Tinkering on a computer, at a drafting table, or in an office late at night, mechanical engineers pull modern marvels out of their imagination and into the world. Mechanical engineers design devices such as generators, engines, thermal sensors, and tools. Most projects start with an analysis of a problem to determine how a device might solve it. They make prototypes of their designs, and work with teams to build and improve them. Mechanical engineers design air conditioning systems, elevators, and the automated conveyors we see in stores, or that factories use to keep things moving. They are experts at making machines efficient, and integrating all the parts into a smoothly functioning whole. Some mechanical engineers specialize, such as fuel cell engineers, who focus on developing fuel cells that generate electricity from hydrogen, and automotive engineers who improve features of cars, such as suspension or temperature controls. Math, computer, and analytical skills are essential for mechanical engineers. Often team leaders, they must be effective listeners and collaborators as well. Positions are typically available in engineering companies, manufacturing, and in research and development departments for a variety of organizations. Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology.
What they do:
Design, evaluate, modify, or construct fuel cell components or systems for transportation, stationary, or portable applications.
On the job, you would:
Conduct fuel cell testing projects, using fuel cell test stations, analytical instruments, or electrochemical diagnostics, such as cyclic voltammetry or impedance spectroscopy.
Design or implement fuel cell testing or development programs.
Write technical reports or proposals related to engineering projects.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
reading work related information
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
People and Technology Systems
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
read and understand what is written
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Wolfram Research Mathematica
Development environment software
National Instruments LabVIEW
bachelor's degree or master's degree usually needed