Mechanical engineering is a subject that deals with designing and implementing mechanical contraptions. Starting from home electronic products to space shuttles and humanoid robots, all require the intelligence of a mechanical engineer to be able to function properly.
Mechanical engineering is a popular choice in terms of career growth and even creating a new niche as the need for electronic and mechanical goods is increasing. It is projected that by 2030, the mechanical engineering sector will see a growth of 7 percent in terms of employment.
This is due to the increase in the demand for tech-enabled mechanical products like self-driving cars and smart home automation devices.
With this development, it is crucial for a mechanical engineer to have a strong understanding of programming and technological advancements feasible. One essential aspect of programming is knowing the proper programming language.
There are many to choose from, but python is a popular choice among software engineers and developers, and now even mechanical engineers have started learning python to improve their career prospects.
What is Python?
In simple terms, Python is a programming language that enables programmers to design websites and create codes that will provide task automation and even data collection and data analysis. This language is object-oriented and has dynamic semantics.
This enables the programming language to be capable of creating codes that can be reused without much hassle and also be capable of deep learning.
While the language is the best choice when it comes to creating complex programs, what makes Python a popular choice among programmers is the language’s easy syntax and readability. Over 65% of data scientists prefer using Python for data analysis over other programming languages.
Beginners with no experience in a programming language can easily understand and learn Python from scratch without committing years. The benefits of learning Python are:
- Even though it has a simple syntax and utilizes basic language rules based on mathematics, the language is perfect for developing complex codes that can deal with Big Data.
- Being a language with versatile semantics it can be used for almost everything starting from app development to deploying automation.
- Being a language that is created to be open-sourced, language development is primarily done by the programming community. This also enables the language to receive updates on a regular basis that keeps the language relevant.
- The standard libraries used in Python are massive and cover areas that deal with almost everything. This makes beginners learn Python easily by taking existing codes and rewriting parts to suit their needs.
How Python is Important for Mechanical Engineers?
Mechanical engineers design and create various electronic products. Given the merger of smart technology into daily electronic devices, knowledge of programming is becoming a prerequisite for mechanical engineers to understand the device better and create devices that will flawlessly perform.
Right now, the need for smart and self-learning technology is growing. Artificial intelligence is developing software that caters to help AI development is on the rise. But, without proper hardware, the software and its correct deployment are not possible.
Mechanical engineering can be categorized into various branches like thermodynamics, aeronautics, computer-aided design or CAD, and robotics. Most of these rely on numerical analysis and knowledge about data analysis. The areas in mechanical engineering that utilizes Python are:
Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD
Issues related to fluid flow and factors that govern this flow can be estimated and proper precautions can be taken in case of adverse effects. These are the basics of computational fluid dynamics.
Areas that deal with fluids like HVAC sectors, aeronautics, and electronics manufacturing depend on accurate fluid flow for precise performance. The field requires the usage of CFD software like AutoDesk to stimulate performance and issues and this can be done when the mechanical engineer has a good understanding of Python or MATLAB.
The best-known functionality of Python is aiding with analysis. Numerical analysis is crucial for all devices that rely on the proper balance between the fluids/chemicals used and the structure that contains the fluids. If the pressure of a fluid within the robotic model increases, the pressure exerted on the pipe can cause leakage or even breakage of the pipe.
To prevent this, numerical analysis using linear equations with ODE and PDE is essential. This task is made easy and error-free by using Python to develop scripts that can do the analytical calculations and even provide graphical stimulations.
Thermal engineering is another part of mechanical engineering that relies on the principles of thermodynamics to develop devices that can facilitate the transfer of energy between systems. With the implementation of Python to the programming required for classic thermodynamics calculations, not only does the work becomes faster but the precision is also flawless.
Major data companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. hire mechanical engineers with good knowledge of Python and programming. Not only do these engineers help with analytics but also develop secure storage for the database.
Should Mechanical Engineers Switch to IT Sector?
Many companies do hire mechanical engineers but that number is still low given the number of mechanical engineers who graduate each year.
Switching careers is a good option but it can be fruitful only when the specific skillset is attained and the jobs are closely related to each other.
Mechanical engineering deals with designing and developing hardware for various electronic devices and machines. On the other hand, IT professionals deal with systems that work on collecting and providing data and information solutions.
In order to switch from being a mechanical engineer to the IT sector, you need to not only have a good understanding of programming languages but also the proper implementation of those language-based codes.
Python is a popular choice among engineers when it comes to learning programming languages and creating codes. Python is easy and the libraries are free to use. Once coding is mastered, you can look for incorporating what you have learned as a mechanical engineer into the coding practices.
As a mechanical engineer, you will have the upper hand when it comes to joining the IT sector as you are already trained to build machines, and you can develop specific programs to help the electronic devices built run better.
Coming to answering the question as to whether mechanical engineers switch to IT sectors, it depends on the person. Mechanical engineering is an interesting field and with the emergence of Robotics the field is also gaining momentum in terms of placements and job opportunities.
But, the IT sector pays well and this field is already well-established with a plethora of opportunities. The process of learning to code requires you to know programming languages—especially Python, understand the various libraries and their extensive usages, complete some projects that deal with developing codes, and stay updated on the various updates that are available.
If all these sounds interesting, the IT sector will be your calling.
How Mechanical Engineers Can Start Learning Python
Python is a language that is known for its simplicity yet vast usability. Mechanical engineers looking to strengthen their resumes can easily learn Python from various YouTube channels.
If self-learning seems difficult, you can also enroll in various courses offered online by academies like Coursera, upGrad, Udemy, etc.
The first thing that is required when learning a language is dedication and knowing the basics. In the case of Python, if you know the origin of the language and the way the syntax was developed, you can easily master the language on your own.
Yes, it will require you to read a lot but the subject matter is interesting enough to help you sail through the courses. With the help of videos, you can also know about the various projects that are developed with the help of Python and replicate those projects.