Automotive engineers are involved in almost every aspect of car design and manufacturing. They help design new vehicles and ensure that existing cars are of good quality standards and operate efficiently. Their tasks involve the direct application of mathematics in designing and producing vehicles. Thus, the field is research-intensive, requiring professionals to be well-versed and committed. Yet, it’s well worth the effort since it’s a lucrative career. Here are some of the best-paying jobs in automotive engineering.
1. Automotive Service Manager
If you believe you have what it takes to take up a managerial position, consider working as an automotive service manager, where you will be responsible for the administrative aspects of the business. You will also oversee newly hired staff, from hiring to onboarding and training. In some companies, automotive service managers will also handle the financial and marketing aspects of the business. Since this is a managerial position, you must speak with authority about vehicle mechanics and establish trust with clients.
The most common task for an automotive service manager is managing an entire service centre or car dealership. As the manager, you will supervise teams, develop business and financial goals for the organisation, and establish marketing plans. Expect regular meetings with senior leaders for business review when working as an automotive service manager.
Part of your role as the manager is to carry out administrative tasks like maintaining service records and inventory. If a client has a concern or inquiry, you must be able to address these immediately. Given the various responsibilities of an automotive service manager, you can expect a high salary for this position, averaging $61,000 each year.
2. Industrial Designer
If you have a flair for designing cars, an industrial designer is a perfect job for you. Also called automotive designers or automotive stylists, industrial designers combine their technical knowledge of automotive mechanics and production with artistic talent to improve the vehicle’s appearance, style, and aerodynamic design.
As an industrial designer, you will create blueprints and develop automobile concepts. You will use your knowledge of automotive engineering and creative skillset to draft a layout of various vehicle components, from mirrors to doors and headlamps. You will also be responsible for developing prototypes and models of your designs.
You must work with auto engineers to ensure they follow all the dimensions of your drawings and o designs. The main goal is to develop highly efficient, innovative, and visually appealing automobiles for manufacturing. The work environment for automotive designers will vary, depending on the project’s current stage. You will work in a comfortable office to do preliminary sketches and use computerised design programs. Industrial designers need to work full-time at automobile companies. If you prefer part-time work, you can work as a consultant.
3. Automotive Software Engineer
If you have experience with software or system development, one of the jobs you can take is an automotive software engineer. For this role, you will be responsible for designing and developing software systems used in automotive. These systems control various environmental systems of a vehicle, such as the wheels for automatic parking.
As an automotive software engineer, your responsibilities include designing and programming automotive software, developing solutions, and troubleshooting bugs in software. Aside from having a degree in automotive engineering, some employers prefer a master’s degree. You must also have experience in software or system development in automotive and a clear understanding of different software designs, programming languages, and operating systems. If you possess excellent technical and analytical problem-solving skills, you’ll have a higher chance of getting hired for this position.
Those interested in becoming automotive software engineers should gain enough experience before transitioning into the role. Prior experience in setting up new automobile technologies would be a bonus. You must also be familiar with the processes and technologies relating to the automotive industry.
4. Quality Testing Engineer
Automotive engineers can also work as quality testing engineers. These individuals are responsible for testing every vehicle component before it goes to the vehicle. They help to ensure that these components function correctly to ensure safety. A quality testing engineer is one of the most critical roles in the automotive industry since it determines the quality and safety of the final product.
In the automotive industry, a quality testing engineer will be responsible for a vehicle crash test. You will plan and analyse safety tests and coordinate with other members of the vehicle manufacturing team to design, develop, and assess the safety capabilities of cars. They will use sensors and crash test dummies to ensure that the test captures the necessary data to measure the safety variables of an automobile. Since crash tests can be destructive, automotive engineers may need to run several computer simulations before they conduct a test on the actual vehicle.
Most employers expect quality testing engineers to possess a degree in mechanical engineering or any related discipline. Entry-level positions must possess a bachelor’s degree, while the more senior roles must have a master’s degree with an automotive engineering license.
5. Automotive Process Engineer
Another lucrative career for automotive engineering is an automotive process engineer. For this role, you will develop and engineer manufacturing processes and equipment for automobiles and vehicle components. You will also design and develop tools and machinery for building vehicles and establish large-scale automobile production processes. Automotive process engineers work in every area of the automotive industry, helping to produce new technologies that make automobiles more efficient.
The main task of an automotive process engineer is to create a process to improve production efficiency. It encompasses various elements, from electrical to mechanical, software, and safety. The focus is to make the production of new vehicles more efficient and to find ways to improve the existing processes, machine technology, and systems.
In some companies, an automotive process engineer can also be responsible for designing and developing new vehicles. They do this by assessing the project requirements and establishing and implementing processes and procedures. Sometimes, they need to use computer tools and software, such as AutoCAD, to develop designs into prototypes and look for the most suited materials for every vehicle component.