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Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming an Engineer

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 by Team College Learners

Becoming an engineer is a way to earn a living that most people would think is pretty challenging and wonderful, but it can also have some disadvantages that people might not usually think about. After reading this article, you will have a full idea of what it will be like to become a engineer and you can decide if you want to do it or not.

Engineering is a highly esteemed profession known for its lucrative pay and job security. Engineers play a crucial role in various industries, from designing innovative products to solving complex problems. However, being an engineer also comes with its challenges, such as long hours, expensive education, and fierce competition in the job market. Despite these drawbacks, many individuals still pursue a career in engineering due to its rewarding nature and potential for professional growth.

To be admitted into an engineering program, applicants typically need to meet certain academic requirements. These may include a strong background in math and science, as well as a high GPA in relevant courses. Some programs may also require applicants to submit scores from standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Additionally, gaining experience through internships or research projects can strengthen an applicant’s portfolio and improve their chances of acceptance into a competitive engineering program.

For example, at most USA Universities, prospective engineering students must have completed high school with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and have taken advanced courses in math and science. Standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT are also required, with a recommended score of 1200 or above. In addition to academic achievements, applicants are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities related to engineering, such as robotics clubs or engineering competitions, to demonstrate their passion for the field. The admissions process at USA Universities involves submitting an online application, providing academic transcripts and test scores, and possibly attending an interview or submitting letters of recommendation. Successful applicants will receive an acceptance letter outlining the next steps for enrollment in the engineering program.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Being an Engineer

If you asked every mother and father to name what jobs they want their children to get into, you will probably find that among doctors, lawyers and police officers, engineers would also rank near the top. Engineering is one of the most well-respected professions in the entire country, due to not only the skill and knowledge involved in being merely competent at engineering, but also how engineering can impact the world and the way we all live. Obtaining the skills and qualifications necessary to get into the engineering industry and to work on electrical or computer projects for a living is extremely difficult and demanding. Sometimes, students who are studying relevant degrees and qualifications to help them obtain these types of roles are left wondering why they’re putting themselves through this tough process.

Every course has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, below are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming an Engineer.

What is a mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers need problem-solving skills to handle their everyday responsibilities, which typically include:

  • Conducting analyses to see how mechanical devices can solve problems
  • Designing or redesigning mechanical devices using computer-aided design
  • Troubleshooting equipment malfunctions
  • Creating and testing design prototypes
  • Performing analyses of these prototype tests
  • Overseeing the production of potential electrical and manufacturing devices

Advantages of becoming an Engineer

Good pay

Skilled and qualified civil engineers often get to enjoy decent pay packages. The quality of the college from which one pursues the course plays and integral role in determining the salary package.

The average salary for mechanical engineers is $69,857, according to PayScale. Many also enjoy opportunities to earn bonuses and commissions and participate in profit-sharing. Mechanical engineers in Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle, can expect to earn at least 10 percent more than their peers in average-paying cities. (Of course, those cities cost at least 10 percent more to live in than does your average city.)

Job satisfaction

 On average, people in the role rate their job satisfaction 3.7 out of 5, based on data from 5,357 plus mechanical engineers provided by PayScale. Payscale classifies a 3.7 score as “highly satisfied.”

Job availability

Civil engineering is a core branch of engineering. It is also called an evergreen branch. Most core branches generate better job opportunities (compared to other engineering branches).

Strong job prospects 

Mechanical engineering employees who specialize in training in the most up-to-date software tools for design and simulation are positioned for career success. Experience in three-dimensional printing and producing virtual simulations can provide a significant competitive advantage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PayScale reports that skills like project management, finite element analysis (FEA), and engineering design can increase your salary by as much as 4 percent. The BLS projects a 4 percent growth rate in mechanical engineering jobs between 2018 and 2028. That matches the growth rate for the job market as a whole.

Access to multiple job roles/profiles

Civil engineers may don roles such as – supervisor, field officer, project manager, design specialist, research candidate etc.

Unique blend of technical expertise and creativity

It is a profession where you may express your creativity, problem solving skills and technical expertise. In short, you won’t be bored and work. You’ll always be motivated and mentally stimulated.

