The integration of consumer technology is sure to play a key role in where the best opportunities exist in coming years.

Automotive Industry Careers Are Going Digital

Leadership Professional Growth

Automotive industry careers are getting high-tech as cars become further integrated with consumer electronics. How fast is the industry evolving?

Automotive industry careers have always been sought-after positions primarily because of the competitive wages, advancement opportunities, health and retirement benefits, as well as the consistent work schedule. While all of that remains true, the actual in-demand positions are evolving rapidly as purchaser tastes and expectations change. The reason for the evolution is quite evident: technology, including the integration of consumer electronics like smartphones and wearables. Of course, the expansion is sure to go well beyond to include the automobile’s integration into a much larger digital economy fueled by data and the growing Internet of (seamlessly connected) Things.

The big question: how does this evolution ultimately impact those currently working within the industry as well as prospective employees?

The Road Ahead

According to General Motors, the careers of the future will be heavily centered around the ongoing tech integration. Some specific examples include electrical engineers, analytics experts, interaction designers, web programmers, autonomous driving engineers, customer care experts, sustainability integration experts, industrial engineers and 3D printing engineers.

While this integration is impacting the automotive industry, this sector is only one part of a bigger evolution currently referred to as the digital economy. It’s ultimately being able to leverage information that makes the digital economy tick, which is the primary reason why General Motors suggests analytics experts will be an automotive career for the future. Thanks to the availability of data, it can diagnose what part of a car needs attention before it becomes a problem. This smart data allows the vehicle and driver to work together efficiently and harmoniously, and analysts will be needed to create the algorithms to make it possible.

The Key to Success

In many instances, these automotive industry careers of the future are extensions to existing career paths. Simply gaining an understanding of how today’s technology works can help build a solid foundation. However, for the future, the clearest pathway to success starts with understanding how the integration of technology ultimately impacts the customer or end-user experience. This is true whether it’s building individual parts or designing entirely new systems, because today’s consumer has significantly higher expectations for seamless interactions. People don’t want to take the time to learn or make transitions when they go from their smartphone to the vehicle — they want whatever they are doing at the time to transfer as well.

In some instances, being relevant in years to come may require some significant retraining. After all, the knowledge base to understand the engineering behind these technologies is quite extensive. Yet, in many instances, success will be more about perspective while embracing the importance of placing more emphasis on the customer experience.

According to GM, customer experience will play a huge role in the changing industry, and “it’s not just about cars being made by car people who deliver them to the masses. With social media, direct interaction with companies big and small is direct and near instantaneous. Social care experts provide the listening ear and resolution to problems that can help make customers for life.” The advent of social care experts makes strengthening and lengthening customer relationships more attainable than ever before. The most promising aspect of this evolution is that the most proactive professionals within the automotive industry can leverage their creativity and insights into tech-based trends to make suggestions that could potentially spell job security.

Peter Fretty
Peter Fretty

As a highly experienced freelance journalist, Peter Fretty has written thousands of feature articles and cover stories for an assortment of trade journals, business publications and consumer magazines. With a B.A. in Business Management and an M.B.A. in Marketing and Communications, Fretty spent roughly fifteen years working in various capacities in the aerospace, automotive and telecommunications industries. Fretty has since worked with over forty publications as well as co-authored a book with Dr. Shelton Rhodes which focuses on government contracting.