What a year it has been!
For this post, I thought I would break down the reasons for why you should or shouldn’t choose Mechanical Engineering.
Let’s start off with the pros:
Mechanical Engineering is one of the core engineering disciplines, meaning that the scope for Mechanical Engineers is vast.
Students seem to have the misconception that Mechanical Engineers live and breathe Creo like Software Engineers breathe code. Creo is a large component of the Mechanical Engineering degree as many Mechanical Engineers go on to become design engineers for companies such as Fisher and Paykel. Designing an element of Mechanical Engineering. But other fields within Mechanical Engineering is materials research, manufacturing/production, energy, automotive, aeronautical, control systems, just to name a few. Therefore in the future you can choose if you want to stick with design(Creo) or move onto the other fields. Another thing to note is that most companies in the industry use Solidworks which is a more flexible and user-friendly version of Creo, so fear not, there is hope.
Basically, as far as I see it, in order to enjoy Mechanical Engineering, you have to enjoy at least one or two of the following first-year engineering papers; ENGGEN 121(both statics and dynamics), CHEMMAT 121, ENGGEN 115. I think I’ll just mention, not many, if any students like ENGGEN 115 as a course, but rest assured, mechanical engineering design papers are not as disorganized as ENGGEN 115.
As a course, Mechanical Engineering probably has the greatest amount of group work compared to other specializations. It may seem a negative point right now, but no matter what job you do in the future, communication and group work will be a major component. So best to get the practice early on.
For the girls thinking of taking Mechanical Engineering, I’ll make it a point to note that your hard work and dedication speaks above all. When you initially enter Mechanical Engineering, it will seem as if the guys are already ahead of you because of their knowledge of cars, bikes, etc. But hang in there, you’ll be surprised as to how soon you catch on to the status quo.
Now the cons:
This is a general con for all second year, the workload for first year is a joke compared to second year.
For mechanical engineering specifically, with the number of projects you have, keeping up with lecture material is a struggle and tracking ahead is near impossible. Especially for the design paper, the project material is different from the final exam material. So during the semester, projects take precedence, leaving you with the few days during study break to study all the lecture material.
Another con would be that the scope for Mechanical Engineering in New Zealand is not extensive. However, Mechanical Engineering as a degree is quite fluid and transferable. Therefore it is not hard to find Mechanical Engineers taking on Civil, Electrical, Software, or even Chemical Engineering roles. But remember, opportunities for mechanical engineers abroad is limitless(much like many other degrees).
The last con would be that Mechanical Engineering is probably the only large numbered specialization that does not have a representative body. While Civil has CESA, Software has SESA, Electrical has IEEE, Mechanical Engineering, unfortunately doesn’t have a representative body. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t change in the future. The department also tries to make up for it by having a barbeque at the end of each semester.
Lastly I thought I would leave you with this video which clearly states the difference between Civil and Mechanical Engineering, because not so surprisingly, both specialisations are quite similar in course content, but different in applications.