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Automotive Engineers Career

Career Description

Develop new or improved designs for vehicle structural members, engines, transmissions, or other vehicle systems, using computer-assisted design technology. Direct building, modification, or testing of vehicle or components.

What Job Titles Automotive Engineers Might Have

  • Chief Engineer
  • Dimensional Integration Engineer
  • Senior Engineering Team Leader
  • Technical Services Manager

What Automotive Engineers Do

  • Conduct or direct system-level automotive testing.
  • Conduct automotive design reviews.
  • Develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.
  • Provide technical direction to other engineers or engineering support personnel.
  • Perform failure, variation, or root cause analyses.
  • Establish production or quality control standards.
  • Write, review, or maintain engineering documentation.
  • Prepare or present technical or project status reports.
  • Design vehicles that use lighter materials, such as aluminum, magnesium alloy, or plastic, to improve fuel efficiency.
  • Alter or modify designs to obtain specified functional or operational performance.
  • Coordinate production activities with other functional units, such as procurement, maintenance, or quality control.
  • Design or analyze automobile systems in areas such as aerodynamics, alternate fuels, ergonomics, hybrid power, brakes, transmissions, steering, calibration, safety, or diagnostics.
  • Conduct research studies to develop new concepts in the field of automotive engineering.
  • Research or implement green automotive technologies involving alternative fuels, electric or hybrid cars, or lighter or more fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Create design alternatives for vehicle components, such as camless or dual-clutch engines or alternative air-conditioning systems, to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Develop calibration methodologies, test methodologies, or tools.
  • Read current literature, attend meetings or conferences, or talk with colleagues to stay abreast of new automotive technology or competitive products.
  • Calibrate vehicle systems, including control algorithms or other software systems.
  • Design control systems or algorithms for purposes such as automotive energy management, emissions management, or increased operational safety or performance.
  • Develop or implement operating methods or procedures.
  • Develop or integrate control feature requirements.
  • Develop specifications for vehicles powered by alternative fuels or alternative power methods.
  • Build models for algorithm or control feature verification testing.

What Automotive Engineers Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

What Automotive Engineers Should Be Interested In

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Automotive Engineers Need to Learn

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Leaf iconThis career is a green occupation.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $84,190

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.