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The engineering field requires an understanding of core concepts

including mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, material science, structural analysis,

and electricity. Mechanical engineers use these core principles along with tools like computeraided engineering, and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing
plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling
system, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics,medical devices, weapons, and others.

What jobs can you do with a mechanical engineering degree?

Find out what kinds of work mechanical engineering graduates
can carry out in which engineering industries or how you could
pursue a totally different career.
Mechanical engineering graduates are sought by employers in almost all sectors of the engineering
industry. These include:

Aerospace industry researches, designs, manufactures, operates and

maintains aircraft

Automotive industry designs, manufactures, distributes and markets motor


Chemical industry covers oil companies, chemicals manufacturers and the

businesses that support them (e.g. to build new plants or develop new
process technologies)

Construction industry designs and builds infrastructure, buildings and

buildings services (e.g. heating and ventilation)

Defence industry provides equipment, support and services for the armed
forces and national security

Electronics industry designs and manufactures components and complete

equipment for sectors from automotive to medicine and the military

Fast moving consumer goods industry manufactures products such as

household cleaning items, personal hygiene goods and convenience foods

Marine industry develops and helps operate vessels

Materials and metals industry activities include developing new materials
and manufacturing components or end products
Pharmaceuticals industry develops and manufactures drugs

Rail industry designs, constructs, manages and maintains rail system

components from trains and tracks to electrical power systems and train
control systems

Utilities industry helps supply power, water, waste management and


What precisely would my job as a mechanical engineering graduate be?

In many roles you will remain as a mechanical engineering specialist,

applying your skills and knowledge to those specific aspects of your employers
technical operations that call for this skill set. However, engineering careers in
some areas involve becoming more of a generalist, drawing on or developing
knowledge of other engineering disciplines and perhaps doing the same job as a
fellow engineer with a different degree background.
If youd prefer to specialize, there are numerous options.

The Rolls-Royce website outlines job roles in its part of the aerospace
industry, stating that: Mechanical technology engineers are responsible for
understanding the stress and vibration loads applied throughout the engine
and on specific components. They have a strong influence on power plant
design and work closely with the design community, materials engineers and
manufacturing. Although this area is largely analysis-based, mechanical
technology engineers are also involved in verifying and validating component
models through physical experiments and tests. This includes reviewing the
physical condition of post-test specimens.

Mechanical engineering graduates can also choose to work in the materials

and metals industry. Dr Andrew Smith, knowledge group leader at Tata Steel,
states that in this sector: Mechanical engineering graduates can be involved
in process technology and development, manufacturing or process
improvement. They could equally be involved in more customer-facing roles,
eg customer technical support (CTS) or on major CAPEX [capital
expenditure] schemes, ensuring the engineering is right. And this list is by no
means exclusive.

The oil and gas industry is particularly popular with graduates. Jen Veevers,
marketing manager, UK graduate resourcing at BP, outlines: Mechanical
engineers provide the technical decision making and engineering design input
that offshore engineers and technicians require to keep the equipment on the
platforms running in a safe and reliable manner. The equipment mechanical
engineers deal with ranges from power generation gas turbine engines (jet
engines) to pipe work, valves, and pressure vessels.

Similarly in the power generation industry, Paul Clarke, asset developer at

EDF Energy Energy Sourcing & Customer Supply explains: Mechanical
Engineers typically maintain the mechanical plant items (steam turbines, gas

turbines, pumps, valves, pipework, coal mills, fans, heat exchangers, coolers,
storage tanks, etc).

Jerry England, group asset management director at Network Rail, outlines

opportunities in the rail industry. He reveals: Mechanical engineers could be
involved in track systems, rolling stock and other rail vehicle engineering, as
well as with other mechanical systems such as overhead power lines which
although transmitting power at 25kV are largely a mechanical engineering

In the utilities industry, Neil Pullen, head of business planning for National
Grid's transmission construction division, comments: 'Mechanical engineers
might work with pressure systems (e.g. pipelines, compressed air systems in
power stations), corrosion, tribology, asset design or network design.

Non-engineering careers for mechanical engineers

A mechanical engineering degree is a great passport to a huge variety of non-engineering
graduate jobs, both within the engineering industry and outside it.
If you want a non-technical career in the engineering sector, a number of the larger employers run
graduate schemes in areas such as finance and management. You could also consider jobs in areas such as
supply chain or technical sales. If you wish, you could start your career in an engineering job, and then
progress into a more business-focused role at a later date.
Outside the engineering industry, many employers welcome mechanical engineering graduates
for their high level of numeracy and problem-solving mentality. In particular, IT companies and
technical consultancies are well worth exploring, especially if you have some programming skills, as are
patent attorneys. Your skill set will also go down well with recruiters for finance, management and
business or management consulting graduate schemes, while teachers with technical backgrounds are
always in demand.
Youll also find niche areas of seemingly unrelated professions where your degree background
will be a big help. How about training as a solicitor or barrister, then specializing in a technical area such
as intellectual property, construction or energy, transport and infrastructure? Or working in technical
publishing or science journalism?
Finally, remember that around 40% of graduate jobs are open to graduates from any degree
discipline. Your extra-curricular activities and transferrable skills developed while at university could help
launch your career in an entirely new direction.

IT Companies and Technical Consultancies

Management Consulting
Supply Chain

Technical Sales
Fire and safety
Technical sales and marketing
Technical writing
Fire and safety
Due to the growing importance of health and safety issues in the workplace, specific
responsibility for this important area has created a range of positions for engineers.
Graduates are employed as chief fire officers, plant engineers, engineering
consultants, inspectors for the Health and Safety Authority and site engineers.
There are opportunities in all major industries.
Occasionally, opportunities arise in the patents office for engineering graduates.
This is a public service position and is advertised through the Civil Service. The job
essentially centres around obtaining, protecting and granting legal monopolies on
new products and processes. The area includes patents for inventions, registered
designs and registered trademarks. Aspects of the work include drafting plans in a
patent specification, the patent application process, patent strategy, patent
examination and patent control.
The Irish governments commitment to furthering research and development
expertise has created more career possibilities in research and it is hoped that this
will continue. The implications for many engineering disciplines are exciting,
particularly for graduates with electrical, electronic, microelectronic, computer,
software, digital media, and communications and biomedical backgrounds.
Technical sales and marketing
Engineering graduates can find employment with manufacturers of specialized
engineering products such as medical diagnostic devices, polymers, software for
biotechnology, and technical and industrial machinery for production and
processing. So many specialized products are sold that there is a need for qualified
sales and marketing people who have an ability to thoroughly understand the
product/process. Employers include all large and small engineering companies.
Technical writing
Technical writing is an area that has seen some growth. A postgraduate qualification
is now available in Ireland. The work entails researching and gathering information
on scientific and technical subjects to produce manuals and guides for users within
industry and for consumers of products. The key skill is to make complex scientific
and technical information clear and understandable to those unfamiliar with it.
Potential employers are in engineering and technology-based industries, and
fluency in another language opens up further possibilities.