You love computers and you think you might like to work for a software company after you graduate. But you also love to tinker with cars and figure out how to make them run better and you aren’t sure which career path to pick. Clearly, either path would equip you with the skills necessary to compete in a modern workforce but there’s no need to compromise—you really can accommodate both passions with a degree in a STEM field. Cars are more high-tech than ever before and this trend is only likely to grow in the future.
Evolution of Automotive Technology
In 1879, the world’s first one-cylinder, two-stroke engine was built by Carl Benz. And by 1888, the inventor’s wife, Bertha Benz, took the world’s first automotive road trip. (At one point, she fixed the engine using a garter.) Back then, automotive technology evolved in a painstakingly slow way. In the early 1900s, people were still using a hand crank located outside the vehicle to start the engine. Now, you don’t even need to put a key into the ignition of some late model cars. Vehicles can start up via a command on the driver’s smartphone. Car technology has come a long way and you can help it travel even further.
Technology in Today’s Vehicles
As recently as a decade ago, car technology was primarily used to send simple signals to alert drivers to engine events or emergencies. Now, cars can automatically connect themselves to wireless networks. Drivers can use their mobile devices to check their tire pressure, schedule service appointments and send travel route information from the phone to the car’s navigation system. Electric vehicle owners can check the battery level and the car’s range. Almost any modern convenience you can think of, a car can accomplish with help from a user interface like a smartphone.
Opportunities in the Automotive Technology Field
If your career choices take you down this path, you could find yourself working for a major auto manufacturer. The goals of any auto maker include staying on the competitive edge to win more sales than other auto makers. They also need to continually find ways of improving safety on the roadways, debugging current features and developing new ones. The automotive technology field does present unique challenges. Since computer components are physically within the car, they need to be rugged and durable enough to withstand trauma from collisions and from everyday wear and tear. Computer scientists working in this field need a sharp eye for detail and the persistence to repeatedly test new ways of integrating devices and implementing automation. But thanks to the efforts of IT professionals, safe self-driving vehicles may one day eliminate traffic fatalities.
Grand Canyon University is the school of choice for rising undergraduates interested in a STEM field. Use the Request More Information button on our website to explore our College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Our dynamic learning community embraces a Christian worldview.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.