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cheechthechi
cheechthechi New Reader
10/19/12 12:18 a.m.

Hi all,

I'm going to be graduating this December with my Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and I'm currently applying to a couple different companies for powertrain engineer roles. I was involved with Wreck Racing while I was at Tech where I focused on powertrain work. A couple of the jobs I've looked at ask for experience with ETAS or Melco calibration software. I don't have experience with either and I was wondering if they were hard to use and if there were ways to learn how to use the software without working for a large OEM.

Also I was wondering how you all got your start in powertrain calibration/ engineering? I've applied to a bunch of companies but haven't had much luck yet. Are there any books you'd recommend I should look at?

Thanks alot!

fidelity101
fidelity101 Reader
10/19/12 7:15 a.m.

Detroit has plenty of careers for you

RossD
RossD UberDork
10/19/12 7:22 a.m.

Maybe Alfadriver will chime in...

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/19/12 7:39 a.m.

Keep applying to any of the OEM's- but be ready to relocate to SE Michigan- everyone, outside of Honda, have tech centers here. And I do mean everyone..

When they ask for experience with tuning software, remind them that 1) it's generally not available outside of a calibration organization (and I mean a real one- like Bosch or any of the OEM's), and 2) they are pretty easy to learn. In +20 years, I've been through 3 totally different systems, and still have not had to use ETAS (thankfully...). They are not that hard- especially if you've done ANY calibration- it's a matter of setting up the emulator, knowing how to change calibrations, record, and reflash. The far harder part is to know what to change, and that's more about reading code.

Code wise- lots of people like Simulink code, although I can't stand it. Know your C code. Understand the basics of engine control (it's a big air pump that you need to know how much fuel to inject and when to spark). If you can read a code book, and understand the basics, you can read the advanced code we all use and figure it out.

Beyond that, it's kinda what you want to specialize in. There's a ton to calibration- starting, stopping, shifting, transinents, emissions, driving, etc- most need a team of 6-8 to just to the engine part, in the car. There's also a team who do just dyno work. And a team for the trans.

I know Ford has a program for college grads where you rotate around for a few years understanding how it works and finding a nice home. I'm pretty sure GM has a similar system. Chrysler- not so much- too short staffed- but you'll have to jump in with both feet (from what I undertand).

Then there's uniquness to Hybrids- a different animal.

Lots and lots of opporunities out there. Be flexible, be clear that you can figure things out quickly.

FWIW, I started as on the college grad program at Ford, and found a home in Advanced and Research. Oh, and we use ATI more than ETAS, and I've never dealt with Melco- in other words- be flexible

Eric

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/19/12 7:46 a.m.

Forgot one more thing- unless you just do emissions, or end up in research, plan to travel. A lot.

Searching for the cold, the heat, the humidity, the altitude, etc.

Hard to say which is the worst trip, but the best is altitude, by a wide margin.

stumpmj
stumpmj Dork
10/19/12 8:45 a.m.

Expand your world outside of automotive. The diesel guys (including us at John Deere) are all hiring. I just saw 2 or 3 calibration engineer jobs post last week.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/19/12 9:52 a.m.

If you do end up doing altitude research, stop by and say hi when you come through Grand Junction You wouldn't be the first and we know how to keep our mouths shut.

fidelity101
fidelity101 Reader
10/19/12 9:54 a.m.

I regret getting the degrees I have, when I find out that what I'd like to do requires an Engineering degree.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/19/12 10:43 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: If you do end up doing altitude research, stop by and say hi when you come through Grand Junction You wouldn't be the first and we know how to keep our mouths shut.

It's quite common to stitch a hot test and an altitude test, so this can be easy. Not for me anymore... Or ever, really- my main altitude goal was to spend time in the lab outside of Denver....

I did visit my friends at Centerline- showed them a cool car.

Nashco
Nashco UltraDork
10/19/12 3:35 p.m.

As mentioned above, think outside of "car" when you think of powertrains. There are powertrains in a lot more than just "car" and the auto industry is a pretty wild roller coaster. I've worked for both truck and motorcycle companies, well outside of the Detroit area. I went to school in Michigan, that was enough for me!

Bryce

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 HalfDork
10/20/12 9:20 p.m.

Sounded fun until you said "Detroit" that was the one thing I couldnt get over. Picked a different industry and havent looked back.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic Reader
10/20/12 10:06 p.m.
Paul_VR6 wrote: Sounded fun until you said "Detroit" that was the one thing I couldnt get over. Picked a different industry and havent looked back.

