Software Engineers Can Earn Huge Pay in ‘Transportation Tech’

A decade ago, the tech industry thought it would completely revolutionize transportation in a few short years. Executives predicted that we’d all move from Point A to B in rideshare vehicles piloted by world-class artificial intelligence (A.I.). City infrastructure would fundamentally change thanks to all the innovation pouring out of companies like Uber and Tesla. 

But several things interfered with that utopic vision. For starters, autonomous driving proved far more difficult to implement than many expected; as it turns out, even the most sophisticated machine-learning models have trouble with the unpredictability of human-driven traffic. Next, companies such as Uber underwent some messy internal and external crises, resulting in layoffs and corporate shakeups. 

As we enter 2022, though, it’s clear that the tech industry isn’t willing to give up on its plans to “disrupt” how we move. Apple is reportedly hard at work on a vehicle (which may include some kind of autonomous-driving feature), Tesla seems intent on offering self-driving software despite government investigations, and the ridesharing firms continue to figure out how to actually make a profit.

If you’re a software engineer interested in transportation, it’s as good a time as ever to enter the industry. But how much can you expect to get paid, and which of the segment’s most prominent companies pay the most? Here’s a handy chart breaking all that down for entry-level engineering positions, courtesy of compensation-crowdsourcing site levels.fyi:

Spoiler alert: All of these companies tend to pay their software engineers extremely well, which makes sense given the competitive nature of the tech-transportation segment; no company wants its key people hired away over money. That Tesla pays somewhat lower compensation than some other companies might come as a surprise, given the firm’s extremely public profile, but ultra-famous companies sometimes pay less than you might expect.

At Tesla, the most in-demand skills for software engineers include Python, software engineering, and project management; mastery of machine learning and A.I. will also interest its hiring managers. Many of those same skills are no doubt key at other tech-transportation companies, as well. Keep that in mind if you’re interested in applying.