Is it right that a mechanical engineer can work as an electrical engineer?
If you are a mechanical engineer and wonder if you can work as an electrical engineer, this article is for you.
So keep reading to know the response and why?
Can a mechanical engineer work as an electrical engineer?
In general, mechanicals can’t work as electrical engineering due to the big difference in subjects they study. Mechanical engineering focuses on the design and science of materials. While electrical engineers focus on electrical circuits, both majors are hugely separated.
But we can find many mechanical engineers who have a good foundation in electrical engineering. In other words, they know both mechanical and electrical engineering. So we can talk about a new branch that combines these 2 majors, mechanical and electrical engineering.
To clarify, mechatronics is a specialization that studies:
- electrical engineering
- mechanical engineering
But this field is broad and tends to be general Because it is impossible to find someone who can absorb 3 specialties at once. So if you ask about being a professional in mechanical and mechanical engineering at the same time, this is impossible.
In addition, mechanical engineering has subfields or specializations, so it is rare to find a mechanical engineer working in all the mechanical engineering specializations. Today mechanical engineers have subfields like:
- manufacturing design
- Fluid Mechanics,
- Machine Design
- Solid Mechanics,
- Materials Engineering and Processing,
- Automation and Control
- Thermal Engineering.
But for, people who want to switch from mechanical engineering to electrical engineering will have many advantages that can help them learn electrical engineering.
A critical advantage is understanding mathematics well, which is highly demanded in electrical engineering.
For this reason, we made this guide to help you learn electrical engineering on your own. So if you are interested, you can follow the steps that I will list below.
STEP 1: self-education
We will list the 7 essential subjects mechanical engineers should study or learn about in electrical engineering.
1 – Electricity basics
The first thing that you should teach yourself is electricity basics, meaning all basics of electrical components like:
- terminals and contacts
In other words, you have to learn about all the basic components of electricity that you can find in a home and study how they work.
So in the electricity basics course, you need to learn this foundation, to simplify more, in this stage you need to be able to fix electricity problems of your house or install it from scratch.
This stage is easy and doesn’t have complications.
2 – Electronics basics components
in the second step, you should learn and take the electronic course, where you will discover and study the electronic components. You might already have used them in a college, but that is not enough.
So in the electronic course, you will learn what is:
- the difference between DC and AC current
- fuse and etc
Electronics have a lot of components that you should study about them. Firstly you need to learn about the characteristics of each element and then do a lot of practice.
To learn electronics, you will need to burn and explode many components to gain knowledge and experience. It is better to hire someone or do an internship with some company because you need someone to guide you and provide help.
But before that, you have to try and bring the all electronic components to a house and start to crafting circuits.
you can follow this youtube channel if you want to learn about electronics
3 – Make circuits
the next step is going a little bit more advanced and making circuits. In this step, you need to know how to make circuit projects that humans can use, for instance:
- make lighting systems
- run electric motors,
- make alarm systems etc
In other words, you need to deploy what you’ve learned in real projects to be part of the engineering aspect. This is the most critical stage in determining if you learned electronics correctly or not.
4 – Design PCB
this step is to learn how to transform a circuit from this forme
to this form
which is called PCB design.
In this process, you design a board for all your components in a professional form and be customizable. you need to learn to use some softwares for these specific jobs like:
- KiCad EDA.
- Altium NEXUS
you can discover more about it at this link.
5 – learn about microcontrollers and processors
After getting a decent knowledge or experience in electronics, the next step is to learn about microcontrollers and processors.
Microcontrollers are the tiny supper computers that you can find in multiple electronics devices like:
- remote car
- AC room
- washing machine etc
Microprocessors are doing the same job that microcontrollers but are more powerful. For this reason, we find them in computers or smartphones.
The most interesting thing that you will need to learn about microcontrollers is how to program them effectively. In other words, make programs run fastly and take up a small amount of space.
this is what we’re going to talk about in the next paragraph
6 – Learn to program
After getting a simple idea about what a microcontroller or microprocessor is, it’s time to learn how to program them. The most popular programming languages electrical engineers learn are:
So taking courses in these languages is very interesting to make an electronic programmable circuit.
STEP 2 make internships
The next step you should take, which is very important, is to take internships. Having an interest in this domain is very important because it is a domain that requires dealing with a lot of electronics components that you might not be able to bring to a house.
In addition, taking this internship will help you learn new skills and expand your network by building new relationships with people.
STEP 3 Apply for jobs
Suppose you applied correctly to these all the previous 2 steps. As a result, you could apply for electrical entry jobs, but you have to be aware that the entry wage might not be encouraging initially.
But unfortunately, having a degree in mechanical engineering will not support you to be paid like electrical engineers.
In general, mechanical engineers can work in some electrical engineering applications, but replacing the electrical engineering jobs totaly is not possible unless you decide to build your own business and learn all electrical engineering topics from scratch.
The other solution is to take a specialization in mechatronics, where you will do mechanical and electrical engineering simultaneously. But this specialization is not popular as electrical engineering.
you can read this article: mechatronics vs electronics or electrical engineering, which is better
You can read also this related article: Can a mechanical engineer become a robotics engineer?