Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

ATTN Engineers: Steves thread for post-secondary education

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by 84gmcjimmy, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Posts:
    12,838
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    B.C. CANADA
    In my career in the future, I want to probably be a mech. engineer.
    I have been talking to Robert (afroman) and Matt (az-k5) and still have some questions:
    What exactly do you do at your job? This still isn't quite clear. Although I haven't looked too far into it, like I did for being a machinst, or a welder...different topic though.
    Also, how much is your yearly income (PM me if you want for that answer)
    And, anything I should know before deciding?
    Thanks,
    steve

    P>>S> I'm tired, so I am sorry if I am not clear.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2006
  2. bigyellowjimmy

    bigyellowjimmy 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Posts:
    2,105
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Boy, I cant reply in this post OR the young people's post........:D
     
  3. BurbLover

    BurbLover 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Posts:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SW Missouri
    Ditto. Guess I should probably just go to bed and get my old persons required sleep:grin:
     
  4. bigyellowjimmy

    bigyellowjimmy 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Posts:
    2,105
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Dinosaur :)
     
  5. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Posts:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    Steve,

    I've got two Mechanical Engineering degrees (Bachelors and Masters) and have been in industry for 5 or 6 years now. (Depends on how you count the time I spent traveling to Alaska).

    I'll start by saying how difficult it is to describe what a Mechanical Engineer does since we do so many things. It really is a "Jack of all Trades" profession. Look at ANY product you buy. There was a mechanical engineer involved at some point. Either in design, testing, development, whatever. Some products use more engineering than others, as we have all seen in crappy products.

    The best way for me to describe the curriculum is to compare it to a High School Physics class. Most of the 4 years of undergrad study will take the High School Physics concepts of mechanics, materials, heat, electricity, and light and delve into them a lot deeper. Oh, and there's a lot of math! You're developing a mental toolbox to use later to solve problems and predict how things will work and what it will take to break them.

    As a side note, many industries will hire engineers for non-engineering based jobs. They WANT that problem-solving mindset that you develop in school.

    Many people have the false impression that you should go into Engineering for the Money! Engineers do make a fair amount of money coming out of school, but many other majors make up ground and pass them in their careers. I haven't checked the latest numbers, but I would guess that a VERY GENERAL guess at a beginning US Mechanical Engineer starting salary would be about $40,000 US. This will vary wildly from region to region and based upon industry.

    Myself, I've spent most of my time working on surgical powertools and surgical robotics. I've also worked on boats, washing machines, stadium seating and office chairs. You never know what you'll get into!

    Sorry if I rambled too long here folks.

    I love being an engineer and would encourage you to pursue it if you really are interested.

    I'm on here at rather random times, but feel free to PM me with any more questions.

    -Ben
     
  6. 84k5

    84k5 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 13, 2000
    Posts:
    2,949
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dublin, CA
    I still have a year to go, but...Ben nailed it...it is a jack of all trades sort of thing. You learn fluid flow, thermodynamics, electric circuits, mechanics of materials, design, etc. I remember asking the same thing when I was trying to decide what kind of engineering I wanted to go into. I found it really helpful to look at a course catalog and see what kind of courses you take. If you can't get one let me know, I can send you an old one or something to give you an idea.;)
     
  7. afroman006

    afroman006 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Posts:
    2,876
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    College Station & Kingsville, Texas
    I chose mechanical because of the versatility. In my engineering class last semester a comparative chart they showed us had all the types of engineering fields and their average starting pay, I dont remember any but mechanical, which was $60,000, and biomedical, which was $110,000. Yes, that is starting. My mom is a chemical engineer and my dad was an electrical engineer and each makes/made over 6 figures. Engineering is a high paying profession, but the schooling is fairly difficult. I dig it though :D
     
  8. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Posts:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    Yeah, I would say that Mechanical is the most versatile (Read: most employable) of the Engineering fields. It will be the easiest one to get a job in.

    As far as salary ranges, they do vary wildly because of all the different jobs we do. Every geographic area pays slightly differently and every industry pays extremely differently.

    Take any average nuber that you see with a grain of salt. I would warn you not to count on $60k unless you really know the area and the industry. I might have imagined seeing someone start at $60k while I was in the dot-com boom out in Silicon Valley. I can assure you that if you're in the Midwest or other 'average' areas you will not start at $60k in today's economy. I saw plently of 2-degree, 5-years experience job postings during my search that weren't even offering $60k.

