone else to go into that field. I would like to know what could cause someone else to pursue this career path and if I can go for it too. #career #mechanical-engineering #career-path #help #advice

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Saeid’s Answer

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Hi Gloria,


I remember back in 08 when I was in your shoes and deciding whether Mechanical Engineering (ME) was the right choice for me. I think the most important reason for me to choose ME was my interest in math and physics specially topics like Newtonian mechanics, thermal sciences and electronics. In my view ME is the most diverse major among engineering fields because you get exposure to a lot different fields and that's why you see mechanical engineering working in a very diverse field. I have classmates who are right now working in the following fields: Designing speakers for Amazon Alexa, Testing and designing tires for NASCAR, building virtual reality platforms, designing control systems for commercial planes, writing codes and protocols for autonomous cars, make airplane jets, and one of my friends is right now in the NASA astronaut program.


When I started my undergraduate degree, like most of my classmates I had little to no programming skills but after spending a few weeks in the classroom I was able to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8197yrL7_p8 (the goal was to stop the vehicle between the yellow tapes on the track). That was 6 years ago and actually today I am still learning to code and can tell you that being able to code will make you a VERY good mechanical engineer.


I personally work specifically with Ferrari engineers to help them design hybrid sports cars. In my research, I exclusively work on writing codes to simulate physical systems in a car using object oriented programming languages and I think if you get to become a mechanical engineer with good coding skills, you will have a very successful career. Majority of mechanical engineers graduating right now do not have good coding skills and that can be very important factor when looking for jobs and being successful.


ME is very interesting field and after you become an engineer, the skill sets that you have can be used in a very diverse field that is going through a very exciting period of innovation. I am personally going to graduate with my master's degree in a few months and after graduation I will get to work on developing systems that in the very near future make driver less cars an everyday reality.


I leave you with a final note. If you choose today to pursue ME, you will get exposure to a very diverse field and as you take more classes you will develop a passion for one or two topics and you get to pursue your passion. That's what I loved the most about my undergraduate studies and I think as long as you choose to challenge yourself to improve your coding skills, you will have a very satisfying career.


Best,


Saeid

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Omar Rebhan’s Answer

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Hi Gloria,


It's you again, awesome!


Learning to code is a great resume booster, I'm glad you're on that route. Even though mechanical engineering as field require the full knowledge of programming, the reality is that you'll find yourself coding at some point at college or work. You need to explore mechatronics by the way.
I was part of a senior design team called the intelligent ground vehicle team at Cal State Northridge, I learned to do simple codes here and there and I learned a software that is absolutely great for robotics and machine control, you might know it but it's called LabVIEW
Check this out from when we won 1st place prize nationally in 2011:


http://www.ecs.csun.edu/ecs/enews/?x=entry:entry111120-164207


I chose mechanical engineering because I wanted to be part of the field that made our daily lives so much easier and cooler too. Cooler both figuratively and literally since mechanical engineers invented, designed and build air conditioning, cooling and heating :) but that's not our topic.
When I looked around me, I saw different industrial designs left and right when I was at home or outside. Every single industrial device you can think about was designed/engineered by mechanical engineers, Just think about it. Even electronic devices like microwaves for example, you'll find out that mechanical engineers have designed the enclosure and how everything fit together, that's not the electrical engineers job most of the time; they just need to do the electrical side of the design, the rest is mostly mechanical engineering work. So in short, I wondered early in my high school years about the field that would give me the biggest chance to make great products and share them with others. That's why I chose mechanical engineering.


So first I'd say decided on what do you like first and it doesn't have to be one type of mechanical engineering subfield, it could be mechanical design, controls, thermofluids, aerospace, robotics, mechatronics, nanotech, ...... etc or any combination. When you find what you like, ask yourself why you like it and that would be the reason why you would study it and choose it as career path.


Best of luck!
Omar

Thank you comment icon First off thank you for responding again. Also, this all sounds really intriguing. I would definitely see robotics as something I would be really interested in for mechanical design. I like it because I want to create something that would definitely be useful and worthwhile for people. I would study it because I already have a good understanding of code and I can see myself programming the robot to do what I want it to do. I can see myself helping to come up with the design as well. I believe this is a solid career path to have right now. Gloria
Thank you comment icon It was my pleasure. Have fun with it and enjoy the journey. Omar Rebhan Alshahrani
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