What Software Careers are in the Automotive Industry?

Automotive IndustryMore generally associated with horsepower than application development, professionals with a background in computer science or programming might be surprised to learn that there’s a growing number of software careers in the automotive industry, according to the Los Angeles Times. The reason for this ahs everything to do with two words: connected car. In recent years, the car has become something more than just a method of transportation between two points. In addition to its core function, the typical car has become a technological hub that links smartphones and tablets to the central console on both short and long journeys. This opens up numerous career possibilities for software developers with major auto manufacturers around the world.

Mobile Application Development: Say Hello to the Smart Car

A few years ago, it was big news that some of the world’s biggest car brands were announcing integration between smartphone applications and the center console of their vehicles. That very rudimentary development set the stage for something more: Controlling the car itself through the use of a mobile application that’s loaded onto a smartphone or tablet. Some of the first companies to unveil this technology were BMW and Audi, and the technology has now worked its way into Volkswagen cars and several other models.

Users can lock their doors with a smartphone app, or turn on the car and preheat it in the winter months. The app can inform them of upcoming maintenance requirements and even send an alert to local authorities during an accident on the road. Software developers made this happen, and they continue to be important to all major car manufacturers. Anyone with mobile application experience can easily land a job with major automakers, where they’ll work on cross-platform automation strategies that bring the car solidly into the current century.

Machine-to-Machine Applications Require Their Own Programmers

Another important role for software developers in the automotive industry is the world of “machine-to-machine” communications systems like the OnStar system found in General Motors vehicles. Though similar to mobile app development, this role differs because it requires software developers to integrate mobile networks, a car’s internal computer, and software that sends out alerts to both the driver and a central customer service center when certain emergency situations arise while on the road.

Continued Demand for Built-In Car App Developers

No modern car is complete without a central touchscreen that integrates mobile applications, optional navigation features, radio and Bluetooth features, and much more. This central system requires its own operating system and its own unique software applications, and professionals with a background in integrated systems will find it easy to maintain and advance these built-in information systems over time. Since these touchscreen applications and designs are considered the “welcome mat” of any new car, developers will be challenged to create an app that’s vibrant, easily usable by even the most tech-challenged drivers on the road, and scalable to various consumer-facing and commercial vehicles sold by each automaker. They may also work on innovative new features that take advantage of mobile networks and smartphones, turning the center console into more of a stationary tablet than a mere source of critical information.

Related Resource: Software Engineer

There’s a Surprising Robust Job Market for Automotive Software Developers

Software development has taken hold in some rather unconventional areas, most of which are only now beginning to harness the full power of custom-coded solutions that ease consumer convenience. For this reason, the number of potential software careers in the automotive industry is expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds for at least the next decade.