Book Review – Career Opportunities in Engineering

By: Cameron

In this post I will be reviewing the book Career Opportunities in Engineering: A Guide to Careers in Engineering, by Richard A. McDavid and Susan Echaore-McDavid. This book is an extremely helpful resource for anybody thinking about engineering or already going to school for engineering. The book is very comprehensive and outlines a wide variety of information on many engineering disciplines. The first half of the book focuses on the major disciplines, which are aerospace, agricultural and biological, biomedical, civil, chemical, electrical and electronics, environmental, industrial, materials, and mechanical. The second half of the book talks about more uncommon engineering disciplines, engineering specialties, and alternative non-engineering careers that most engineers are qualified for. Each engineering discipline summarizes everything from duties and positions to salary and job prospects.

For the remainder of this post I will be summarizing the section in the book about Mechanical Engineering, since that is my current area of study. Hopefully this will give you a better picture of how the book is structured.

Mechanical Engineer

Duties: Mechanical Engineers research, develop, design and produce machines, engines, and other mechanical devices. There is a very broad spectrum of duties a Mechanical Engineer may be tasked with.

Alternate Title(s): Different titles within mechanical engineering usually reflect specialty (such as Robotics Engineer) or a function (such as Project Engineer or Consultant).

Salary: Mechanical Engineers are making between $44,000 to $100,000 according to the November 2004 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Here’s data about recent grads from our own Mechanical Engineering major at UMD.

Employment Prospects: Good

Advancement Prospects: Good


  • Education-Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with training on the job.
  • Experience-Typically previous work experience is required.
  • Special Skills and Personality Traits-Writing, communication, presentation, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal, analytical, and problem-solving skills; creative, detail-oriented, quick-witted, self-motivated, flexible, cooperative, reliable, and persistent.
  • Special Requirements-Professional engineer (PE) license is sometimes required (for consulting usually).

Career Ladder:

  1. Junior Mechanical Engineer
  2. Mechanical Engineer
  3. Senior Mechanical Engineer

The section continues to describe each of these categories, among others, in more detailed paragraphs. Mechanical engineering specifically is just a broad profession that the book covers. Within this same section the book provides the same information for more specific jobs within mechanical engineering such as automotive engineer, HVAC/R engineer, and robotics engineer.

In conclusion, I would describe this book as very useful and informative. For both students trying to declare a major and students graduating soon, this book is invaluable. The book clearly outlines a broad spectrum of professions within the engineering field. One of the nice things about the book is that it’s easy to skim, provides enough information that you can read in more detail if you would like. Overall I would definitely recommend looking into the book Career Opportunities in Engineering: A Guide to Careers in Engineering, by Richard A. McDavid and Susan Echaore-McDavid.

Read Cameron’s other posts

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