Engineering In Focus – A Career Guide to Automotive Engineering

engineering careers  Engineering In Focus – A Career Guide to Automotive Engineering

The automobile industry is known for being very competitive as manufacturers are always looking for ways to up their competition whether it be on features or pricing.

Watch – Born to Engineer: Orla Murphy Why Would I Want To Do Anything Else?

Growing up in rural Ireland, Orla Murphy remembers how exciting it felt when her family’s tractor was upgraded to include a fitted radio.
As an engineer with Jaguar Land Rover she’s working on ways to ensure that the software that drives every function of modern vehicles can be downloaded remotely wherever they are in the world. Orla Murphy studied Electronic and Music Engineering at the University of Glasgow. She was the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s winner of the 2015 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award.

Automotive engineers are needed for this since manufacturers need to be looking for ways they change their vehicles for the benefit of their customers. If you’re interested in getting a career in automotive engineering, look into this guide on how you could do so.


Working to become an automobile engineer can sound great it’s important to understand what that really means once you start working.

Typically, automotive engineers are hired to help design new products, troubleshoot engineering problems, and to plan manufacturing processes. Daily responsibilities can vary so much since automobile engineers often are the backbone of the production process so it’s important to understand how much hard work you’re going to have to put into your job if you decide to become an automobile engineer. You’re able to fully go into becoming an automobile engineer if you’re ok with all of these basics.

Education Requirements

Like most jobs in engineering, automobile manufacturers are always going to be looking for those with 4-year degrees as a minimum when looking to hire junior engineers. Aspiring engineers should look to apply for an automotive engineering program if available. For those that are having trouble finding a college offering an automotive engineering program, manufacturers know this which is why mechanical engineering degrees are accepted since automotive engineering is more of a specialty than a completely separate degree. Before applying, aspiring students should make sure they have or are ready to have a background in advanced calculus, physics, and chemistry as it’ll be crucial for daily work in college and once you’re working. Once you’ve gotten accepted, you’ll want to make sure you do as well as possible since junior positions will often have graduates compete with positions depending on the projects they did and what GPA they ended up with at the end. Now that you know the educational requirements, you can look more into what to expect when looking for a position.

Job Opportunities

Automobile manufacturers are unique compared to other businesses like those in the tech industry as they tend to be more spread out across the world rather than grouped. This allows graduates to be more flexible in where they move, depending on what manufacturers offer them a position. In terms of the number of positions available, the automobile industry is typically always looking for automotive engineers that can either help improve car performance or optimize more standard designs in terms of fuel consumption and the speeds they can reach along with building completely new designs that are necessary for the future of electric vehicles. Once a graduate lands their first position, they should be happy that the automobile industry always seems to have a way up either going more experimentally with companies like Tesla or working with world-renowned sports car manufacturers like Ferrari. Now that you’ve gotten a good look into what manufacturers offer in terms of job positions, you’re going to want to know what they offer in terms of salary.


Like most engineering positions, automotive engineers typically get paid pretty well. In the United Kingdom, the average Junior automotive engineer makes around £32,000, while senior engineers can make around £49,000, and managers and directions average around £81,000 (source) which can scale up a lot more depending on the exact position and what company they are applied to.

Examples of manufacturers that even pay more than this include Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Chrysler Group, and more. Understanding how much you’re going to make once being an automotive engineer will always be crucial when deciding to spend thousands of dollars and your time on a college degree.

Advancing Your Career

Getting your foot in the door feels great when you’re someone who’s been going through the long process of getting a 4-year degree and trying to apply anywhere you can.

However, you’re going to want to understand the right point at which you are done with raises and you just need a new position or job elsewhere. Fortunately, automotive engineers have a lot of room to go up through other positions available to them like being a project engineer that overlooks more than a traditional junior engineer. Car manufacturers also like to leave their security to more seasoned individuals which is why automotive engineers who have been in the industry for a long time can apply to get a higher-paying job in which they will be engineering the security protocols and devices a modern car uses.

For those that don’t want to get their hands dirty anymore, automobile manufacturers always need project managers that know what it takes to lead a team of engineers together to get the job done. Regardless of your path, there is always a way to go up once you’ve got your automobile engineering degree.