Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

How to Become an Automotive Designer in India

The path of automotive designing mixes creativity & smarts. From top colleges and degrees to jobs and salaries, here’s a complete guide on how to become an Automotive Designer in India.

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Do you often find yourself checking out cars, extensively googling and following the latest vehicle models? Is sketching supercars your go-to leisure activity? If the answer to the above questions is yes, then automotive design may be one of the top career options for you!

An automotive designer is a person who designs automobiles. All the fancy cars or bikes you see on the road are the brainchild of genius automotive designers. They spend months curating the design, ensuring that it is ergonomic and all the components are aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, trendy and suitable.

Wondering how to become an automotive designer? Hear it from a professional designer! In this article, automotive/industrial designer Kushagra Dhall has provided a complete guide on how you can take up this career, what are the subjects that you need to study and colleges you need to apply for.

career-option-how-to-Become an Automotive Designer

1. Role of an Automotive Designer

The main job of a professional in automotive design is to make the overall aesthetic design of any vehicle as per the benchmarks or inspirations set or chosen. The design process involves making the first sketch on a paper and then taking it into a 3D volume with the help of software and soft sculpting materials like clay or foam. Finally, the task is to take that 3D data into real world with immense engineering and problem-solving iterations.

The basic skill set includes a problem finding and solving mind and attitude and then comes the idea or design representational skills like sketching, digital renderings, 3D modelling or physical model making.

However, the job of an automotive designer is not limited to just automobiles. They can design an array of vehicles, depending on their niche. Automotive designers also have to collaborate with engineers to make sure all the designed components are placed well. And finally, we get to see how the design has rolled out.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Is being an Automotive Designer a Good Career Option?
1.2 Difference between Automotive Designer, Industrial Designer
2.1 Subjects Taken: Automotive Designing Subjects
2.2 Entrance Exams
2.3 Academic Qualifications/ Options
2.4 License Required
2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
2.7 Competition &  Scope in India for Automotive Designers
2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Automotive Designers
2.9 Governing Bodies
3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions
3.2 Companies & Institutions
3.3 Growth Prospects
3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
3.5 What is the Salary of Automotive Designer in India?
4.1 Top Universities in India
4.2 Top Universities in World
4.3 Famous Personalities
4.4 Useful Links

1.1 Is being an Automotive Designer a Good Career Option?

Yes, the industry is growing rapidly.

If you’re planning to become an automotive designer, you’ll require a combination of aesthetic skills and creativity. The right skill set with some experience can fetch you appealing salary packages. The industry of automotive designing is growing rapidly and designers get multiple opportunities.

1.2 Difference between Automotive Designer, Industrial Designer & Other Types of Designers

Automotive design sometimes gets confused with industrial design or just designing, but each of these roles has their own responsibilities and tasks. An automotive designer designs the overall aesthetics of any vehicle, keeping in mind the need and requirements of the users and other engineering aspects.

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On the other hand, an industrial designer is the one dealing with the designing of any industrial product or any mechanical vehicle like a crane or any big earth mover. There are many other designing fields like a user experience or a product designer, among others. The latter is someone who designs products for daily use, or consumer goods like mobile phones, household products like dinnerware or appliances, etc.

2. How to Become an Automotive Designer in India

2.1.1 Subjects Taken in School

Any stream, English, Computers

You can apply to a design school with any background, because if one has interest in design and related stuff, then subjects are not a barrier in any way.

Other than these, a strong hold of English and a basic knowledge or comfort level in computer science is a good idea.

2.1.2 Subjects Taken in College

The subjects that are introduced during college years include interesting topics such as:

  • Design thinking
  • Exterior and interior sketching
  • Digital software learning classes (like Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Alias, etc.)
  • Clay modelling classes
  • Design projects.

Towards the completion of the course, one needs to submit a graduate degree project for the final semester.

hands-on jobs that pay well

2.2 Entrance Exams

UCEED

There are some government colleges in India that offer a course in Automotive Design, like NID (National Institute of Design). Also, IIT Bombay offers automotive designing courses. To enter these colleges, you have to appear for their respective exams such as UCEED (Undergraduate Common Entrance Examination for Design). NID  has its own entrance test and interview process. The seats are limited in these colleges and the competition is tough.

However, there are other private colleges and universities that offer similar courses and they have their own standards with respect to the eligibility criteria. However, they consider UCEED as well.

2.3 Academic Qualifications/ Options

4-year Bachelor’s or 2-year Master’s in Automotive Design program

You can take up a dedicated course in Automotive Design, which will help you learn the basics with 4 years of dedicated time. However, if you have already finished your graduation in a different subject, but want to become an automotive designer, you can opt for a master’s degree in automotive design.

It is important to enroll for a design degree during graduation or post-graduation, as it is a must to get a job. However, the eligibility differs for different job posts. You can work as a Junior Designer after bachelor’s graduation or complete your Master’s degree to get better opportunities.

2.4 License Required

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No

In order to become an automotive designer, there are no licenses in India that you need to get from the higher authorities. You can start working after you finish your studies and keep growing in the sector.

