Is a Mechanical Engineering course worth it?

Is a mechanical engineering course worth it?

A career in mechanical engineering allows you to build a better future for yourself, and the world. This explains why 89% of engineers have high levels of job satisfaction and would choose the same career path again. Mechanical engineering is a secure career with a bright, long-term future. There is already a shortage of qualified engineers, meaning higher salaries and more options for those who are qualified. 

Career options

Natural career paths following a mechanical engineering degree:

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • CAD technician
  • Contracting civil engineer
  • Control and instrumentation engineer
  • Maintenance engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Nuclear engineer

 

Career paths using transferable skills:

  • Acoustic consultant
  • Clinical technologist
  • Corporate investment banker
  • Land-based engineer
  • Mining engineer
  • Patent attorney
  • Production manager
  • Technical sales engineer
  • Water engineer

These should only be used as a guide. Many employers will accept applications from students that have studied various degrees. 

Work experience

Having work experience before applying for a role is valued highly by employers, especially experience directly related to a mechanical engineering role. Some mechanical engineering courses may even include a year’s work placement, where you’ll be able to learn industry skills, develop your commercial awareness and gain insight into what a career in mechanical engineering would look like. 

If your university course does not offer a year’s work placement, then you may want to consider applying for voluntary work or a summer internship – this will show that you are passionate and committed to your chosen career. This will also provide you with the opportunity to network and build a list of contacts who may become useful in the future. You may also have the chance to shadow engineers in different parts of a business; this will help you to decide which area of engineering would suit you best.

Typical employers

As a mechanical engineer you will be involved with the design, development, installation, operation and maintenance of any technology or apparatus that has moving parts. Therefore, there will be many opportunities available to you in various sectors. Some of these include:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Automotive engineering
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Medicine
  • Railway engineering
  • Sport.

You could even be involved with tackling some of the biggest issues that the world is facing such as climate change, cyber security, ageing populations, food, clean water and energy. There are also opportunities to work abroad in some unique settings such as oil rigs, deserts, the Antarctic and the deep sea – the possibilities really are endless.

How to enhance your CV

A degree in mechanical engineering will develop a variety of your skills including maths, science, technology, business and management. 33% of the world’s most successful companies have a leader with a background in engineering (e.g. Microsoft, Amazon and General Motors). Engineers are valued for their transferable skills. Once completing your mechanical engineering degree, you will be:

  • Able to solve problems using both logic and creative and innovative approaches
  • Numerate and highly computer literate, with excellent analytical skills
  • Able to plan and prioritise, work to deadlines and under pressure
  • Cost/value-conscious and aware of the necessary social, cultural, environmental, health and safety, and wider professional responsibilities
  • Capable of careful attention to detail, exercising good judgement and accepting responsibility
  • Able to communicate with others and work in multidisciplinary teams.

Further study

Mechanical engineers have lots of options available to them for career progression. 85% of engineering graduates go on to study further because with more experience and qualifications comes more responsibility and higher salaries.

Most will enrol on an MEng programme for their first degree. These are enhanced Masters’s programmes of study which are over four years. Others will enrol on an EngD which is an industry-based PhD which combines Doctoral-level research with training in practical skills. This is a popular alternative as you will usually be placed with industrial sponsors and the possibility of being employed by that sponsor after completing the programme is high.

What are mechanical engineering graduates doing?

You will likely find employment fairly quickly with a mechanical engineering degree – an impressive 35% are employed as engineering professionals just 15 months after graduating. Other mechanical engineering students have chosen career paths in IT (5%), science, engineering and production technicians (3%) and metal machining, fitting and instrument-making trades (2%).

Related Courses

MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering 

MEng (Hons) / BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering focuses on industry-relevant topics to reflect the needs of today’s employers, allowing you to build a successful career in the design, engineering and manufacturing sectors.

You will gain knowledge of scientific and engineering principles and take a flexible approach toward new ideas and developments. You will hone your practical skills by using our industry-standard equipment and software for computer-aided engineering design, manufacture and analysis and failure investigations. Increased emphasis is placed on sustainable engineering – establishing you as an attractive candidate to prospective employers.

MSc Mechanical Engineering

Our MSc Mechanical Engineering is intended for mechanical engineering graduates (and engineering graduates from related disciplines, e.g. aircraft, aeronautical, product design engineering) and will deepen and widen your knowledge and understanding of mechanical engineering specialist topics.

In addition to enhancing your technical skills and knowledge, the MSc in Mechanical Engineering will allow you to develop your interpersonal and transferable skills further. These will allow you to function in an advanced engineering environment as a senior engineer and manager.

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