The Electric Car Industry: How to Get a Job

electric car industry
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Engineers are becoming more and more interested in how their skills can directly fulfill their passion. If you’re looking for a career that combines a love of mechanical and electrical engineering with your desire to make a difference in the world, a career in the electric car industry could be your calling.

Working with electrical cars is perfect for innovators, because it allows you to be on the cutting edge of an exciting, game-changing technological advancement. But, if you’d rather work behind the scenes instead of hands-on, you can still find immense reward in this field by using your talents to aid in transitioning away from petroleum-based fuels and toward cleaner energy sources.

Here’s a brief look at opportunities in the electric car industry and what kinds of qualifications you’ll need in order to have the best chance of getting your foot in the door and moving up the ranks. With a clear goal in mind, you’ll know exactly what skills you need to work on in school so that you can impress recruiters and hiring managers immediately after college.

Engineering Opportunities in the Electric Car Industry

Engineering is without a doubt the heart of the electric car industry. Engineers are responsible for transforming every aspect of the car from an idea on paper into a fully functional machine. Engineers are needed for a wide range of specialties, and a quick glance at the job openings at Tesla, an industry leader, show a staggering number of vacancies for positions like software engineers, mechanical design engineers, thermal systems engineers, product engineers, sensor engineers, and of course electrical engineers, among many others.

Engineering has always been a career that promises a comfortable salary. And, with such a high demand for qualified candidates, it’s not hard to see why.

Although companies like Tesla have plenty of engineering job openings, that doesn’t mean they will hire the first person who applies. You will still need to have the right qualifications, experience and attitude to make yourself shine as a candidate. A Bachelor of Science degree in engineering is a must for this position. You should also seize every opportunity to gain hands-on experience while in college, as most employers prefer candidates with at least two years of experience. Internships, part-time jobs, apprenticeships, teaching fellowships, and research experience can all lend valuable experience that you can put on your resume to help you land your dream job as an engineer right after college.

Electric Car Industry Researchers

Working in a laboratory to discover new ways to improve the efficiency of electric cars is another option for those with a Bachelor of Science in engineering or chemistry. If you want to be at the helm of the research project, designing and directing the study and then presenting its findings, you will need to have a PhD. However, if you’re not sure that this is the route you want to take, you can always work in a laboratory under the direction of someone with a doctoral degree in order to see if it is an opportunity you want to fully commit to.

Examples of studies that scientists undertake for electric car research include examining the chemical reactions that occur in an electric car battery, comparing different material components of the car battery, frame or mechanics to maximize fuel efficiency, and experimenting with different ways to efficiently store or recycle an electric charge.

Researchers may be affiliated with a certain university and receive grants to perform their studies, but they also can be employed by trucking companies wanting to economize their fleets by experimenting with electrical engines in a more heavy-duty capacity, as well as employed by specific car brands or battery brands.

Electric Vehicle Maintenance Careers

With the emerging popularity of electric cars, someone needs to know how to fix them when they break down. This specialized knowledge is not yet found in the average auto repair shop, so you can quickly become a leader in this niche if electric cars are your passion. In particular, electric car batteries, which need to be changed every few years, require specialized training. You could draw in clients from near and far if you are one of the few mechanics in your region capable of performing routine maintenance.

But, until electric cars become the norm on our roads, any electric vehicle repair technician should expect to be just as skilled in repairing petroleum-fueled cars as well. Completing on-the-job training, an internship, an apprenticeship or a certified automotive technician program will set you on the path to an automotive career.

This is the tip of the iceberg for electric car jobs, as there are sales, marketing and legal positions that can be taken into account as well. The electric car industry is booming and will be ready for you after college.

image via Flickr

article written by Cathy Habas

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