Since we launched our Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program in late 2016, nearly 2,000 students have completed the program, and more new graduates are joining them every month.
Not all students enroll in the program specifically to find a new job, but many do, and it’s exciting to see a new generation of talent entering this field. With that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to some of these alums!
One of our early graduates, Robert Ioffe, transitioned within his company, Intel, to the role of Senior Self-Driving Car Software Engineer shortly after enrolling in our Nanodegree Program. Since then, Intel has announced its plan to begin testing 100 self-driving cars in Jerusalem, and eventually in the U.S.
“The coolest thing is that everything I learn in the class is immediately applicable to my current job, which is building a self-driving Range Rover with Intel technology inside. It is very rare where you can learn things in class one day, and the next day you can apply it in your work!”
Megha Maheshwari, who immigrated to the U.S. from India, began her career as a software engineer, but ultimately landed a position at Volvo Cars as an Autonomous Driving, Deep Learning, and Computer Vision Engineer. Volvo is investing heavily in fully electric and self-driving vehicles, which many industry analysts believe is part of its plan to go public.
“When I was ending Term One, I felt I had enough knowledge about classical computer vision and deep learning. That’s when I started looking for jobs and not long after looking and applying, I got hired.”
Udacity grads are also launching startups to capitalize on the growing opportunities in the autonomous vehicle market. After earning their Nanodegree credentials, alums David Hayes and Duncan Iglesias formed the Autonomous Vehicle Organization, or AVO, to increase safety and security by focusing on the vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) segment.
Using skills developed in the course, David and Duncan built a semi-autonomous Honda Civic in just 11 days!
Fellow alum Patrick Kern also co-founded a startup, with a different focus. Brighter AI was launched to develop “Deep Natural Anonymization” to help companies comply with new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in Europe.
And just last month, we profiled Han Bin Lee, who teamed up with fellow students he met while working on the Udacity-Didi challenge to start Seoul Robotics. Expanding on the Lidar perception software, they began building during the challenge, and today, the company is already looking for a 3D Vision Researcher and a C++ Software Developer to join their crew in South Korea!
“We’re looking for people with the willingness and ability to learn new concepts and algorithms from the latest research. And we’re a startup, so we need team players, who are able to work effectively within a fast-growing, diverse group of people — we have Korean, Vietnamese, American, and Irish people working with us so far. We are really short of people right now, and we would love to work with fellow Udacity alumni to build this company together!”
Because this is still an emerging field, many of our early students didn’t start out wanting to become Self-Driving Car Engineers. That’s changing rapidly as people are realizing how much opportunity there is in this space, but for lifelong learners like Kyle Martin, the decision to enter this field was the culmination of a really interesting journey:
“I started looking for an industry role while I was still in the program. A lead robotics engineer role appeared with a company that was beginning to work on an autonomous shuttle. I jumped at it and got an interview! They were interested in all the areas I’d been working on — things like computer vision and systems architecture. And they were really impressed I’d kept learning and adding to my skills in the program. When they made me an offer, I said “yes” immediately — it sounded like I’d have the opportunity to work on really groundbreaking projects.”
These are just a few examples of how alumni of our autonomous transportation programs are having an impact on this incredible field. As our alumni network continues to grow, we’re excited to help more students find positions in the industry. Stay tuned!