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Want to become a mechanical engineer?

Mechanical engineers are adding to, or improvising on products to keep everything running on well-oild wheels. Read on to know all about the career.

education Updated: Nov 03, 2011 17:12 IST

The lowdown
The invention of wheel is said to be a product of mechanical engineering. About 5,500 years later, mechanical engineers are adding to, or improvising on products to keep everything running on well-oild wheels. Mechanical engineering is about the design, analysis, manufacture and maintenance of anything that has moveable components. Its sub-divisions are: a) production – these engineers make objects; b) designing mechanical equipment – professionals in this line work on, optimizing-performance designs; c) thermal and fluid sciences - those in this area design air-conditioners, fans, turbines, steam boilers and power plants

Clock Work
The average day of a mechanical engineer working in the R&D division of an automobile company:
7.30am: Leave for office
8am: Breakfast in office canteen
8.15am: Look at the day’s activities in the weekly plan
8.45pm: Departmental meeting with section head to discuss problems, progress, field complaints or test issues
9.15am: Tea break
9.25am to 1.15pm: Check drawings by CAD (computer-aided design) engineers
1.15pm: Lunch
1.45pm: Visit the testing lab. Monitor progress of products (eg steering chassis under development)
6.30pm: Leave for the day

The payoff
Entry-level engineers get Rs3 lakh to Rs4 lakh a year. Pay hikes depend on your performance. An engineer with five to nine years’ work experience makes Rs7 lakh to Rs15 lakh a year

Skills/TRAITS
. Affinity for machinery
. A problem-solving attitude
. Good analytical skills
. Innovative approach to do things
. Team spirit
. Physical stamina
. Good communication skills

Getting there
After completing class 12 in science (physics-chemistry-maths), do a four-year degree course in an engineering college or a three-year (four-year part-time) diploma course at a polytechnic. Another option is the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ technician engineers and the associate membership (sections A and B) examinations.

Clearing this will give you a qualification equivalent to a diploma from a state polytechnic or a degree from an Indian university. The Institution of Engineering (India), too, conducts such an examination. Getting the best jobs depends on the level and ‘market value’ of a mechanical engineer’s credentials. For engineering research or design positions, it is advisable to earn a PG degree from a major institution, such as an IIT. For consultancy or management positions, a degree from an institute like an IIM will stand you in good stead

Institutes and URLs
.
Indian Institutes of Technology, Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur,
. Madras, Roorkee, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Indore, Mandi, Patnam Punjab, Rajasthan
http://jee.iitd.ac.in/
. Banaras Hindu University
www.itbhu.ac.in
. ISM (Indian School of Mines) University, Dhanbad
www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani www.bits-pilani.ac.in
. Delhi Technological University
www.dce.edu

Pros and cons
.
Job options in many different industries
. Your work may contribute to human development/comfort as well as environment
. degradation
. Could face high temperature or noise levels at work