The work of mechanical engineers spans a number of different fields and disciplines, with a great deal of the emphasis being on the creation, design, construction, and installation of many of the mechanical devices that make modern life so comfortable. A fully trained engineer can practice his or her vocation in a number of settings, and provide a wide range of services.
One of the more common roles of a mechanical engineer has to do with the design and construction of public buildings. Engineers address a number of aspects that affect the function of a building, such as the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. They will ensure that the placement of equipment, the routing of ductwork, and the placing of vents throughout the space will ensure that the occupants of the building will enjoy a comfortable temperature at all times. In some cases, an engineer may design special systems that work in building designs that are different from the norm.
Product development is also an area that requires the talents of this type of engineer. In some cases, he or she may be called on to refine an existing product, such as an automobile or household kitchen appliance. As part of this job, the engineer may seek to improve the product so that it — or the process used to make it — is more efficient, which might reduce the cost to the consumer. Engineering of this type has proven very profitable in the advance of communications methods and devices over the last several decades, resulting in a number of household products becoming more affordable.
Mechanical engineering also comes into play with product development that creates something new, such as new concepts for space exploration. Some of the most important technological innovations of the last century were directly attributed to people whose creativity and vision often helped to make the impossible become a reality within a short number of years.
As technology in a number of industries becomes more complicated, the talents of a competent mechanical engineer have also increased in demand. As a result, many colleges and universities offer comprehensive courses of study that are geared toward training engineers who will be able to meet the growing demand.