Chance to work abroad

This is especially true in cases of Gulf countries. Civil engineers are in huge demand over there. Pay package is also much better than what it is in India.

Excellent Government job opportunities

Civil engineers have access to a wide variety of government job posts. Armed forces, Indian Railways, PWDs, NHAI, Municipal corporations, Housing boards etc are known to recruit them on a regular basis.

Unique blend of technical expertise and creativity

It is a profession where you may express your creativity, problem solving skills and technical expertise. In short, you won’t be bored and work. You’ll always be motivated and mentally stimulated.

Disadvantages of becoming an Engineer

Shrinking job growth in certain specialties

Some manufacturing sectors of mechanical engineering may have limited job prospects for some specialties. Manufacturing has been on the decline in the US for some time; Reuters reported that output hit a ten-year low in September 2019. Ongoing training is required to stay on top of the field and versatile enough to pivot with market changes.

Increased liability (and thus pressure)

Civil engineers usually design and build structures. These structures usually have high strategic, commercial and political value. Lot of planning, calculation and effort must be put into the design of construction of such structures. Eye for detail is something that civil engineers must have. Errors can have dire consequences. This increased liability often leads to pressure (in case of civil engineers).

Lack of gender diversity in the field

The gender imbalance in the profession may be as high as a 9:1 male-to-female ratio, per Payscale.

Hazards at work site

A project site hosts huge construction machinery, vehicles, building materials etc. Dust, sharp tools, pollution, fire and work accidents etc are common occurrences at many work sites.

Long working hours

Many times, projects can be testing and challenging. Deadlines can be hard to meet. Such situations could often result in long and tough working hours. It is not uncommon to see civil engineers work in long shifts to see through projects.

Remote locations

Working outdoors could be fun for some. But it is not true in cases of many people. Civil engineers may end up working at some remote and hostile areas. While it could be fun for some, many engineers don’t really enjoy it!

Other problems

Stuff you’ve learned at university/college won’t probably be relevant. I’m just trying to say that the amount of stuff you learn at university is negligible to what you do in industry. In industry, you’ll probably solve a problem that has been never encountered before.
– Requires school work, math can be challenging. Other notable problems include – political interference & pressure, protests from locals (near or at site), dealing with corruption, legal disputes, labour disputes and vandalism.

Education needed to become a mechanical engineer

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Typically, entry-level candidates have bachelor’s degrees from one of many mechanical engineering colleges. Courses and program offerings include:

  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer programming
  • Design and manufacturing
  • Differential equations
  • Dynamics and controls
  • Energy systems
  • Engineering
  • Heat transfer
  • Materials science
  • Mechanical design
  • Physics
  • Thermal sciences

Top programs include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University – Main Campus- Stanford University
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Mechanical Engineer

Careers in mechanical engineering are abundant for those with the analytical and mechanical skills to stand out. If you’re a problem solver who is good with their head and hands, mechanical engineering may be the field for you.

As a mechanical engineer, you will design machines across a broad range of industries. Depending on your specialization, you could end up working on anything from a micro-battery to a heating and cooling system for a skyscraper. No endeavor is too small or too big to require mechanical engineers.

You can get your mechanical engineering career started with nothing more than a bachelor’s degree; or, you can earn a graduate degree and ascend to the ranks of upper management. With over 300,000 jobs available in the field, mechanical engineering offers a wealth of opportunities from the entry-level all the way to the top.

If you want to learn more about how to become a mechanical engineer, read on. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What is a mechanical engineer?
  • Pros and cons of becoming a mechanical engineer
  • Education needed to become a mechanical engineer
  • Licensure and accreditation for mechanical engineering
  • Kinds of careers in mechanical engineering
  • How to find a mechanical engineering job

What is a mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers need problem-solving skills to handle their everyday responsibilities, which typically include:

  • Conducting analyses to see how mechanical devices can solve problems
  • Designing or redesigning mechanical devices using computer-aided design
  • Troubleshooting equipment malfunctions
  • Creating and testing design prototypes
  • Performing analyses of these prototype tests
  • Overseeing the production of potential electrical and manufacturing devices

A day in the life of a mechanical engineer

Scott Duncan, a mechanical engineer with General Dynamics Mission Systems, writes about a typical day on the job on the company’s website. Describing his duties and responsibilities, he notes: “I jump around tasks frequently. Some days I am hands-on and test components I designed in CAD (computer-aided design) programs or conduct failure analysis on equipment from our antennas.” Other days aren’t as active; he may spend an entire day at his desk, “updating our extensive diagrams and writing white papers or technical reports for the customer.” He conducts oversight on projects, reviewing “new developments to make sure the mechanical factors have been addressed”; he needs to be especially vigilant about “hidden costs due to product mounting or deployments that need documentation updates.”

