In Summary - Automotive Engineer
Automotive Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
- Motorsport Engineer - from: N.C.S. [UK]
The Work - Automotive Engineer
Designing and developing a vehicle involves a very wide range of engineering knowledge. For example, automobile engineers use their knowledge of mechanical engineering, combustion, vehicle structures and aerodynamics. They also need knowledge of computers and electronic and electrical systems, which are all becoming increasingly sophisticated in modern vehicles. For example, some cars now have computer-controlled engine systems and digital display dashboards.
Some automobile engineers specialise in design (they may be known as design engineers). The average motor vehicle has around 10,000 individual parts and each must be designed, developed and manufactured. Design engineers need to take into account factors such as the strength, safety, efficiency, appearance and cost of parts. Many design engineers use computer-aided design (CAD) technology in their work, allowing them to create and change designs much more quickly than in the days of drawing boards. After design, they need to turn plans into prototypes. At this stage computer simulation and physical testing are carried out. Once the design has been approved the engineer plans and monitors the product process. If the design is not approved the engineer must go back to the 'drawing board' to alter the design.
Other automobile engineers specialise in research and development, (they may be known as research engineers). They must take into account factors such as cost, the safety and comfort of the driver including crash and safety testing (this is an aspect of ergonomics), fuel efficiency and environmental issues.
Research engineers work on both new and existing products. For example, they create new technologies such as electric batteries and bio-diesel engines. A lot of their work takes place in laboratories and workshops, although they may also work out in the open.
Automobile engineers also need to be commercially aware. They may work with manufacturers to plan full-scale production once all the testing has been completed. They are also involved in overseeing quality control.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Conduct or direct system-level automotive testing.
- Design control systems or algorithms for purposes such as automotive energy management, emissions management, or increased operational safety or performance.
- Design or analyze automobile systems in areas such as aerodynamics, alternate fuels, ergonomics, hybrid power, brakes, transmissions, steering, calibration, safety, or diagnostics.
- Alter or modify designs to obtain specified functional or operational performance.
- Build models for algorithm or control feature verification testing.
- Calibrate vehicle systems, including control algorithms or other software systems.
- Conduct automotive design reviews.
- Develop calibration methodologies, test methodologies, or tools.
- Develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.
- Develop or integrate control feature requirements.
Interests - Automotive Engineer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Automobile engineers need knowledge of many different aspects of engineering, including mechanical engineering, combustion, aerodynamics, electrical and electronic systems and fuel technology.
You will need the ability to think in an orderly and logical way, as well as having imagination and a curious mind. Automobile engineers often work to deadlines, so you must be able to work under pressure.
Excellent communication skills are needed to work in a team with, for example, design engineers, research engineers, engineering technicians and manufacturers. Advanced computer skills are needed in this career, for example, to use computer-aided design technology or to work on sophisticated computer equipment in modern vehicles.
You need to have good analytical and problem solving skills. You must be able to prioritise and plan effectively. You also need to keep up to date with new development and regulations.
Entry Requirements - Automotive Engineer
Pay & Salary - Automotive Engineer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 28k - 65k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Automotive Engineer
Useful Contacts - Automotive Engineer
Society of the Irish Motor Industry
Insurance Institute of Ireland