    Talk to some young engineers or managers in the geographic area and industry you are aiming for. They can give you the best idea what a starting salary would be.

    Good Luck!

    -Ben
     
  9. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Posts:
    9,851
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    Truckee, CA
    Thanks for the info guys, im wondering about this too. I'm currently finishing my 2nd year as a Mech. Engineering major at UCDavis.

    And trying to decide if this is where im going to stay. Want to make sure im going to use the degree..because there are defintley easier majors to graduate in if i'm just going to go into something unrelated.
     
  10. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Posts:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    An Engineering degree is definitely not easy. In fact, I'd say that it's probably one of the more difficult ones when you look at all the options in college.

    I think you will find that a Mechanical Engineering degree is very useful. There will always be job opportunities out there. Even a lot of them outside the engineering field.
     
  11. mechted

    mechted 1 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Posts:
    765
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Granbury, TX
    hey Ben, thanks for reminding me exactly why i want this degree... it gets hard to remember why every now and then (midterms and finals...)

    anyways, i guess im guy #3 from this site doing the Mech Engineering degree at UCDavis, im in the middle of my 3rd year, and it is ALOT of work, but looking back at classes you definately see where you get a lot of advantages over most people when its time to go find a job.
     
  12. ronnny

    ronnny 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Posts:
    838
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Newnan GA
    Ok my 3.5 cents. I am just a technician by title but really just a mechanic i feel like. Work for ymmc and dealing with mech. engineers everyday through the week and very few show up on the weekend and less will answer thier phone. Although some do at 2am sunday morning. I know they are thinking this sam wants something stupid agian (sorry a$$ Maintenanceman). But these are the people that when building a new building on our property make sure everything is to code from wiring to running conduit and gas line. I also have to go to them for fixture prints and part#s off of them and such. These guys are also responsible for new equiptment coming in being built to company codes on everything from wire size and color to fitment of every fixture to go in them. They are responsible to program different robots when above my knowhow. And the list goes on and on. I give them alot of headaches but it is because them or the one before them did not do a good job. Also them not wantingto give me access to prints that i need to do my job. Here starting some make as low as 30 a year i believe and goes way up but most leave soon just wanting yamaha on thier resume. When I did only injection molding ofchicken coops and buckets the engineer had to design molds and processes knowing when a bucket is molded it is this size and for how long to cool in the mold then when it cools after thier are different amounts of shrinkage and such that he has to know. He also has to make lids where so many senile citzens can open them and so many youngun can't. Just my thoughts on a job as a mech. engineer. It is also the next step for some maintenance men. When working on somethings that would be easier if done a little different they are the ones we are cussing at.:grin:
     
  13. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Posts:
    785
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ma
    I've been an engineer for three years, and just finished my masters. You can do anything you want as a mechanical engineer. Be real hands on, sit at a desk, manage other people, run production, project management, financial/purchasing.....

    Right now I design medical devices and I love it. Real challenging in mechanics, electronics, materials... Pretty much every thing I learned in school I use on a daily basis. But you can also get really specific/easy mechanical jobs too.

    Want to know what school to go to? Northeastern University in Boston. I learned more on co-op there than in class. And I learned a lot in class. The entire school is based on co-op. You go out and work as an engineer for 6 months, school for six months for five years. Got rated number #1 in some magazine for co-op. The girls are hot too, and that's real important.

    Want to know a great club to join?
    http://students.sae.org/competitions/minibaja/east/2004pix.htm
    www.numotorsports.com

    I was a minibaja member for 6 years. It was a great experience. We design and build a offroad vehicle for a yearly competition. It was a completely priceless experience. The competitions I went to were in Orlando, Wisconsin, Montreal, Morgantown.... all over the place.

    No matter where you go make sure they have some form of SAE competition. There is also a event call formula SAE where you build a small formula car with a sportbike motor.

    As far as salaries go I think the previous posts are a little off. I started at well over $60K.

    Let me know if you have any questions. I wish somebody had given me more direction before I ended up at NU. I started at WPI, it was a complete freak show and I had to transfer.

