Mechanic vs Engineer – 5 Things You Need To Know

Mechanic vs Engineer – 5 Things You Need To Know


hello everyone and welcome in this video when you’re talking about being an engineer versus being a mechanic and five things that you need to know so we’re just going to kind of work through you know the education experience behind it the actual job experience I have personally been an engineer for two years Charles is a technician at a Volkswagen dealership and so we’re going to talk about our experiences how to get where we are things like that and whether or not we recommend you know these individual fields and what advantages and disadvantages are so the first question we’ll get into is the educational requirement so what is the educational requirement for a technician to work at a dealership I think it really depends a lot on what you already know going in you know one of the good things really about being a mechanic is you can learn more as you go than you would ever in like a classroom type environment I did go to tech school and it was great for me because I didn’t know a ton going in so it’s sort of built the foundation to build on for the rest of my career it was a one-year tech program I learned a lot about the way systems interacted with each other a lot more than I would have just kind of being thrown into the environment okay try it we’re just kind of doing on your own or doing it on my own you know you really learn as you’re trying to fix things and especially in that classroom environment where you don’t have to have whatever you’re trying to fix actually work so you’re in an environment where you can make mistakes and nobody’s going to hopefully anyway lose their life because you didn’t put a wheel on right but what about I I need to me an engineering type education is so yeah I’m going to get into like an entry-level engineering position typically you’re just going to have a Bachelors of Science in whatever said engineering field is so for me I got a four-year degree in mechanical engineering and then from there you know you can get internships along the way and then with that four-year engineering degree I hopped into an entry-level engineering position with a forklift company and I think that’s pretty usual it’s starting to become more common for people to have master’s degrees going in which adds a year or two depending on the program but typically a four-year degree to jump into it so as far as you’ve kind of already jumped into it but the education experience itself what are the things that you’re learning in the classroom portion for that one year of tech school that you went to yeah I did touch on it a little bit and again it’s it’s sort of the theory behind a lot of things and the evolution of a lot of things was really cool you know starting with carburetors throttle body injection – single cylinder fuel injection direct injection you know you learn the basics of where things got started and then how the technologies evolved in things you know all the things all the systems of the car engine with fuel delivery engine management brakes ABS systems traction control you know even tires have come so right technology up forty five you know fifty years ago to to what we have today yeah and you know the engineering thing is it seems it to me it’s just you do a bunch of yeah and that’s and that is so going into it I didn’t think like I thought oh I’m gonna go be a mechanical engineer and I’ll learn how cars work and it’s like no you don’t learn that at all the educational experience itself is more so theory behind everything so I like to think of civil engineering as like anything structural anything that does not move that is man-made I would classify civil engineering and then what I classify kind of as mechanical engineering is anything that moves that is man-made typically will have a mechanical engineer in some fashion behind it so it’s it’s like the engineering of movement I mean anything that moves and so with that you’re just studying the math of behind how all of this works so the physics of it you know down to the level of what stress can a column hold or what tensile strength can this piece of metal hold and so you get into these very obscure math problems that you don’t necessarily apply to life and so coming out of it I didn’t think wow like I can design a car like I thought wow like I can solve some challenging math problems but it’s cool because you have an application I think for that math problem and right it sort of gives you this relationship with yeah I think is struggle with my educational program that I went to was that there wasn’t much applied until senior year and then senior year they say hey this company sponsoring a project you designed this thing for them you’re like well I’ve never like used a tool before like and then you kind of just jump into it and you learn like all the hands-on side of things while applying the math into it I think that a good program would have that start much earlier on and you kind of always have an application for what you’re learning rather than learn a ton of math and then a man be like you can now build things right like design wise thing that has to save people you know the the automotive education and is sort of the opposite where you’re given all these scenarios and they really do a good job of building your confidence to be able to diagnose things because that’s the thing you really learn is diagnosis I mean eventually you’ll be able to figure out how to you know take parts off and put miles on but it’s the diagnosis part that people really need to learn and understand so you have this all these tests that you know how to do all this equipment you know how to use and then your first day in the dealership someone hands your job you like I don’t know what bad no where’s the instructions on yeah and so that’s you bring up a great point kind of getting into the job before we get into the job point number three we’ll get into starting salary or starting pay so at a dealership level what is kind of what someone could expect if they were an entry technician at a dealership from hey this is of course going to vary across the board you know we tend to start our service Express guys which is oil change tire rotation really light work in the ten to thirteen dollar range and the cool thing about that is that it’s just you come in and we teach you how to do it technicians that have some experience we usually bump them up you know a couple bucks more depending on their experience and then I would say once you’ve achieved a certain level of experience three years or so then it’s not uncommon I think to hit in the the twenty dollar okay per hour now that’s twenty dollar flat rate per hour so that okay not