The job outlook for mechanical engineers in the U.S. is great; as of today, there’s an estimated 288,800 mechanical engineers in the U.S. Between now and the year 2026, the job market is predicted to grow by 8.8%. Overall, it’s anticipated that this occupation will grow higher than the national average.
Mechanical engineers are expected to bring many important skills to the table. This profession requires you to build and test devices on a daily basis, so it’s vital to have certain core skills to help you excel in your responsibilities. Before we discuss the top skills that mechanical engineers need, let’s first talk about the profession and its main responsibilities.
What does a mechanical engineer do?
Mechanical engineers are involved in the entire manufacturing process of products, which can range from medical devices to tools and engines. They research, design, develop, build and test what they’re working on. Most mechanical engineers work in an office setting. Sometimes, they may visit worksites to examine a problem or piece of equipment that requires their attention.
Mechanical engineers design and work on a wide range of products such as:
- Electric generators
- Power-producing machines
- Internal combustion engines
- Steam turbines
- Gas turbines
- Elevators and escalators
Since mechanical engineers design and build materials for several industries like medicine and aerospace, they work with computers extensively. With computer software, they’re able to create and manage their designs from start to finish. It allows mechanical engineers to analyze their designs, run simulations and tests to see how their machine may work.
The most important mechanical engineering skills
Mechanical engineers need to have an assortment of skills that allow them thrive in their careers. These skills help them succeed in their profession, but they also make them shine in front of employers during the hiring process too. Whether you’re interested in advancing in your mechanical engineering career or you’re looking for a new mechanical engineering opportunity, take note of these must-have skills.
1. Advanced Math
One of the most important mechanical engineering skills to have is advanced math skills. Since you’re responsible for developing and repairing new machines, you need to combine math, analytical and problem-solving skills. Trigonometry, calculus, college algebra and basic math are some of the areas that you should be well-versed in.
Even though you will use computer programs to complete various processes of your workflow, you should understand how the program arrives at its solution. This is critical, especially for validation purposes. If there’s ever a situation where the software doesn’t work, you’d have to complete the task manually by using your math skills. While computer software helps a great deal with your tasks, you should be ready to apply your math skills at any given time.
Mechanical engineers have to be comfortable with equations and words. As you’ll be speaking with supervisors, clients and/or the public, having strong communication skills matter. From time to time, you’ll be asked to provide updates on what you’ve been working on. You may also be asked to explain how to use a tool that you designed. This could be a simple conversation with your supervisor or a presentation in front of a group.
Since you’ll work with other people such as architects and computer programmers, being a strong listener is key. As you’ll work collaboratively, you need to be able to listen to what other people are saying and understand their approaches so you can complete your own tasks.
Lastly, you’re expected to write plenty of supporting material for every job that you work on. To loop in other engineers on what you’ve done, you might have to write specifications. This helps other engineers who need to complete different parts of the job understand what they need to do. You may also have to write technical operating manuals to inform and guide users. Being able to do your job is important but communicating what you’ve done matters too.
Developing new solutions and solving problems requires you to be innovative. In the fast-paced world we live in, there’ll always be a high demand to improve current products. Mechanical engineers need to be quick on their feet and capable of providing answers or solutions to these demands. If you can come up with several new solutions to a problem, that’s even better—creativity and innovation are highly coveted skills in this profession.
What are the salary expectations for mechanical engineers?
The average salary for mechanical engineers is $80,080 per year. Each year, statistics have shown that engineering jobs are paid the highest average starting salary in the U.S. If this is a profession you’ve been considering, it’s well worth your time and effort based on the job market and salary rates.
Are you looking for a new mechanical engineering opportunity in Charleston, SC?
Here at Dunhill, we help job seekers find and secure jobs within the engineering field. We post current mechanical engineering and various engineering opportunities on our job board. Browse through our current opportunities here! You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help you find your dream job.