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Archive of posts published in the category: Engineer
May
3

How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

Image by Jason Torchinsky

Image by Jason Torchinsky

What It TakesTrue stories of the amazing women who work in cars.

A question I get a lot from younger readers is: How can I become an automotive engineer for a major car company? The answer is that there are many avenues to that goal, which is why—in addition to telling my own tale about how I scored my dream engineering job at Fiat Chrysler—I compiled stories from Ford, Nissan, Honda, Fiat Chrysler, and GM engineers.

It’s the same question I used to ask people all the time when I was a middle-schooler in the small city of Leavenworth, Kansas. I was someone who didn’t live anywhere close to the car industry (unless you count dealers and the Ford plant in Kansas City), and knew little about the civilian sector in general, since I grew up in an army community. To me, the automobile industry was a dim light atop the tallest of peaks—something that I could only faintly see from a distance, a dream that mostly just felt like an impossibility.

[A quick note: This article consists of eight pages, one devoted to each engineer’s story. Once you get to the bottom of my page, click “next” to read on page two the amazing way that the Jeep Wrangler JL product planner scored his dream gig. Comments are on page nine, which I realize is a bummer. Tell me your thoughts on how this new format works for a long feature like this one. I think it breaks things up well, but I’m unsure.]

Let The Passion Drive You

I was 13 years old, but for years and years, I carried that dream right there in my chest pocket, never letting go and using it to shape each and every major life decision I made.

My goal, to be specific, was to work for Chrysler, as I wrote on a flashlight forum (don’t judge) post back in July of 2006, when I was a mere 14 years old:

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

A former classmate, whose dad owned an awesome third-generation Ram 1500 (with the billet grille!), recently sent me a photo of our eighth-grade yearbook, in which I wrote: “Dodge Rams rule!”

Look at this Chrysler nerd:

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

I vividly remember a Chrysler Ride and Drive event in Kansas City that I convinced my family to attend, and we always went to the Kansas City Auto Show. Here’s my 16-year-old self crawling all over Jeeps in 2008; the JK Wrangler was still a relatively new vehicle, and I was obsessed:

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

I even took a photo of myself (using a digital camera because this was before the proliferation of smartphones) in the 2008 Jeep Liberty, which—while new at the time—was a pretty crappy Jeep. But a man in love sees no flaws:

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

Never mind, even I knew a crappy car when I saw one (see caption):

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

Also new in 2008 was the Challenger:

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

And the “DS” Ram:

Illustration for article titled How To Become An Automotive Engineer At A Major Car Company

Now that I think about it, 2008 was a

Apr
13

Automotive Engineer Salary | PayScale

The average salary for an Automotive Engineer is $78,344.

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What Do Automotive Engineers Do?

Job Satisfaction for Automotive Engineer

Popular Employer Salaries for Automotive Engineer

The top respondents for the job title Automotive Engineer are from the companies Ford Motor Company, FCA Corp and General Motors Corporation. Reported salaries are highest at Ford Motor Company where the average pay is $91,280. Other companies that offer high salaries for this role include Chrysler Group LLC., earning around $88,000. FCA Corp pays the lowest at around $85,000. General Motors Corporation also pays on the lower end of the scale, paying $86,302.

Automotive Engineer Job Listings

What Are Popular Skills for Automotive Engineers?

Skills in Engineering Design, Project Management and Microsoft Office are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Matlab and Microsoft Excel.

What is the Pay by Experience Level for Automotive Engineers?

An entry-level Automotive Engineer with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $66,977 based on 42 salaries. An early career Automotive Engineer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $74,252 based on 112 salaries. A mid-career Automotive Engineer with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $80,520 based on 71 salaries. An experienced Automotive Engineer with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $91,104 based on 49 salaries. In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $97,452.

Pay Difference by Location

Employees with Automotive Engineer in their job title in Dearborn, Michigan earn an average of 10.7% more than the national average. These job titles also find higher than average salaries in Auburn Hills, Michigan (8.5% more) and Detroit, Michigan (2.5% more). The lowest salaries can be found in New York, New York (26.0% less), Ann Arbor, Michigan (3.1% less) and Troy, Michigan (2.7% less).

Years of Experience

This data is based on 309 survey responses.

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Apr
3

AUTOMOTIVE | The Engineer The Engineer


The latest automotive engineering, technology and business news and features. Includes insight on driverless cars, hydrogen cars, electric drivetrains and Bloodhound LSR.

















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