The modern tendency of nowadays is technology that drives the world. Everything around people made by human hand is the result of technological progress. Therefore, technology determines the way of future development. It is worth mentioning that humankind has always relied on technology, from the beginning of its existence. The superiority of human was initially achieved by applying to mechanical tools in order to survive. First people hunted, built shelters and homes, kept fire using simple mechanics, physics, other similar principles and tools to survive and develop. Industrial revolution of the 19th-20th centuries provided the humankind with the driving force that has led to the achievements of nowadays. Engineering has played ?n important role in this process (Sloan Career Cornerstone Center, 2011). However, it has been always connected with certain risk to engineers. There are many health-related accidents that happened during engineers were performing their duties.
This essay is aimed to explore the subject of mechanical engineering. It analyzes future prospects the young specialists can have in this area during the next five years and potential risks that can affect their health. In order to provide a comprehensive view on this issue, the report is divided into sections.
Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest disciplines in engineering. It applies to the principles of physics, chemistry, and other material sciences in order to analyze, design, and manufacture mechanical systems. In addition, it is responsible for the further maintenance of these systems (Berson, 2007). Mechanical engineering involves the production and further use of heat and mechanical power to be able to design, produce, and operate machines and tools. Engineering field requires a good understanding of such core concepts as mechanics, thermodynamics, kinematics, materials science, structural analysis, and others.
The main area of application for mechanical engineering is broad and not limited with designing and analysis of manufacturing plants, heating and cooling systems, transport, robotics, and many others. It is one of the oldest fields in engineering that has started to develop in physics area (Berson, 2007). Eventually, mechanical engineering evolved and incorporated the advancements of technologies in many other areas. Thus, modern engineers use the advancements of such spheres as composites, nanotechnology, and several others. The most useful tools for mechanical engineering today are computer-aided engineering (CAE), programs that allow 2D and 3D models’ creation and their further analysis (Berson, 2007).
Mechanical engineering and the advancements of CAE software allow modern engineers to be far more efficient as even ten years ago due to the substantially increased speed of design, development, and analysis of different products. Evolutionary changes in the world of tools and mechanisms create new jobs and require new specialists. Therefore, knowing the future trends in this area is very important for those who decide to devote their professional life to this specialty (Berson, 2007).
A mechanical engineer always has a job. It is easy to conclude after evaluating the appropriate literature, the Internet, and other sources while assessing the future perspectives of this field. Thus, mechanical engineer will be demanded the next five years at least in the following areas (Hutson, 2007; Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011):
- Automotive engineering. The automotive industry still develops rather rapidly and requires new specialists in different areas of engineering. “Green” wave in this industry has created a high demand for new types of engines, transmissions, etc. Therefore, a good specialist in mechanical engineering will be always welcomed in any company of this industry (Hutson, 2007; Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011). This area has such risks for engineers’ health as bad eyesight due to extensive work with computers, various health-related issues related to work at a desk, etc.
- Biomedical engineering. Medicine develops rather rapidly as well introducing new ways of making people lives better even in case of severe injuries. Thus, mechanical engineer can be very helpful in this area by designing mobility aids, prosthetics, artificial organs, etc. It is an important area for those who could have wanted to help people but did not have enough skills to become a doctor. However, this area has the same health-related risks as the previous one.
- Consulting. A good specialist in mechanical engineering can choose the path to work for himself and become a consultant or independent contractor. This area is almost unlimited for a worker of high expertise and the appropriate experience (Hutson, 2007; Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011). However, it has many risks to outline. The most possible are the issues with nervous system (communication with lots of people can be rather problematic over some period), back pain because of the need to travel a lot, unhealthy eating regime, etc.
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) engineering. The air quality is an important for healthy living. Therefore, specialists can assure that high quality of the air is in great demand. It means that mechanical engineers in HVAC area will be always needed. This area is full of risks connected to work with toxic substances, probability of uncontrolled fires, and similar problems.
- Nuclear engineering. Nuclear power is still the most efficient in terms of providing electricity and power for the world economy. Many countries depend on nuclear plants. Therefore, mechanical engineers of high quality in this area will be always needed (Hutson, 2007; Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011). This area is rather specific so an engineer must be good at understanding the fundamentals of nuclear design and know how to operate a nuclear plant with high efficiency. In addition, environmental situation demands additional knowledge considering the issues of ecology and nuclear influence on the nature (Hutson, 2007; Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011). This area was never safe for engineers. Radiation should be the issue number one to consider.
- Robotics engineering. Robotics is one of the most perspective areas for mechanical engineer. Robots have already replaced people at the assembly lines of a particular type. They perform operations connected with high danger for people; robots never get tired and are free from errors that humans can make (Garner, 2007). Therefore, this area will develop even more rapidly than today. Specialists in the area of mechanical engineering are and will be required for the next five years for sure (Hutson, 2007; Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011). This area has the same health-related issues considering engineers’ health as automotive engineering, for example, too many hours in front of the computer and other similar problems.
- Teaching. A good mechanical engineer can teach other students or young people to be good at mechanical engineering. Academic career is one of the possible directions that a mechanical engineer can choose. After all, sharing experience with others in the area of mechanical engineering is a very useful and noble activity.
Mechanical engineers can be employed virtually in every industry, where innovations are implied. Mechanical engineers are needed everywhere because these people are able to transform ideas of others into physical form and make it useful for all. The governmental agencies such as the U.S. Navy, Patent and Trademark Office, International Trade Commission, Army Corps of Engineers, and many other require the skills and knowledge of mechanical engineers as well.
According to Me.eng.sunysb.edu (2011), “mechanical engineers hold over 222,000 jobs, more than half of which are in manufacturing: machinery, transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and fabricated metal products manufacturing industries.” In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Me.eng.sunysb.edu, 2011) concluded that the usual salary of a mechanical engineer is about $75,000, where starting salary is about $50,000. Top engineers are able to earn more than $100,000 per year.
It is clear that mechanical engineers are required in many different areas. The biggest plus of this specialty is the diversity of the area to be able to work in for any mechanical engineer. The only disadvantage is the need in substantial practical experience before some large-scale company or agency will notice and give a good job (UCSB, 2011). However, such state of things is essential to many specialties, mechanical engineering is not the only one having such a specific issue.
Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and broadest disciplines in the engineering. It requires years of experience and creativity to become a valued specialist in this major. Mechanical engineering covers many areas from medicine to construction in order to support and provide them with the appropriate tools and mechanisms. There is a broad spectrum of jobs available in this area. Finally, it is possible to have a decent income choosing mechanical engineering as the major.