Programming in mechanical engineering

  • Thread starter etotheix
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Hi,

I have a general question related to the mechanical engineering profession.

I am a second year mechanical engineering student and I also have a college degree in computer science, my skills are mainly C/C++ programming and networking/Linux environment (system administration).

I love both fields, basically what I want to know is : are there in mechanical engineering fields that require good programming knowledge? In other words, is it a good asset to have? Or is it more used in research projects?

I am not talking about using basic matlab functions, but maybe something along the lines of developing fast and effective algorithms to solve complex engineering problems.

Thanks in advance.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Machine design and robotics programming. You would need basic logic skills to program things like Allen Bradley Mircologix PLCs (example). The more complex the machinery that needs to be automated, the more complex the PLC program.
 
  • #3
AlephZero
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Commercial structural analysis software is now a mature industry in itself. If you want to work "full time" on improving software to solve "mainstream" problems yuo probably need to be working for a company like MSC (Nastran), HKS (Abaqus), etc.

20 or 30 years ago that was not necessarily the case, and high tech companies sometimes wrote their own analysis software "from scratch" to do things that were beyond the state of the art of the commercial programs (been there, done that!) but that is pretty much dead now.

On the other hand there are always "niche market" problems that need to be solved that invove smaller scale software development, and (as the other answer said) there is embedded software. Even if you are mainly using Matlab, using it efficiently can make a huge difference to what you can achieve.

You might be better thinking about CFD rather than solid mechanics. CFD software is catching up with mechanical in terms of maturity and "idiot proof" handling of complex problems, but it's still 10 or 20 years behind mechanical analysis IMO.

Another option would be to go right to the leading/bleeding edge of so-called multiphysics problems, in a research environment rather than a "traditional" engineering company.
 
  • #4
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Thanks a lot for the answers! CFD looks very interesting I will defenitely try to learn more about it.
 
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...20 or 30 years ago that was not necessarily the case, and high tech companies sometimes wrote their own analysis software "from scratch" to do things that were beyond the state of the art of the commercial programs (been there, done that!) but that is pretty much dead now...
We are still working with computer programs originally written (in Fortran) in the 1960s, though they have been modified from time to time since then. Engineers who can work with these old codes are worth their weight in gold.

Some of these have had user interfaces (in C++) grafted onto them.
 

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