Did you know that an automotive engineer can earn roughly $68,340 per year?
If you love the automotive industry, working as an automotive engineer can be a great way to earn a good living while indulging in your passion. That said, if you want to become an automotive engineer, you might not know the first thing about getting started in this industry.
Below we’ll dive into how you can land your first automotive engineering job. If you’re looking to make a career shift, you’ll soon discover how you can get started in the automotive industry.
1. What’s Your Existing Skillset and What Do You Like?
At the start of this process, it’s worth reviewing your existing skillset, and the kinds of things that interest you.
Upon doing so, you might find it easier to determine which kind of engineering role you’ll enjoy within the automotive industry.
For instance, it might be the case that you have some existing design skills. If that’s true, you might prefer a job that allows you to engineer the external ‘body’ of the car.
However, it could also be the case that you have a keen interest in the way cars actually work. Following this, you might want to take on a role that allows you to work on the engine or even the computing system within a car.
2. Time to Start Learning
Once you’ve determined the kind of work you’d like to do, you need to find an institution that offers an automotive engineering degree.
If you’re unable to find a suitable college that offers this course, a mechanical engineering degree is also helpful.
If you want your degree to hold a lot of weight, think about selecting an ‘accredited course.’ This means that you want a course that has been approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
A course approved by ABET may give you an edge when you’re applying for jobs. This is because such courses are often vetted to ensure they teach students the things that they need to know when working in a certain industry.
Thus, if you take an accredited course, future employers will have more faith in your skills. This means that they’ll have to put you through less training, and so they’ll prefer you over a candidate that didn’t take an accredited course.
During your degree, you might also want to take some courses that build upon the things you’d learn in your degree.
Ideally, you’ll want to focus on courses that are associated with the kind of work you’d like to do in the future. For instance, if you want to design the external body of a car, you might take some advanced courses associated with car aerodynamics.
3. Look for Internships
You should also think about securing internship opportunities that are related to the kind of work you want to do.
Now, in some cases, you may have the opportunity to do these internships while you’re studying for your degree. Yet if that isn’t the case, that’s okay, as you can just secure some internships once your course is over.
You’ll tend to find that job boards tend to promote internships within the automotive engineering field. Thus, if you monitor a wide range of job boards, you may come across a promising internship opportunity.
Note that if there’s a particular company you want to work for in the future, you should approach them and ask if they have any internships on offer.
If you secure an internship at one of your ‘dream’ companies, it’ll be a lot easier for you to land a long-term job with the company in question.
When you secure an internship, you must give your best effort, even if you’re planning to join another company.
Of course, you’ll want to do this, simply because it’s the right thing to do. However, when applying for jobs, you might need to request a reference from the company that’s providing the internship.
If you didn’t take the internship seriously, you might get a bad reference, and thus it’ll be harder for you to land a job.
During your internship, you should also think about building relationships.
That’s because the people you meet will go on to work for other companies in the space. If you build relationships, these people might notify you of any opportunities within their company. This will then make it easier for you to land the kinds of roles that aren’t advertised on job boards.
4. Landing Your First Job
The process you go through to land your first job is very similar to the process of landing an internship opportunity. Thus, if you’ve managed to secure an internship opportunity, job hunting should be a little bit easier for you.
That said, when interviewing for a job, you’ll probably face a much more rigorous process.
That’s because the people running the interview may give you tests so that they can verify your technical knowledge.
For instance, they could ask you to explain how the automotive prototyping process works. Alternatively, they might present you with an engineering challenge, and then ask you to solve it on the spot.
Fortunately, there are lots of sites out there that allow people to document their interviewing experiences.
These websites will allow you to see the kinds of questions people were asked, as well as how these questions need to be answered. With the help of these sites, you should be able to prepare yourself for any tough interviewing experiences.
Will You Land an Automotive Engineering Job?
If you use the tips above, you should be able to land an automotive engineering job that’ll make you happy.
Note that upon switching careers, there’s a chance that you might not like your first role in this industry. If that happens, remember the automotive industry is huge, and with some research, you should find another role that’s right for you.
Making a big career shift is scary, and you might be struggling with self-doubt. Yet, if you can keep going in spite of these feelings, you should eventually secure a job in this exciting and rewarding industry.
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