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What Does it Take to Be an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive Engineer Definition 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 Do Automotive Engineers Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Perform failure, variation, or root cause analyses.
  • Develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.
  • Develop or integrate control feature requirements.
  • Coordinate production activities with other functional units, such as procurement, maintenance, or quality control.
  • Create design alternatives for vehicle components, such as camless or dual-clutch engines or alternative air-conditioning systems, to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Design control systems or algorithms for purposes such as automotive energy management, emissions management, or increased operational safety or performance.

Qualities of an Automotive Engineer

Automotive Engineers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Types of Automotive Engineer

  • Automotive Engineer
  • Powertrain Control Systems Engineer
  • Automotive Project Engineer
  • Technical Services Manager
  • Hybrid Powertrain Development Engineer

Is There Job Demand for Automotive Engineers?

There were about 288,800 jobs for Automotive Engineer in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,300 new jobs for Automotive Engineer by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 21,200 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Automotive Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Automotive Engineer are Nevada, Utah, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Maine, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for an Automotive Engineer

The typical yearly salary for Automotive Engineers is somewhere between $56,270 and $136,550.

Salary Ranges for Automotive Engineers

Automotive Engineers who work in District of Columbia, New Mexico, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Automotive Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $90,030
Alaska $128,690
Arizona $98,390
Arkansas $71,730
California $107,370
Colorado $104,220
Connecticut $94,270
Delaware $106,220
District of Columbia $112,780
Florida $87,770
Georgia $84,870
Hawaii $81,730
Idaho $86,010
Illinois $92,030
Indiana $82,510
Iowa $80,530
Kansas $82,210
Kentucky $84,380
Louisiana $101,810
Maine $93,310
Maryland $109,960
Massachusetts $98,190
Michigan $91,100
Minnesota $87,030
Mississippi $85,570
Missouri $85,450
Montana $77,140
Nebraska $80,650
Nevada $88,950
New Hampshire $97,270
New Jersey $95,680
New Mexico $110,210
New York $91,820
North Carolina $87,470
North Dakota $75,770
Ohio $81,020
Oklahoma $88,190
Oregon $85,890
Pennsylvania $85,740
Rhode Island $94,520
South Carolina $93,730
South Dakota $76,220
Tennessee $87,990
Texas $105,570
Utah $88,150
Vermont $94,580
Virginia $100,540
Washington $96,860
West Virginia $84,070
Wisconsin $79,360
Wyoming $84,200

What Tools & Technology do Automotive Engineers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Automotive Engineers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Git
  • Python
  • Node.js
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Linux
  • IBM Notes
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • UNIX
  • Computer aided design CAD software

How to Become an Automotive Engineer

What education or degrees do I need to become an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive Engineer Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive Engineer Work Experience

Automotive Engineers Sector

Automotive Engineer Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Automotive Engineers employed by various industries.

Automotive Engineer Industries

References:

Image Credit: Michel Villeneuve via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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