It should come as no surprise to our advancing industry that automobile manufacturers are unveiling concept vehicles at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, January 10-13, 2012. With all the new connectivity and advancing technologies available in new vehicles it was only a matter of time.
Manufacturers have been adding options that connect to our phones, MP3s, and our office for years now. Some manufactures are using cloud technology to connect the driver and data to the rest of the world and machines (M2M). The quest of the manufactures is to adapt the vehicle to take the driver and passengers to a whole new level of personalization and convenience. Some vehicles have technology to monitor the health of the occupants, everything from heart rate monitoring to reminding you to check your insulin levels to allergy alert messages when driving through a high-pollen area. If air bags deploy and the vehicle is equipped with the technology the vehicle will notify a call center and emergency services!
With the hybrid technology finally underway and growing in market presence we have created a new challenge and opportunity for jobs in our industry. The typical electrical track in a traditional college level automotive program is about two semesters. This will have to change to meet the additional electronics migrating into the automobiles. The electrical/electronic track in an automotive program may grow into an entire year of schooling or an additional elective.
If you are a technician already working in the field returning to school for some updated electronics courses is highly recommended. The industry suggests not just taking automotive type classes but electronics classes typically taken by someone studying for a career in the electronics repair industry or electrical engineering. Getting a certification on electronic diagnostic tools is also recommended. Make sure these certifications are recognized by industry. An example would be the Snap-on Tools certification program for their suite of diagnostic equipment and multi-meters. These courses are only offered at schools who have met the requirements to be Snap-on certification centers.
Therefore one of the best places to get this type of education is at your local community college. Contact the community colleges in your area and schedule a meeting with the automotive department to discuss their electronic/electrical curriculum being offered. Check into their electronics/electrical courses for electronics repair or electrical engineering. Another great source of advanced training is the National Coalition of Certification Centers ( www.NC3.net ). At NC3’s website you will find schools that are involved in cutting edge certification training programs for many industries.
The investment into advanced electronic/electrical training today will pay the technician back over and over. The future is upon us and the industry needs highly trained technicians to service these vehicles. Invest in your future and continue to enjoy a profession that is rewarding both personally and financially. People are not going to stop driving! This means job security for those who stay trained and are able to diagnose and repair these new breeds of vehicles.