How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineering explained:

Mechanical engineers research, test, design, develop thermal devices including engines and machines. More common devices are from medical, energy and automated manufacturing sectors.

Careers in mechanical engineering are spread across many different industries.

Get qualified:

To be able to become a mechanical engineer, you will need to start developing your mathematical, physics, chemistry and IT knowledge.

Relevant degrees to get you started:

  • Mechanical Engineering MCs
  • Mechanical Engineering BEng
  • Vehicle Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Electromechanical Engineering

After you have achieved your degree, you can progress onto higher level courses, like an HND.

If you didn’t do a degree relevant to mechanical engineering there are many courses you can take to achieve the appropriate qualifications.

It’s worth noting that these courses might be the same price as a University fee or could be even more expensive.

Skills Required:

Problem solving – Problem solving is one of main skills a mechanical engineer should have. It is good to know that you’ll be set tasks which you have never completed before. Problem solving skills will help you complete those tasks and ‘overcome’ the difficulty of something.

Understanding a high level of IT and Creativity – IT knowledge and creativity are the basic foundation of mechanical engineering. Starting a project will require illustrations and models to be created and the only way to do these, is with a computer.

Technical skills – It’s important that you have technical skills when becoming a mechanical engineer. Having an understanding of mechanical equipment and tools, certain software you’ll use, programming language and modern technology.

Maths & Science – A mathematical and scientific brain is another foundation of mechanical engineering. Having a passion for maths and science and being able to solve calculations and understand elements is a must when becoming a mechanical engineer.

Verbal and written communication – It is also important to be able to communicate with your clients, suppliers and team whether it may be verbally or writing. If you are modelling something, you should be able to explain what you are trying to show with your model, so that your clients, suppliers and team understand too. It goes the same for writing. Also when it comes to presentations, you should be able to create and deliver them in the right manner to the right people.

Budgeting and managing skills – Even as a mechanical engineer, you will have to think about how much budget you will put into a project. You have to show that you understand the value of the money and that you are able to manage on the budget you was given.

Quality testing skills – As a mechanical engineer, you should be able to test equipment and assure that it is safe, reliable and efficient to use. You have to test several times and spot faults that may exist. This skill helps you to build more efficient machinery and also will allow you to spot your mistakes quicker.

What are the responsibilities of a Mechanical Engineer?

Responsibilities will depend on your experience, position and industry. However, there’s a set of responsibilities you may have and these are;

Designing 3D or computer models on relevant software – Designing and creating models is one of the main responsibility you will have as a mechanical engineer. You will have to have paperwork which created on a specific software showing the machinery you will work on, all the parts you will work on, what parts needed, dimensions and other planning you may need to start creating the machine or the equipment.

Designing cost effective and reliable equipment – To be able to design and build machinery within your given budget and also make sure that the equipment is effective and reliable and up to the standards of your client and even your industry.

Developing and testing theoretical models – When you have created your models, you will have to explain the theory behind and the function of your equipment before building it. You will have to make sure that your theory works on smaller and bigger parts and that whole machinery will work overall.

Assessing the performance of equipment and ensuring safety, reliability and efficiency – Testing and assessing will be an important responsibility of your role. Being able to find mistakes before the equipment is built can help reducing cost and can make the machinery more effective. It is also important to see if the machinery is safe to use even before it’s finished and once it’s finished. You will also have to ensure that the machinery you built is reliable and can be used for a long time for it’s purpose.

Researching – Researching theories and relevant data will also be compulsory within your role. Before starting any projects, you will most likely start researching.

Writing reports and assessments – Reports and assessments will be the key thing you will do once a project is finished. You will have to sum up everything you have done and assess yourself. Report writing will also be important because you will have to be able to sum up your machinery, what you have built, how it functions and the elements of it.

Providing technical advice – You will have to be able to answer and give any technical advice that you may be asked. Giving advice will be a regular thing mechanical engineers do therefore, it is a responsibility to provide people with the right advice.

Liaising with clients and suppliers – It’s important that you have your communication skills together for this one. You have to understand what your client wants and to be able to deliver them the requirements they have. However, to know what your client wants you will have to involve your supplier and understand what they will be able to supply for you to meet your clients needs.

Career Progression

Starter / Graduate Experienced Mechanical Engineer Highly experienced / Senior role in Mechanical Engineering
You will start off by learning what your employer’s company does. Familiarise yourself with the physical work and use your theoretical knowledge. After you have gained enough experience you’ll be able to move to the next stage.   Once you are experienced you will be able to take on projects by yourself and take on challenges that may appear harder. You may move into another field of mechanical engineering but that’s not in all cases As a highly experienced mechanical engineer you will manage many projects and teams. You may be able to move from different fields and take on more difficult tasks.

Mechanical Engineering Salary:


Starter / Graduate Experienced Mechanical Engineer Highly experienced / Senior role in Mechanical Engineering
£22,000 – £26,000 £28,000 – £40,000 £40,000 – £55,000+ (depending on industry and other factors) You can easily apply for a mechanical engineering job with Fish4jobs and filter your selection by location, sectors, salary band, hours, and contract type.

If you can’t find the one that suits you the best, you can sign up to email alerts and receive all the latest engineering jobs as soon as they are advertised.

What you’ll need:

If you are new to Fish4jobs and career hunting, we can help you out to write your perfect CV, Cover letter and Personal statement which will grab recruiters’ attention and make your search easier.

You can download and fill out our Engineering CV template to help you to secure your dream job.

A cover letter is also an essential document to have when applying for mechanical engineering jobs so just simply follow our guide on how to write a cover letter.

Some recruiters will also ask you to provide them with a personal statement. Do not panic, we have everything sorted for you. Simply follow the guide on how to write a personal statement (make sure its engineering related), step by step and secure your place for the position.