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Pros and Cons of Being a Machinist

I enjoy sharing my knowledge about career progression and development.

If you are looking to become a machinist it is certainly a worthwhile endeavour to weigh up the pros and cons of becoming a machinist. This account does just that, we weigh up some of the advantages as well as the disadvantages to help you create a cost-benefit analysis as part of your due diligence to decide whether it is the right route for you or not.

Furthermore, if you are a machinist yourself and you would like to add to some of the pros and cons, then we certainly encourage you to do so in the comments section below. It is great to get an anecdotal aspect to some of the pros and cons, and you can add some that might well be missing or are incorrectly allocated.


What is a Machinist?

Before we delve right into the pros and cons - it is best to first get a clear idea over what a Machinist is and does. It is quite a broad term - anyone who uses ‘operates a machine’ - however, specifically it’s a tradesperson who is needed when a specific part that needs creating from the means of a specific material (usually being metal, wood or even plastic) that needs cutting by hand via the machine.

hey operate machine tools (e.g. grinders and drillers) and can assemble and repair the machine itself if needed. High quality and experienced machinists can fetch can command a very lucrative salary.

Now we have got a better idea on the overall view of what a Machinist does, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:

Advantages of Becoming a Machinist

Let’s explore some of the benefits with the following non-exhaustive list:

  • “Work with your hands”

There is a certain rewarding aspect of ‘working with your hands’ to create something of value. You are seeing a tangible result from your own work that businesses can and others can benefit from that gets lost with some jobs. If you are very visually and practically minded this should be an aspect that you will find rather rewarding from the job.

Job Growth Demand

Over the course of the period 2018 to 2028 according to there will be a relative increase in demand for Machinists by three percent. So you will be heading into a growing market over the next decade with the likelihood of the skillset becoming increasingly technical and technological. This has been shown with the introduction of CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) machines where computer literacy is needed and electronics are needed to understand how it functions.

  • Career Advancement

Take a look at a lot of the recommended starting salaries and how it progresses as you go with the profession. You will see there are a lot of opportunities to ‘get paid to learn’ as well as to then advance on to higher salaries with increasing responsibilities and skill sets. If you focus on the job and skills that are in demand it is not unheard of to fetch salaries in the six-figure range.

  • Leading Technology

Another great advantage of working as a machinist (particularly at lean and competitive companies) is that you will be likely working literally - no pun intended - with cutting edge technology and machinery. So if you fancy yourself as a bit of a technologist then you should be seeing some of the best machinery in the world and what it is capable of manufacturing and you being the go-to person to use them.

  • You work inside
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Unlike a lot of similar practical jobs that also operate basic machinery and other aspects, they tend to work outdoors a lot as well as being on their travels. This might very well be a con for you, but it is certainly a pro if you are one who likes to stay warm and dry as they operate and get to work.

Disadvantages of Becoming a Machinist

Now let’s discover some of the cons from the list below:

  • Hours

Typically speaking you will find that most jobs just require you to work 40-hour shifts, however, you will find that more and more jobs are wanting more hours from you and to cover weekends as well as some late shifts too. This is good if you don’t mind the extra work with compensation but some like to have a limited amount of time at work and have a good balance of work and life that this job can impede on sometimes.

  • Salary

This comes down to perspective but generally speaking (especially as you start out) Machinists don’t get an overly lucrative starting salary. That said, this is very much about the company you start working for and what they are offering. Make sure to fully explore your options and figure out the path that this is worth it for you in the long run. You very well might turn this con into a pro.

  • Training

There can be a lot more to it than you think, this is a skill that needs time and development. You certainly won’t just pick it up and there is a reason the most experienced machinists earn higher salaries. However, as with most trades positions, you should notice a bump in salary as you progress with qualifications as well as rack up more experience (that said you might have to venture to different companies in order to attain that).

  • Working Inside

Of course, depending on how you like to work - the fact that you might spend the majority of your time not seeing the world might be something that you don’t like. So in which case it would be a negative staying inside, typically working in a similar sort of area each time.

  • Problem Solving

This goes both ways too, you will ask to get to sometimes carry out tasks that are quite complex and you will need a problem-solving mindset to overcome them. This again breaks down to mindset, if you like a challenge that you can address both mentally, intellectually and physically, you will thrive. If this type of route is not what you are after then that could be a problem.


Now you have heard the range of pros and cons of being a machinist, hopefully, you have a better understanding of the overall job and nature of it. Of course, we encourage you to carry out a further study into this area if it is of keen interest to you. One of the best things you can do is ask people directly in the trade and get their take on it and what questions they might have.

Please do get in touch if you have any pointers and suggestions to the above article as well as any questions you have over any of the pros and cons - again in the comments section - and we will be sure to help you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Bradley Morrison

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