What to do after a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering?
If you love to know how things work and invent new products, a career in mechanical engineering may be perfect for you. Popularly known as the “mother of engineering,” mechanical engineering relates to concepts such as mechanics, thermodynamics, robotics, kinematics, structural analysis, fluid mechanics, and many others. These concepts are applied in the process of designing customised manufacturing units, different types of automobiles, aircraft and aerospace parts, and anything and everything else you can think! This article answers all your questions about what the job of a mechanical engineer entails, and the career paths available for you after a BTech/ BE in mechanical engineering.
What is the job description of a mechanical engineer?
So, what does a mechanical engineer do: Hint: the answer is in the name of the job itself. As you can probably tell, mechanical engineers create, structure, test, and improve mechanical devices such as tools, engines, and machines. This includes everything from refrigerators to the parts of a Boeing aeroplane. Because mechanical engineering has such vast applications, mechanical engineers work everywhere — in engineering services, research facilities, manufacturing industries, and various government bodies. Typically, a mechanical engineer will spend most of his or her time in the office, but occasionally on the field as well, often partnering with architects, computer scientists, product designers, and managers. Apart from making and testing prototypes of machines and equipment, mechanical engineers also supervise the installation and maintenance of machinery, as well as troubleshooting problems with machines. Tech-y in nature, mechanical engineers, often use computer-aided design (CAD) packages to produce blueprints that contain the specifications for their projects. They also work on evaluating and testing designs and redesigning and upgrading systems.
Is mechanical engineering a good career for me?
Because of its broad applications, mechanical engineering is a great career option. Every industry from aerospace to robotics needs mechanical engineers and pays well for them. For a mechanical engineer fresher, the starting salary ranges upwards from Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000 a month. If you have an aptitude for physics and the following qualities, mechanical engineering is also a career path that will keep you fulfilled. Here are a few more skills you’ll need for a career in mechanical engineering:
Innovative skills. Since mechanical engineers design new machines and equipment, they need to be inventive and innovative.
Communication skills. Like said earlier, a mechanical engineer’s job involves frequent collaboration and teamwork. The ability to articulate different approaches and listen to varied perspectives is an essential skill set for mechanical engineers.
Computational skills. As a mechanical engineer, you will need to use many advanced maths subjects, such as linear algebra, calculus, and stats to analyse, create, and test equipment. An aptitude for maths and computation is thus a must for mechanical engineers.
Skills to work under pressure. The job of a mechanical engineer often involves developing complex technical solutions under a deadline. Therefore, you must be able to work in an intense environment to succeed as a mechanical engineer.
Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers need to apply scientific principles and theories to design and create new products. Thus, the job requires strong problem-solving skills.
What are my career options after mechanical engineering?
Given its vast applications, the list of mechanical engineering career options is unending, but let’s take a look at the top three:
1. Go in for further studies
Mechanical engineering graduates can find work in various sectors right after graduation, but pursuing an advanced course opens avenues for better employment opportunities. Here are four popular further study options in core engineering, as well as non-core careers, after a BE in mechanical engineering:
a. MTech in Mechanical Engineering
The logical “next-step” advanced course for a mechanical engineer is, of course, an MTech in mechanical engineering. You can pursue an MTech in mechanical engineering from prominent institutes such ss the IITs, NITs, BITS, and many other regional colleges. This is a 2-year full time program which you can pursue after your BTech/ BE. Engineering graduates who are working also have the option to pursue a 3-year-long part-time regular program. Admission for MTech courses depends either on the grades in your bachelor’s degree or on the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) score and an interview. In your MTech course, you can specialise in mechanical engineering design, industrial and production engineering, thermal engineering, automobile engineering and more.
Where: SRM University Amravati, Andhra Pradesh, all major government institutes such as the IITs and NITs
Job prospects: Work with multinational manufacturing corporations; teach at an engineering college; work as a consultant in transportation, logistics and automobile engineering firms; work with the software divisions of IT giants like IBM, which support automobile engineering conglomerates like Ford and other heavy machinery manufacturing companies; work as navigating officers or marine engineers in naval companies.
Starting monthly salary: Rs 35,000 and above
b. MTech in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are extremely promising upcoming broad disciplines that seek to simulate numerous innate human skills such as case-based reasoning, data analysis, fuzzy logic, decision-making, natural language processing, language translation, pattern recognition, and speech recognition. In addition, machine learning is an AI subset that enables a system to learn and improve from experience. The advantage of artificial intelligence and machine intelligence technologies is that they bring more complex data-analysis features to existing applications. Other related disciplines are cyber security and data science. Entrance to all such MTech courses may require GATE.
Where: SRM University, Amravati, Andhra Pradesh
Job Prospects: Work at space research organizations like ISRO; work as a research analyst with companies like Google; work as an AI researcher with institutes like the IITs.