Whats wrong with SE Michigan? Its a gearhead's paradise! All the junkyards, none of the laws. Detroit proper is nowhere near as scary as it looks/sounds, and you will never need to go there working in automotive anyways.

Flight Service
Flight Service UltraDork
10/20/12 10:11 p.m.

In reply to cheechthechi:

I was in Tier1 Automotive and have multiple friends at a few OEMs.
If you don't mind a normal 50-60 hour work week, Average pay, lots of travel, in all conditions, 4 pm Friday emergencies that will take your weekend, and fighting fires that aren't even there, you have found the field for you.

If not, look elsewhere.

Good luck with whichever way you go.

Flight Service
Flight Service UltraDork
10/20/12 10:12 p.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote:
Paul_VR6 wrote: Sounded fun until you said "Detroit" that was the one thing I couldnt get over. Picked a different industry and havent looked back.
Whats wrong with SE Michigan? Its a gearhead's paradise! All the junkyards, none of the laws. Detroit proper is nowhere near as scary as it looks/sounds, and you will never need to go there working in automotive anyways.

I have been in every major manufacturing city in the US, China, and Japan.

Detroit is the only place I have seen someone E36 M3 on the sidewalk in broad daylight.

Just saying.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/20/12 10:16 p.m.

You all know that there are more places than Detroit to live and spend time, don't you?

cheechthechi
cheechthechi New Reader
10/20/12 10:55 p.m.

Hi all,

First off thanks for all the great advice! I posted this on another forum as well and they were not as helpful as you all are. As far as long hours and traveling are concerned, I really don't mind as I'm young and I'm used to the long hours from Wreck Racing/ Georgia Tech. I've currently applied to jobs at Hyundai, GM, Chrysler, and Yanmar and I'm looking for other ones as we speak.

I've used simulink/ simscape for my undergraduate research. I've also started reviewing my IC engines material, megasquirt tuning, and I've been working on the forced induction setup for the new MG. Any other things I should look at?

Also any general tips on the job application process? I've probably applied to 20 different jobs and I haven't really heard back from anyone. Is this how it always is?

Flight Service
Flight Service UltraDork
10/20/12 11:22 p.m.
cheechthechi wrote: Hi all, First off thanks for all the great advice! I posted this on another forum as well and they were not as helpful as you all are. As far as long hours and traveling are concerned, I really don't mind as I'm young and I'm used to the long hours from Wreck Racing/ Georgia Tech. I've currently applied to jobs at Hyundai, GM, Chrysler, and Yanmar and I'm looking for other ones as we speak. I've used simulink/ simscape for my undergraduate research. I've also started reviewing my IC engines material, megasquirt tuning, and I've been working on the forced induction setup for the new MG. Any other things I should look at? Also any general tips on the job application process? I've probably applied to 20 different jobs and I haven't really heard back from anyone. Is this how it always is?

Given your location you should also try Yamaha and Nissan given they are both fairly close.

What position did you apply for at Yanmar may I ask?

RXBeetle
RXBeetle Reader
10/20/12 11:34 p.m.
Paul_VR6 wrote: Sounded fun until you said "Detroit" that was the one thing I couldnt get over. Picked a different industry and havent looked back.

Someone really needs to do a tour of the "Detroit" automotive industry, because none of it is actually in Detroit. It's close enough that you can head down for all the awesome entertainment and sports venues but far enough away that I worried about getting assaulted by a soccer mom in line at Whole Foods than a junkie or thug. Go a 30-45 min from Detroit and it's all suburban/rural. Detroit isn't exactly the menacing E36 M3 hole that the news makes it out to be either, like any city it has some bad areas (worse than many, guys crapping in public... fair enough) but it's full of some great things to see and do on any night or weekend. I'll be down in the D all day tomorrow watching / cheering 20,000 runners in the Detroit Marathon.

As to the original topic, Grades and a resume will get you an interview, self motivated hands on experience is going to get you the job. Georgia Tech has a pretty active FSAE team; if nothing else talk to their powertrain people, get involved if you can. Companies literally come to my formula team's garage to get our resumes. If you haven't already... megasquirt something! It may not be OEM hardware but if you get into it all the basics are covered and you will probably have a much better understanding of how it all works vs. just hooking up a plug and play box. Coming right out of college very few people will be familiar with job specific tools or software but you shouldn't have to just say "no" when asked if you have used some type of software / hardware. Take it as an opportunity to give examples of software and hardware that you have taught yourself how to use to reassure them that you can handle the job.
And I'll second that the motor city is chocked full of engineering jobs.. Check out Ford, GM, Chrysler, Hyundai, Nissan, Borg Warner, Magna, Roush, Denso, Eaton, FEV, AVL, and Bosch and I'm sure I'm missing a few heavy hitters in the field. Good luck!

cheechthechi
cheechthechi New Reader
10/21/12 1:06 a.m.