In short, mechanical engineering is a grab bag of active and sedentary work, oversight, and record maintenance, and above all, the application of expertise in the service of business objectives.

What is it like to be a mechanical engineer?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers should expect the following working conditions:

  • Office environment: Most mechanical engineers work in offices. Some may visit offsite locations where equipment needs repairs or extra attention.
  • Schedule: Most have full-time jobs, with some working more than 40 hours per week.
  • Teams: Colleagues will likely include other engineers, technicians, and professionals.
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Pros and cons of becoming a mechanical engineer

Pros of becoming a mechanical engineer

  • Generous compensation: The average salary for mechanical engineers is $69,857, according to PayScale. Many also enjoy opportunities to earn bonuses and commissions and participate in profit-sharing. Mechanical engineers in Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle, can expect to earn at least 10 percent more than their peers in average-paying cities. (Of course, those cities cost at least 10 percent more to live in than does your average city.)
  • Job satisfaction: On average, people in the role rate their job satisfaction 3.7 out of 5, based on data from 5,357 plus mechanical engineers provided by PayScale. Payscale classifies a 3.7 score as “highly satisfied.”
  • Strong job prospects: Mechanical engineering employees who specialize in training in the most up-to-date software tools for design and simulation are positioned for career success. Experience in three-dimensional printing and producing virtual simulations can provide a significant competitive advantage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PayScale reports that skills like project management, finite element analysis (FEA), and engineering design can increase your salary by as much as 4 percent. The BLS projects a 4 percent growth rate in mechanical engineering jobs between 2018 and 2028. That matches the growth rate for the job market as a whole.

Cons of becoming a mechanical engineer

  • Lack of gender diversity in the field: The gender imbalance in the profession may be as high as a 9:1 male-to-female ratio, per Payscale.
  • Shrinking job growth in certain specialties: Some manufacturing sectors of mechanical engineering may have limited job prospects for some specialties. Manufacturing has been on the decline in the US for some time; Reuters reported that output hit a ten-year low in September 2019. Ongoing training is required to stay on top of the field and versatile enough to pivot with market changes.

Education needed to become a mechanical engineer

Typically, entry-level candidates have bachelor’s degrees from one of many mechanical engineering colleges. Courses and program offerings include:

  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer programming
  • Design and manufacturing
  • Differential equations
  • Dynamics and controls
  • Energy systems
  • Engineering
  • Heat transfer
  • Materials science
  • Mechanical design
  • Physics
  • Thermal sciences

Top programs include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University – Main Campus- Stanford University
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

The U.S. Department of Education’s Financial Aid website offers information about FAFSA and other sources of aid for students seeking a four-year degree.

If you’re still in high school, you can still explore steps to becoming a mechanical engineer. Get a first taste of the field by attending an engineering summer camp.

A master’s degree in mechanical engineering isn’t always necessary, but can be helpful (and, in some instances, required) for senior management positions. Some schools offer combined five-year and six-year bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for engineers. PhDs are usually necessary for higher education teaching and research positions.

Top mechanical engineering master’s programs include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Cornell University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign The University of Texas at Austin

Online master’s programs in mechanical engineering include:

  • Pennsylvania State University – World Campus
  • University of Southern California
  • Colorado State University – Global Campus
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Licensure and accreditation for becoming a mechanical engineer

Whichever school you attend, make sure that it offers an ABET-accredited mechanical engineering program. Most companies prefer candidates with degrees from accredited programs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions in mechanical engineering. However, you may want to consider becoming a licensed professional engineer as you advance in your career.

