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How to become an Automotive Engineer

automotive engineer careers

What does a Automotive Engineer do?

Automotive engineers are involved in the motor vehicle manufacturing cycle from initial design and development stages through to the final production phase. They work in a wide range of fields including body, chassis and engine systems; electrical and electronic instrumentation and control systems; thermo- and aerodynamics; fluid mechanics; performance analysis; materials engineering; computer-aided engineering and design; and fuel technology and emissions.

Automotive engineers work for vehicle manufacturers, components suppliers, motorsport companies, and specialist engineering consultancy services. Their work falls into three broad categories:

Design – using draughting skills, computer-aided design software and modelling systems to turn preliminary ideas in to working blueprints for development and testing. Designs may be geared towards a completely new product range, refinements to existing vehicles or changes to components and assemblies. Engineers must consider the aesthetics, reliability, safety, commercial viability and environmental impact of designs. They may also be responsible for the production of technical manuals to accompany design projects.

Development – turning design plans into prototypes to allow testing and modification before the production stage. A combination of computer simulation and physical testing is carried out to assess product or component strengths and weaknesses, for example, testing the aerodynamic properties of a design in a wind tunnel. Development engineers also carry out cost, performance and safety analysis of prototypes.

Production – once a design has been approved for manufacture, engineers plan and monitor the production process. This may include design or redesign of machine tools, equipment and processes in order to produce the product to the desired specification, cost and timescale. Production engineers also oversee quality control to ensure that finished products meet set quality standards.

Automotive engineers work in multidisciplinary teams consisting of craftspeople, technicians and professional engineers, with experience in mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineering.

Additional duties include managing projects, supervision of technical teams, writing reports and negotiating with clients.

What's the working environment like working as a Automotive Engineer?

Automotive engineers usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although engineers in production may work shifts.

Depending on responsibilities, work could be office-based, in a research facility or manufacturing plant.

What does it take to become a Automotive Engineer?

To be an automotive engineer you should:

  • have a strong interest in motor vehicle engineering and design
  • have good analytical skills and an innovative approach to problem solving
  • have excellent mathematical and IT skills
  • be able to analyse and interpret data
  • have excellent technical knowledge
  • have good communication and presentation skills
  • be able to prioritise and plan effectively
  • be able to work within budgetary constraints and to deadlines
  • keep up to date with new developments
  • be able to work as part of a team and take responsibility.

Automotive Engineer Career Opportunities

The automotive industry employs around 235,000 people around the UK in vehicle manufacture and design, and component supplies. The UK is also a world centre of excellence in the motorsport engineering industry. Prospects are good for qualified engineers. The main centres of production are in the Midlands, north-west, north-east and south-east. With experience, promotion to senior engineer, project management, general management and consultancy may be possible.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Automotive Engineer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Automotive Skills
93 Newman Street
London
W1T 3DT
Tel: 0800 093 1777
www.automotiveskills.org.uk

Auto Industry
DTI Automotive Regional Unit
5 St Philips Place
Birmingham
B3 2PW
Tel: 0121 352 5231
www.autoindustry.co.uk

Motorsport Industry Association
Federation House
Stoneleigh Park
Warwickshire
CV8 2RF
Tel: 024 7669 2600
www.the-mia.com

Automotive Academy
2410 Regents Court
The Crescent
Solihull Parkway
Birmingham Business Park
B37 7YE
Tel: 0121 717 6655
www.automotiveacademy.co.uk

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
London
WC2R 3ER
Tel: 020 7240 7891
www.engc.org.uk

The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC)
www.uk-spec.org.uk

Facts and Stats:

  • 4,076,000 people work in manufacturing in the UK, making it the nation''s top occupation
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  • Chicago has more chocolate manufacturers within a small radius than any other place in the world

Courses to help you become a Automotive Engineer