To become a harness designer, it’s usually necessary to obtain a two-year or four-year degree in electrical or mechanical engineering from an accredited program, with a four-year degree being a requirement for nearly all jobs. Harness designers are responsible for creating cabling and wiring bundles for the electrical systems of cars, aircraft, and other vehicles, so any experience working with transportation electrical systems can give an aspiring harness designer an advantage and help determine whether an aptitude for this type of work is present. Electrical systems knowledge and electrical engineering experience are very helpful to become a harness designer. In addition to very specific educational requirements, a harness designer should have an aptitude for scientific principles and technology and an ability to imagine practical solutions and bring those concepts to fruition.
Since the requirements to become a harness designer are quite specific, it’s best to prepare for this career early by taking lots of higher math and science courses during high school, like statistics, calculus, and physics. Computer programming or design classes are also helpful. University engineering programs tend to be competitive, so high grades and a variety of extracurricular activities can help strengthen a college application.
A typical college electrical engineering program spends the first two years concentrating on math, science, and computer courses. Humanities and social sciences are also required as part of a bachelor’s degree program. The second two years will focus mainly on engineering courses, labs, and applied science relating to electrical systems. While in college, anyone who wants to become a harness designer should also strive to develop communication and writing skills.
During college, many engineering firms offer internships that provide valuable experience in electrical engineering. These internships can help a student learn skills, work with experienced harness designers and other engineers, and gain business contacts. Many, but not all, internships lead to full-time job offers upon graduation.
After graduation, it may be necessary to sit for a professional licensing exam to gain the credentials necessary to become a harness designer. Jobs in this area are available in the automotive, aerospace, and aviation fields. A job applicant may need to spend the first two to five years of the engineering career gaining related job experience under the supervision of an experienced designer before qualifying for a job as a wiring harness designer. After becoming a harness designer, it may be necessary to take continuing education courses to stay current with new technology and methods.