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Mech. Design Eng. - solid interest. IT/Databases - a new one. How to combine?

  1. Aug 30, 2011 #1
    I am very much interested in design engineering, development of consumer, scientific and medical devices. My favourite aspects of engineering include mathematics, CAD and computational engineering. I would say that my key strengths lie in analytical, mathematical thinking and very strong visual/3d thinking.

    Working as an intern in a company, I had the opportunity to work on a design project and a software project.

    I enjoyed the design project, but it had some negatives. It was not knowledge intensive, some of the CAD parts where simply common sense geometrical shapes, based on no mathematical computation. The project strongly depended on ordering off-the-shelf components, making sure the workshop technicians manufacture the right parts, thus wasting time and money. Non the less I am passionate of how mechanics and electrics integrate into a single product. I love technical drawing.

    I also had to develop a database, using MS Access, VBA. Although the programming element was small, mastering MS Access to create a very sophisticated multi-user database was quite challenging. It involved 100-eds of unique information fields, which had to be manipulated using quite complex mathematics to produce predictions and plots in different types of reports. It involved graphical GUI design, which turned out very sleek and aesthetic. The project made a significant impact on the whole department, automating data storage, manipulation and report production. It was knowledge intensive, I had much to learn and going to work was an actual exercise for the brain (like a brain gym, you are being paid for - very nice). The work was also in a comfortable office environment, no greasy workshops (I look forward to your comments, mech engineers :D). IT work is also very portable and flexible. There is couple in Sweden, specialising in MS Access design, who live in house near a lake, in a countryside, making their living designing databases for companies.

    My previous vision was to go into medical device design, specialising in mechanical design engineering. Mechatronics was also a future direction, e.g. robotic surgical systems. But the database project really opened a new perspective for me. Also, there is a unprecedented demand for IT jobs, and I can see why - it can have a very significant impact, and is relatively little material (metals, plastics...), resource, location dependant.

    Are there any potential niches I can start exploring, given my existing passion for product design and newly found IT interests?

    I will be a 3rd year undergraduate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2011 #2
    Most IT jobs involve setting up computers, installing updates, network adminstration, etc. Complex database design is generally done as part of computer science type projects, so if that is your interest I would focus on computer science and not IT.
  4. Aug 31, 2011 #3
    I was thinking of a Software Engineering postgraduate degree, although I feel it's too much of a different field for a mech eng. If I do any career changes - I want them to be gradual, maybe taking some modules at a uni, while working.

    P.S. English is not my mother tongue. When I think IT - it's application design, software, embeded systems, expert systems.
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