To qualify to receive state licensure for engineering, candidates usually:

  • Receive an engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam
  • Accrue at least four years of relevant work experience
  • Pass the Professional Engineering exam

Some states may require engineers to undergo continuing education to renew their licenses regularly. Licenses from one state are generally accepted in other states.

Kinds of careers in mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering is as diverse a field as the types of products and devices engineers produce and design, which includes everything from medical equipment to elevators and escalators. Here are some common concentrations of mechanical engineering careers (with average salary, according to Payscale.com):

  • Auto research engineers: Do you have a passion for cars? You’ll improve auto suspension, aerodynamics, and alternative fuels ($76,579).
  • Heating and cooling systems engineers: You’ll work behind the scenes to ensure airplanes, trains, cars, schools, and computer rooms maintain controlled temperature and humidity settings ($72,500).
  • Robotic engineers: As a pioneer in robotics, you’ll be a part of a team that specializes in planning, building, and sustaining robots ($81,795).

Other occupations with similar job duties and promising starting and median salaries, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:

  • Drafters typically have associate’s degrees; their median annual income is $55,550
  • Materials engineers typically have bachelor’s degrees; their median annual income is $92,390
  • Mathematicians and statisticians typically have master’s degrees; their median annual income is $88,190
  • Mechanical engineering technicians typically have associate’s degrees; their median annual income is $56,250
  • Natural sciences managers typically have bachelor’s degrees; their median annual income is $123,860
  • Nuclear engineers typically have bachelor’s degrees; their median annual income is $107,600
  • Petroleum engineers typically have bachelor’s degrees; their median annual income is $137,170
  • Physicists and astronomers typically have doctoral or professional degrees; their median annual income is $119,580
  • Sales engineers typically have bachelor’s degrees; their median annual income is $101,420

How to find a mechanical engineering job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the <a href=https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172141.htm” target=”_blank”>top locations for mechanical engineering jobs are:

States with the highest employment of mechanical engineers

  • Michigan:Nearly 44,000 mechanical engineers are employed in the state.
  • California: More than 27,000 mechanical engineers are employed in the state.
  • Texas: More than 20,000 mechanical engineers are employed in the state.

Metro areas with the highest employment of mechanical engineers

  • Detroit, Michigan: More than 31,000 mechanical engineers are employed in the area.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Nearly 12,000 mechanical engineers are employed in the area.
  • Los Angeles, California: Nearly 10,000 mechanical engineers are employed in the area.

What industries have jobs for mechanical engineers?

There are more than 300,000 mechanical engineers employed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 data. The top sectors hiring the position include:

  • Architectural, engineering, and related services: 20 percent
  • Machinery manufacturing:14 percent
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing:11 percent
  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing: 7 percent
  • Scientific research and development services: 6 percent

Which companies are the top employers of mechanical engineers?

Job website ranks the top employers of mechanical engineers, based on overall company rating, number of job openings, and approval ratings of the CEO. Companies that made the list include:

  • Microsoft
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • SpaceX
  • Boston Scientific
  • John Deere
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Boeing

As long as there are machines, the world will need mechanical engineers. With so many applications across so many businesses, mechanical engineering is a field that offers professionals an unusually broad range of career options. Pick the area that excites you, start studying and accumulating hands-on experience, and get ready for an engaging and remunerative career in mechanical engineering.

pros and cons of being an engineer

Being an engineer is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers a person can have. Engineers have a wide variety of responsibilities, from the research and design of complex machinery to guiding it through its creation and assembly. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to becoming an engineer. Here are a few things to consider before you head down this road.

Being an Engineer ProsBeing an Engineer Cons
Engineers can make decent moneyWorking as an engineer can be demanding
You can work indoors as an engineerYou need to get a college degree
You will not have to work many hoursStudent loan debt can be an issue
Free weekends are common for engineersMany engineers gain weight in the long run
Good work-life balance in generalYou may have to work out after work
Engineers don’t have much stress at workEngineering degrees are demanding
You can work on important projectsYou often have to work with a computer
You can work in many different fieldsLack of physical exercise at work
Good engineers will always be neededMost engineers don’t get rich
Easy to switch fields for engineersHard to start your own business in this field
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