Mechanical engineering: Everything you need to know

Mechanical engineering

Mechanical engineering combines maths, science and a whole lot of problem solving to bring us all the machines and mechanical systems that we often take for granted in our daily lives.

This is definitely the STEM career for you if you love seeing your ideas come to life while working with teams of other clever engineers to design and create projects in a large number of industries.

Here’s what to expect if you go down the mechanical engineering study and career path!

What do mechanical engineers do?

Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing, analysing, manufacturing and maintaining machines. These machines might include renewable energy systems, vehicle and engine design, power generation and transport systems.

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Why is mechanical engineering so important?

We need mechanical engineers because they are the people that help us do so many everyday tasks quickly and easily. They are the manufacturers of cars, planes, mobile phones, household appliances and all that other handy and helpful tech you use at home or out in the world.

Mechanical engineers also have to consider economic issues, like the cost of their machines for the general public.

According to the Engineering Institute of Australia, most industries rely on mechanical systems and therefore mechanical engineering is thought to be one of the most diverse of all engineering disciplines.

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Where do they work?

Mechanical engineers work in a wide range of fields. Think aerospace, automotive, biomedical, construction, manufacturing, power and railway.

Newengineer.com lists the following companies as the top five mechanical engineering companies in Australia:

  1. Bayer – a multinational company with businesses in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, crop science and animal health.
  2. Hatch – an engineering company working in energy, infrastructure, and mining sectors.
  3. Siemens – mainly works in the digital industry, smart infrastructure, and gas and power.
  4. ADB Safegate – provides solutions to improve the efficiency, safety and sustainability of airports and airlines.
  5. Arup – specialises in the infrastructure industry, especially in building design and consulting.

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How much are they paid?

According to payscale.com, the annual salary of a mechanical engineer can range from AU$54K to $AU110K.

How can I become a mechanical engineer?

Future mechanical engineers should definitely study maths, chemistry and physics in high school. Problem solving, communication and teamworks skills are also really useful, as is creativity – so be sure to stick with subjects in language and the arts too.

After high school, start with a Bachelor of Engineering. Then, most universities offer mechanical engineering as part of their honours programs, like at UNSW, USyd, Macquarie University, Griffith University and QUT.

There are also postgraduate pathways that allow you to specialise, like at RMIT.

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Meet real-life mechanical engineers

  • Catherine Isaac is a mechanical engineer working to develop a new and improved cochlear implant that will empower deaf people.
  • Roxi Kenny is a working mechanical engineer and also studying Law at CQ University in Queensland.

Still deciding what engineering career is for you? Take our ‘Which area of engineering should you study?‘ quiz!

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is the acting digital editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals.

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