What are the pros and cons of being a self-driving car engineer?

“Self-driving car engineer” is one of the latest buzzwords in the market. Many engineers are leaving their current job as they want to contribute to the autonomous car space or secure their future by working on cutting-edge technology.

Autonomous cars popularity has also reflected on the learning platforms where content creators are eagerly sharing their knowledge regarding autonomous vehicles. The influx of learning material also reflects on the popularity of autonomous car technology.

The top 5 companies that are working in the trade are Ford, General Motors, Waymo, Uber, and Tesla. They are focused on bringing autonomous cars by the year 2018 – 2025. All of them have already spent millions of dollars for developing the self-driving car technology for their vehicles and aim to release the truly autonomous vehicles by the end of 2015.

For many of us, there is no doubt in our mind that becoming a self-driving car engineer is one of the lucrative professions right now. However, it is not always the case. Just like any other idea, there is always a flip side. The same applies when it comes to being a self-driving car engineer.

First, the good news

Let’s look at the pros of being a self-driving car engineer first:

#1. Work on the most interesting technology in the world

Self-driving car is the technology of the future. In simple terms, self-driving cars are not perfect, but they are better than human drivers.

Coming to the point, if you decide to work as a self-driving car engineer, you are working on the leading technology in the market. The self-driving car tech is evolving every day with more and more startups coming up with unique ideas to improve the ecosystem.

An interesting article by Wired.com lists 263 startups and companies that are currently working on self-driving cars. They are divided by hardware, service, software and much more. The future of transportation is going to be glorious, and so is the future of a self-driving car engineer.

#2. Work with the best talent and experts

With companies fighting for the best talent in the market, a self-driving car engineer is bound to land in the team where almost everyone is a genius. Autonomous car tech is complex and requires extensive skills to prove one’s worth. Moreover, due to the complexity, you might be working on a sub-problem. This leads you to interact with other peers or experts, opening doors for networking and learning.

Companies such as Waymo, Tesla, and Google are spending billions of dollars to win the autonomous car race. Companies that are behind the big giants are paying more to get the talent to their company improving their tech team to new heights.

#3. Continuously learn and self-improve

When you work on cutting-edge technology, you are bound to improve. The story is true for self-driving car engineers. They work on new things all the time. The demand for creative and innovative thinking is a must in this field and if you have them, you will be blessed with interesting problems to solve. In the end, you create yourself a path of self-improvement.

Outside of job, self-driving car engineers always focus on improving their skills by taking courses from popular online platforms such as LiveEdu.tv and Udacity.

#4. Huge pay packages and respect from peers

Self-driving car engineers earn the best packages, and it can range from $232,000 to as much as $405,000. The high salary is justified as there is low talent pool for autonomous cars. News like Google self-driving car engineers leaving their job because they are paid too much shows how much money the trade holds.

And now the downside

So, you are now thinking what the cons of being a self-driving car engineer are? Or is there any? Also, is it cons even worth discussing when compared to the Pros? Let’s try to answer it.

Self-driving car technology is evolving at a rapid pace. New products, services or any hardware related to self-driving can become obsolete as fast they appeared on the market. There can be many reasons. Either a better solution comes to the market, or the solution just didn’t find any traction. The uncertainty can easily be equated to a con for a self-driving car engineer. Anyone who is working with a startup already knows the challenges that come with it.

Self-driving car laws are complex, and if you are working in the industry, you need to always keep up with the diverse advancement by the laws associated with it. This can easily add stress and more workload on your work.

The last two points are related to the stress and the ethical burden associated with working as a self-driving car engineer. Stress is just part of the game. However, things change when top companies are fighting it out to bring the best autonomous technology or service on the road. The ethical burden is a more personal approach, and it depends on how a person thinks. The ethical burden comes from the fact that majority of individuals who rely on driving skills will lose their jobs to autonomous vehicles.

All of the above discussion leads us to one question: Should you become a self-driving car engineer? The profession is one of the top-paid and in-demand ones in the market. It also gives you the ability to change the world by creating something that everyone will use in the future.

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