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  • Mechanical design - student advice

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by GarethW, Mar 14, 2010.

    1. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      I recently came across a product design consultancy website where each employee had each completed a questionaire targeted towards students of product design, giving advice on the industry etc.

      It struck me that this forum would provide a perfect opportunity to do a similar thing, in order to help and encourage prospective students of mechanical design :)

      Therefore, I have adapted the questionnaire to mechanical design (see below). I would like to encourage members to try to answer the questions as best they can. Hopefully it would give students (or prospective students) of mechanical design a real insight into what it's like to pursue a career in mechanical design. I will come back later and provide a few answers of my own!

      1. 1. What made you pursue a career in mechanical design?
      • 2. Where, when and what, did you study?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
        • 3. What did you enjoy about this course?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
          • 4. What are the most important things you have learned since starting work, which you did not learn at college?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
            • 5. With hindsight, are you glad you did this course? [/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
              • 6. Did you manage to gain any work experience before you left college? How did you get it, and what did it teach you?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                • 7. What was your first job when you left college? Did you find it hard to get into design? [/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                  • 8. Other than specific skills, what do you think makes a good mechanical designer?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                    • 9. What do you enjoy most about working as a mechanical design engineer?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                      • 10. Are there aspects of the work you don’t enjoy?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                        • 11. If you could go back in time, would you still follow a career as a mechanical design engineer?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                          • 12. Which mechanical design skills do you find you use most?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                            • 13. Which part of the design process do you enjoy most?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                              • 14. Which part of the design process do you enjoy the least?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                                • 15. What piece of work are you most proud of?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
                                  • 16. Finally... If you could give just one piece of advice to a student of mechanical design, what would it be?[/list:eek::1k2dd1d5]
       
    2.  
    3. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

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      Hi, my name's Pete and I'm a Mechanical Product Design Engineer Hybrid thing...

      1. What made you pursue a career in mechanical design?
      Initially it's what I was good at school and what I enjoyed doing most. This developed into an itch to find out how things worked and understand why people designed things the way they did. The phrase "What the hell is this?! I can do better than that!" sprung up a lot!

      I also love the idea that I could design something that would be put on shelves and in catalogues and be used by real people to improve and have a positive lasting impact on their life!

      2. Where, when and what, did you study?

      BA Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University
      MSc Design Engineering at Middlesex University

      3. What did you enjoy about this course?
      The Industrial Design course was so wide ranging in terms of skills learned: Mechanics/Electronics, materials, sustainable design, universal design, styling, manufacturing etc etc

      The Design Engineering course focused in on mechanics, manufacturing and mechatronics and helped develop core skills that are essential to work in industry.

      4. What are the most important things you have learned since starting work, which you did not learn at college?
      How much work can actually be done during daylight hours. Also, presenting designs etc to non-technical clients and senior management. Also the requirements and testing side of creating a new product.

      5. With hindsight, are you glad you did this course?
      Absolutely

      6. Did you manage to gain any work experience before you left college? How did you get it, and what did it teach you?
      Through 2 degrees I got a total of 18 months experience. This taught me responsibility and the need to get it right 1st time- If you mess up, it costs a lot of money!

      These placements were organised through the course, but I had to apply to them myself using a mixture of 'cold call' e-mailing and writing of letters, plus using the universities extensive database of past contacts.

      7. What was your first job when you left college? Did you find it hard to get into design?
      Upon leaving Loughborough with a BA Industrial Design degree, I found it nearly impossible to find work. (5 interviews in 12 months!) There were more people graduating in my year across the country than there were total jobs in the industry!

      That's part of the reason i went back to uni; I completed another placement, and they took me on after I finished my course as a proper job!

      8. Other than specific skills, what do you think makes a good mechanical designer?
      Creativity - the ability to think around a problem
      Determination - there's no such thing as impossible!

      9. What do you enjoy most about working as a mechanical design engineer?
      Creating objects and products that real people use in real life

      10. Are there aspects of the work you don’t enjoy?
      Engineering Drawing........

      11. If you could go back in time, would you still follow a career as a mechanical design engineer?
      Yes

      12. Which mechanical design skills do you find you use most?
      CAD skills (Solidworks and Inventor mainly)
      The ability to design a product by rule of thumb for manufacturing

      13. Which part of the design process do you enjoy most?
      Creative problem solving

      14. Which part of the design process do you enjoy the least?
      Getting those engineering drawings back from the line manager with a lot of red pen on....

      15. What piece of work are you most proud of?
      A mobile hoist for transporting and transferring disabled and immobile patients at home and in hospitals (for Nopac Healthcare)

      16. Finally... If you could give just one piece of advice to a student of mechanical design, what would it be?
      There's no substitute for experience. Find a course that offers a sandwich (a year out in industry), and take it. Do short placements during the summer holidays, and when you finish, if you're struggling for work, consider taking more placements! You get to make contacts and get a foot in the door as well as it looking good on a CV.

      Oh, also on the experience thing - look at KTP schemes!
       

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