Starting monthly salary: Rs 50,000 and above
c. MTech in Robotics
Another great advanced study course for mechanical engineering graduates is robotics. Robotics involves the scientific study of the design and manufacturing of robots, which nowadays are used in fields as diverse as customer service to surgery. This branch of engineering has a lot of potential applications, providing many career opportunities for robotic engineers. May require GATE.
Where: The IITs, Jadavpur University (Kolkata), the University of Hyderabad
Job Prospects: As a robotic engineer, you can work with space research organisations, in industries which manufacture microchips, in the defence sector, in medical and automobile industries and many more. Once you’ve completed your MTech, you can take jobs in manufacturing, maintenance, research of nuclear power plants and many other areas. Due to the advancement of technology, robotics technology is used in space exploration, power plant maintenance, the automobile industry, and finding new petroleum and crude oil sites. Admissions to an MTech in robotics requires you to pass the GATE exam.
Starting monthly salary: Upwards of Rs 35,000-40,000
d. Masters in Business Administration
Finally, a popular course for mechanical engineering graduates is a postgraduate diploma programme in management or an MBA from a reputable business school. If you’re interested in non-core engineering career prospects, an MBA is a great bet for you! You’ll be required to pass the CAT (combined aptitude test) or various other entrance exams to gain admission into an MBA programme. The combination of an engineering degree and an MBA is very helpful in getting jobs in managerial positions. An MBA offers a wide choice of career options.
Where: All the IIMs; XLRI, Jamshedpur; Indian School of Business, Hyderabad; various government and private institutes
Job prospects: Work as an analyst, executive, or manager with Indian and multinational corporations.
Starting monthly salary: Varies greatly, depending on your graduating discipline and institute. Average starting monthly salary is in the range of Rs 50,000 to upwards of Rs 1,00,000.
2. But what if I want to get a job right after my Bachelors in Mechanical engineering?
Go for it, because there are several well-paying job opportunities for mechanical engineering freshers. In fact, getting a few years of work experience before going in for advanced studies is a good idea, because it equips you to deal with real-world conditions. Let’s take a look at four types of mechanical engineering jobs for freshers in the private sector, and the starting salaries you can expect:
a. Auto research engineers work to better the performance of cars. These engineers work to improve the traditional features of cars such as suspension, and they also work on aerodynamics and possible new fuels. An automotive engineer makes and improves equipment and structures related to automobiles. As an automotive engineer, you can work for a company that manufactures original equipment or for a company that manufactures cars, such as Ford, Volkswagen, etc. Since you will be designing a large part of your work on a computer using CAD software, expertise in design software is essential. But don’t think it is just a desk job; a lot of automotive engineering involves hands-on work, such as tests that are carried out to try out new technologies. The starting salary for an automotive engineer in India is Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month, while the median salary can easily be upwards of Rs 60,000 per month.
b. Heating and cooling systems engineers work to design and support environmental systems wherever temperatures and humidity must be kept within certain limits. Where are such systems most needed? Think of environments like airplanes, trains, cars, schools, hospitals, and even computer rooms. The starting salary for a heating and cooling system engineer in India is Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per month, while the median salary can easily be upwards of Rs 60,000 per month.
c. Simulations engineers play a vital role in complex engineering projects. As the job title implies, the work of a simulation engineer involves testing the performance, safety, and durability of any piece of equipment in a virtual environment that simulates or mimics real world conditions. Since testing in real-world conditions can be extremely expensive, simulation offers a distinct cost-advantage for companies. Additionally, with the help of simulation, a manufacturer/ engineer can understand the behaviour and life cycle of a product before even building a prototype. Thus, simulation solves problems, saves time and money, and improves product and product development process. Apart from tech giants like Bosch and Siemens, companies working in the fields of bio-mechanics, medicine, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automobiles, energy, and consumer goods also utilise simulation. The average starting monthly salary for a simulation engineer in India varies greatly, from Rs 22,000 for a company like Tata technologies to upwards of Rs 60,000 for multinational companies like Eaton.
d. Computer-aided design (CAD) engineers design products using computer-aided design software applications such as AutoCAD, Pro/ENGINEER, and SolidWorks. A CAD engineer designs products, creates and tests prototypes, and oversees other drafters. The main responsibilities of a CAD engineer include designing frameworks for a project, working with industrial and packaging engineers to develop, create, and sell a product, and analysing design and building business/technical solutions that deliver the client’s goal. The starting monthly salary for a CAD engineer (not to be confused with a CAD technician) is upwards of Rs 30,000.
3. And what if I want to work with the government and PSUs?
That’s a lucrative and stable option as well. Working with government departments like the ISRO and PSUs like Bharat Heavy Electrical (BHEL), and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is an excellent career path after mechanical engineering. Like the MTech, you need to clear the GATE exam to qualify for various PSU and government jobs. The starting salary varies across departments and organizations and ranges from Rs 20,600 to Rs 46,000 per month.
So, there you have it, whether you want to pursue core engineering options, or branch out into non-core areas like management, a degree in mechanical engineering is a solidly structured (pun intended) foundation for your career!