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The 5 traits of a great Mechanical Design Engineer

A great product that can be efficiently and effectively manufactured often starts life due to an innovative and competent mechanical design function. Mechanical Designers are the visionaries and inventors of many products from spacecraft and rovers recently landing on Mars, to automotive chassis and the aluminium edges on a new iPhone. Mechanical Engineers are logical thinkers, taking the possibilities of product innovation and processes to new heights whilst working with a range of people to impact nearly every industry and product. Hiring the right Mechanical Design Engineer is crucial. Here are some of the traits to look for.

Engineering and Design Skills

 Most of the best mechanical design engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, but some have honed their talents through experience after transitioning from other engineering fields. What matters is the ability to interpret an idea into reality through a process of innovation, design, development, NPI, and test to meet the demands of customers.

This requires the use of a range of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, often 3D and 2D such as CATIA, Solidworks, Solid Edge, Autodesk Inventor, Creo and specialist tools such as CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis software.

The use of real-time data (big data) via the likes of IoT is another evolution taking place in the mechanical design engineering field. This data is transforming the way engineers develop, design, and improve new products.

The interview process for many Mechanical Design Engineers commonly includes a CAD test as well as individuals discussing the design regime and processes to deliver qualitative products the first time via customer and field information.

A Blend of Creative and Analytical Thinking

 A Mechanical Design Engineer will push the boundaries of what currently exists, solving the problem in front of them with the curiosity, rationality, and rigour of a scientist. The engineer should have an innate curiosity to figure out how to make something work better and/or more efficiently. They need to be imaginative enough to try new things, yet analytical to put them to the test and decide efficiently what will deliver the most cost-effective solution to the customer’s needs.

Interview questions often range around how a new approach paid off or their approach to risk management.

Excellence in Communication and Teamwork

A good Mechanical Design Engineer needs to be comfortable working with colleagues, including other engineering teams including electronics engineers, manufacturing engineers, quality engineers, and program managers. They should be able to take initiative and lead a group when necessary, without preventing others from having input.

They must also be able to communicate, both orally and in writing with non-engineers and explain complex machines and devices, define problems, and discuss solutions. They should not only understand industry jargon but also how to translate it to meet evolving requirements and business conditions.

Fantastic Problem Solving

Mechanical Design Engineers are innovators who often explore different opportunities and routes on the quest for better products. This can mean they encounter problems on the road. The ideal designer will not be afraid of challenges and will be able to take control of the situation quickly, analysing the issue and coming up with solutions.

A good Mechanical Design Engineer is driven, determined, and not prone to taking the “easy way out”. They are willing to invest in their growth by seeking out training, mentoring, and may well drive their own progress at work. 

Attention to Detail

Accuracy and precision are essential traits for a career in mechanical design as failing to pay attention to the finer details can have major commercial and social consequences. Mechanical Design Engineers pay great attention to detail as they work, spotting inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement whilst using their analytical skills to interpret design and test results to evaluate their product.

If you are interested in Mechanical Design Engineer jobs and would like discuss jobs opportunities please feel free to contact Ricky on 01582 878810 or email


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