Becoming All You Can Be As a Mechanical Engineer

It is often noted that the best graduates emerging from mechanical engineering schools normally get the best jobs, decent pay and good diversity when it comes to job prospects. But how do you become the cream of the crop?

Becoming the best in the field is what many graduates aim to be, and you might be one of them. However achieving that status is not quite so simple. It’s not just about being good in engineering subjects such as math, as employers these days tend to look for other talents within individuals such as presentation skills, team work, and interpersonal skills. All these traits are often present in the best of the best within the field.

Recruiting firms also look for enthusiasm, and “energy”. They are always on the lookout for college grads who are really passionate about what they do and are keen to learn. Self-motivated individuals and enthusiastic individuals are more likely to bring more to the table than lazy and unmotivated ones.

Having good grades and obtaining a mechanical engineering degree are only two parts of the equation according to most recruiters. Good, if not excellent communication skills are vital these days. This is especially true with large firms where there are multiple departments and people within those departments are expected to communicate and work well with each other, in order to get things done.

For example, if you were after a consulting position in a firm, it is not enough to simply be efficient with your technical skill set such as trouble-shooting and so forth. With most, if not all consulting firms, dealing with clients constantly is a given. In order to keep clients happy, the consultant must understand the needs of the client and also be flexible towards their requests. Hence, all written, business and verbal skills are looked upon favorably.

A common question among individuals looking to start a career in mechanical engineering is “Should I spend a couple more years to obtain a Master’s degree, is it necessary?”. To be honest, it isn’t really necessary these days and most hiring firms do not look expect you to have one.

In the past, a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering was more of a way to show a prospective employer that you really understand the work, and you are able to do everything necessary upon being hired. Today, companies tend to hire individuals based upon different grades of experience and promote them when necessary. So there are positions available for those entry-level personnel with Bachelor’s degrees as well as those with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. This is especially true with very large companies where they hire in “layers” so to speak. This gives them the flexibility to replace and hire staff specific to each stage of their pipeline.

Having said that, if you are only planning to study and obtain a Bachelor’s degree only, there is still room for you to move up and be promoted with a better salary. This is totally up to your goals though and you must be prepared to undertake further study if necessary and be constantly learning for this to happen.