Getting into the Green House
Automotive engineering is one of the most exciting professions you can choose. From the global concerns of sustainable mobility, to teaching connected cars to drive themselves in the Internet of Things, to working out how we’ll get around on the surface of Mars, this sector is all about the future.
Engineers in this field refer to the mainly glass upper cabin of a car as the ‘greenhouse’ and we think it’s as good an analogy as any for breaking into the industry. So, where to start if you’re considering getting into the greenhouse that is automotive engineering?
It’s worth noting that the sector continues to be a major employer of professional engineers owing to the increasing challenges of producing desirable and profitable vehicles. Recent research revealed that the increasingly competitive personal mobility sector has become the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Britain’s economy and this looks set to continue as the nation’s car manufacturers will create 50,000 new jobs over the next two years as they ‘re-shore’ production and bring it back to the UK.
From car manufacturers to fuel specialists, the automotive industry represents some of the largest companies in the world. As an engineer you can expect to work for one of these industrial titans. FISITA’s Honorary Committee is made up of some of the most diverse and dynamic automotive companies, and if you are looking for a good place to find your next role, this would be where to start.
As automotive engineers can specialise in any stage of the motor manufacturing process, from the initial vehicle designs through to the final production stages, consider which you would like to focus on. Essentially, areas of interest can be broken down into three categories:
Design: Designing new products and improving existing ones
Research and Development: Finding solutions to engineering problems
Production: Planning and designing new production processes
Within these areas, automotive engineers get involved with a wide variety of tasks. When describing your transferable skills from previous engineering roles to a future employer, you could relate your experience to these common responsibilities of engineers in various automotive roles:
- developing new test procedures, using both conventional and innovative methods
- bringing new products to market and being involved in problem-solving and project management
- devising and organising tests, to answer questions from clients, consumers and other engineers involved in vehicle development
- anticipating vehicle or component behaviour in different conditions with computer modelling software
- analysing and interpreting technical data into reports or presentations and answering any queries about the results
- building an individual specialism within a larger team and working independently
- contributing to regular team meetings to update colleagues on progress, problems and new developments
- managing all details of projects, including projected costs
- recognising the benefits of engineering developments to related departments in order to market projects and secure internal funding
- negotiating costs of development and engineering work with commercial departments
- monitoring any related systems or engineering issues associated with the component and final product
- supervising technical staff, engineers or designers (dependent upon specific role)
- operating in cross-functional or internationally-based teams to design experiments in order to test the validity and competence of new technology.
Finally, remember to highlight any previous experience in motor mechanics or engineering design when applying for a role.
To get started, take a look at our latest opportunities in automotive engineering.