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5 Characteristics of a Successful Mechanical Engineer

  • Creativity
  • Problem Solver
  • Communication & Interpersonal Skills
  • Team Player
  • Good Computer Skills

Aspiring mechanical engineers often wonder about the characteristics of a successful mechanical engineer and if they have what it takes to be successful in this field. Mechanical engineers play an important role in researching, designing and building thermal sensors and various mechanical devices used in today’s world. Of all the engineering fields, mechanical engineering is the broadest field. Their creations are used in many industries, including medical industry, HVAC industry, robotics and automotive to name just a few. While it takes a degree to work as a mechanical engineer, it takes some special qualities to become a successful mechanical engineer.


A big part of being a mechanical engineer is designing, building and developing products. These may range from small batteries or medical devices to large automotive products or home generators. What these products all have in common is that mechanical engineers created them. Inventing or creating involves a lot of creativity. They do more than just have the idea in their head, although it usually starts there. Besides physically creating the product; mechanical engineers develop a timeline for finishing; draft dimensions, geometric and standards; create CAD-based blueprints; convert the designs into actual working drawings and complete the project within a certain time and cost.

Problem Solver

Mechanical engineering can be a complex field that involves not just the creation of an idea but also the design, testing and developing of the product. This usually involves facing some problems along the way. A successful mechanical engineer must be good at solving problems not just effectively but in a timely and cost-effective manner. Whether the problem stems from the engineer’s action design, a member of the team. or a machine malfunction, the mechanical engineer is usually the one responsible for solving the problem. Being a good problem solver is vital to a mechanical engineer.

Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Whether a mechanical engineer works for a large company or independently, the engineer is creating a product for a customer or client. The mechanical engineer may have a good understanding of the product and what makes it work, but the client may not. It’s up to the mechanical engineer to explain the complexity of the device or machine, particularly if the client is not familiar with mechanical engineering and how it works. Mechanical engineers must possess strong interpersonal skills and excellent communication skills. They must make site visits, oversee the manufacturing process, recommend necessary modifications, write and maintain operating standards and prepare reports. Throughout all these processes, they must be able to clearly explain the process and be able to effectively answer questions.

Team Player

Being a team player is an extremely important characteristic of a successful mechanical engineer. Very seldom will you find a mechanical engineer who’s working on his own. There will always be a client and other members of a team. The mechanical engineer must be able to work well with others and be a cooperative team player. Mechanical engineers often work as part of a group of other mechanical engineers. They may also work with people who are not engineers, such as architects, contractors or computer scientists. They must be able to work well with others in getting the best product created.

Good Computer Skills

Mechanical engineers spend a great deal of time on computers. Whether they’re writing up cost analysis and expenses on a spreadsheet, drafting memos to clients or creating CAD blueprints, they’re doing it on a computer. If a problem arises throughout the process, the mechanical engineer must make corrections on the computer. They use computers to run simulations, create and analyze designs, interact with different systems, send emails, generate part specifications or test if a machine works correctly. Mechanical engineers must be good with computers and familiar with various types of software and computer accessories.

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Mechanical engineers have always been a valued member of the manufacturing industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mechanical engineers working for engineering firms should experience a job growth of 9 percent between 2016 and 2026. Those who possess the most characteristic of a successful mechanical engineer can even find job opportunities working independently or as consultants.