Engineers keep the world running
Engineers keep the world running

Mechanical Engineering Jobs


What exactly does a mechanical engineer do?

This varies from one job to another. Mechanical engineering jobs involve tasks and activities such as researching, designing, developing, and testing mechanical devices (including engines, tools, and other machines). Some of the different types of jobs that are available in the field of mechanical engineering include the following:

  • Assembly Technician
  • Boilermaker
  • Chief Artisan (Mechanical)
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Junior Mechanical Engineer
  • Mechanical Assistant
  • Mechanical Design Technician
  • Mechanical Draughtsman
  • Mechanical Engineering Project Manager
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • Millwright
  • Motor Mechanic
  • Senior Mechanical Engineer
  • Welder

As you can see from the list above, the jobs that are available range from entry-level technical jobs to senior and managerial engineering positions.

In a more junior or technical position, you may be required to:

  • Perform physical tasks with your hands.
  • Install, inspect, maintain, and repair equipment and machinery.
  • Take instructions from, and report back to, a supervisor.
  • Comply with all safety procedures.

In a more senior or managerial position, you may be required to:

  • Communicate with clients regarding the work that needs to be done.
  • Supervise, and delegate tasks to, junior engineers or technicians.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate safety procedures.
  • Plan and implement engineering projects.

Mechanical engineering is a diverse and highly practical field — it covers a wide range of activities and presents you with a variety of job opportunities. It is also a rewarding field to work in, particularly if you enjoy getting your hands dirty, solving problems, and sometimes working closely with other people.

Why is it important to study mechanical engineering if you want to apply for a mechanical engineering job?

Due to the broad, technical nature of the work involved, there is a high demand for skilled artisans specialising in mechanical engineering. By studying a mechanical engineering course, you can gain the basic knowledge and skills that you need to take up an apprenticeship, or to start working in an entry-level position. While you can enter into an apprenticeship without having completed any theoretical training, it will help you to stand out from the other candidates if you have already completed a basic training course. Employers may be more willing to employ you as an apprentice if they know that you already have a basic foundation in mechanical engineering, and that they therefore won’t have to train you up from scratch.

Other reasons why it is important to study a mechanical engineering course include the following:

  • You need to complete the relevant courses, and pass the relevant examinations, before you can become a fully qualified artisan or engineer.
  • You will have more credibility in the eyes of prospective employers (and clients) if you have completed a recognised course in mechanical engineering.
  • If you enter into a learnership, you will be required to complete a relevant course as part of your learnership agreement.

What skills and characteristics do you need to work in this industry?

To be a successful mechanical engineer, you need:

  • Creativity
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Time management skills
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to work in a group
  • The ability to translate a technical concept into simple terms

You also have to be willing to work with your hands and to do physically demanding work.