Automotive Engineer

Job Description:

Automotive engineers design, develop, test and build cars and motorbikes.

Job Category:
Automotive & Aviation

What you will do:

You might work in design, development or production on:

  • body, chassis and engine systems
  • electrical and electronic instrumentation and control systems
  • thermodynamics, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics
  • fuel technology and emissions

You could:

  • turn design ideas into blueprints
  • research the safety, cost and environmental impact of designs
  • move designs into development by building prototypes
  • test products using computer simulations and physical models
  • assess components’ strengths, weaknesses, performance and safety
    plan the production run
  • redesign machine tools, equipment and processes to make new parts
  • monitor costs and production schedules
  • oversee quality control


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • thinking and reasoning skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma (in the UK) or degree, before joining a company graduate training scheme.

Relevant subjects include:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electrical or electronic engineering
  • design engineering
  • manufacturing engineering
  • automotive engineering

A course with a work placement or an internship will be especially useful.

Some car manufacturing companies offer undergraduate year-in-industry placements that give you the chance to develop industry skills and earn a salary.

You could do a degree apprenticeship and combine learning in the workplace with doing an engineering degree at an approved university.

Relevant degree apprenticeships include:

  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Product design and development engineer

If you already have a degree in a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subject, you may be able to do a Level 7 postgraduate engineer apprenticeship.

Applications with automotive engineering companies are competitive and usually open at set times of the year.

Check company websites regularly for application deadline information.


Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in an office, at a research facility or at a manufacturing plant.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress to senior engineer roles, project team management, general management, automotive insurance damage assessment or consultancy.