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Career Highlight: Mechanical Engineering

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1. What do Mechanical Engineers  do?

Mechanical engineers research, develop, design, manufacture and maintain machines, machine components and systems in various fields of application.

Their deep understanding of mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, electricity and structural analysis affords them the ability to design and manufacture mechanical systems. As an engineer you may be asked to analyse problems, design or redesign mechanical devices, develop a prototype of the device and test it, analyse the test results and change the design as needed and oversee the manufacturing process – amongst many things

 ­The engineers working environment is usually in an office setting. They may occasionally visit work sites where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention. Most mechanical engineers work full time, with some working as many as 60 hours or more per week.

2. What subjects do I need to take in high school?

Most institutes require you to have taken Mathematics and Science to qualify to study Mechanical Engineering. Other subjects such as IT and Technical drawing are not mandatory but are good to have

Amongst other things, you need to be creative, a good team players, detailed oriented, analytical thinker and a effective problem solver.

3. How do I become an Mechanical Engineer?

To become a Mechanical Engineer one will have to obtain a degree in Engineering at an accredited institution. One will need to a high school diploma or the equivalent that meet the various institutionary requirements for the degree.

Engineering graduates usually begin work under the supervision of experienced engineers and are gradually given more responsibilities as they gain experience.

A minimum of two years of practical experience is required before you can apply for a government certificate (GCC) for engineers working in the plant/ maintenance environment and a minimum of three years of experience is required to register as a Professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa, for engineers working in the design space.

4. What are some available funding opportunities available to fund studies towards being an Architect?

There are various avenues to explore when it comes to funding your studies towards becoming Mechanical Engineer.  You can obtain a bursary, sponsorship or financial aid from various sources. You can obtain funding from the government, such as NFAS - South Africa or from your local government/ municipality. Or you can obtain it from various private facilities many major engineering companies invest in the educations of young engineers. Companies such as Eskom, Anglo, Hatch, Exxaro etc. Or can also apply for financial aid at the various aviation institutions or from banking institutions.

5. What career opportunities are there for Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering is a one of the most diverse of the engineering disciplines and often overlaps with manufacturing engineering, metallurgical engineering, civil engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, and other engineering disciplines to varying amounts. It is because of this that there are many prospects one could explore as a Mechanical Engineer.

Mechanical engineers could work in maintenance, design or education. In these spaces they could further specialise in transportation, power generation, fluid mechanics, instrumentation, materials and so on.

Even in the aviation industry we see Mechanical engineers in the design and manufacturing teams. Aerospace engineers and mechanical engineers overlap in their interest in the design, manufacture and testing of machines. They work to make equipment that operates efficiently, effectively and safely, and they examine and analyse the equipment to ensure that it meets certain standards and goals. And because of the diversity in their work there are a number of prospects that a Mechanical Engineer can explore.



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