Share this page Twitter RSS Facebook

5 Reasons To Pursue A Career In Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Ever since autonomy became a buzzword in the auto industry, skepticism loomed around every corner.

This was especially evident back in 2015 when the likes of Google and Uber threw their weight behind self-driving technology. Questions about the safety and large-scale feasibility of autonomy were, and to some extent still are, commonplace.

Another question was whether the rise of robotics and autonomy would lead to higher unemployment.

Surely this would be the case, at least in the ride-sharing industry where the jobs of hardworking drivers would be lost to sophisticated software. It’s not all doom and gloom, though - not if you’re interested in the technology. 

Now that just about every automaker is investing in the production of their own autonomous vehicles, demand for mechanical engineers and AI coders has exploded.

Since 2015, there has been a whopping 665% increase in autonomous vehicle-related jobs, according to Indeed. 

What makes the increase even more impressive is that the adoption of autonomous technology isn’t only happening in the car industry.

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is using robots to protect The Great Barrier Reef. Autonomous trains are becoming commonplace in the shipping industry and manufacturing plants are turning into smart factories

These revolutionary changes were made possible by the undersupplied workforce of AI and robotics experts - and there is indeed a higher demand for professionals in the field than there are available workers.

According to The Fuse, there were 5,000 unfilled software and electronics positions in the American auto industry in 2017.

With the proliferation of autonomy and robotics, it’s safe to assume that the number of unfilled positions will only grow in the coming years. So, subsequent demand aside, what are the reasons why you should consider pursuing a career in autonomous vehicles and robotics? Read on to find out.

1. Career opportunities

In today’s job market, knowing that you’re in a field that’s in demand is a reassuring luxury, but knowing that you’re in one that is considered absolutely essential is even better.

Autonomy is going nowhere but up, and your opportunities in the field will only continue to increase. 

If you find that the auto industry isn’t the place for your skills, then there are many more industries that are looking for your expertise.

From mining to manufacturing to transport and everything in between, just about every industry is investing in autonomous and robotics technologies.

2. Access to education

It’s not an absolute necessity that you spend thousands of dollars and years of your life studying at a university to obtain the type of qualification that would allow you to enter the autonomous vehicles and robotics industry.

These days, there are a number of alternative options that cost less money and take less time, especially for undergraduates. 

One such example is this masters in electrical and computer engineering online program from Kettering University.

You can complete it in as few as 24 months and still work at the same time as the program is completely online. This will equip you with a prestigious and relevant qualification that you can use to land a high-paying position upon graduating. 

These highly accessible study opportunities make it easy to enter the industry while still ensuring that you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills required to excel in your career.

That said, the autonomous vehicles and robotics industry is known to have a low barrier to entry, which brings us to the next point.

3. Low entry requirements

Unlike most careers in this salary range, many jobs in autonomous vehicles and robotics have fairly low entry requirements.

This is largely due to the soaring demand for professionals in the field, which is bringing employers to offer on-the-job training instead of asking for high qualifications.

While it would naturally be better to obtain a higher-level education and increase your employability, it isn’t an absolute must if you prefer to work your way up.

There are many smaller degrees that you can obtain over shorter periods of time that would afford you a starting position in some companies. 

From there, you can study more advanced subjects, which would include the likes of C++, Bayesian Thinking, object-oriented programming, linear algebra, algorithmic thinking and Python. Yes, these are technical subjects, but let’s take a look at how it’ll pay off. 

4. Excellent salaries

Salaries in the autonomous vehicle and robotics industry usually start at around $100,000 and easily exceed $300,000 per year in some positions.

For instance, Neuvoo reports an average median salary of $115,000 per year for autonomous driving engineers. Data engineers working in autonomy are paid up to $220,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. 

A recent AI startup in Silicon Valley listed a job posting for a simulation engineer with a salary of $273,000.

In a 2017 Forbes article, the business magazine cited a $232,000 to $405,000 salary range for self-driving car engineers in the San Francisco Bay area based on data from Paysa. 

Needless to say, you won’t have to worry about keeping the lights on once you land a job in the autonomous vehicles and robotics industry.

5. Career versatility

Autonomous vehicles and robotics sits in the middle of an interdisciplinary Venn diagram. This means that the field is a place where numerous disciplines overlap, including mathematics, coding, engineering, mechatronics, artificial intelligence, computer science and nanotechnology. 

There are very few fields of study that provide the opportunity for you to develop your skills in such a wide range of disciplines and cutting-edge techniques.

This is valuable because it allows you to diversify your resume and pursue a wide range of career pathways based on your interests. It also goes a long way in increasing your employability.

So, it’s safe to say that autonomous vehicles and robotics is a field that few can compare to when it comes to future viability, job security, career versatility, study opportunities and of course, that excellent salary. 

If you’re interested in anything autonomous, now is the time to get stuck in the books and start making the preliminary steps towards obtaining a career in this lucrative and prosperous industry.

The sooner you do it, the better.