Mechanical engineers are interested in how people and systems interact. They design machines and systems that enable people to accomplish feats beyond their natural capabilities, optimize business and technology operations processes, and reach new destinations such as space or the deepest parts of the ocean.
Exploring the role of a mechanical engineer can help interested individuals decide if it’s the right career for them. As disruptive technologies transform the field, the employment landscape is changing as well. Mechanical engineers searching for the best mechanical engineering companies to work for will find options in industries including aerospace, energy, automotive, entertainment, and robotics.
Best Mechanical Engineering Companies to Work For
These organizations may not all meet the standard definition of “mechanical engineering company.” Still, industry experts, publications, and job search sites routinely point to them as some of the best companies for mechanical engineers.
While humanity’s endeavors in space began in 1957 when the Soviets launched the satellite Sputnik, NASA — founded on July 29, 1958, with the signing of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 — has taken the space era to new heights.
NASA is a U.S. government agency focused on air and space innovation and technology. One of its newest programs is the Moon to Mars initiative, a bold effort to help Americans learn how to live and work on the moon with the ultimate goal of inhabiting Mars, and mechanical engineers will play a key role in designing mechanical components in spacecraft, systems, and land rovers.
NASA’s Project Mercury was the first U.S. program to put humans in space. In preparation to land humans on the moon, the Gemini program began testing mission equipment and operations and training astronauts and ground crews. Ultimately, the Apollo missions fulfilled President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge of landing a man on the moon.
With a fiscal budget of $23.3 billion as of 2021, NASA hires mechanical engineers to contribute to its core objectives, including human exploration and operations, exploration technology, space science, aeronautics research safety, security and mission services, and construction and environmental remediation.
Search and data tools are so central to today’s society that it’s nearly impossible to imagine how the modern world could function and progress without them. This is why few companies have so fundamentally altered society as Google.
The multinational Mountain View, California-based tech company owned by Alphabet may have started as an internet search engine giant but has moved on to become a manufacturer of physical products like tablets and smartphones. Google also owns and operates its own data centers around the globe.
Due to the immense computational challenges of a data-intense world, Google must not only buy the hardware necessary to establish and maintain the infrastructure that helps keep its products (and the internet) running 24/7 but also develop the hardware itself — which is where mechanical engineers come in.
Google is one of the largest employers of engineers on the planet. Mechanical engineering roles at Google support a wide range of initiatives that optimize the physical design of its products, from data centers to smartwatches, trackers, cameras, and phones.
3. U.S. Department of the Navy
On April 30, 1798, President John Adams signed the congressional act that established the Department of the Navy. Today, the U.S. Navy leads the world in technological innovation and capability, largely thanks to professionals such as mechanical engineers.
Aerospace and mechanical engineers play a vital role in the Navy’s core mission of protecting American interests. These engineers are involved in the design, development, maintenance, repair, modernization, and integration of technology in high-tech surface ships, submarines, unmanned vessels, and advanced naval air, combat, and weapons systems.
In terms of the impact its technology and consumer products have had on society, Apple is perhaps one of the best mechanical engineering companies to work for.
Famously beginning out of Steve Jobs’ parents’ home in 1976, Apple revolutionized the computing world at a time when basic coding knowledge was required to operate a computer. With the introduction of a mouse and graphical interface, Apple set out on a path to offer as many people as possible access to this technology. Over 30 years later, with the launch of the first iPhone, Apple once again transformed the world, giving people access to the internet wherever they went.
With annual revenues of $378.3 billion, Apple is the world’s largest company by market cap, according to Investopedia. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the maker of the iPad and iPhone hires mechanical engineers to test and develop next-generation devices.
Mechanical engineering roles at Apple support full product lifecycle design and manufacturing of electromechanical systems in devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers, as well as components such as cameras and sensors.
5. General Electric (GE)
With a mechanical engineering heritage that goes back to its founding in the late 19th century, General Electric’s name is often correlated with the term innovation.
From Edison’s development of the first incandescent light bulb in 1879 to today’s advanced systems in aviation, health, and materials science, GE’s innovations have helped move the world from the industrial era to the current information age. GE also has a strong heritage of working with the U.S. military — the company supplied vital equipment during World War II and launched the J47 jet engine in 1949.
