Hot Programming Languages for Autonomous Vehicle Engineers: C/C++ and Python

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By: Tekla S. Perry

It’s a good time to be an engineer with a background in self-driving cars—or even an interest in working with autonomous vehicles. According to job site Indeed.com, the numbers of people in the United States looking to get into the field or change jobs within it is skyrocketing, up more than 600 percent in the past three years, and job listings are just as hot.

Indeed broke its data down by skills, metro area, and company. It considered job postings from 1 August 2017 to 1 August 2018. 

On the skills front, autonomous vehicle companies are most looking to hire software engineers with experience in C/C++, Python, and image processing the Indeed data showed; artificial intelligence and machine learning, no surprise, also come out high on that list. The top ten over the past year (1 August 2017 to 1 August 2018), below:

As for geographic area, either way you cut it, the San Francisco Bay Area comes out on top, thanks to a host of companies establishing automobile research operations in the region, including AlphabetAppleBaiduFord,General Motors, and Tesla. Indeed’s study split the region into two pieces: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, with a 30.23 percent of self-driving car job postings compared with total job postings over the past year, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward with 12.47 percent.

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich., where the large U.S. car manufacturers like General Motors, Ford, and Fiat-Chrysler are headquartered, came in at 28.12 percent. And Pittsburgh, Pa., where Uber in 2015 famously seeded its research center by grabbing a team of 40 from Carnegie Mellon, followed at 10.36 percent.

Topping the list of companies doing the most hiring were not the top car companies. Aptiv, a company that rose from the ashes of Delphi Automotive and last year purchased self-driving startup NuTonomy, had the most job postings for autonomous vehicle engineers in the past year, followed by graphics processor maker NvidiaGeneral Motors and Ford followed those two, and were the only traditional car manufacturers in the group.

Updated 11 October, 25 October

This article originally appeared in IEEE Spectrum on 11 October 2018.