By Husein Dakroub
Lead Engineer—Infotainment & Connectivity
I was destined to be an engineer even before I knew what one was. Growing up in Dearborn, Michigan, I loved to help people and redesign things like remote-control race cars, robots and computers. My family instilled in me a strong sense of both my American identity and my Lebanese heritage, and I viewed engineering as one of the few effective ways I could positively impact my community and nations around the world.
When I was ready to take my innate engineering skills into the workplace, I gained insight by word-of-mouth from local engineers and friends. I interviewed at a number of automotive companies that could offer a strong mentorship program so that I could quickly learn the technical and manufacturing aspects of products.
I’m 25 now, with a master’s in computer engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a rewarding job with Visteon. I’ve seen firsthand that opportunities for young engineers are expanding with the emergence of electric vehicles, connected and autonomous cars and advanced driver assistance systems.
At Visteon, I’ve been fortunate to be involved in developing a number of electronics products, like the company’s first production consolidated-infotainment solution and LTE/VoLTE-enabled telematics solutions. The impact that I and other young engineers can have on the automotive industry, however, extends beyond any individual accomplishments. We can be an important force in helping automotive companies achieve their goals of bringing advanced and secure consumer technologies into vehicles.
Visteon's OpenAir and SmartCore products are just a few examples of the technologies that Husein has helped create.
If you’re a young engineer, you can take steps to accelerate your career while leaving your mark on the auto industry. These actions can help you progress and succeed:
- Connect with people in your industry to learn and understand your role in the company and how you can influence the larger industry.
- Embrace challenges by taking on additional responsibilities, relocating internationally and working with off-shore teams.
- Bridge the gap among generations in the auto industry by applying your understanding of what millennials and the post-millennial Founder Generation want and need in their vehicles.
- Learn from your elders and appreciate the wisdom that has come with their experience.
- Interact with various cultures whenever you have the opportunity. I’ve worked with colleagues from Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan and other nations, learning and making connections with people outside my own culture.
- Always question what you’re working on. Put yourself in the position of the consumer in determining how you really want a feature within the automobile to work.
- Fill gaps by trying to understand where weaknesses appear in a project or the company, and do what you can to overcome those cracks.
- Bring solutions, rather than criticism. Often, young engineers are more tech-savvy than professionals from earlier generations, so we inherently understand the value of consumer electronics in every aspect of our lives, including our vehicles, and can apply this to the workplace.
- Continue to be a risk-taker – an essential trait for driving innovation and growth.
- Above all, try new things and remain humble in accepting failures. Bring this attitude to your career and explore the breadth of opportunities that the auto industry offers, especially here in the beautiful and affordable settings of the Great Lakes. It will be a rewarding endeavor.