Mechanical Engineering is one of the evergreen branches of engineering which over time, has contributed to several innovations. Considered to be one of the oldest branches of engineering, mechanical engineering deals with the concepts of thermodynamics, fluids, mechanics and structural analysis. The scope of mechanical engineering is vast even today. These concepts are used in designing some of the best and most efficient state-of-the-art motor vehicles, manufacturing units, aircrafts as well as other industrial machinery. Apart from the machinery and vehicles, mechanical engineers significantly contribute towards the development of power equipment, engines and complex machinery systems. Not only the design and manufacturing, even the maintenance and testing of such machinery and equipment are considered as responsibilities of mechanical engineers.
However, this evergreen branch of engineering is facing an alarming question – whether it is still the right stream for students who love machines or not. Due to the lack of job offers or placement opportunities for the huge number of graduates, people have started doubting their decision to take up mechanical engineering as a stream. So here, we are going to discuss the scope of mechanical engineering and its future prospects.
What is Mechanical Engineering?
Mechanical engineering is the branch of engineering which deals with the design, manufacturing, maintenance and testing of machines. It is also considered as one of the most diverse and versatile disciplines of engineering. Mechanical engineering also includes the application of mechanics, material science, applied mathematics and physics.
With the rise of modern technology, mechanical engineering has witnessed newfound importance with more and more students opting to learn less explored domains of robotics, mechatronics, nanotechnology, etc.
New trends and future scope
The scope of mechanical engineering no longer remains limited to just manufacturing and testing of huge machinery and equipment. With technology making new advancements, there are several new domains in mechanical engineering which are being taken up by passionate engineers. These domains include robotics, new materials, nanotechnology, computer-aided design, geomechanics, etc. The two highly pursued domains are robotics and mechatronics, both of which combine the knowledge of mechanical engineering with other streams to deliver state of the art products.
Robotics- Robotics is an interdisciplinary stream of engineering that combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science with an aim to design and develop robotic systems along with computer systems to control them. With the AI revolution already started, Robotics as a stream has been on the rise and is expected to grow in both reach and demand in the coming decade.
Mechatronics- Mechatronics too, is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering which usually combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and Information technology. A mechatronic engineer is responsible for designing complex engineering systems, can assist in process automation and also test the systems in use in the processes.
From automobiles to heavy-duty lifting machines and even the modern aircrafts that defy speed barriers, a variety of modern systems are being designed under the supervision of expert mechanical engineers. You will not find mechanical engineers limiting themselves to the manufacturing industry anymore. Mechanical engineers are being welcomed in various industries with open arms and high compensation packages, provided that the candidates are skilled and proficient.
The current market scenario and scope
According to the portal payscale.com, the average salary of mechanical engineers falls below Rs. 3.4 lakhs per annum. A few skills are able to add value to this compensation package. For example, knowledge of robotics or robotics process automation and a sound understanding of electrical systems can make a recruiting firm provide you with a better pay package, as per their need. Even though the pay package is lower as compared to computer science, mechanical engineering is expected to rise again.
The future scope of mechanical engineering and its demand in the industry seem quite promising. According to a report in 2016 by the global consultancy firm Deloitte, India is expected to grow manifold in manufacturing by the year 2020. As per its report on Global Manufacturing Competitiveness index, India will move up 6 positions to be at 5th position. From its report, Deloitte claims that India will strengthen its hold in the manufacturing sector and thus, there would be numerous new opportunities for mechanical engineers in India. However, the compensation packages of these mechanical engineers are going to depend on the skills and expertise, which is why it has become extremely important that the skill gap be bridged in order to make the new graduates aware of the latest tools as well as technologies in the industries.
Job prospects in industries for mechanical engineers
When we talk about the different job roles for mechanical engineers, the same can be broadly classified into the following few segments –
1. Design In this role, the mechanical engineers would be responsible for drafting technical sketches either with tools or computers. Any mechanical engineer good with sketches or computer aided drawing is ideal for such a position.
2. Production The production job role usually involves consultation and supervision in the manufacturing of machines and their components. If you are an individual who wants to experience the manufacturing techniques and production processes, this would be the right job role for you.
3. Analysis and Testing In this job role, you would be responsible for analysis and testing of machine parts, systems and equipment. Your responsibilities would include checking for faults that could have come up in the manufacturing or design processes.
4. Installation & Maintenance – The job role involves knowledge of installation of machine parts in the industrial location, along with their proper maintenance as per the provided specifications. The installation and maintenance are only recommended for those who are strong in practical knowledge instead of theoretical knowledge.
5. Research – Last but not the least, research is one of the most exciting job roles in mechanical engineering. Your job responsibilities would include researching and implementing findings for the development of new products using the latest technologies.
As you can see, the scope of mechanical engineering and the job prospects aren’t just good, but promising for the near future as well. Being a fundamental discipline required by almost every field of study, mechanical engineering graduates are always in huge demand. Here is a look at some of the top recruiting industries that are always on the lookout for skilled mechanical engineers-
1. Automobile Industry – One of the fastest growing industries, the automobile industry offers a variety of opportunities to mechanical engineers. From design to manufacturing and even maintenance, some of the top automobile brands have begun to invest in recruiting of new talent for research as well as the development of transport systems like driverless cars, bullet trains as well as pod-based transportation systems. Hence with the right set of skills and passion, the scope of mechanical engineers in the automobile industry is quite bright, which may lead to building of an exciting career.
2. Aerospace Industry – From developing flying cars to reusable satellites as well as rockets, the aerospace industry is not far behind when it comes to innovation and inventions. With the technological advancements, the aerospace industry is rapidly expanding its reach and thus, the need for skilled mechanical engineers with practical knowledge. The industry offers a variety of job roles to the mechanical engineers – from design to manufacturing, testing as well as the fabled R&D, where you get an opportunity to use the principles of physics, aeromodelling as well as dynamics to innovate the systems for better design as well as efficiency.
3. Robotics & Mechatronics – Robotic process automation and robotics itself are the booming new trends. Almost every industry is looking for automation solutions in order to increase efficiency and cut down on operation costs. However, the implementation of the same requires the supervision and efforts from skilled mechanical engineers. Whether it is the design and manufacturing of a new robotics system or the implementation of process automation for inventory management, robotics and mechatronics will always have a role for the mechanical engineers to play.
4. Power and Metal Plants – The Power industry is one of the major contributors to the economy of our nation. There are several thermal power plants all over the country and since the power plants use the principles of thermodynamics and material science, mechanical engineering graduates are required here as well.
Steel plants as well, use similar principles, which is why organisations like SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) recruit a large number of mechanical engineers every year.
Bridging the skill gap and preparing for the challenges
It is evident that the demand for mechanical engineers will soon surpass the supply, making mechanical engineering as one of the most valued disciplines of engineering again. However, one of the major challenge being faced by newly graduated students today is the lack of skills and proper knowledge due to the old school curriculum being followed even after the introduction of several new trends and technologies. Bridging the skill gap is the key to grabbing a good job opportunity after your studies in mechanical engineering. From coding to communication skills and being able to build interpersonal relationships, you need to be prepared for industrial demands.
Mahindra École Centrale, however, helps students bridge the skill gap with its new age curriculum designed in association with CentraleSupélec – one of the premier engineering institutions in the world.