Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine McGarrigle from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

Elaine McGarrigle

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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Elaine McGarrigle

The most important skill that a person in my position can have is communication.

One needs to be able to communicate effectively with people of all levels in order to do a days work. I think that this is the most important quality, to be able to fit in well with people, everyone from the operators to the senior management, one needs to be able to read them and how best to communicate with them.

An interest in basic engineering and in the heavy machine industry.

It is important to realise that working as a mechanical engineer in Irish Cement does not generally involve sitting at your desk all day. It involves alot of hands on, on-site work so a person needs to be prepared to get their hands dirty.

Another quality that is important is to be willing to learn. Even after a number of years in college, one needs to be eager to learn the ins and outs of a new environment; how cement is made, what equipment is involved, what generally goes wrong and how it is fixed.

Everyone will help and teach you but you need to open your mind and be prepared to take it all in.

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Realist?
Realist
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Mechatronic Engineer

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

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At a Glance... header image

Researches, designs, develops, or tests various automation, intelligent systems, smart devices, or industrial systems controls.


Videos & Interviews header image

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The Work header image

Mechatronics engineers design, build and test industrial machinery. They create and improve automated processes and are responsible for many modern advancements in medical equipment.

When planning a new project, a mechatronics engineer might consult with experts from many different disciplines. He or she may speak with marketing managers to determine if there is a demand for a new design; consulting with factory workers to see if they could benefit from changes to their equipment is common as well.

The engineer can then begin brainstorming, drawing schematics, and creating computer models with drafting software. The design phase of a project can take anywhere from a few days to several months depending on the complexity of the system.

Mechatronic engineers can expect to find employment across a wide variety of areas including medical devices and pharmaceutical manufacturing, process control and robotics as well as in smaller indigenous companies involved in the design and development of innovative new products.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Design engineering systems for the automation of industrial tasks.

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Create mechanical design documents for parts, assemblies, or finished products.

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Maintain technical project files.

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Implement or test design solutions.

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Create mechanical models and tolerance analyses to simulate mechatronic design concepts.

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Conduct studies to determine the feasibility, costs, or performance benefits of new mechatronic equipment.

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Publish engineering reports documenting design details or qualification test results.

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Research, select, or apply sensors, communication technologies, or control devices for motion control, position sensing, pressure sensing, or electronic communication.

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Identify and select materials appropriate for mechatronic system designs.

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Apply mechatronic or automated solutions to the transfer of materials, components, or finished goods.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment: Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Thinking Creatively: Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Getting Information: Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Interacting With Computers: Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

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Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Controlling Machines and Processes: Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

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Design: Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

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Mechanical: Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

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Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Technology Design: Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.

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Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

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Systems Analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

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Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Systems Evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

A mechatronics engineer must have a creative mind.

It is also essential to be determined and intuitive to understanding the complex relationships between mechanics electronics and computers.

Leadership Qualities are necessary in order to lead an engineering team in building prototypes.

Mechatronic Engineers need good problem solving skills with patience being vital in this area of work.

Excellent communication skills will help to correspond your ideas and findings with team members clearly.


Entry Routesheader image

A L 7 or Level 8 qualification in Mechatronic Engineering.

Level 8 courses in mechatronic engineering are offered by:

The following colleges offer Level 7 courses in mechatronics with each of these accepting any Fetac major award for entry.

NOTE: Specific module requirements are outlined in the links to course descriptions above.     

IT Sligo offers a further one year add on course which is a Level 8 BEng Hons in Mechatronics - Click here for details.

A background in the STEM disciplines -  Electrical engineering, Electronic Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Computer science or Physics - is most suited to this career area.

Mechatronics engineers working in the medical industry may also come from a background in the biological sciences.

Last Updated: October, 2014


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 665 1300
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: STEPS - Engineers Ireland
Address: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: (01) 665 1340
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: Smart Futures
Address: Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
Tel: (01) 607 3171
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Organisation: ICT Ireland
Address: Confederation House, 84/86, Lower Baggot St., Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 605 1500
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Mechanical Engineering & Manufacturing

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