Monday, September 24, 2012

Auto Careers Beyond Mechanic

The automotive industry is in a time of flux. There are many factors at play. After a short-lived rise in the popularity of SUVs, there has been a shift. Increasingly, consumers want smaller, more efficient vehicles, with fewer to zero emissions.
Many have expressed a desire to no longer be at mercy of fluctuating fuel prices. And on the manufacturing side, the American and Japanese car companies have really had to work hard to bounce back from economic crisis and environmental disaster, respectively. What kind of auto careers does the automotive industry offer to today's young car lovers, beyond auto mechanics?
The answer: plenty.
Truck transport specialist
Canada is still dependent on the trucking industry for the transport of most of its goods. This is one of those automotive careers that are likely to remain in high demand, just so long as our economy remains dependent on truck transport - a state of affairs that is not expected to change any time soon.
Fleet manager at a car share service
Many Canadian urbanites are foregoing car ownership, but would still like to have occasional access to a car, for errands and trips out of town, via one of the country's multiple car sharing services. These car sharing services require car savvy staff to oversee their fleets, to order new vehicles, to negotiate contracts with mechanics, etc. If attitudes to car ownership are changing, it may even lead to the creation of more automotive careers.
Electric car designer
Over the past few years, you may have noticed a slow but steady increase of the number of electric and hybrid cars on our roads. Quebec has even put in a place a plan for the electrification of its road network, with charging stations in the parking lots of private businesses. Some condos now advertise that they come equipped with charging stations for electric cars. Although the first electric car was actually developed a century ago, electric car design is one of those automotive careers that still needs leaders and innovators. Could you come up with the next big design?
Custom hot rod designer
Whereas auto mechanics are primarily concerned with what's under the hood, body shop artistes are more concerned with the hood itself.
Body shop repair is one of those auto careers where you can specialize. If you have an interest in classic hot rods and muscle cars, then this is a career, beyond auto mechanics, where you can work with classic vehicles, restoring them to their original state, or taking them to new heights.
Bonus: in some rare cases, custom hot rod designer is one of those automotive careers where the crème de la crème can even find themselves with a deal for a TV reality show.
This is another one of those auto careers that has been transformed by recent technological developments. Today's dispatcher must be as handy with a computer as they are with a two-way radio. Much of their job involves using the latest logistics and mapping computer tools.
Young people today may find that evolving nature of today's automotive industry may lead to the creation of even more automotive careers in the future.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Listening For The Problem: Automotive Technician Diagnostics

Most car owners have a special relationship with their car in a similar way that pet owners have a special relationship with their pets. What I mean by this is that car owners usually know every single last one of their car's performance, irregularities, quirks, and tendencies. While most brand new cars almost always start out running in a uniform way to other new cars of the same make and model, after a while, your car begins to development its own personality. This is probably caused by the way you drive, which reinforces the idea that there is a special relationship between a driver and his or her car.
Assuming one knows what to expect from their car, whenever something new or out of the ordinary happens, the driver knows something might be wrong. One of the surest telltale signs that something is wrong with your car is when you hear a noise that you are not familiar with. Cars make all sorts of noises, but a driver should be able to distinguish normal noises from new ones. Automotive technicians do not have the intimate knowledge of your car that you have, so when you come to them describing a new noise, it is up to their expertise to interpret it to locate the real problem.
Learning how to listen to customers describing problems with their cars, especially in terms of new noises, is a part of automotive technician training. The mechanic can't expect the customer to be experts and use real, technical descriptions of the problems. Instead, there are several general noise descriptions that the mechanic should be ready to identify.
Rattling, Clattering, and Banging: Mostly engine problems due to engine oil deficiencies or engine fuel problems.
Loud Shots: If this occurs when the car starts, it is probably the engine backfiring due to problems with the ignition.
Screeching, Wheezing: These sounds could be due to loose or damaged belts in the engine, like the drive belt or the fan belt.
Whistling, Hissing: Likely the engine is overheating, check the cooling and exhaust systems.
Popping, Sputtering: This could be from a dirty air filter that needs to be cleaned or replaced.
Ticking, Rapid Clicking: There is probably a problem with the fuel transfer from the fuel pump to the carburetor and both should be checked.
Some noises indicate more serious problems than others, while other noises are common developments that happen to a car over time. Automotive training schools have many ways to train the mechanic to diagnose problems, using a combination of simulated customer descriptions and real workshop engines. In both cases, learning to listen is an efficient way to begin identifying the problem.
So trust your ears when hearing something new coming from your car, and trust the automotive technician to know what you're talking about. Sound good?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Mechanic Career Is Just a Diploma Away

