Over the past several years, the nation’s largest transportation companies have taken a heightened interest in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence. No longer do automobile manufacturers measure themselves solely against the yardstick of mechanical performance; now the focus is on bringing self-driving cars to market first.
But the revolution isn’t restricted to the ground. Propelled (so to speak) by the example of SpaceX, which has pioneered the concept of the reusable rocket, institutions and companies such as NASA and Lockheed Martin are busy figuring out the next generation of spaceflight. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, dearly wants to put human beings on the surface of Mars within the next decade or two—and if he manages to pull off that Herculean feat, it’s easy to imagine his competitors taking a similar interest in exploring the solar system.
In other words, it’s an incredibly exciting time for tech pros to sign onto a transportation company. The work is often challenging, but it’s also innovative, and there’s a high likelihood that any given project will radically change how people move around—exactly the sort of mission and culture that leads tech pros to rate these companies highly as Ideal Employers.
Tesla stands at number one on Dice’s list of Ideal Employers in the transportation category, and it’s easy to see why. Even though Tesla’s vehicle output is a fraction of the major automakers’ annual production, Musk has done an incredible job of selling Tesla as the world’s most future-oriented car company. Those employees working for the company face one of the most challenging situations in tech: rapidly scaling up an enterprise based on cutting-edge hardware, in an industry where margins are historically razor-thin and the price of a mistake is total corporate destruction.
Coming in second on the list: Lockheed Martin, the aerospace and defense firm. As with Northrop Grumman (which came in fifth) and General Dynamics (in eighth), these massive conglomerates offer a mix of attributes that make them Ideal Employers in the eyes of many tech pros: challenging/interesting work, great salaries, and strong benefits.
Another interesting thing to note: so-called “traditional” automakers occupied three slots in the top ten: Toyota in seventh, Ford in ninth, and General Motors in tenth. While some tech pros might think of these older corporations as “stodgy,” each of these three has moved quite quickly to embrace the huge technology shifts in the transportation industry. Tesla might seem like the most technologically advanced car company at the moment, thanks to its electric vehicles and innovations in assisted driving, but chances are good that these other automakers will catch up within the next few years.
For example, General Motors announced in early October that it plans to become the first company to test self-driving cars in New York City. That’s not only a cool project, but it’s the sort of thing that attracts tech pros who are interested in the transportation industry for their next gig.
The future is fast-moving and very smart—and tech pros with the right skills, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, could play a big role in it.