Automotive electronics is a clear case of one innovation on top of another. This naturally is an indicator that engineers working within the sector have a comparatively higher degree of opportunities for building careers and even taking up research work (as part of higher studies).
However, to throw light on the ground realities of automotive electronics, and especially on the career aspects in this sector, Electronics For You consulted domain experts to ascertain the latest scenario; this is totally relevant considering the fact that a large number of the Indian student community is now engrossed in choosing engineering streams to pursue graduation.
Electronics engineers get numero-uno preference in automotive electronics
“Electronics engineers are custom-made for automotives since the former is in a position to develop microcontrollers and resistors (and more) which are fundamental elements in any smart setup,” states Nagraj Kishore who is a Bengaluru-based senior engineer in the Automotive IT domain.
Nagraj states with skills of automotive engineers, future automobiles would become a lot more innovative and generate data; this, in turn, is believed to lead to the creation of custom data-driven models that fit in within the futuristic ‘smart’ scheme of things.
At this point in time, it is also worth remembering that there are automobile engineers who are involved with the actual design and assembly of automobiles, this category of engineering is referred to as Automobile Engineering. Now, remember that automotive electronics has got everything to do with electronics for automobiles and is segregated from the actual development of automobiles, hence referred to as ‘innovation on top of another innovation’.
With today’s vehicles getting smarter by the day, to such an extent that driverless cars have also started to make inroads in certain countries of the world, demand for making these vehicles smart again points to automotive electronics engineers. Also, automotive electronics is itself a skill which can be mastered by engineer having graduated in non-electronics streams as well.
“Smart Concepts will even enable drivers to control the infotainment system of cars through eye gestures, without getting distracted,” states Nisarg Nirmalkumar who is chief technology officer (CTO) at Bengaluru-based Skillfinity Technologies.
Nisarg’s statement is only an indicator of the potential that the automotive industry has in store for engineers.
Scope and opportunities for Indian electronics engineers in the automotive sector
As per domain experts, there are a multitude of tier-1 and tier-2 firms in India that actively hire electronics engineers to work in their automotive domain.
“Fresh automotive electronics engineers can expect to work on aspects such as programming of Electronic Control Units (ECU) and sensors,” states Chandrashekhar AV – Lead Engineer at an Automotive IT company in Bengaluru.
Chandrashekhar also adds that there would be functional aspects such as engine control modules, body control modules, battery management, advanced driver assistance systems, and more which all potentially make automotive smart. Here, the expertise of electronics engineers becomes absolutely vital.
With reputed names such as Robert Bosch having premium investment in the smart automotive domain, electronics engineers should be able to find plenty of opportunities. Even experts believe so.
“Robert Bosch is one firm that seeks out innovative electronics engineers intensively to work towards making automotive smarter. The areas of operation of the company are ECUs, Sensors, eBike Systems, mechatronic modules, and body electronics,” advises Albert Lewis – a Mumbai-based technical recruiter with ample knowledge on the automotive electronics domain. Albert also works closely with engineers cutting across streams and geographical regions.
Albert’s statement is also seconded by an automotive engineer working for Robert Bosch in Germany, who chose to speak to us on the condition of anonymity. As per the anonymous Bosch engineer, the company is researching extensively on smart automotive which means that jobs in the sector should only naturally multiply in the very near future.
Another important aspect that Albert highlights is the importance of automotive electronics engineers in aspects such as augmented reality and infotainment system for automobiles. These are believed to witness a smart revolution of sorts soon.
“Specifics here include Eye-Gaze and Heads-Up display technology for smart operations of infotainment units to avoid the distraction of drivers. This, in turn, is directly connected with a reduction in the number of accidents”, adds Nisarg.
Thus, with the widespread scope and immense potentially smart projects on offer, fresh electronics engineers should not feel left out as far as industry is concerned. These predicaments also offer, prospective electronics engineers desirous of working in the automotive domain, plenty to cheer about.
Also, with India-based multinational firms (MNCs) investing on research in natural language processing (NLP), experts feel that the next couple of years would be interesting for automotive electronics engineers.
Skillsets expected from engineers
Naturally, a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a good academic track record is sought by automotive firms that seek engineers to develop and integrate smart solutions for automobiles.
“Companies such as Robert Bosch also offer comprehensive in-house training to fresher engineers. Young graduates get to work on smart aspects such as vehicle simulation, develop models, also learn various mechanical aspects viz. management of engines, and essential modules,” emphasises Dr Radhakrishnan- a Bengaluru-based career counselor with over two decades of experience in guiding engineers towards right career paths.
Senior engineers working in Bengaluru also advise freshers (and engineering students) to develop and hone value-added skills such as automation, embedded systems, real-time operating systems, power electronics, C, C++, Verilog, MATLAB, VLSI, FlexRay, and CAN. Skillsets required also varies based on the firms that hire electronics engineers. The original equipment manufacturers (OEM) companies also seek soft skills and relationship management skills.
“Opportunities are now rising in India, however, the demand is now constant in economies such as Germany and Japan,” states Satish Kumar who is currently pursuing a Master’s program in Automotive Electronics at MS Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences in Bengaluru.