What Does An Automotive Engineer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Automotive Engineers

Automotive Engineers 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.

Salary
$95560
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Automotive Engineers 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.

  • 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.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Automotive Engineers develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts. They provide technical direction to other engineers or engineering support personnel.

A typical day for an Automotive Engineer will also include:

  • Coordinate production activities with other functional units, such as procurement, maintenance, or quality control.
  • Write, review, or maintain engineering documentation.
  • Perform failure, variation, or root cause analyses.
  • 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.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Automotive Engineers also conduct or direct system-level automotive testing. They may also prepare or present technical or project status reports.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Automotive Engineers develop or integrate control feature requirements. They might also develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.

In addition, they coordinate production activities with other functional units, such as procurement, maintenance, or quality control.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them alter or modify designs to obtain specified functional or operational performance.

To some Automotive Engineers, it is also their responsibility to read current literature, attend meetings or conferences, or talk with colleagues to stay abreast of new automotive technology or competitive products.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
30%

Some freedom
57%

A lot of freedom
13%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
13%

Some freedom
57%

A lot of freedom
30%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

High

Is this job meaningful

High

70% said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they found their job meaningful.


Dragos Viteo
An automotive company

I work as an engineer for an automotive company. I’ve been working in the automotive industry for 14 years now, and have been an engineer for 12. I work with other engineers to create the best vehicle, or at least closer to it than the current model!

As an automotive engineer, my job was to create cars that were more perfect than the current models already out there.

It has been my experience that there is never a dull moment when you work in the automotive industry because every day presents new challenges that must be overcome if we want to make our product better than the competition.

Let me give you an outline of what automotive engineers do in general.

The job description for someone in the automotive industry is quite broad and varies with each individual’s experience and expertise.

An automotive engineer may be required to do any or all of the following:

  1. Create prototypes or scale models based on a design specification, or modify existing ones;
  2. Conduct tests and studies to determine compliance with safety standards;
  3. Design components, such as engines, engine management systems, transmission control systems, and vehicle chassis components;
  4. Create drawings and documents, such as design drawings, assembly drawings, bills of material, and computer-aided design (CAD) files;
  5. Perform tough calculations to ensure designs meet specifications;
  6. Monitor production to ensure conformance with technical requirements;
  7. Maintain product liability insurance coverage;
  8. Review the work of others or conduct formal studies to evaluate designs;
  9. Supervise and coordinate with other departments, such as art or marketing, to ensure that design specifications are met;
  10. Maintain contact with clients, vendors, and colleagues to develop new technologies or resolve technical problems;
  11. Update knowledge by participating in educational opportunities;
  12. Identify market opportunities to help develop new technologies;
  13. Advise management on technical issues and research projects;

Pros: The pros are a well-paying job with plenty of opportunities for good knowledge.

Cons: The cons include in general more hours of work, mental fatigue and being required to work well in hot or cold environments on occasion.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who value achievements and are results-oriented.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

Very high salary (top 25% highest paid careers).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$95560 per year

Average hourly wage

$46 per hour

Entry-level Automotive Engineers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $58,410 to $71,880 per year or $28 to $35 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $68 $141,060
Senior (Top 25%) $55 $114,380
Middle (Mid 50%) $43 $90,160
Junior (Bottom 25%) $35 $71,880
No experience (Bottom 10%) $28 $58,410

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
0%

40 hours
9%

More than 40 hours
91%

Working schedule

74%

26%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
0%

Important
5%

Very important
32%

Extremely important
64%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
4%

Fairly important
13%

Important
26%

Very important
43%

Extremely important
13%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
4%

Important
9%

Very important
74%

Extremely important
13%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
9%

Every day
91%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
4%

Every day
96%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
4%

Once a year
43%

Once a month
30%

Once a week
17%

Every day
4%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
17%

Once a month
39%

Once a week
39%

Every day
4%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
52%

Once a month
35%

Once a week
9%

Every day
4%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
83%

Once a year
17%

Once a month
0%

Once a week
0%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
4%

Moderately competitive
35%

Highly competitive
26%

Extremely competitive
35%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
9%

Fairly important
35%

Important
22%

Very Important
26%

Extremely Important
9%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
0%

Minor impact
4%

Moderate impact
26%

Important impact
35%

Very important impact
35%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
4%

Once a year
9%

Once a month
35%

Once a week
17%

Every day
35%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
4%

Limited responsibility
22%

Moderate responsibility
30%

High responsibility
13%

Very high responsibility
30%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
4%

Moderate responsibility
57%

High responsibility
30%

Very high responsibility
9%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
22%

Every day
70%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
9%

Once a year or more
43%

Once a month or more
26%

Once a week or more
22%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
22%

Once a year or more
35%

Once a month or more
17%

Once a week or more
26%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
17%

Once a year or more
57%

Once a month or more
13%

Once a week or more
13%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Hard
You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require a Bachelor’s degree and several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. Similar careers include Database Administrators, Chemists, Art Directors, and Accountants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
96%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
4%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
13%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
4%

6 months to 1 year
9%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
30%

4 to 6 years
22%

6 to 8 years
9%

8 to 10 years
9%

Over 10 years
4%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
4%

1 month
9%

1 to 3 months
22%

3 to 6 months
13%

6 months to 1 year
30%

1 to 2 years
13%

2 to 4 years
9%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

100%

86%

33%

19%

52%

48%

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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