In reply to Flight Service:

A Tech alumnus who works there told me that they were looking for engineers, so I sent my resume to him. He hasn't given me specifics on the engineering positions they are looking for yet.

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 HalfDork
10/21/12 7:37 a.m.

My Detroit content stirred the pot a bit! I grew up just minutes from beautiful Camden, NJ, so I knew well what a blight area looks like. Just not a midwest guy more then anything I guess. Too much east coast in me.

I look at hundreds of new grad resumes a year, if you'd like to send yours I'd be glad to look it over and give some perspective. I would think from a general tech depth and soft skills perspective, everyone is looking for similar things.

Flight Service
Flight Service UltraDork
10/21/12 7:59 a.m.

In reply to cheechthechi:

pm sent

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair PowerDork
10/21/12 9:29 p.m.

In reply to cheechthechi:

Superchips is in Orlando FL, and a few years ago they were a sponsor of the GRM Challenge. I know a guy there, so PM me if you want me to send your resume.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
10/22/12 6:24 a.m.
Flight Service wrote: In reply to cheechthechi: I was in Tier1 Automotive and have multiple friends at a few OEMs. If you don't mind a normal 50-60 hour work week, Average pay, lots of travel, in all conditions, 4 pm Friday emergencies that will take your weekend, and fighting fires that aren't even there, you have found the field for you. If not, look elsewhere. Good luck with whichever way you go.

It isn't just automotive industry that pulls these stunts... I'd venture to say any industry/govt/military organization can and will do this. I only know because this sounds very familiar... especially "fighting fires that aren't there..." which invariably causes the rest of the balls-up.

fidelity101
fidelity101 Reader
10/22/12 7:26 a.m.
RXBeetle wrote:
Paul_VR6 wrote: Sounded fun until you said "Detroit" that was the one thing I couldnt get over. Picked a different industry and havent looked back.
Someone really needs to do a tour of the "Detroit" automotive industry, because none of it is actually in Detroit. It's close enough that you can head down for all the awesome entertainment and sports venues but far enough away that I worried about getting assaulted by a soccer mom in line at Whole Foods than a junkie or thug. Go a 30-45 min from Detroit and it's all suburban/rural. Detroit isn't exactly the menacing E36 M3 hole that the news makes it out to be either, like any city it has some bad areas (worse than many, guys crapping in public... fair enough) but it's full of some great things to see and do on any night or weekend. I'll be down in the D all day tomorrow watching / cheering 20,000 runners in the Detroit Marathon. As to the original topic, Grades and a resume will get you an interview, self motivated hands on experience is going to get you the job. Georgia Tech has a pretty active FSAE team; if nothing else talk to their powertrain people, get involved if you can. Companies literally come to my formula team's garage to get our resumes. If you haven't already... megasquirt something! It may not be OEM hardware but if you get into it all the basics are covered and you will probably have a much better understanding of how it all works vs. just hooking up a plug and play box. Coming right out of college very few people will be familiar with job specific tools or software but you shouldn't have to just say "no" when asked if you have used some type of software / hardware. Take it as an opportunity to give examples of software and hardware that you have taught yourself how to use to reassure them that you can handle the job. And I'll second that the motor city is chocked full of engineering jobs.. Check out Ford, GM, Chrysler, Hyundai, Nissan, Borg Warner, Magna, Roush, Denso, Eaton, FEV, AVL, and Bosch and I'm sure I'm missing a few heavy hitters in the field. Good luck!

Meritor, American Axle, Magnetti Merrli, Behr (not the paint), takata, toyoda, Brembo, MBA, EPA, Mahle, NSK, getrag, Roush, TRW, Continental, VW, Denso, exedy, ZF, and it goes on for ever...

People always thought I was crazy for moving from Chicago to Detroit, but if you're a car guy you'll understand.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/22/12 7:36 a.m.

of the above, only the OEM's, Roush, Bosch, and I'm not sure if there are any more, do actual vehicle calibration. some do dyno contract work. The non OEM's do it on a contract basis, which means you get paid less, and work more. Wait- I think AVL contracts their enineers directly to OEM's for some work- but they are the ones to be let go first.

If you are looking to do gas powered automotive calibration, focus on the OEM's. You can get into them via the Roush and other contract engineering companies.

But that's my take, as an OEM calibrator.

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