With annual revenues of more than $74 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, GE employs thousands of engineers across its three primary business sectors: medical equipment, power turbines, and aviation. In total, GE employs 175,000 people in 130 countries.
A quick search of mechanical engineering roles on the GE careers site reveals a wide range of available positions. Opportunities in mechanical engineering and design include jet propulsion, power infrastructure, electrical hardware, renewable energy engines such as wind turbines, and more.
6. The Boeing Company
The Boeing Company has been one of America’s top designers and manufacturers of airplanes, rockets, missile systems, and other aerospace technology for over 100 years.
Headquartered in Chicago, the company is one of the world’s largest commercial aircraft manufacturers, generating annual revenues of $62.3 billion and delivering 340 aircraft in 2021. A competitor to Airbus, Boeing employs more than 140,000 people worldwide.
Boeing was founded in 1916, but its origins date back to 1910, when William Edward Boeing, a 29-year-old timber merchant, became excited about the aviation industry after attending the first Los Angeles International Air Meet. After taking his first flight on a seaplane in 1915, the rest was history.
Today, Boeing primarily builds jet airliners and business jets. The most famous of its commercial products is the 737 MAX. Boeing also serves the defense and space industry, developing aircraft such as the AH-6 light attack helicopter, AH-64 Apache, B-52, Advanced F-15, and Air Force One, along with spacecraft such as the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner.
As of August 31, 2022, Boeing has 5,197 unfulfilled orders, which may help fuel even greater demand for mechanical engineers at the aerospace giant. The work of mechanical engineers will be instrumental in completing these orders.
7. Lockheed Martin Corporation
Like Apple, Lockheed Martin had humble beginnings in a garage. On December 19, 1912, Allan and Malcolm Lockheed started the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company building seaplanes. Four months earlier and 400 miles away, Glenn L. Martin launched the Glenn L. Martin Company in Los Angeles. According to Lockheed Martin’s corporate website, Martin pursued a new design upon Orville Wright’s urging.
Over 100 years later, the mechanical talents of today’s Lockheed Martin employees have set it apart as a global security and aerospace company with $67 billion in net sales in 2021, establishing it as one of the best companies for mechanical engineers.
With more than 370 facilities, Lockheed Martin develops aircraft such as the B-57; several fighter jets for the U.S. military, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor; and precision surveillance, missile defense, and space systems, including satellites and space shuttles.
Mechanical engineering roles support the development of air, space, and defense systems across all five branches of the U.S. armed forces, as well as military services and commercial operators in 40 nations. Mechanical engineers may work in one of the primary operating units of the company: Aeronautics, Missiles and Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems, and Space.
When thinking about the most successful technology companies in history, the first name that comes to many people’s minds may be Microsoft. With annual revenues of nearly $185 billion, Microsoft is the third-largest company in the world based on market capitalization — $2.10 trillion, according to Investopedia.
From the first personal computer launched by IBM — which used Microsoft’s 16-bit operating system and MS-DOS 1.0 — to the introduction and evolution of the Microsoft Office Suite to innovative internet, data center, and quantum technologies, Microsoft has been central to the transformation of society.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded the company as Micro-Soft in 1975 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1981, they moved the company to Bellevue, Washington — not far from its current headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
Microsoft has historically been a software company, but the company is now also a leader in hardware, including the well-known Surface laptop and Xbox game console. The company is also a market leader in cloud computing services, with its primary cloud platform, Azure.
For hardware products, mechanical engineers are involved in prototyping and developing enclosures, controllers, buttons, and more. Mechanical engineers can also support efforts across Microsoft’s services and solutions business.
9. Ford Motor Company
Ford’s legacy began in 1903 at the height of the industrial revolution. Its first popular product, the Model T, was introduced in 1908. It transformed how people get from place to place, replacing horse-and-buggy modes of transportation with motorized vehicles. But with the development of the Model T also came innovation in product manufacturing.
With its revolutionary moving assembly line, Ford made cars faster and more efficiently, helping to lower costs and bolstering consumer adoption of its vehicles.
With reported revenues of $136 billion in 2021 according to The New York Times, Ford remains at the forefront of innovation — and one of the best companies for mechanical engineers. Its burgeoning presence in the electric vehicle market has made it a leader in that sector. Recently, the company launched the F-150 Lightning pickup, the electric version of one of the best-selling vehicles in the country.
