Manufacturing and Production Careers | Automotive Product Design Engineer

Automotive Product Design Engineer

Career Area: Design, Media, and Writing

Occupation Group: Product Design

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Automotive Product Design Engineer earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $91,948

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $88,547

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Responsible for creating or improving motor vehicle bodies, parts or accessories. Responsible for the aesthetics of the product but also designing how it will work, defining the problem and solving it. May be responsible for producing low-fidelity mock ups, prototypes for validation through user testing and crafting the final product accordingly.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina2+7.6%
Nationwide211+4.3%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Automotive Product Design Engineer is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Teamwork / Collaboration: Experience working in collaborative efforts with a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft.
  • Problem Solving: Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems.
  • Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Product Design: Product design as a verb is to create a new product to be sold by a business to its customers.
  • Product Development: In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) covers the complete process of bringing a new product to market.
  • Mechanical Engineering: Mechanical Engineering, is the discipline that applies engineering, physics, and materials science principles to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems.
  • CATIA: CATIA (an acronym of computer aided three-dimensional interactive application, pronounced ) is a multi-platform software suite for computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), computer-aided engineering (CAE), PLM and 3D, developed by the French company Dassault Systmes.
  • Systems Engineering: Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design and manage complex systems over their life cycles.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Automotive Product Design Engineer that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Vehicle Systems: Working experience of Vehicle Systems. A vehicle is composed of basic mechanical parts and devices making up its systems; each of them fulfills a specific function, including: transmission, supension, braking, steering, engine, cooling, electrical systems, and exhaust.
  • Automotive Design: Automotive design is the profession involved in the development of the appearance, and to some extent the ergonomics, of motor vehicles or more specifically road vehicles.
  • Finite Element Analysis: Finite element analysis (FEA) is a computerized method for predicting how a product reacts to real-world forces, vibration, heat, fluid flow, and other physical effects.
  • Electric Vehicle: An electric vehicle, also called an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion.
  • Component Design: the activity for the design of specific components including responsibility for material, cost, weight, reliability, durability, function, appearance, and serviceability.

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills:

  • Dspace: Working experience of Dspace, which is an open source repository software package typically used for creating open access repositories for scholarly and/or published digital content.
  • Automotive Design: Automotive design is the profession involved in the development of the appearance, and to some extent the ergonomics, of motor vehicles or more specifically road vehicles.
  • Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP): Working experience of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), which is a framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in industry, particularly the automotive industry. It is quite similar to the concept of Design for Six Sigma (DFSS).
  • Unigraphics: Unigraphics is a leading CAD/CAE/CAM software product developed and marketed by UGS (formally Unigraphics Solutions, Inc.)
  • AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture (AUTOSAR): Working experience of AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture (AUTOSAR). AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) is a worldwide development partnership of automotive interested parties founded in 2003. It pursues the objective of creating and establishing an open and standardized software architecture for automotive electronic control units (ECUs).

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years33%
3 to 5 years55%
6 to 8 years8%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Product Engineer Powertrain
  • Automotive Manufacturing Product Design Engineer
  • Product Designer - Designer Systems
  • Powertrain Product Engineer
  • Product Engineer- Ee Components

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