An automotive engineer is responsible, in part, for the design, development, manufacturing and testing of vehicles and their subsystems. They work in every area of the automotive industry and create new technologies that make vehicles more efficient. What does an automotive engineer do?
What is automotive engineering?
Automotive engineering is a branch of vehicle engineering which involves the design, manufacturing, testing and maintenance of automotive vehicles. It encompasses elements from mechanical and electrical to software and safety.
The focus of automotive engineering is to design new vehicles, such as cars, buses, and trucks, or find ways to improve any existing machine technology and systems.
This field of engineering is one of the most indispensable parts of the industry and demand for engineers is expected to go up, with approximately 34,750 new jobs filled by 2029 (Recruiter).
Responsibilities of an automotive engineer
Automotive engineers are in charge of designing, developing and manufacturing vehicles as well as improving any mechanisms related to these vehicles. They do this by first assessing project requirements and then developing and implementing test procedures.
These engineers use AutoCAD to produce and develop designs into prototypes and also pick out the most suited materials to use for each component. They are in charge of solving any engineering problems and investigating any mechanical failures.
They interpret and analyse results and data and organise and carry out any tests that are needed. Automotive engineers also make improvements to vehicles in response to customer feedback.
They liaise with suppliers and handle supply management issues and provide any technical advice to clients. Some engineers may also be asked to supervise junior staff.
What are the responsibilities of an automotive engineer?
- Design, develop and manufacture vehicles
- Improve any mechanisms related to vehicles
- Assess project requirements
- Develop and implement test procedures
- Develop and produce designs using AutoCAD
- Build prototypes of different components
- Decide what materials are needed for component production
- Solve any engineering problems
- Investigate mechanical failures
- Interpret and analyse results and data
- Organise and carry out tests
- Make improvements to vehicles in response to customer feedback
- Liaise with suppliers
- Handle supply management issues
- Provide technical advice to clients
- Supervise junior staff
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Skills of an automotive engineer
Automotive engineers have a deep-rooted interest in motor vehicle engineering and design. They have a thorough understanding of technical concepts, a high level of numeracy and effective troubleshooting and problem-solving skills.
These engineers have extensive knowledge of the applications used within design and production and have experience working with 3D modeling software such as AutoCAD. They also have knowledge of project management tools such as Trello and JIRA as well as design programs such as Corel Sketch Pad.
Automotive engineers also have a commercial and industry awareness and are constantly up-to-date with the latest design and engineering technology.
They have strong communication and presentation skills and have the ability to work well in a team. These engineers also have the ability to work well within both time and cost constraints and have a keen eye for detail.
What are the skills of an automotive engineer?
- Deep-rooted interest in motor vehicle engineering and design
- Thorough understanding of technical concepts
- High-level of numeracy
- Effective troubleshooting skills
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Extensive knowledge of applications used within design and production
- Experience working with 3D modeling software
- Knowledge of project management tools such as Trello and JIRA
- Knowledge of design programs such as Corel Sketch Pad and ThinkDesign Engineering
- Commercial and industry awareness
- Being up-to-date with the latest design and engineering technology
- Strong communication skills
- Exceptional presentation skills
- Ability to work well in a team
- Ability to work within cost constraints
- Attention to detail
- Strong time management skills
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How to become an automotive engineer?
A large number of automotive engineers come from an academic background. And so, in order to work as an automotive engineer, it is recommended to get a Bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or a similar field.
It should be noted that entry into the profession is also possible through an apprenticeship. Also, for some posts, you may need to obtain a postgraduate qualification such as a Master’s degree or a diploma.
Certifications are also a good way to gain a strong foothold in the field. Here are a few great online options to consider:
- Introduction to Automotive engineering – Performance
- Automotive Engineering
- Professional Program Certificate in Electric Cars (TU Delft)
- Fundamentals of Automobile Engineering
The starting salary for an automotive engineer is approximately $50,000 per year. The average salary is around $79,000 per year. The senior salary is $103,000 but it can be significantly higher in certain cases. The actual income depends on factors such as the industry and the company, but also on professional experience.
In Germany, the salary range is €39,000 – €96,000 whereas in the UK, the range is £25,000 – £52,000.
How much do automotive engineers earn?
How much do freelance automotive engineers earn?
The freelancermap rate index in September 2021 shows an average hourly rate of $95 amongst automotive engineers. Working this rate out to an 8-hour day, the daily average is around $760.