FET Blogs

20 October 2023

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering: Which Course is Right for You?

A survey by NASSCOM reveals that around 15 lac engineering students graduate every year in India. This data is a testament that engineering has been one of the popular career choices for Indian students for a long time. We can see the impact of engineering around us, starting from the creation of a satellite to the mechanics inside our smartphones. Engineering is one such field that always empowers the development and maintenance of all technological innovations that influence our daily existence. Its ever-increasing popularity in our daily lives makes engineering a great field to explore diverse careers.

Amidst a multitude of specialisations available to pursue in the field of engineering, one may wonder which is the right engineering for them. Most of the time, students might find themselves at a critical juncture trying to choose between two major engineering disciplines, viz., mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. If you are one of them, this article is just for you!

In this article, we shall delve into these two disciplines to help you determine the most suitable career pathway!

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering: Course Duration
The undergraduate (UG) courses offered in mechanical engineering include a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) in mechanical engineering and a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in mechanical engineering. Both of these UG programmes have a course duration of 4 years, further divided into 8 semesters. You can pursue post-graduation by opting for a Master of Engineering (M.E) or a Master of Technology (M.Tech) in the same field, which is a 2-year course split across 4 semesters.

The UG programmes offered in electrical engineering include a B.E or B.Tech in electrical engineering. Both of these courses span 4 years, further divided into 8 semesters. To pursue higher education, you can opt for an M.E or M.Tech in electrical engineering, which is a 2-year course divided into 4 semesters.

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering: Course Curriculum

Pursuing a mechanical engineering degree provides you with expertise in the intricacies of designing, analysing, producing, and maintaining mechanical systems and components. You also develop an understanding of mechanics, materials, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics. Besides theoretical exposure, the curriculum also nurtures practical learning through internships, onsite project visits, experiments, and so on. The core subjects included in a mechanical engineering curriculum include:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Strength of Materials
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Machine Design
  • Heat Transfer
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Manufacturing Processes
  • Dynamics and Kinematics of Machinery
  • Control Systems
  • Mechanical Vibrations

On the other hand, electrical engineering fosters expertise in circuit design, control systems, digital electronics, and signal processing. You will learn to work with software for simulation and programming microcontrollers for embedded systems. Just like mechanical engineering, this course also exposes you to practical learning through experiments, internships, and projects. The core subjects included in an electrical engineering curriculum include:

  • Circuit Analysis
  • Digital Electronics
  • Electromagnetic Fields and Waves
  • Signals and Systems
  • Power Systems
  • Electronics and Semiconductor Devices
  • Control Systems
  • Electrical Machines
  • Microelectronics
  • Communication Systems
  • Electric Power Generation and Distribution

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering: Career Opportunities

After completing their mechanical engineering degree, graduates can discover attractive employment prospects in diverse sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, and renewable energy industries. Employers will highly value their abilities and proficiency in designing and creating products like engines, HVAC systems, turbines, and mechanical components for a wide range of applications. Let us see some of these career prospects in the field of mechanical engineering:

  • Mechanical Engineer: Mechanical engineers design and create mechanical systems, products, and components using CAD (computer-aided design) software.
  • Manufacturing Engineer: Manufacturing engineers are responsible for designing, implementing, and reviewing the procedures involved in manufacturing processes.
  • Aerospace Engineer: Aerospace engineers design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.
  • Automotive Engineer: Automotive engineers are involved in the design, manufacture, distribution, and after-sales care of cars, motorbikes and other commercial vehicles
  • HVAC Engineer: HVAC engineers specialise in designing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for buildings.

Industries today need experts who can design and develop electrical systems and electronic devices in this rapidly evolving business landscape. Therefore, after graduation, you can find rewarding career opportunities in the fields of electronics, telecommunications, computer hardware, and others. Let us see some of these career prospects in this domain:

  • Electrical Engineer: Electrical engineers design, develop and maintain electrical systems for buildings, transport systems and power distribution networks.
  • Power Engineer: Power engineers operate and maintain reactors, turbines, boilers, and auxiliary equipment to generate electrical power, heat, light, and other utility services.
  • Electronics Engineer: Electronic engineers design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications.
  • Control Engineer: Control engineers design and implement control systems used in various industries.
  • Telecommunications Engineer: Telecommunications engineers design and maintain communication networks, such as voice, data, and wireless systems.

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering: Final Thoughts

To summarise, both the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering offer ample career advancement opportunities. However, you must choose the path after assessing their area of interest and future aspirations. While electrical engineering demands strong mathematical skills and an interest in computer programmes, mechanical engineering emphasises calculus and trigonometry. Hence, if you have a curiosity to learn about electricity and electronics and better knowledge of physics, a profession in electrical engineering could be the perfect fit. Alternatively, if you are inquisitive about understanding the functioning of vehicles, media devices, or robotics, then embarking on a career in mechanical engineering is the most suitable decision!