It’s an exciting time to be in the automotive industry.
The rise and integration of advanced mobility technologies from electrification and autonomous innovations to big data and AI is transforming the way we move and make vehicles. As the auto industry continues to evolve with manufacturing and computer technologies becoming more intertwined, career opportunities for skilled workers are expected to grow.
According to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, 9.6 million jobs – nearly one in 20 – across the U.S. are supported by the auto industry with automotive manufacturing accounting for more than 2 million of the total number of auto ecosystem jobs. In addition, for the past several years automakers have been investing heavily in making vehicles more sustainable, connected, and electric to meet consumer demand. In Michigan alone, electric vehicle and battery investments announced in 2022 are expected to create nearly 13,000 jobs.
As a result, there are numerous pathways for those interested in pursuing a career in the dynamic, fast-paced automotive industry – an industry that offers far more than just a job.
From entry-level positions to management roles, the auto industry provides a wealth of opportunities for advancement and skill development. Whether you’re interested in engineering, manufacturing or beyond, the auto industry is the place for individuals who want to make a meaningful impact on the future of mobility. That’s why now is the time to get in on the ground floor and be a part of the revolution.
Here are some of the most in-demand jobs in the auto manufacturing sector and a look at how you can jump-start your career in this fast-paced, evolving industry.
Machine operators are responsible for a number of machine functions like setting up the equipment, loading materials, operating the machine and optimizing efficiency. People in this role make sure the parts being produced meet customers’ requirements. However, there may be times when the machine operator will be required to perform other duties as requested through management or their supervisor.
Experience: Machine operators need to have strong math and analytic skills, be able to follow procedures closely and troubleshoot issues with their machines when necessary.
Education and career path: For entry-level positions, machine operators will require a high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training. Some more advance machine operator positions will necessitate further training from a technical school, this could include things like CAD/CAM technology and software training.
The great part about getting in positions like a machine operator is that you can contently make a career out of machine operation or you may find there is another job in the auto manufacturing industry that interests and excites you. People looking ahead may be interested in becoming CNC operators, quality control inspectors or production supervisors.
Quality technicians are responsible for ensuring adherence to quality standards and procedures. The quality technician has the authority to put on hold any product or process not conforming to JVIS quality standards or customer’s requirements. They also assist quality engineers and managers in problem solving.
Experience: Quality engineers should have prior quality assurance experience, including in a supervisory role. They should have direct working knowledge of general blueprint reading, excellent interpersonal skills and writing competency.
Education and career path: Quality technicians should have a high school diploma or GED, as well as a minimum of two years’ inspection experience in an automotive injection molding environment and two years’ experience in a quality assurance supervisory role.
Many quality techs later pursue careers as quality managers, directors of quality, supply chain managers or operations managers.
A process technician is a manufacturing support person who facilitates process adherence through training, monitoring and managing process methods. These individuals are hyper-focused on customer satisfaction through continuous improvement, optimization and cost reduction.
There are a number of process technician specialties in the automotive manufacturing space including paint, mold and general process techs.
Experience: Many processing techs can get in on the ground floor with organization, linear thinking and leadership skills, paired with on-the-job training. Some positions may need up to three years of experience in a specialized skill like plastic injection molding, robotics or painting.
Education and career path: Manufacturing experience and a high school diploma or GED preferred.
Processing technicians may set their sights on different careers in the automotive industry. Some of the common career goals for them are maintenance technician, engineer, production supervisor and manufacturing engineering manager. These career moves will likely require further in-house or external training and education.
Maintenance technicians are in charge of making all scheduled and unscheduled repairs on machines and related equipment used in manufacturing. They maintain building systems and ensure equipment is safely operating and meets intended use, optimizing equipment uptime. This includes installation, set up, preventative maintenance and adjustments required by technical service instructions. Maintenance techs are vital to keeping production moving and on time in the auto manufacturing sector.
Experience: As one would expect, people interested in this career should have maintenance experience in plastic injection molding manufacturing environment and be proficient in troubleshooting and repairing electrical, hydraulic, mechanical and programmable controller problems. They should also gain experience in operating various machining equipment.
Education and career path: Maintenance techs need approximately three to five years of maintenance experience and expertise.
Maintenance techs have plenty of room to grow or move around in the auto industry. Some jobs that make sense to work toward are service technicians, electricians, machine operators, maintenance supervisors or maintenance managers.
Coordinate Measuring Machine Technician
CMM technicians are primarily responsible for running CMM programs to make precise measurements when parts are welded together or taken apart. Technicians interpret CAD data or blueprints supplied by the customer and perform dimensional studies based on that data. CMM techs coordinate requests for layout inspection to ensure results are provided to the appropriate parties in a timely manner to prevent project or engineering change scheduling delays. Essentially, CMM techs are a major piece of a team’s quality assurance arm. They help ensure vehicle components are built properly and to the company’s standards.
Experience: CMM techs usually need a minimum of one year in CMM operation, Brown and Sharpe PC-DMIS software, metrology and its application, and the ability to gage repeatability and reproducibility. Experience in computer information systems (e.g., Microsoft Windows, Excel, Word) and computer programming is also beneficial. CMM techs should be proficient with PC-DMIS, Datapage, GD&T, statistics and blueprint reading. Additionally, CMM tech have to write, edit and debug CMM measurement programs, possess mathematical ability for calculations necessary throughout part layout or sample evaluation, and have a working knowledge of geometry and trigonometry.
Education and career path: CMM techs are not required to have a degree beyond a high school diploma or GED. Because of the specialized skills required, some CMM techs have a certificate, associate degree or concentrated training in manufacturing technology from a community college or technical school. Courses future CMM techs can expect to take in training include blueprint reading, production processes, and use of dimensional measurement programs and tools.
The great thing about the auto manufacturing industry is there is a lot of room for growth and advancement. Many CMM techs go on to become mechanical engineers, quality assurance or operational managers. Techs looking to rise in the ranks do so through gaining work experience, taking on internal or external training courses and obtaining a higher degree. Some CMM techs increase their career prospects by earning a bachelor’s degree in the field they plan to build up to.
The production supervisor’s primary responsibility is to ensure safety, quality, productivity and housekeeping in assigned areas. This person ensures all policies, procedures and work instructions are used and adhered to by employees. The production supervisor also is responsible for meeting the company’s goals and objectives.
Experience: Because production supervisors manage and oversee staff manufacturing products, they must have strong leadership, communication and organizational skills. Production supervisors typically rise to their position throughout the years. They gain training through entry-level and pre-management positions and pair that with training specified to production supervision and company policies.
Education and career path: Production supervisors are required to have at least three years of experience in automotive.
Career Opportunities at JVIS
From machine operators and CMM technicians to production supervisors and more, JVIS is always looking for creative, diverse and motivated people to join our team and help support our efforts to develop the technologies and products to power the vehicles of tomorrow.
JVIS employees are part of a family of talented workers who use the latest technologies to offer the most innovative solutions to our customers. Some of the professional benefits they enjoy Include:
- Generous insurance coverage (health care, vision and dental)
- 401(k) retirement plan
- Vacation pay
- Holiday pay
- Competitive salaries
- Professional growth opportunities
Want to be part of our future? Check out our openings at JVIS.us/careers.