The company has also revolutionized its assembly line with artificial intelligence and robotics. Whether the job is to design and develop the mechanical components of these robots or help to innovate the future of Ford’s vehicle lineup, mechanical engineers will play a critical role in the company’s evolution.
10. U.S. Department of Energy
When President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, one of the U.S. government’s most diverse agencies was born. As a Cabinet-level department reporting to the President of the United States, the Department of Energy (DOE) oversees national energy policy and nuclear infrastructure.
Key agencies under the DOE include the Energy Information Administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The DOE also has offices focused on a range of areas, including electricity, Indian energy policy and programs, renewables, and energy security.
Major labs and technology centers associated with the DOE that support scientific discovery include Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
At the DOE, mechanical engineering titles include mechanical engineer, project engineer, quality engineer, research engineer, and design engineer. Mechanical engineers may be involved in the research, design, development, and testing of tools, mechanical devices, and machines such as wind turbines and dams.
11. The Walt Disney Company
In the pandemic-plagued year 2021, Disney’s annual revenue actually grew to $67.418 billion, up from $65.388 billion in 2020. The trend speaks to Disney’s resilience after nearly 100 years in business. Today, Disney offers the largest streaming service, beating out Netflix, according to Fortune.
Disney was founded by Walt and Roy O. Disney in 1923, under the name Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. After Walt Disney signed on to produce a series of Alice Comedies, The Walt Disney Company was born. Just five years later, the company debuted the most famous mouse in history, Mickey Mouse, in Steamboat Willie. Disney went on a trajectory to become a behemoth in the arts, entertainment, and attractions industry.
Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is known as the “happiest place on earth.” Mechanical engineers employed there design, develop, and test rides such as roller coasters and attractions with electric motor-controlled animated figures, animated props, and show-action equipment. With parks and stores spread across the globe, mechanical engineers also play a role in designing, developing, and maintaining HVAC and other systems in different types of facilities.
Launched in 1969, Samsung is a pioneer in consumer electronics and has long been a leader in the high-definition television and home appliance markets. In the 1990s, the company introduced the world’s first 64M DRAM, digital TV, and MP3 players. In recent years, the company evolved to become a dominant force in the smart device market with its connected appliances, tablets, and Galaxy series of smartphones.
Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, the company generated revenues of more than $240.71 billion in 2021. In addition to its technology and consumer product offerings, Samsung manufactures medical equipment, semiconductors, and certain chemicals.
The products it manufactures make Samsung a premier landing spot for mechanical engineers. For example, manufacturing engineers play a key role in the research, design, and development of new product models for the home such as refrigerators and washing machines, wireless communications equipment, and Android-enabled devices, as well as future technology such as 5G/6G, AI, and robotics.
How to Work for the Best Mechanical Engineering Companies
Individuals exploring how to become a mechanical engineer should keep in mind that qualifications for mechanical engineering roles can vary based on the industry, function, and company.
Taking note of educational requirements is the first step. Some roles only require a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Individuals without much experience working as mechanical engineers will likely be considered for early-career or entry-level roles. For senior-level positions, including managerial and strategic roles, employers may prefer candidates with an advanced degree such as a Master of Science in Engineering.
When starting the application process, individuals should check out current job listings on the career pages of the companies they’re interested in working for. Should the requirements for a position align with their experience and academic background, they can simply follow the process for submitting a resume. A candidate should incorporate keywords from the job listing in their resume if they match their background. This will help employers and hiring managers see that their qualifications are a fit for the open role.
As part of the application process, employers may ask for a cover letter. Before writing and submitting a cover letter, researching the company and the role will help applicants express what makes them a good candidate for the position.
Take Charge of Your Future
From computers to electronics to transportation, demand for mechanical engineers can be found in many capacities in an array of industries. In terms of the best mechanical engineering companies to work for, understanding which role and organization may fit your career goals requires some research.
For those interested in a career in mechanical engineering, these are only a few examples of great employers that hire mechanical engineers. Whether you aspire to work for these or other employers, an online Master of Science in Engineering at the University of California, Riverside can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates by supplying you with the expertise and know-how such companies prioritize.
Learn more about how the University of California, Riverside can help you embark on a rewarding career in engineering.