Who is a mechanical engineer?
A mechanical engineer is a professional with qualifications in mechanical engineering or closely related field. In a simple definition, mechanical engineering is all about the design, manufacture and maintenance of various kinds of machinery ranging from small individual parts to complex mechanical systems.
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Mechanical engineering applies various principles such as materials science, physics and engineering to analyse, design, manufacture and maintain various mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers mainly deal with the design, development and manufacture of various kinds of mechanical systems such as; engines, air conditioning & refrigeration systems, machines, tools, generators, ships, and building mechanical systems among many others.
What is mechanical engineer’s work environment?
Mechanical engineers generally work in offices. However, these professionals may occasionally visit worksites where design, installation, inspection or maintenance services is required.
What are some mechanical engineer’s career opportunities?
Mechanical engineers are employed by Government, academia, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations among other areas.
Typical areas of employment include; Aerospace product and parts manufacturing, automotive industry, chemical industry, computer and electronic product manufacturing, machinery manufacturing firms, utilities industry, defense industry, electronics industry, fast moving consumer goods industry, building & construction industry, hospitality industry, marine industry, materials & metals industry, agriculture industry, academic institutions, marine industry, pharmaceuticals industry and rail industry among other sectors.
Mechanical engineers can also use their skills and creativity to start their own businesses/ self-employment.
How to become a mechanical engineer in Kenya
Subject’s choice in secondary schools plays a vital role towards ones future career choice. It is therefore important for young people to become aware of the various subjects combination required for various career options.
High school subject selection
To pursue a career as a mechanical engineer therefore, you will require good performance in the following cluster subjects.
- SUBJECT 1: MAT A,
- SUBJECT 2: PHY,
- SUBJECT 3: CHE,
- SUBJECT 4: BIO or any GROUP III or any GROUP IV or any GROUP (subject’s source); JAB/ Kuccps.
Education and Training Routes
If you work hard and score good grades in the above subject’s combination with an overall, KCSE mean grade C+ (plus) and above, you can pursue this career directly in the university (academic route).
However, if you do not qualify for direct university admission for this career option, you can still pursue it through a different route (technical route). Under the technical route, you will pursue a diploma course that can help you further your education and become a mechanical engineer.
So what course(s) can you pursue in either route and eventually become a mechanical engineer?
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering or similar course(s)
- Diploma in Mechanical engineering
- Diploma in Agricultural Engineering
- Diploma in Civil engineering
- Diploma in Electrical engineering
- Diploma in Geospatial Engineering
- Diploma in Technical Education in Mechanical Engineering
- Or other relevant course(s).
These diploma courses require at least KCSE mean grade C- (minus) and above.
It is worthy to note that, with a diploma in any of the above fields, you can either choose to get a job in line with your training or further your education to your desired career option.
Important skills to have
To work successfully as a mechanical engineer, you will be required to possess important skills some of which are listed below.
- Math skills
- Listening skills.
- Mechanical skills.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Presentation skills
- Computer skills among others
Throughout your education and training, you will develop these skills. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure before you enter the job market; you possess much of life skills required in the job market.
How to Join College and or university
There are two ways you can follow to join training institution(s) in pursuit of your career of choice. The majority way is applying through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps). This is a state owned agency that admits/ places government sponsored students to colleges and universities. One of the advantage of applying through Kuccps is that, upon successful placement, you will pay subsidized fee as a government sponsored student.
To be placed through Kuccps you must have attained a certain pass mark required for various education levels for (degrees/diplomas/certificates etc.) For more details on placement criteria, visit Kuccps website. The second approach is applying directly to training institution of your choice. Students who opt to apply this way do not get government fee subsidy and are therefore self-sponsored.
How to fund your post-secondary education.
If you are a needy student, upon application, you can get education loan from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), a state owned institution that gives education loans to students joining technical colleges and universities. You can also access education bursaries from your local Member of Parliament (MP) or the County Government among other sources.