Developers
August 20, 2020

The Automotive Industry: An Exciting Field For Software Developers

The automotive industry offers an exciting opportunity for software developers who want a less traditional path.

When many up and coming software developers think of the industry they want to work in, web, mobile, and desktop are the big three that often come to mind.

Silicon Valley, and the tech industry in general, is full of stories of young programmers toiling away in their basement or garage working on ‘the next big thing’ in desktop software. Company after the company began just this way, before going on to revolutionize industries.

The same is true with mobile and web development. Although far newer than traditional desktop development, web and mobile have provided countless opportunities for developers to make their mark. Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Flipboard, IA Writer, Byword and countless others are perfect examples of web and mobile applications that went on to be major successes.

Many developers, however, want something a little off the beaten track. For those developers, the automotive industry offers an exciting alternative.

Automotive Industry Software Development

When people think of an automobile, the first things that often come to mind are the engine, what kind of gas mileage it gets, whether it has four-wheel-drive, the luxury features it includes, and more. What many people don’t think of is the software under the hood.

What many people may not realize is the amount of computing power and software that goes into a modern car. In fact, modern computers have dozens of CPUs in them. Everything from entertainment to navigation to dashboard interfaces to climate control systems are powered by an array of computers and software.

"Technical development of vehicles is no longer organised according to a vehicle's size, but by the car's electrical and electronic architecture," Audi boss Markus Duesmann said in an interview.

None of this even begins to touch the direction the industry is going with self-driving cars. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning development skills are in more demand than ever and will only continue to increase as the industry embraces AI-driven vehicles.

Languages Used in Automotive Software Development

There are several languages that are heavily used in automotive software development, including old favorites.

C

C is one of the most popular languages in the industry, and for good reason. All of the things that make C an excellent low-level language in the tech industry cross over to the automotive industry.

C is known for providing some of the best performance among programming languages. In addition, its low overhead requirements make it ideal for embedded applications where processing power come at a premium. In other words, this makes it ideal for the automotive industry.

C++

C++ is another popular option, for many of the same reasons as standard C. Like C, it’s relatively lightweight and offers excellent performance. Where it improves on C is by offering object-oriented programming (OOP).

Like C, C++ is often used in embedded applications and offers high-level performance.

MISRA C

MISRA C is a subset of C created by the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association. Few industries rely on safety as much as the automotive industry. If something is unsafe, countless lives can be lost.

As a result, MISRA C is designed to avoid the parts of C that can be dangerous, especially in the hands of an inexperienced programmer. This results in a subset that provides the necessary functionality in a much safer package.

MISRA C++

MISRA C++ serves the same role for C++ as its predecessor did for C. Like C, C++ has elements that are unsafe for the auto industry under normal circumstances. The MISRA C++ subset is designed to offer the power and features of standard C++, but in a flavor that is inherently more safe and secure.

Java

Another popular option is Java. Since it was first created at Sun Microsystems, Java has consistently been one of the most popular programming languages in existence. Much of this is because of its Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA) approach.

Java’s WORA approach is centered on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Rather than targeting a specific platform, Java developers only need to worry about writing software to run on the JVM. As long the JVM has been ported to run on a platform, that platform can run Java software.

Java has become a popular language in the embedded space, thanks to the JVM and Java’s performance. These traits make it a good option for automotive software development.

Conclusion

The automotive industry may be an unorthodox route for software developers. Nonetheless, it offers a compelling opportunity for developers who want something different than traditional offerings.

Given the popularity of C, C++, and Java, there is a wealth of existing and up-and-coming developers who could make the transition into this industry.

TagsAutomotive IndustrySoftware DevelopmentJavaCC++
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersAugust 20, 2020
The Automotive Industry: An Exciting Field For Software Developers
The automotive industry offers an exciting opportunity for software developers who want a less traditional path.

When many up and coming software developers think of the industry they want to work in, web, mobile, and desktop are the big three that often come to mind.

Silicon Valley, and the tech industry in general, is full of stories of young programmers toiling away in their basement or garage working on ‘the next big thing’ in desktop software. Company after the company began just this way, before going on to revolutionize industries.

The same is true with mobile and web development. Although far newer than traditional desktop development, web and mobile have provided countless opportunities for developers to make their mark. Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Flipboard, IA Writer, Byword and countless others are perfect examples of web and mobile applications that went on to be major successes.

Many developers, however, want something a little off the beaten track. For those developers, the automotive industry offers an exciting alternative.

Automotive Industry Software Development

When people think of an automobile, the first things that often come to mind are the engine, what kind of gas mileage it gets, whether it has four-wheel-drive, the luxury features it includes, and more. What many people don’t think of is the software under the hood.

What many people may not realize is the amount of computing power and software that goes into a modern car. In fact, modern computers have dozens of CPUs in them. Everything from entertainment to navigation to dashboard interfaces to climate control systems are powered by an array of computers and software.

"Technical development of vehicles is no longer organised according to a vehicle's size, but by the car's electrical and electronic architecture," Audi boss Markus Duesmann said in an interview.

None of this even begins to touch the direction the industry is going with self-driving cars. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning development skills are in more demand than ever and will only continue to increase as the industry embraces AI-driven vehicles.

Languages Used in Automotive Software Development

There are several languages that are heavily used in automotive software development, including old favorites.

C

C is one of the most popular languages in the industry, and for good reason. All of the things that make C an excellent low-level language in the tech industry cross over to the automotive industry.

C is known for providing some of the best performance among programming languages. In addition, its low overhead requirements make it ideal for embedded applications where processing power come at a premium. In other words, this makes it ideal for the automotive industry.

C++

C++ is another popular option, for many of the same reasons as standard C. Like C, it’s relatively lightweight and offers excellent performance. Where it improves on C is by offering object-oriented programming (OOP).

Like C, C++ is often used in embedded applications and offers high-level performance.

MISRA C

MISRA C is a subset of C created by the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association. Few industries rely on safety as much as the automotive industry. If something is unsafe, countless lives can be lost.

As a result, MISRA C is designed to avoid the parts of C that can be dangerous, especially in the hands of an inexperienced programmer. This results in a subset that provides the necessary functionality in a much safer package.

MISRA C++

MISRA C++ serves the same role for C++ as its predecessor did for C. Like C, C++ has elements that are unsafe for the auto industry under normal circumstances. The MISRA C++ subset is designed to offer the power and features of standard C++, but in a flavor that is inherently more safe and secure.

Java

Another popular option is Java. Since it was first created at Sun Microsystems, Java has consistently been one of the most popular programming languages in existence. Much of this is because of its Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA) approach.

Java’s WORA approach is centered on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Rather than targeting a specific platform, Java developers only need to worry about writing software to run on the JVM. As long the JVM has been ported to run on a platform, that platform can run Java software.

Java has become a popular language in the embedded space, thanks to the JVM and Java’s performance. These traits make it a good option for automotive software development.

Conclusion

The automotive industry may be an unorthodox route for software developers. Nonetheless, it offers a compelling opportunity for developers who want something different than traditional offerings.

Given the popularity of C, C++, and Java, there is a wealth of existing and up-and-coming developers who could make the transition into this industry.

Automotive Industry
Software Development
Java
C
C++
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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