This is a question forwarded to US through the contact form on our Career And Mentorship Page by a mechanical engineering graduate, name withheld, on the 11th of July 2015.
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Here is the content of the message, copied and pasted as forwarded…
Pls kindly advice me on how to enhance my knowledge as a mechanical engineering graduate in order to be fit for the highly competitive labour market. Thanks
This reply on career advice and mentorship has already been sent to the related party but instinct dictated to us to post it here so others who have a somewhat related bug can learn from it.
Defining terms, Mechanical engineering is a diverse subject that derives its breadth from the need to design and manufacture everything from small individual parts and devices (e.g., microscale sensors and inkjet printer nozzles) to large systems (e.g., spacecraft and machine tools).
Mechanical engineering is a very lucrative job in Nigeria, justifiable as listed among the 10 most marketable courses in Nigeria as at 2014.
Making it known first of all that a successful mechanical engineering career is a building process that starts during the undergraduate years, if not earlier. Once on the career path, the process continues through networking, on-the-job training, graduate studies, and continuing professional education.
Practicing mechanical engineering demands two things: First, today’s mechanical engineer is expected to be more self-managed and self-reliant in planning and doing work. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, employers will neither plan your career, neither do you want that to happen, you build yourself.
Not diverting away from the subject matter, enhancing your knowledge as a mechanical engineering has a zillion answers but we shall mention a few which are most probably strictly required in order for you to stay relevant in the highly competitive Nigeria labour market.
- Get involved in further education- Maybe masters or so
- Try apprenticeship – Might not flow in proportional with your ego but it goes a long way in boosting your mechanical engineering skills needed by your potential employers. Also makes you more experienced.
- Build something – You’re an engineer! And the best way to master a learned skill is to build something with it.
- Go for internships and never go into it for the money but for what you will learn
- Be good at software – Learn Microsoft Excel, Any 3-D modelling software, Solidworks, Ansys, AutoCAD and probably programming languages like C++, JAVA, PYTHON, MATLAB etc.
- Read more and acquire a good knowledge of basic mechanics, strength of materials or fluid mechanics and mechanism design.
Actually, securing a job as a mechanical engineering graduate in Nigeria depends on this percentage grades – 25% Experience, 30% skills, 10% Personality and Character, 20% Grades and Degree acquired and then the last 15% covers you if you know someone that knows somebody that knows someone that has a friend who is a relative of the manager of an employing company, simply put, if you have connections.
In Nigerian universities, you will only get a taste of the different divisions of mechanical engineering. Really just a general understanding is all you will get. You are expected to acquire the skills you need on them all by yourself, or you might be lucky, your job will teach you what and how to do what.
Rounding off, you owe to yourself whatever step you need to take or you take for the betterment of your career, never sit back after school and watch supersports all day while waiting for that unknown employer to send you a congratulations letter, rise up today and make sure you acquire a new skill or learn something new everyday, you shall make it.
We think this piece will get to you in the right mood and be of help to you. Thanks for contacting us and we shall be looking forward to hearing from you in case you are still bugged. Have a nice day.
That should be all on the reply to the request made on What I Should Do As A Mechanical Engineering Graduate – Career Advice.
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