Career Choice: Electric Vehicle Engineer

Career Choice: Electric Vehicle Engineer
  • Type: Career Type
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    College students who chose a career as an engineer a few years ago may be quaking in their boots right now.

    That's because thousands of engineers have lost their jobs in the most recent recession and are having difficulty finding work.


For the class of 2011, job prospects as an engineer may seem grim.

Automobile Engineering

If you are an engineering student – take heart. Especially if automobile engineering is of interest to you. With the advent of electric vehicles, manufacturers realize they don’t have enough qualified people to work on the development and maintenance of these specialized cars. Moreover, seasoned engineers who have a background in all things automotive typically lack the skills required to work on electric drivetrains. Those same skills are often acquired by Silicon Valley workers not Detroit automotive engineers.

In recent weeks reports have surfaced that General Motors is looking to hire 1,000 engineers. Chrysler has offered a similar number and suppliers are gearing up their hiring too.[1]

Career Day

One company, Ricardo, is having a career day for engineers at its Ricardo Detroit Technology Campus in Van Buren Township, Michigan. This company has 30 openings and has taken to advertise its opportunities on billboards near Detroit according to Automotive News.[2]

Of course, training in electrical engineering is what today’s candidate seeking employers want. If you’re graduating next May and have such training, then your prospects have brightened considerably. If you lack a course or two, you may want to adjust your Spring class schedule accordingly. That can be difficult to do if your remaining classes are required, but with some help from your adviser you may be able to make the switch and still graduate on time. Besides, with an average pay of $78,200 per year as of 2010, automotive engineers can make very good money from the start.

Electric Vehicles

The first electric vehicles hit the market in November 2010 with more expected over the coming months and years. Even hybrid vehicle systems – those using gas and electric powertrains need skilled engineers, perhaps providing a source of work for new grads in 2011 and beyond.


[1] The Washington Post: GM and Chrysler Hiring Additional Engineers

[2] Automotive News: Suddenly, People Seek Engineers [subscription required]


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Categories: Career Planning