How to Become a Good Mechanical Design Engineer

To become a good mechanical design engineer, first you require a degree or diploma in mechanical engineering. That will help you in improving your basic knowledge in the mechanical field. To become a mechanical design engineer, You need to keep your focus on basic skills discussed here. 

If you are switching from any other department to design. Following skills can help you in achieving your goal. If you are able to acquire skills that are required to do tasks done by mechanical engineers. You can achieve your goal of becoming a good mechanical design engineer.

Update: If you do not have a degree, That does not mean you can not be a good mechanical design engineer. Any individual can learn engineering skills online and practice them to become a good mechanical design engineer.

Common Tasks of a Mechanical Design Engineer

Mechanical Design engineers play a very important role during product design and development. One can not become an expert in all of these tasks. But based on your experience and interest. It’s better to get expertise in multiple areas. Following tasks are performed by a mechanical design engineer.

  • Understand market requirements.
  • Concept or industrial design.
  • Material selection
  • Detailed part design.
  • 3D CAD modeling.
  • Structural simulation.
  • Thermal simulation.
  • Aerodynamics.
  • Design for manufacturing.
  • Vendor development
  • Part and product level testing.

Qualities and Skills of a Good Mechanical Design Engineer

To perform above tasks effectively, following qualities and skills are required. During graduation, you should try to achieve these qualities and skills. This will help you in becoming a good mechanical design engineer in your professional life. During interviews, recruiters look for these qualities and skills in their prospective employees.

Mindset and Approach towards Product Design 

Try to develop a design engineering approach by analyzing products around you from a design engineer prospective. Always ask yourself: Why is this product designed like this? Is there a better way of doing this?

During new product design, good engineers always brainstorm following questions:

  1. Who is going to use this product : end customer ?
  2. Product Competitors.
  3. What is product function and applications ?
  4. Target Cost ?
  5. Bench-marking (product existing alternatives).
  6. Is there a better way to design this product?
Technical Know How

A good mechanical design engineer should have good technical knowledge. Because product design decisions are taken based on experience, engineering calculation and engineering judgement.

For example, To design a consumer electronics product. Design engineers shall have the following knowledge and skills. 

  1. Complete product knowledge
  2. CAD Design
  3. Plastic or Sheet Metal Design
  4. Material selection
  5. Structural and thermal calculations
  6. Design for manufacturing
  7. Tolerance Analysis
  8. Problem Solving Skills
  9. Manufacturing
  10. Product testing
If you don’t have any of these skills, you can learn these skills through YouTube videos or can do specialized courses.
Simulation Tools & Manual Calculation

Simulation tools are used to predict the behavior of a system before actually building it. This helps in saving cost and getting products faster into the market. As a student you should develop interest in simulation tools such as Ansys, Solid-works simulation, Flotherm etc. Read this article to know the role of simulation in product design and development.

Always try to solve real life problems using simulation software. For example while solving thermodynamics problem, match simulation or manual calculation results with actual results.

CAD (Computer Aided Design) and Engineering Drawings

Knowledge of CAD tools is one of key skills to become a mechanical design engineer. This is not a mandatory skill but in the initial phase of your professional journey it helps.

Being good in cad software does not mean someone is also a good mechanical design engineer. But it is a required skill.

As a fresher you should learn cad tools. You can start practicing any of these cad tools such as solid-works, creo, catia or NX etc. You can also start with these Free available cad tools.

Ability to understand engineering drawings

Knowledge of understanding engineering drawing is a must skill. Start creating 3D CAD models from 2D engineering drawings and vice-versa.

Work on a Live Project

To improve design knowledge, working on a live project is a good idea. In the live project, you will get an opportunity to solve real life engineering problems. Real life engineering problems and challenges are different from theoretical problems.

Engineering students can consider working on a design project as their final year project. 

Develop Soft Skills

To stand out from the crowd. You shall start working on following soft-skills. Soft skills are equally important as technical skills.

  • Communication skills.
  • Positive attitude towards work.
  • Ability to work as a team.
  • Leadership qualities.
  • Update yourself with current trends in the technical area.

We are continuously updating the ways to improve mechanical design skills. By doing so you can become a good design engineer. Please add your comments or questions to How to become a good mechanical design engineer.

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