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ME Careers

Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.  Traditionally, a Mechanical Engineer would be the expert in the production and usage of heat and mechanical power which are critical in the design, production and operation of machinery.  Today, Mechanical Engineers have taken on an expansive and critical role across all fields — from automobiles to energy to medical devices — and in the advancement of new technologies, such nano-technologies and MEMS (MicroElectroMechanicalSystems).  As an undergraduate student, you have the option to explore career opportunities before graduation through internships and co-ops.

Career Resources


The UMBC Career Center is a great first stop as you begin your search.  They can you help you identify potential career paths or opportunities as a Mechanical Engineer.


tc-logoUMBC Training Centers offer courses to help prepare you for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the PE Exam.  The FE exam is now computer based and can be taken at any time at designated testing centers.  The courses offered for engineering students can be found here.


ASMEFutureME logoThe ASMEFutureME website provides a Career Development Video Series that covers technical and career development topics which will give early career engineers the opportunity to learn from featured experts and professionals while exploring relevant technical concepts, industry trends and workplace development issues.


Career Cornerstone Center

The Career Cornerstone Center provides career planning resources in a variety of career areas, including Mechanical Engineering.

NCEES logoThe Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination is typically the first step toward licensing as a Professional Engineer.  To learn more about the FE exam, you should consult the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) website.  Many students will take the exam immediately after completing their BS degree program.


UMBC Alumni

UMBC alumni


To give a better picture of the types of careers available to you as a Mechanical Engineer, presented below are brief interviews with UMBC ME graduates.

Mariano MumpowerMarianoMumpower

2011 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am a Mechanical Engineer with Key Technologies in Baltimore, MD.  Key Tech is a product development firm specializing in the design of complex electromechanical devices.  Our work can range from basic research and brainstorming on concepts to meet a design need, to user testing and iteration in an established design, to full scale development where we transform ideas into real products.  The products we design are mostly medical devices and scientific instruments, as well as some industrial and consumer products.

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  As a mechanical engineer at Key Tech, my responsibilities include mechanical design, as well as testing and data analysis.  Because Key Tech is a multi-disciplined and team based engineering company, my responsibilities can also include collaboration with electrical engineerings, computer engineers, and industrial designers.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Depending on the projects I am working on, a typical day could include everything from modeling parts and assemblies in SolidWorks, to running tests and collecting data on a prototype device, presenting design or test information to a client, creating quick breadboard mockups of an electromechanical system, or participating in brainstorming sessions to solve a particular design problem.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  First and foremost is problem solving abilities and attention to technical details.  This problem solving skill is not confined to just mechanical systems, but more generally “out of the box” thinking where you can look at a problem from different angles and be open to different solutions, and then be able to evaluate those solutions based on application of engineering principles.  To be able to do that successfully involves having a strong background in all of the subjects that make up mechanical engineering.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  My education at UMBC provided a strong foundation in the mathematics, physics, and mechanical engineering principles needed for my work at Key Tech.  Through coursework, design projects, and internships, I learned the basics of the engineering process, and the theory needed to solve mechanical design problems, as well as the communication and teamwork skills needed to be an effective part of a design team.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Your coursework will be tough, you will end up living in the library or study hall at some point, and your friends with other majors will think you’re becoming a hermit, but you will be learning a discipline which can unlock a lot of personal satisfaction and great career potential so it’s all worth it.  While you study and complete your assignments, learn to love the problem solving process as opposed to just finding the right answer.  The skills that you will pick up when you challenge yourself to understand the topics, wok through the problems in a logical way, and communicate your solutions to others will really be the skills that make yo a good engineer.  Lastly, expose yourself as much as possible to other disciplines within engineering so you can understand and communicate effectively on design teams wit other engineers.

Lauren T. Buckler, P.E., CEM, LEED AP

LaurenBuckler headshot BW

2006 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am the Director of the Office of Energy Performance & Conservation for the State of Maryland Department of General Services (DGS).

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities.

A.  The Office of Energy is responsible for the energy reduction, energy tracking, renewable energy portfolio and energy purchases for state government.  As the Director, I am responsible for all of these technical activities, along with the administrative duties for the office including staff and budget management.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  Every day is different, which keeps my job challenging and interesting.  A day could include meeting with a State Agency, reviewing their energy performance to-date, and discussing opportunities to achieve additional energy reductions or renewable energy options.  Another day could include reviewing proposed energy legislation to determine the impact to the Office of Energy.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

A.  Analyzing data, applying energy savings technologies and methods, and understanding how energy utilizing systems function; also communication (explaining technical information to a wide audience)

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?

A.  I took an HVAC Design elective my senior year at UMBC, before that elective I planned to stay in the construction management field.  That elective eventually lead me into the design field which lead into the energy field.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  The time I spend in undergraduate wasn’t easy; the work load was frustrating compared to my non-engineering roommates and friends.  But, I had a job before I graduated and it was a job I liked.  A degree in Engineering opens a variety of career options; there are opportunities to find a career you enjoy.

Renee Zak

Zak - medtornic2

2007 – BS Mechanical Engineering

Q.  What is your current position?

A.  I am a Test Engineer for Medtronic, a medical device company, working on Image Guided Neuronavigation systems.

Q.  Describe your overall job duties and responsibilities

A.  I complete all verification and validation activities for the system software.   It ensures that the software meets the requirements of the design, reduces any potential user interface issues, and satisfies the needs of the customers.

Q.  What is a typical day like for you?

A.  A typical day consists of reviewing requirements, writing test protocols, testing software, attending cross-functional team meetings for projects and making progress towards process improvements to streamline the test process.

Q.  What technical skills are important to being successful in your position?

I think statistics is important for creating accuracy protocols in my position and understanding how to determine sample sizes and analyze data.  Otherwise, good technical writing skills are a must.

Q.  How did your UMBC education prepare you for this position?  

A.  The engineering degree opens the door for a variety of positions even if they aren’t strictly “Mechanical Engineering” positions.  I believe I use the problem-solving skills that are learned over the college years mostly, and experience in project teams also helps with team synergy.

Q.  What advice would you give to students thinking about studying Mechanical Engineering?

A.  Mechanical Engineering is a great, broad discipline that provides a solid background for many different industries.  I enjoyed taking the Biomechanical electives and continue to enjoy working in the medical device industry.  I would also say to stay in school and get a Master’s degree even if you may not know what you are truly interested in because it will allow for a bigger salary regardless if it specifically applies to a position.