just straight a $20 an hour salary you know you enzyme a worker you a contact you affect your your overall pay quite a bit so for where I went it was fairly common to just kind of go with like industry standard and so if you look up you know you can just like literally google average mechanical starting salary for mechanical engineering and when I started that was about sixty grand was like average starting salary for mechanical engineer and that’s probably gone up a little bit in the past few years and then if you have a master’s degree on top of that typically it’s going to be about a five to ten thousand dollar pay bump on top of it and you know you of course miss out a year of work but then you start in a higher rate or two years of work if you know depending on the master’s program so starting salary for mechanical engineers exceptionally good probably one of the biggest perks of the job because there’s a lot of stress related to it but we will move on to the job requirements and kind of what you actually do at the job so the job requirements from stepping your foot in the door on your first day is actually one of the negatives for being a technician or a mechanic you know whatever you prefer because as you see this toolbox behind us here you basically need a box full of tools yes before you can roll in the door and I think my record length of the college tuition exactly my first year of buying tools you know I had some tools going in I spent well over five thousand dollars and just the bare essentials that I need and you know the good thing about it is for a while it starts to dwindle down but then as you get to be a higher level technician that starts to ramp back up its specialty tools it you know then you start having to buy the very expensive you know use a couple of times a year type tools so I would say the tools are probably the thing that most people really don’t consider that you really do have to spend a ton of money just to sort of come in the building and like the crappy thing I mean it’s not crappy it’s nice but like from the engineering side it’s like hey we need this tool and you write a note and you give it to your boss and they sign it all you might have come into work in the morning as a pen yeah and preferably be clothed yeah I mean I’m glad works so getting into kind of the job requirements from when I first started working at this forklift company I was an applications engineer and it was kind of much more so marketing based because they wanted me to kind of use my passion for teaching to teach our dealers but I also worked on one of my first projects was design a cooling system for this electric truck this electric forklift and so I was on this team and I got to work with two other people on the team and I was in charge of the cooling system so that was one of the projects and going into it like one of the things I think that you should know about engineering is you’ll kind of just get thrown into it much like you did you just get thrown into it and it’s just kind of like do it and you’re like you’ll learn along the way I don’t know how to design a cooling system and I know way more now about cooling systems but that was my first task and so you reach out for help and you do your research and you figure it out and it gets done eventually and then very quickly you become an expert and so this was another thing that I found interesting about the engineering world is once you do something one time like I designed a cooling system for this truck with the help of two other people it was like Oh Jason’s an expert on radiators and it was like it’s like no no I did it once and I liked it but I don’t necessarily want to be a radiator guy for the rest of my life and that can easily happen in the engineering world whereas if you work on one project and you do a nice job with it you may pigeonhole yourself into that but you can also if you’re good you know show hey this is what I’ve done and step up very quickly and move within the company very quickly so within a year and a half I’d switch positions to a test engineer job and that’s probably like the coolest engineering position in my opinion where it combines what you do and what a typical engineer does who’s just sitting on a computer designing stuff where we actually built a forklift from the ground up so just me and one technician worked alongside and in six months we started with metal plate and after six months we had a moving working forklift and then I quit my job but I did get to drive it right and that was really cool because I got the hands-on part I got to just order my tools and be nice yeah it was pretty awesome I didn’t keep them though I mean they’re nervous that’s what it would be nice I’m in my garage now that I quit yeah but yeah there’s definitely some perks to it so advantages and disadvantages you would say to being a technician you know you sort of touched on one one of the advantages of having to have all those tools coming in is you have all those tools going out and it’s great to be able to understand that you know if you need to leave a job for whatever reason you just lock your toolbox and you can roll it you know wherever you need to also good technicians are always in demand good technicians a lot of times can write their own paychecks good technicians also tend to build their own customer base so that customer base generally comes along with them wherever they go especially if it’s a local place dealer aid a dealer be across town you’re going to bring a lot of those customers with you and it’s cool it’s cool to have customers that you’ve worked on you know five of their cars now they’re 16 year olds getting a car and you’re helping them pick a car yeah that’s very cool some of the disadvantages this is a really hard job it’s a lot harder of a job than people really give it credit for you know the idea is that the high school dropout becomes a mechanic and that may have been try find it personally and we’re going to be challenging every time I went into this shop like I was a test engineer and I’d be put into these situations like hey something’s not working it’s like well I’m an engineer I know how to fix it yep good Brian my technician over here because I have no idea what it’s incredibly difficult it’s incredibly difficult you know it’s it’s physically difficult yes that’s much more difficult the pay structure could be a lot better so that the paid definitely stresses stresses you out so it’s kind of difficult in all of the forms where a job can be difficult but you know it it’s either for you or it’s not for you yeah so I would say from the engineering side a lot of those disadvantages become advantages and some of the advantages become disadvantages I mean like starting