    -Chris
     
  14. tx_sub

    tx_sub 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Posts:
    548
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Denton, TEXAS
    I'm in the midst of mini baja right now. I sure love to hate it. I'm just upset becaue all my efforts have been unrewarded. I'm going to the competition in Arizona this year. Wish me luck. Mech E's rule!
     
  15. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Posts:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    I would second the attempt to look for a school with good programs such as the SAE cars. It seems most of the decent schools I know people from had at least one of the programs these guys mentioned. So you should be pretty safe as you look around.

    Get any hands-on experience you can. It is definitely worth it.

    I missed out on some SAE stuff but put several years into our schools Solar Car. I even got go to along on the race in 1995 from Inianapolis to Colorado. That combined with my medical device internship definitely helped make me a much better engineer.
     
  16. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Posts:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    Ooops.

    It's been a while since I was a STARTING engineer and it seems like my $40k average guess was a little low......:blush:

    Take a look at this report for a Level 1 Mechanical Engineer (0-3 yrs experience):

    http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layouthtmls/swzl_compresult_national_EN04100031.html

    The average is about $51,700 with the 25% and 75% values being $47,900 and $55,900 respectively.

    If you STARTED out well above $60k, then you did great.:bow:
    But I think it is still safe to say that Starting for most across the country is not that high.

    I'm just trying to set realistic expectations for Steve or any other potential Mech-E students.:grin:
     
  17. BigBen

    BigBen 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Posts:
    1,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    You'll probably wonder that a lot for the next year or so.... but it IS worth it.

    :D
     
  18. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Posts:
    785
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ma

    Thing is though is that says you MAY have a bachelors. I think I started out as an ME II because of my work experience while in school. Which is why I highly recommend NU.

    You also have to realize location. I work just outside of Boston. Tons of money around here, also really expensive to live though.

    I don't know anyone who gets less than $55K right out of NU.

    -Chris
     
  19. 84gmcjimmy

    84gmcjimmy 1 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Posts:
    12,838
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    B.C. CANADA
    Sorry it took so long to reply.
    I have a heachache from thinking now!
    ahh.
    Okay, so what would the approx. cost to get a full mechanical engineering degree cost (excluding housing, food, etc) ? The thing is I don't want to have a bunch of debt right after I get out of University.
    sickquad, you mentioned Northeastern University in Boston? Is there a website you can point me towards? Since I like in Canada we don't take the SAT exams or whatever they are, so if I were to take ANY course in the states, I have to find out exactly what I need to enter.
    If I were to be a mech. engineer, I would want to be a hands on guy.

    Call me stupid, but I still don't understand exactly what a mech. engineer does. Tell me if this is right; they are needed in almost every business that is involved in manufactoring, building, etc. They design, build, test, the products to make sure they are good?

    Like I said before though, I'm not quite sure what I want to do yet for my career!
    Go easy on my for my questions, I'll have more later, I need some tyenol...
     
  20. sickquad

    sickquad 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Posts:
    785
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ma
    Go all out. Do not hesitate and try to take the easy way out. Do not worry about money, get yourself into the best school you can. I couldn't afford NU but I went anyway and it was worth it.

    A smart route would be to go to a community college and take some classes for a year if you do not think you are ready. But you have to take some real classes there. No motor building or ****. That is just useless unless you want to be a mechanic. Take physics, calc... real college classes.

    Do not be intimidated. I am a dumb**** and I worked hard in college, did really well and am now living large.

    Anyone can do it. How well you do in college is directly related to how much time you invest into homework.

    As an engineering student you cannot expect to go out Thursday through Saturday nights like most college students. You will be pretty much limited to one night of all out partying a week if you are doing well and are involved in other activities.

    What an mechanical engineer does? Everything!! They design parts, components and devices. Test them in the lab once they have been made. Develop new processes and materials. Manage the process flow of a manufacturing floor. The business world recognizes engineers as good problem solvers also.

    Some engineers like myself design products themselves then go to the shop and make the prototype themself. You keep mentioning you want to work hands on. Well you want to be some form of a research and development engineer, which is my title.

    When people ask me what I do the simple answer I give sometimes is that I make things happen.

    The website is www.neu.edu

    If I knew you were serious and working hard and you ended up having trouble getting in I know how to help you get you in. I have a good reputation there.

    -Chris
     

Share This Page