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What are the key success factors to becoming a good mechanical engineer?

I want to become a mechanical engineer and would like to know what characteristics are necessary for success in that field. #mechanical-engineering

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Spruce’s Answer

Hey Austin,
The most crucial factor for enjoyment and success in any field is that you’re doing what you want to do and you’re enjoying doing it. If you really want to do mechanical engineering, you will succeed. If at some time during school you decide that it’s not right for you after all, of course you should re-evaluate. In my own case I was kicked out of school for low grades, and the ME department head suggested that maybe engineering was not for me. Deep down I knew that lack of motivation was my problem, not engineering. It took me a year, but then I went back and over the next two years raised my GPA from under 2.0 to 3.0 and then graduated. I really wanted that degree.

There are personal characteristics that help, too. It makes it easier if you’re a:
1. self-confident, logical, analytical, abstract, thorough thinker
2. articulate, convincing, motivational, oral and written communicator
3. problem solver, team-worker, team-leader
4. student, observer, learner, teacher of human nature
5. leader of all kinds of people.

These are the principal characteristics that I’ve used or wish I’d used during my 35 years. The first two are more related to what you do, and the last three are more related to how you work with others. The first one is just the logical, analytical mind set that most engineers use to solve problems. The last two are attributes that will help take you up the technical or management leadership chain. By no means are all these characteristics required. Your first job will be to determine if engineering is right for you, and the rest will come with experience and maturity.

Good luck.
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Gordon’s Answer

Be persistent, do not believe anyone, including plant managers when they tell you different and your data shows otherwise:)

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G Vishnu’s Answer


  1. Making sure your heart is in the right place
    First, choose your field of study out of passion, not because of the high salaries in the field. Mechanical Engineering is a technical discipline that requires attention and dedication and skills in science and economics. It will be hard to understand and you will have difficulties throughout your career if you don’t have “an eye for it”. Pragmatism, a problem-solving attitude and a knack for getting the most using minimum resources are great starting points for a career in mechanical engineering.


Discover 760 Bachelor degrees in Mechanical Engineering worldwide here!
2. Math and physics are your friends
Pay attention to your study and work the textbook problems carefully, so that you can understand the equations. However, don’t limit yourself only to theory. Studying mechanical engineering requires a high amount of analysis of the elements from the real world. It’s a plus if you’re not only good at math or physics, but you also enjoy understanding and solving problems in these subjects.



  1. Turning theory into reality
    Mechanical Engineering means understanding a problem, translating it into a mathematical equation, solving it and applying the solution to a real-life result. Focus on developing your skills to use formulas in your work, instead of just learning them.


Mechanical engineering degree.jpg




  1. Getting your hands dirty!
    In his or her free time, a great mechanical engineer does not turn down the challenge of fixing things. Engineers themselves fix their cars, bikes, boats or other complex systems. There has to be a practical aspect to mechanical engineering and not just paperwork.




  2. Knowing your skills!
    In order to become a good mechanical engineer, you need a strong eye for details and mechanisms, a strong background in physics and mathematics and, of course, a higher education degree in the field. Mechanical engineering also requires creativity and analytical skills in order to properly turn an idea into something useful.




  3. Getting the right education
    QS World University Rankings has developed a list with top higher education institutions providing mechanical engineering degrees in 2015. The rank is based on the institution’s academic reputation, employers’ reputation and the impact of research.




Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US
Stanford University, US
University of Cambridge, US
University of California, Berkeley (UCB), US
University of Michigan, US
Imperial College London, UK
Georgia Institute of Technology, US
National University of Singapore, Singapore
University of Oxford, UK
Harvard University, US
Don’t forget that you can also find plenty of good study options for mechanical engineering in many other countries worldwide.



  1. Picking the right specialization in mechanical engineering
    Once you settled your professional path, you will notice that you have a broad range of specializations to pick from and the opportunity to learn more about technology and the latest innovation trends. At first, you will be introduced to the focus points of mechanical engineering: statics and dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, stress analysis, mechanical design and technical drawing. After you gain the required skills, you can specialize in a certain field. Below you have some of the most popular choices students make, related to the field of mechanical engineering:


Aerospace
Automotive
Biotechnology
Design and computer-aided design
Cybersecurity
Energy
Human health
Manufacturing
Nanotechnology
Robotics
The entry requirements for mechanical engineering vary but all of them demand a background in mathematics, physics and, in some cases, chemistry. If you don’t fulfil all of the requirements, you can take a foundation year before the beginning of your Bachelor’s degree programme.


Some of the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering target subjects like materials science, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, manufacturing, machine design, and laboratory methods. You will be assessed through written exams, presentations, and individual or group research projects. Also, some students participate in research projects in collaboration with clients from the industry and can also be paid for their work.



  1. Building a successful career
    Career outcomes after graduating a degree in mechanical engineering involve research, design, development, manufacturing and testing of devices such as engines, tools or machines. You will constantly work with machines, electric generators, internal combustion engines and others. You have perspectives to also become an administrator or manager and to have a satisfying salary.


Study Mechanical Engineering.jpg



  1. Staying in touch with other specialists
    These are some of the databases and resources that students and engineers often use in their work. You will find information, projects, materials and fundamentals that will help you throughout your study programme and career.


American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
iCrank
MatWeb
Efunda
NASA Tech Briefs
10. A generous salary isn’t bad either
PayScale revealed some of the salaries that mechanical engineers have, which states that the average salary of earning 108,000 USD/year. However, it is said that there is no typical day for a mechanical an early employed engineer with a Bachelor degree is 61,100 USD/year.

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