Automotive engineers are responsible for developing and manufacturing a range of vehicles including cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks.
You will need a good mix of technical and business acumen to ensure that you are anle to deliver projects within budget and to specification.
What’s It All About?
Automotive engineering can encompass a number of different speacialisms but ultimately you are responsible for developing vehicles.
Automotive engineers often specialise later in their careers. This could involve being part of a team designing auto parts for example. . Due to the wide scope, there is usually plenty of work and career progression for high quality engineers.
There are some clear stages in automotive engineering, all built around the production of a part or complete unit:
- Design stage
- Production stage
- Research and development
You will find yourself working within one of these three areas at all times.
Your responsibilities will include:
- Using CAD (computer-aided design) to design and develop items and products. A large part of engineering is design and skills in these areas will be invaluable
- Creating Prototypes and ensuring they meet safety and performance standards.
- Being responsible for helping manufacturers manage the changing landscape of emissions compliance. You’ll be expected to help manufacturers manage their products according to the changing demands, as well as help create products that will appeal to the customers
- Having a supervisory role when new material and equipment is installed in a plant or office
- Being part of the supply chain management, including working with suppliers to ensure that deadlines are met
- Showing project management ability. Some of the projects you will be part of will be large and complex. Your project management skills will be in demand
- Test driving new vehicles as well as current vehicles
- Managing maintenance issues so that they do not interfere with supply chain or production schedules
- Having input into production, including advising on materials required
Starting salaries in this field usually start at around £20,000 to £28,000. Mid-range engineers (such as those who have been in their career for a number of years) will see a significant rise in salary, to around £30,000-£45,000
So how do you get there?
This career requires a degree for entry. There are a number of courses that will be more suited to automotive engineering, and assist your application:
- Automotive engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Production engineering
- Manufacturing engineering
Your first degree should really also be accredited by a relevant body, such as The Institution For Mechanical Engineers.
There is also some room to enter the profession if you have an engineering foundation degree or an HND. This will mean you enter the profession at a Technician level. However, you may well be able to enter the profession at Engineer level later.
As you might expect from the kind of vehicles you will be working on, you will have a number of employers that you can work for. These include:
- Car makers, who will need your expertise to research, develop and manufacture cars
- Laboratories that test vehicles
- Automotive accessory suppliers
- Oil companies
- Motorsport teams
- Commercial vehicle manufacturers
Show Me The Money
Starting salaries in this field usually start at around £20,000 to £28,000. Mid-range engineers (such as those who have been in their career for a number of years) will see a significant rise in salary, to around £30,000-£45,000.
Those who are able to rise to senior positions can expect their salary to reach the £60,000 mark.