US carmakers racing to hire software engineers

Article by Anita Panait, on July 31, 2013

Carmakers in the United States are now increasing their efforts to hire software engineers as they push to become more high-tech than before. Their move, however, could possibly place them at odds against their technology partners in Silicon Valley. For instance, Raj Nair, global product development for Ford Motor Co., told Reuters earlier this year that he had lobbied his niece to join the carmaker as an engineer.

But she opted to work for Microsoft Corp., Ford's partner on its in-car entertainment and communications technology. Nair remarked to Reuters that the auto industry is “so much more high-tech than people realize," adding that they are “really competing against West Coast industries.” As software plays more and more significant role in vehicle design as well development, US carmakers like Ford found the need to employ thousands of engineers.

With computer codes increasingly used to program core vehicle functions like braking and air-conditioning and with electronic parts like sensors and microcontrollers becoming more and more present in cars, Detroit 3 carmakers are now looking for engineers that boasts of software, electronic and computer network skills.

However, these kinds of employees have long shunned the auto industry and are more inclined to work to Silicon Valley companies. This situation has forced Detroit 3 to offer larger salaries and paint Michigan as a good place to work. Right now, Ford is around halfway through its target of hiring 3,000 salaried employees this year, majority of which will be engineers and IT specialists who will work in Michigan. [source: BusinessTimes]

Topics: united states

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