What would you guys recommend for a career path/progression for maximum pay for an Automotive Project Engineer?

Im 24 years old with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and I recently passed the 6 Month mark (probation time) at my current job as a junior project engineer for a major automotive company in Germany. Plan is to move to the US (SF Bay Area) sometime in the next two years with my girlfriend (US citizen).

I really love what I am currently doing and I have a lot of responsibilities as well as a lot of leadership tasks which positions me well for a management position later on (which is what I would prefer). However I am kind of unfamiliar with the timeline I should expect and the roles I can apply to. Moreover, I work mainly in battery systems testing; does that mean all my future roles will have to do with that? How much can I pivot or be flexible when applying to different jobs? Like there are positions where I would fulfil most of the requirements (running large scale projects basically) except the technical knowledge part (like 3 years experience needed in aerospace industry/aerodynamics/ADAS etc.). Am I basically pigeonholed in the Automotive industry now and specifically in Battery System Testing and Validation?

I also eventually want to move into consulting but I dont know when I would be able to do that or how. Eventually i will also be pursuing an MBA but I dont know exactly when.

Its very annoying because I had always thought finding the first job is the hardest part and then you can just move up the ranks but that doesnt reflect well on your salary since its much better to change jobs if money is important to you and tbh it is important to me.

Any thoughts here from you guys? I know its a very open ended and vague topic and you’d probably need way more info to accurately give me career guidance here but Id be glad to answer any questions here.

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