It’s a good time to be an engineer with some expertise in autonomous vehicles, particular a software engineer.
That’s what Daniel Culbertson thinks. He’s an economist for Indeed.com, the web-based job search engine.
“This industry is on a steep line of growth right now, and I expect it to keep growing,” Culbertson said.
Culbertson recently took a look at all of Indeed’s job listings for autonomous vehicle engineers over the past year. Most of the tech jobs in the industry were for software engineers, he told me, and the most jobs were in Germany. Interestingly, he said, there is less interest from German job seekers in those German jobs than from U.S. job seekers in U.S. jobs, generally, he said, because the U.S. is leading in autonomous vehicle innovation, and engineers want to be where the most interesting technology is.
All signs point to continued growth in job postings, Culbertson said. “Looking at the list of top employers,” he said, “it is good for the industry that you have both new tech companies like Google and Uber as well as the older automotive companies. That shows that we’re not seeing a flash in the pan. You also see automotive suppliers, not just car manufacturers, hiring; that ancillary companies are starting to invest also speaks to the continuing growth of this industry.”
The top 15 companies, in terms of share of job postings for autonomous vehicle engineers from October 2015 to October 2016, were:
- GM: 11.30 percent
- Google: 9.4 percent
- Ford: 6.4 percent
- Bosch: 6.4 percent
- Atieva (now Lucid Motors): 5.5 percent
- Workbridge Associates: 2.7 percent
- Daimler AG: 2.4 percent
- BMW: 2.1 percent
- Valeo: 2.1 percent
- HERE: 1.8 percent
- Nvidia: 1.8 percent
- Elektronische Fahrewerksystem GmbH: 1.8 percent
- Delphi Automotive: 1.6 percent
- Continental: 1.5 percent
- BMW-Mini: 1.3 percent
Looking at worldwide trends, Culbertson considered just postings during the second quarter of this year. He did note that one posting does not necessarily always equate to one opening and can sometimes represent multiple openings, but said looking at postings can suggest general trends. The number of clicks, he indicated, shows the level of interest job seekers have in the industry.
Zeroing in on the U.S., Culbertson discovered that a spike in both job availability and interest in those jobs started about a year ago.
A quick check of Indeed.com’s listing shows that the slope, if anything has gotten steeper since Culbertson ran these numbers. Right now, the jobs site lists at least 76 openings at Silicon Valley companies alone.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.