Is the automotive industry paying enough for software engineers?

Commentary: Why don’t we pay software engineers enough to guarantee that they are good “computers” when cars are computers with wheels?

Image: Natali_Mis, Getty Images / iStockphoto

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to get people to click on ads,” said Jeff Hammelbacher, former head of Facebook’s data team. Lamented.. After all, those same “best minds” could be to create software for car companies instead.Given a truck like The Ford F-150 currently contains over 150 million lines of codeAnd as its software increasingly defines the value of the car, car companies can certainly use help.

Still, despite the urgent need for software expertise in the hotbeds of Detroit and other automotive manufacturing activities, it’s not clear that they are taking software seriously.

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Many at stake

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The automotive sector had to put a brake on the sales given over the past year Semiconductor supply is tight It makes up more and more cars.this is Easy to guess It is unlikely that an automobile company will enter the chip manufacturing business. This was once the case with cloud providers. Intel chip. Dell has built a server. And companies like Rackspace have assembled them all to make it easier to operate complex infrastructures.

But cloud companies aren’t the only ones. To improve margins and performance, they decided to design their own chips and create a lot of software. This is the ultimate game for companies that need to own an increasingly software-based customer experience.

It’s debatable whether the automotive industry should build its own chips, but it’s important that the industry takes software much more seriously than it really is. According to Manfred Broy“In the past, software was part of the car. Now software determines the value of the car. The success of the car depends more on software than on the mechanical side. increase.”

Pay to play

Given this importance, auto companies will pay Silicon Valley salaries to attract talented and talented engineers working in Michigan and Munich. You will be wrong.

To keep things consistent, focus on US car companies. We already know the number of lines of code that power the Ford F-150, so let’s take a look. Average salary for software engineering For those who work for a major car company in Dearborn, Michigan, one of the F-150’s major manufacturing hubs. According to Glassdoor data, the average salary of software engineers in the automotive industry is $ 90,158. not bad.But if the same person quits the car and decides to work for a Dearborn tech company instead, she Jump To $ 107,274.

And what if she chooses to move (or stay) in Sunnyvale, California instead? $ 149,627,on average.

Yes, living costs are high in the Bay Area, but that doesn’t matter here. The point is that the automotive industry must compete for engineering talent, and that competition is global. Even within the Detroit region, the automotive industry does not appear to offer competitive salaries, despite the importance of software engineering for its success.

look: How developers negotiate salary increases (TechRepublic)

Of course, this is not universally true.For example, Tesla, Uber and Lyft offer competitive rewards for dice data. show.. However, in some cases, these companies see software as the center of operation. It’s not clear that traditional car companies do. Not enough. yet. Robert Chartette, Contribution Editor of IEEE Spectrum Asked:

New safety, comfort, performance, entertainment features, and commercial obligations to offer buyers numerous options create a wide variety of manufacturers and models, from gasoline and human drivers to electricity and artificial intelligence. Millions of lines of new code that require the transition to drivers and hundreds of creations, checks, debugs, and hacker protection are turning cars into supercomputers and forcing them to adapt to the car industry. But can it be done?

so report, McKinsey & Co. Found that the complexity of automotive software has quadrupled in the last decade and threatened to triple in the next decade. To manage this complexity, the automotive industry needs to be serious about paying to attract the “best mind” while driving innovation.

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views presented here are mine.

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