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What is Engineering?

This is a question frequently asked by students and parents alike. Engineers are the builders of civilization. They deal with the creation and construction of things used by everyone in their daily life. Theodore Von Karman (a famous aeronautical engineer) said that “scientists study the world as it is, engineers create the world that has never been.” Engineers transform science into practical devices that help mankind and enhance the standard of living all over the world.

What is Mechanical Engineering in particular?

Mechanical engineers build machines for other engineers and ordinary people. They use their hands to convert scientific principles into working machines that reduce manual drudgery and make life easier. The growth of civilization can be directly tied to advances in mechanical engineering. From the invention of the wheel to present-day spacecraft, many of our most important technological breakthroughs involve mechanical engineering principles and practices.

How does mechanical engineering differ from other engineering such as civil, electrical or chemical engineering?

Mechanical engineers build machines meant to improve efficiency and productivity in every aspect of human life. Civil engineers use construction equipment designed and built by mechanical engineers. Electrical engineers depend on mechanical engineers to build electric motors and electronic devices. Chemical engineers need mechanical engineers to build chemical plants and refineries.

What does a mechanical engineer do?

Depending on his/her ability, academic preparation and interest, a mechanical engineer can find employment in research and development, design, manufacturing, service and maintenance. Intellectual ability is the deciding factor in being successful in these areas. Job opportunities are endless and the demand for mechanical engineers is steady. Jobs are available in a variety of industries such as aerospace, transportation, power generation, construction and agriculture machinery.

How should one prepare for a degree in mechanical engineering?

The most important preparation is to build up interest in working with machines from a young age. Curiosity about the operation of the machinery we use in our daily activities such as the automobile, bicycle or lawnmower is a sure sign of success in becoming a mechanical engineer.

What specific courses need emphasis in high school for success in college?

It is said that “mathematics plus physics is engineering.” Past experience in engineering education shows a clear relation between a strong background in physics and mathematics and successful completion of an engineering degree. Almost no one who is weak (or uninterested) in mathematics can succeed in getting an engineering degree or become a successful engineer.

What are the job opportunities are available to mechanical engineers?

A vast number of mechanical engineering jobs are becoming available due to retirement and advances in the careers of older engineers. In recent years, globalization has adversely affected some segments of manufacturing in the United States. But new opportunities are opening up due to new products coming into the market. America is still the most productive and largest economic power in the world. Globalization continues to raise the demand for goods and services from the rapidly growing middle-income/middle-class population all over the world. As the standard of living improves in the rest of the world, demand for products made by mechanical engineers is expected to grow with it.