The Skills of a Mechanical Engineer: An Overview

Engineers looking over a plan

Mechanical design engineers apply engineering science, physics, mathematics and materials science in the analysis, design and implementation of mechanical systems. They also work in maintaining and testing systems to ensure optimal performance.

In the UK, according to the 2017 Engineering UK State of Engineering Report, there are nearly 190,000 mechanical engineers working in the engineering industry, and the demand for related jobs is still very high. But even with this growing demand, one can still expect some competition for the best posts. So, before applying for mechanical design engineer jobs, make sure you have the right skill sets.

Technical Skills

Skills learned from your undergraduate engineering degree are very important, but previous experience is just as valuable. One must have a good grasp of mathematics and physics to understand mechanical systems. The job of a mechanical design engineer also requires one to do research, test, design and implement systems, and analyse and interpret data. Accuracy and attention to detail are crucial, because you will have to solve problems, many of which are parts of projects under tight deadlines.

Computing Skills

Computer skills are also a given for a mechanical design engineering work. CAD skills are fundamental. All engineering students take CAD classes, so one must be extra proficient with this important skill to break through the competition. For more specific skills like analytical software and programming skills, it is recommendable that one should be capable of utilizing whichever is used in the industry involved. Knowledge in any project management software is also desirable.

Communication and Management Skills

An engineer should not only be analytical. He or she must be a good communicator and manager. Having strong communication skills, both oral and written, will be useful when doing reports and presenting them. Communication skills, likewise, are indispensable when liaising with clients, suppliers and other project members. For management skills, one needs to be organised and decisive. Being independent and having strong initiative in finishing a task successfully are necessary characteristics, too.