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Q&A: What's it like working as a Mechanical Engineer?

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What kind of work do mechanical engineers do? What’s the salary of a mechanical engineer like? How do you know if it’s the right career for you?

One of our recently placed Engineering candidates chats to Cormac Malone about life as a Senior Mechanical Engineer at one of Dublin’s largest pharmaceutical companies – from designing innovative new solutions to the more hidden aspects of the job.

What’s your job title, and what company do you work for? What has your career progression looked like?

I am the Senior/Lead Mechanical Engineer for a large Pharma Company based in Dublin. Career progression looks good, but I have only started with the company so it’s early days.

Can you describe your current role – what are your main responsibilities?

I’m working as an engineering lead on clinical based medical devices that deliver Nitrous oxide to the lungs.

My main responsibilities include:

  • Document Control and Compliance to regulations and ISO standards
  • Design reviews
  • 2D and 3D CAD
  • Mechanical testing
  • Data analysis
  • New design concepts

Have you always had an interest in engineering? What made you choose your current career path?

Yes, I grew up on a farm. From an early age, I was always involved in fixing stuff and taking things apart.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Working on innovative and new design concepts, so doing stuff that hasn’t been done before.

What do you find challenging about your job?

The paperwork. In medical devices there is a huge amount of it, we call it document control.

It’s used to track and manage the design history, from the first concept to it being in the hand of a clinician or patient.

What’s one thing someone from outside your industry would find surprising about your job?

How well we control and monitor everything we do in the medical device sector.

There are documents and protocols for everything, and I mean everything. In the daily life of an engineer here at this company, nothing gets overlooked and no stone is unturned. I think outsiders wouldn’t realise the amount of work that goes into what we do and how we do it.

It’s well reported that women are underrepresented in the engineering industry, what has your experience been like?

It’s true they are. I mostly work with men in the engineering sector, so my experience working with women is limited.

What’s the salary and opportunity for progression like?

Salary in medical device and pharma is on the higher ends of the scale in the research side of things. The industry is growing so the opportunity for progression is something that can happen.

What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career to yours?

Make sure you find a love for the sector you want to work in. I know this only comes with time and experience but if at an early age you really love this kind of stuff then do it.

“If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, and you will end up with a hobby that you get paid for”. That’s pretty cool when you think about it.

What is the most prevalent trend in your industry now?

Rather than just selling a medical device it’s about selling a service, so the medical device, the drug and the software or app to help you manage the alignment.

The complete package is now all three and most companies are now using SMART devices with SMART phones to help sufferers live better.

If you are interested in learning more about engineering in Ireland or are looking for a new engineering job opportunity get in touch, I’d be delighted to advise.