2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required

Important/very helpful.

If you are a recent graduate, then most probably you will enter the industry as an intern. Based on your performance, the respective company or design studio may offer you a full-time role. However, completing your Master’s gives you an edge over other candidates but eventually, it comes down to your skills.

2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training

₹ 6-12 lakhs

The cost of tuition varies depending on the college and course you choose. Of course, the fees for government institutes is much lower compared to the private ones. While the average fee for government colleges sums up to around ₹ 6-7 L, the overall fee structure for private colleges can go up to ₹ 12L or more. Some colleges charge a higher price for a Master’s degree when compared to Bachelor’s courses.

Moreover, if you plan to study overseas, the overall fee structure can go up to around 50L or more, depending on the college and country you pick. Living expenses would be extra, and may also be higher for certain countries/areas.

2.7 Competition &  Scope in India for an Automotive Designer

Highly competitive, especially for colleges.

Competition remains high in almost every field these days, however, when it comes to automotive design, it is super tough as you have to compete with all the top designer minds out there. Moreover, there are only very few seats per batch in the top institutes (government colleges like NID). But if you manage to crack the entrance for premium colleges in India or abroad, then getting a job later gets easier.

2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Automotive Designers

22-24 years, depending on qualification.

You can start a career in automotive design right after you finish graduation. However, initially, you will have to work as a Junior Designer before you work your way up the ladder. Having a Master’s degree gives you an upper hand, but it mostly depends on your skills.

2.9 Governing Bodies

No.

Governing bodies look after the workings of a particular sector and you are supposed to undergo the criteria laid by them in order to start a career in that particular sector. However, in the case of automotive design, there are no governing sectors in India.

3. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for an Automotive Designer

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3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions

Product or industrial designer, etc.

Now that we have discussed how to become an automotive designer, let us get to know about the growth prospects in this field. Automotive design itself is a specialized sector in design. Within this field too, there are a few sub-specializations such as designing cars, bikes, motorbikes, heavy vehicles, etc.

An automotive designer can also foray into other design fields and work as a product designer, industrial designer, interaction designer, drafters, or communication designers, among others.

3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Automotive Designers

Automotive companies, design studios

The automobile industry remains one of the fastest-growing industries of all time. It has a wide scope and has been providing employment opportunities to young aspirants. A few popular industries that employ automotive designers are graphic designing firms, automobile firms, IT firms, architectural firms, production firms

A few global recruiting companies for automotive designers are ABC Consultants, Black Turtle, MorganTEC, Strictly Electric, GoMechanic, CRPL, Cadcrowd, PeopleStrong, Year Later, among others.

3.3 Growth Prospects

President of a design company

The growth in Automotive design completely depends on the skill set of an individual. The more you learn, the more you will grow. You can become the head of design or the Vice President or President of Design of any company.

3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Start your own design studio.

There is a wide scope for growth in this industry, as the sector and its demand are both growing. Once you gain experience, you can start your own design firm or studio and make a team of handpicked designers from colleges and industries, and you can start sourcing projects.

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3.5 What is the Salary of an Automotive Designer in India?

₹ 1.8 lakh – 6 lakh per annum.

The pay scale of an automotive designer largely depends on their qualification and their experience. However, the colleges from where you have pursued the degree can be a determinant factor, while deciding the pay scale for freshers.

For fresh graduate automotive designers, annual salary varies between ₹ 1.8 – 2.5 L per annum. After 3-5 years of experience, the salary can be between ₹ 3-6 L per annum, depending on your job role.

4. Further Resources

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4.1 Top Universities in India

In order to know how to become an automotive designer, one needs to know about the universities offering the course. A few popular colleges in India for building a career in automotive design include:

  • National Institute of Design (NID)
  • MIT Institute of Design, Pune
  • UPES School of Design Studies
  • DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies.

4.2 Top Universities in World

Abroad you can look for Coventry University, Arts Center, College for Creative Studies, Umea and others.

4.3 Famous Personalities

A few foreign institutions where you can learn automotive design are:

  • Chris Bangle
  • Marcello Gandhini
  • Battista Pininfarina
  • Frank Stephenson
  • Peter Schreyer
  • Giorgetto Giugiaro
  • Peter Stevens
  • Shiro Nakamura
  • Bertone

4.4 Useful Links

YouTube is full of design videos and there are several automotive designers who upload their work on their Instagram page. You can follow such designers or watch their videos to develop an interest or you can learn from them.

Now that you know how to become an automotive designer in India, you can get to shortlisting the courses or you can even choose to take up a program on automotive design abroad. As enticing as it sounds, a career in automotive design is rewarding, owing to its increasing demand, and an exciting job role.

Moreover, automotive designers receive great salaries and have a fulfilling and creative career path. Share your thoughts about this career option with us. Still have queries? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting @CareerNuts.

Read next:

Automotive Design Career Path: Is Car Designing a Good Career?

A mix of creative and technical, the automotive design career path can be very fulfilling. But is it the right one for you? Pune-based Automotive Designer Kushagra Dhall discusses everything from scope to pros & cons to daily work life as a car designer.

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