Career paths in Mechanical engineering

Design and R&D

Design engineering is all about solving design problems day in day out to create new products and improve existing ones. R&D is advancing the state of the art in technology, materials and processes. Both these career path lead to specializations in specific areas whether its related to specific design of a product or specific technology used in R&D. As a design engineer you will be making designs work, testing them and making them ready for production using engineering and design knowledge.

Project engineering 

Project engineering involves taking responsibilities of projects to ensure that they are completed on time and with the desired outcomes. Entry level responsibilities start with scheduling, co-ordination, understanding and communicating requirements. Then project engineers generally move on to being decision makers for projects regarding implementation, feasibility and commercial matters. In contrast to R&D, project engineering would be a more managerial type of job where managing the resources is the major task. Some roles require project engineers to enter technical domains which don’t require a specialist. They are generalists and balance the technical requirements  vs business requirements of any project.

Manufacturing and operations

Engineers working in this field are responsible for the manufacturing processes management of the manufacturing system. They can either be involved in designing processes to facilitate manufacturing or manage assembly lines and ensure they run smoothly at their full potential. Quality teams work to make sure the product quality being manufactured is as intended. Engineers choosing this career path may work as process engineer, production engineer, quality engineer etc.

Manufacturing process engineers generally work closely with design engineers during the early phase of a product to ensure the Manufacturing infrastructure is in line with design requirements.

Sales and marketing

Engineers in this field are techno-commercial in nature and need to deal with clients or customers to make sales. In most cases, the product being sold is highly engineering intensive hence a technical person is required to be the sales officer rather than generic salesman. Marketing also needs engineering knowledge to a certain extent for these kinds of products. Promoting the right details to the right customer is important for these engineers.

Service & Maintenance

This profession generally requires engineers work in the field or on need basis. After the product has been launched, most industrial and consumer products require regular maintenance or repair. Service engineers lead these activities and make plans to manage scenarios where there is premature failure or planned maintenance activities.