Being a successful automobile mechanic requires not only an elevated level of skill, but also a certain amount of formal training. These days, vehicle mechanics need to know about more than just automobiles. They need to understand the evolving computer systems and technologies associated with the vehicles that are in need of service, from cars to smaller trucks.
Due to the augmented quality of automobiles, car owners are purchasing fewer new vehicles. Instead, they are servicing their old ones. This requires mechanics to have a thorough knowledge of both past and present technologies. This is one of the reasons that employers tend to prefer to hire auto mechanics that have post-secondary training. Employers need to know that their team can adapt to the changing market. While having practical experience is a definite plus, a theoretical training provides individuals with a greater base to build upon, and a combination of the two is what employers look for in new recruits.
A career in mechanics is one that is bound to evolve. This is due to the rapid development of new car technologies, and the diversity of the vehicles that are available in the automobile market today (ex. vintage or energy-efficient vehicles). While many mechanics work out of either maintenance shops or car dealerships, some hold elite jobs with petroleum or aerospace manufacturing companies, while 17% of auto mechanics enjoy the liberty of being self-employed (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Many mechanics, after a few years of experience, choose to take their education a little further, attending an additional mechanic program in order to specialize in a particular field. This, of course, comes with particular challenges. For instance, those who choose to work in air conditioning must be up to date with the demands of both federal and state laws regarding refrigeration, while transmission experts must have a profound knowledge base in hydraulics. Some mechanics even specialize in auto collision repair or evaluations, and these fields also have their own particular requirements.
In order to measure the ability of potential mechanics, The National Institute for Automotive Excellence has implemented an additional certification requirement, called the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence). This certificate is now regarded as a badge of capability, ensuring the quality of the holder. As a result, many employers prefer to hire an automotive mechanic holding an ASE certificate (some even require it). This standard ensures the productivity of potential hires from the very first day of employment.
Learning the steps involved of how to become a mechanic makes the entire process a lot easier, which in turn will help make your career goals more attainable. With employers requiring a post-secondary education and a certificate, it becomes clear that individuals that are considering a career to automobile maintenance must attend mechanic school in order to be considered immediately employable. These requirements are necessary to enjoy the continued efficiency of the automobile industry, and to ensure everybody's safety on the road, from the driver to the passenger.

Monday, September 3, 2012

6 Signs That You Should Enroll in DJ School

Wondering what kind of person might consider audio training? Read on.
1. You wouldn't let your parents get rid of their old turntable.
In fact, you have a basement full of old equipment. You can't stand to part with any of it. If you are in love with the devices that play music, than you may be an excellent candidate for DJ school.
2. Not only did you not get rid of that old turntable, you set it up with a mixer and started inventing sounds.
The kind of person who signs up for audio courses has a deep appreciation for sound, so much so that they like to try to make sounds of their own. Like many people, they have a turntable in their basement, but unlike most people, that turntable isn't gathering any dust. Rather, it is being experimented with to create new sounds. Using your old devices to make new sounds is another strong indication that audio training may be a good path for you.
3. You judge a movie by its soundtrack.
Some people judge movies by their story, others by the acting or special effects. But someone who is destined for audio courses may pay more attention to the soundtrack.
4. And by soundtrack, we don't just mean the music.
Audio training can prepare students to create all kinds of sound, including sound effects for movie, TV, radio shows, video games, events, theatrical productions and other kinds of installations. So when we say that someone who may be well suited for DJ school may take a special interest in movie soundtracks, I mean that they may be more impressed with the sound that of toast popping out of a toaster or of cars racing around the track than necessarily with the score.
5. But we're not discounting music either.
Some people are drawn to audio training out of a desire for a musical career that makes the most of their inborn musical talent. The graduates of audio courses who go on to produce live sound or to help artists lay down tracks in the studio need to have a good ear. It will be incumbent on them to identify and excise false notes. Similarly, graduates of DJ school will need to be able to mix different songs together in an artful way. Audio is part art, part science.
6. You like working with computers.
Turntables aside, increasingly the technology we use to make, record and broadcast sounds is digitally based. So anyone embarking on audio courses today should be prepared to spend a good chunk of their working life in front of a computer.