Detroit: Motor City New Home To Software Programmers Building Apps For Cars

Detroit, which in recent decades has become a punchline, is reinventing itself by focusing on technology. More specifically, the auto industry is looking to the tech sector, as car manufacturers seek to develop software applications for next-gen connected vehicles.

Thus, there’s a small but attractive job market blooming in Detroit. The New York Times says that big automakers are all hiring. For example, GM plans to add 4,400 employees to its rolls over the next few years, and many of those positions will be in the area, and Ford has 300 IT positions open this year. Statewide, available tech jobs are expected to grow dramatically.

Detroit Labs developing apps for cars
Detroit Labs' Paul Glomski (Image credit: NYT)

Further, there are tech startups in Detroit angling for a piece of the action, such as Detroit Labs and Apigee Labs, which are focusing more on auto technology than ever before. These sorts of tech startups are able to attract software developers who are looking for new frontiers to conquer or who are simply interested in the different sort of lifestyle that Detroit offers as opposed to Silicon Valley. (Read: It’s a lot cheaper.) Being in Detroit as opposed to, say, San Francisco, there’s also far less competition with other tech companies, which is a bonus.

Detroit Labs developing apps for cars
Detroit Labs (Image credit: NYT)

The whole thing makes plenty of sense. For car companies, in-car computer technology is clearly the wave of the future, and it’s smart to have your own in-house teams working on applications. Job seekers in the general area have more options for lucrative, and those jobs keep families in the city (or attract them from elsewhere), which is healthy for civic growth.