An Introduction to Mechanical Engineering and Its Career Prerequisites

Emerged during the Industrial Revolution (transition to new manufacturing processes) in 18th century Europe, the field of Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest engineering branches. It combines Engineering, Material and Natural Sciences to design, build and maintain mechanical systems. 

Examples of core studied modules include:

  • Mechanics: observes the motion of physical objects by studying the relationships between force, matter and motion. 
  • Thermodynamics: focuses on heat, work (energy transferred to or form an object by applying a force) and temperature and their relations to energy and other energy forms. 
  • Material Science: studies the properties of materials (such as ceramics, metals, plastics) and their applications for efficient manufacturing or construction. 
  • Structural Analysis: relates the effects of loads on physical structures (buildings, bridges, aircrafts) and their components.

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The CPD accredited courses are carefully crafted to help you gain in-depth knowledge on a topic of your interest.

Tools have also been develop to support mechanical engineers with their work these include:

  • Computer-aided design (CAD): computers are used for initial design stages, prototyping, subsequent modifications and critical analysis. CAD software are used to maximise time-efficiency and design quality. The final electronic file may then be shared amongst the team and simplifies manufacturing operations. 
  • Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM): relies on software and computer-controlled machinery to automate a manufacturing process. Essentially the machinery should be able to turn a raw starting material into a finished product, ready for commercialisation. 
  • Product life-cycle management: managing a product’s full lifecycle from its initial design, prototyping, manufacturing and disposal. It also encompasses the delivery service to customers or communities and relies on data and business analysis.

Mechanical Engineers are involved from the design to the commercialisation of an object (component, machine, system or process) which can benefit humans in health care, transportation or climate change for example. They ensure that the manufactured products are safe and reliable while meeting competitive demands.

Mechanical Engineers bring an idea to life at any scale (satellites to light switches) by using their creativity, technical and problem-solving skills. To enter such a career path, a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering is required as well as strong interpersonal skills including leadership, teamwork and conflict management skills. 

Precise tasks to expect will vary based on the domain you go into but will likely touch upon: conceptual design, data interpretation, prototyping, project management and customer service. Many domains require Mechanical Engineering expertise and allow you to specialise based on your interest including Aerospace, Biotechnology, Cyber Security, Health, Mechanics, Robotics. As such, jobs are plentiful and in high demand. Society relies on the advances in the field to positively impact or improve their lives.