You’re done with college. Tucked under your belt is a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. It’s now time to scout for employment opportunities. Your MIT credentials are now up for sale as one of the top five graduates. Reputable companies, from those making air compressors and industrial pumps to those making airplanes, are wooing you to join their firm. Maybe you’ll join Gardner Denver and move to Milwaukee. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Ford Motors, and Apple are also interested.

According to Brian L. Yoder, Ph.D., 47% of all undergraduate engineering degrees were for mechanical, computer science, and electrical engineering. Thirty thousand graduated from the mechanical engineering field. You’re part of the 14.8% female graduates from the same discipline.

You’ve had the time to think things over before graduation. You’ve dreamt of this decision-making moment while still in high school. But the choices you need to make can be daunting. What will be your career path? Will you be a mechanical design engineer or product quality engineer?

Let’s look at some possibilities.

Understanding the Landscape

Coming from MIT, you’ve had the opportunity to go on an internship. Recruitment-wise, this might give you an edge as you do not belong to the 25% of graduates, who did not have internship experience.

With your MIT pedigree and your credentials, you also might skip the entry-level position. These entry-level positions include the following:

  • Mechanical Design Engineer
  • Product Quality Engineer
  • Automation Engineer
  • Test Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Sales Engineer

There are already offers on the table. But don’t miss out on other possibilities and research other candidate companies. Illumina, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, SpaceX, and Boston Scientific are some of the top companies to work for. Look for employee testimonials and see if what they share resonates with your values. With a projected 9% growth rate until 2026, it will be wise to understand each company.

engineer drafting something

Get an Upgrade and Master the Tools

It started with Android Cupcake, and we are now on Android Pie. The versions in between included Donut, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Kit-Kat, to name a few.

Just like the Android OS, you need to upgrade to stay ahead of the competition. The tools and technology being used are always changing. Take advantage of short training, like for advanced 3D CAD software, which is one of the industry’s main driving tools.

Don’t select training based solely on the features of the software. Find out if the community of users is also significant.  CNC Cookbooks’ 2015 survey indicates that SolidWorks has a market share of 22.7% while boasting a user base of nearly three million people.

Get the necessary “upgrade” even before your first three years on the job.

Your Skill Sets and the Top Job

If you’re good at designing and adept at the use of 3D software solutions. Focus on improving that skill set. If you find that you are good at ensuring product quality, you need to develop your production and processing skill set.

This idea checklist isn’t comprehensive, but improving your understanding of the mechanical engineering industry is a good starting point for your career.