So what's this new hybrid called a Mechatronics Engineer? Simply stated, these pros apply mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering theory and techniques to create automated, intelligent products, smart devices, and industrial control systems--systems that can then be "taught" to improve their performance. This is where many future engineering jobs are headed.
In the automotive industry, mechatronics engineering is a fast-growing discipline, one that today's EV manufacturers hope to leverage in gaining a leg up with tomorrow's vehicles. The goal is to link high-tech batteries with hybrid power trains that will finally free drivers from the fossil-fuel ball-and-chain of $4 and $5 a gallon gas.
In other areas, mechatronics engineers will be engaged in the automation of process industries. They'll design insulin pumps for diabetics, robotic systems for law enforcement, and autonomous flying machines to support military troops on the ground (like UAVs). They may even create automated systems for tomorrow's vast farming industry. And robots that will learn to efficiently explore the surface of Mars.
Many predict the demand for mechatronics engineers will soon outpace supply. Universities just aren't cranking out these engineers in enough volume, so those that have the talent and training could find themselves being courted and coddled. One automotive power train manufacturer predicts that mechatronics engineers will eventually account for 35 percent of its total workforce.
Many colleges and universities are adding a mechatronics concentration to their mechanical engineering program. This move can't come too soon, for employers in other countries are hiring mechatronics engineers, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where mechatronics engineers are prized. The same holds true for Norway. From what I've read, engineers in Japan and China are overworked and underpaid, so you might shy way from those locales.
For an additional perspective, check out this video
Got any thoughts on mechatronics engineering? Include them in the comments section below.
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. You can read more of Alex's blogs on Engineer-jobs blog.