What do Mechanical Engineers do?
According to the US Department of Labor "mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Engineers in this discipline work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also work on power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material-handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. Some mechanical engineers design tools that other engineers need for their work." The Mechanical Engineering Department has a video on Mechanical Engineering careers on its web site.
Where do they work?
According to the US Department of Labor, "practically every company that designs and produces a product employs mechanical engineers. Examples of industries where mechanical engineers are employed include automotive, aerospace, biotechnology, computers and electronics, energy conservation, environmental control, automation and manufacturing, and academia - in areas such as product design, research and development, testing, manufacturing, plant operation, consulting, sales, and research. Many graduates enter masters or doctoral programs."
What are some employers in the field?
Top employers in the field include: Boeing ● Caterpillar ● Ford ● General Electric ● General Motors ● Honda R&D Americas ● Northrop Grumman ● Pratt and Whitney ● Schlumberger ● The Metropolitan Transportation Authority. You can also check out attendees to CCE's career fairs in the employer profile book and the Employer Directory tab in LionSHARE. Sloan Cornerstone Career Center hosts a list of other employers to explore.
What resources can I look into for more information and to gain experience?
Center for Career Education Resources: For a full list of resources and services visit our home page.
- LionSHARE: CCE's database of internship and full time jobs for students and alumni
- Vault & WetFeet guides: profiles industries, companies, and careers including: Industries and Careers for Engineers, Vault Guide to Top Manufacturing Employers, Vault Guide to Top Consumer Products Employers, Vault Guide to the Energy Industry
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship program
- CCE Career Fairs, employer information sessions, site visits, panels, workshops, and alumni events (see CCE's calendar of events regularly for updates)
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- Webshops and webinars covering a wide array of topics
- LinkedIn.com Columbia Groups: Columbia Career Connections & Columbia Alumni Association Network to find alumni working in the field
Student Clubs & Pre-Professional Associations: Student clubs often have direct links with employers and are excellent ways to learn about careers in the field. Many are even linked to regional or national professional associations that have web resources and host conferences and career fairs.
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers at Columbia and the professional association American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Columbia and the professional association American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- Knickerbocker Motorsports and the professional association Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
- Other Professional Associations: Use the low student membership rates in professional associations to gain career guidance and information about scholarships, networking opportunities, job postings, conferences and workshops, and access to job fairs.
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
- Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers
- Society of Experimental Mechanics
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers
- The National Council of Examiners for Engineering
- International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)
Research, Other Opportunities, and Resources:
- Mechanical Engineering Department Web Site (includes access to contact alumni directly via e-mail and additional job opportunities)
- Student Research Involvement Program
- SEAS Global Initiatives – Intern/Study Abroad Web Site
- Information on the FE Exam (Students should find out from their academic advisor whether their desired career path requires EIT/PE certification)
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
Internship/Job Posting Websites
- Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
- National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
- American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
- ACECNY: A proactive coalition of more than 270 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment - civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical - and affiliated companies. A listing of consulting engineering firms from across New York State. Use membership directory to identify local companies and check their job boards for postings.
- Engineering Jobs – Mechanical: A broad-scale listing of mechanical engineering employment opportunities
- Aero Industry Jobs: A job listing specifically focused on the aerospace and defense industries
- Careersinfood.com: Employment Site for the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Industry
- PennEnergy: A fascinating compilation of job listings within the mechanical and energy-oriented portions of engineering
- Aerotek Mechanical Engineering Jobs: Listing of mechanical engineering jobs at Aerotek
- Research Gate: A network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs and conferences
- Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent
- Other Engineering Links from CCE's web site
Professional Journals: Keep up to date on trends in the field, identify potential employers, and find out about new opportunities. Your access to the Columbia library system gives you extensive exposure to important information in the field today through the CU library login.