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Automotive Software Developer: Top 6 Skills at a Glance

Reading time: 6 minutes

The automotive sector is getting through multiple digital transformations towards a reinvented smart vehicle. It will change the way we drive and soon – the entire human-vehicle interaction. We already follow closely how the growing demand for electric cars, shared mobility, autonomous driving, connectivity, in-vehicle payments, and annual updates of a vehicle are being implemented or examined during the driving tests.  , exactly these trends will dominate the automotive industry and will urge manufacturers to bring consumer-oriented innovations into practice. 2020-2025 will be decisive years for the entire sector, especially regarding the fact that by 2030, there will be 40% of self-driving vehicles on the roads of Europe, China, and the US.

At the same time, such technological advances increase the level of vehicle’s complexity including both its hardware and software parts. In order to remain competitive, automotive companies and suppliers must massively expand not only their digital services but also competencies in all the related fields.   showed that 82% of automotive companies are actually not ready, lack resources and enough expertise to execute all the innovative transformations. Therefore, proficient automotive software developers are among the most sought-after IT specialists in the market. But what skills do these experts have to bring with them?

Sustainability Depends on the Digital Literacy

Leading OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers have realized that greater investments in digitization are required to survive in the burgeoning automotive market. For example,   have lately announced about their future investments. Ford will spend $900 million for building a new digital factory for autonomous vehicles production. Whereas GM allocates $300 million for establishing an assembly plant for electric cars. These and other automakers are rushing towards building new types of smart factories and automated shop-floor powered by loT, AI, Machine Learning, RPA and following the highest  .

However, the company’s sustainability and success of complex projects lie in its digital literacy, as well as competencies and the level of proficiency of all team members. Take software developers, for example. The demand for them is growing across different industries. In the U.S. only, there are over   openings for this position although the average salary exceeds $100,000. Hence, recruiting talents, especially in the automotive world, turns into a nerve-racking process. Especially, if you search for an embedded software engineer who can have a mix of industry, technology and method competencies.

So, what skills should you expect your automotive software developers to have or nurture during your project? Mainly, there are six important skills to seek. Let’s review them.

The Most Significant Skills for Automotive Software Developers

Skill 1: Industry Expertise

Software developers in the automotive industry must be familiar with various industry standards. You should know what an infotainment system and a head unit are, what components are behind them, how they can be connected and what forms of data transmission and storage exist. Tier 1 suppliers like Bosch will require hands-on experience in embedded programming. Automakers will also value your ability to develop and test software for ECUs (Electric Control Units) microcontrollers, microprocessors, debuggers, etc.

Skill 2: Experience with Large-Scale Projects

In a large scale project, you will be required to communicate and interact with the teams of engineers, designers, testers as well as involved executive managers. If you’re an inexperienced software developer, brace yourself for overwhelming complexity of processes, tight deadlines and multiple interchangeable operations of geographically distributed teams. Therefore, before stepping up into any development activities, it’s better to study the entire structure of an organization, project requirements and only then, narrowing down to your specific job responsibilities.

Skill 3: Technology Competency

If you are attentive to details and can demonstrate a good technology competency, you’ll be able to cope with an extensive codebase of an embedded system that can have different versions and modules, their complex logical dependencies and mathematical algorithms. In addition, it will be also valued if you understand how to alter the code to provide new functions without affecting the functionality of existing solutions. The act of balancing between technical requirements, changing business requirements and high standards to the functional safety of any in-vehicle solutions is also a part of this competency you may hardly find in any job description.

Skill 4: Communication Skills

Software development in the automotive industry has many factors to consider. Among them are project requirements, project planning, basic architecture, quality requirements and process changes. At every stage of software development, you will have to put into practice your communication skills and professional approach to the entire delivery process including numerous iterations of the same feature.

Skill 5: Good Knowledge of English

Frequently, automotive projects are international and people from different countries are expected to have a decent level of English to find a common language with other team members. Besides, your English fluency will be also highly estimated by the management of the project deciding on which IT service company and team to pick up during the tender.

Skill 6: Responsibility

New releases in the automotive industry have far-reaching implications. The more features are added, the more complicated the entire embedded system becomes. And most importantly, these are mission-critical systems and any unnoticed mistake may incur more than just repair expenses. Perhaps, you remember a much-talked-of fatal test drive by Uber self-driving car[ that failed to recognize a pedestrian in the darkness. In this case, not only testers but also automotive software developers must have a strong sense of responsibility in terms of the code quality and deadlines.

Great specialists are in short supply

It is close to impossible to find highly-qualified software developers in one location, which is why many Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs look for external partners and outsource many projects to them. Infopulse is a Ukraine-based company that contributes to the  . We have a highly professional team of automotive software developers who support clients from Germany, Italy, and other countries. The head office of the company is located in Kyiv but we have a strong presence in Germany and Scandinavia. Infopulse relies on a pool of the best IT talents in Eastern Europe. Having an extensive technological expertise, Infopulse enables a faster time-to-market in the automotive sector. In addition to the technical and industry knowledge, reasonable pricing is another advantage of cooperating with Infopulse.