out like physically being an engineer is pretty simple you’re probably going to sit in a cube which is probably a disadvantage but you know your physique made one day but you did pretty gradual I escaped yeah but so that’s one thing is physically like you’re not going to hurt yourself very rarely also the pay is exceptional especially starting out I mean what you can start out with a 4-year degree on is is pretty insane especially in the United States just how well engineers are paid so that’s that’s a pretty cool benefit and also the projects you get to work on it is really cool to work on a project and then you know two years later see what you built you know like driving along and you can be like I designed that and like we all work together like sure it’s a team effort but you can you can have some value in saying like oh I was on that project and it makes you feel pretty awesome once it’s done I’d say that disadvantages are you get thrown into situations much like you’re saying where you just have no clue what you’re doing and so when I was designing this cooling system like I was totally clueless and it stressed me out for an extremely long amount of time and eventually you get it done and you build a cooling system and the trucks running it’s at a customer site and it hasn’t overheated so like pumped about that but very stressful the hours can be crazy that’s kind of a thing that especially in the engineering world seems to be acceptable that it’s you know if you work 50 hours a week like that’s not crazy if you work 60 hours a week that’s not unheard of and it’s like that’s a lot and I was kind of up front from the beginning and said you know I’m working 40 hours and so from that perspective 40 hours a week it’s not physically demanding and you have tons of free time and plenty of money to do whatever you want to do so it is really cool from that perspective disadvantages be stress time that goes into it and and I think one of the things that people also don’t think about is you know you may say like oh I want to design an engine and it sounds really cool to say I want to design an engine but when you’ve spent three years working on the exact same engine it’s not as barreling yeah on your brain as it is on the first month you’re like oh like this is really cool I get to make an engine and it’s like and there’s a lot of work so what I like about what I do currently is that I’m evaluating what other awesome engineers have done and it’s kind of crappy for me to do that I feel like you know these guys put so much time and effort into this and I’m supposed to critique it like it’s it’s awesome what they did is awesome they have their own you know restraints that is as far as what holds them back and making an awesome or not cost usually being a driving factor and there’s I mean there’s definitely other pros and cons you know everybody’s situation is is different and some people hate being a technician because for whatever reason but it pays the bills right some people probably hate being an engineer but pays really well so you sort of deal with it yep and you know and I think another thing to bring up just for fun of a disadvantage of being an engineer is the engineers in general like you’re just taught to just think efficiently like you should just do efficient things and I like that line of thought like it’s logical just do efficiency but not every customer cares about efficiency so mister marketing comes in and he says hey Jason it’s great that you want to build this engine that gets 45 miles per gallon but nobody cares about 45 miles per gallon gas is $2 a gallon in the u.s. no one cares and you’re like but but this is really awesome like all this technology I put into it they’re like no nobody cares make it 20 miles per gallon and make the thing way cheaper and so you’re you’re dictated by what the customer wants not but what you want to make and so you know people will say oh this car is lame it’s like you guys are the ones buying it like you guys are the reason it’s lame if everyone bought epic cars there would only be epic cars then would they be lame is the question they probably would be because what I define as epic differs very greatly from what you define as epic and that’s what’s kind of cool about cars and you kind of have to respect all of them because there’s an audience out there for all of them and they’re all designed specifically for that audience rather than someone saying I’ve got this really cool idea they have to always check that really cool idea with marketing and say can we actually sell this and if the answer is no they’re not going to make sure you’re saying if something sucks it’s probably marketing yeah absolutely blame it on marketing it’s not the technicians engineer like them it’s always marketing so a lot of differences a lot of pros a lot of cons you know we went through a lot I think in in just a short bit um any final thoughts well I just I certainly think they’re both interesting fields to get into and respectable fields to get into I think you know you got to kind of pick you know what are you more passionate about and kind of go that direction and and you’re going to learn a lot more than what we talked about in this short discussion from actually doing it but and there’s a ton of overlap you know both both benefit from the experience of the other side there’s nothing we’re gonna benefit a lot from learning with like you had mentioned learning with a technician and job and the way their brain that’s a problem and I think technicians would really benefit from understanding the way an engineer’s brain and training attacks yeah and that’s actually something we would do is our technicians that worked in our shop at our Development Center we’d bring them in to meetings and say hey we’re thinking of doing this from your perspective why is this good or bad and so you know people like to like hate on engineers and say why they do this something but we do work with technicians to say like is this smart like is this a bad idea and we get feedback all around like all of us want to do the best thing it’s just constraints that you’re not just out to get us right exactly yeah so thank you guys for watching if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave those below and be sure to check out and subscribe to Charles’s Channel humble mechanic I’ll include links in the video description maybe a card something like that so you can check out his channel but he makes all kinds of great stuff he’s got tons of experience in the Volkswagen field ton literally it’s like even old Volkswagens with your own hands every day every day so no worth checking out the whole car Thanks thanks guys


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *