Udacity Self-Driving Car

If you had asked us—back when we first committed to our Intersect 2017 conference theme of Learning for the Jobs of Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond—which “category” Self-Driving Car jobs belonged in, we might have been tempted to say “beyond.” As we’re learning, however, nothing could be further from the truth!

Udacity Self-Driving Car Student Oren MeiriAs we’ve been chronicling here on our blog, many of our Self-Driving Car students are in fact already securing positions in the field. One such individual is Oren Meiri. As he describes it, he was so eager to work on deep learning problems and excited about joining the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program that he told colleagues about it, and quickly found himself transferred to the Deep Learning team at Nexar, where he is now working on a deep learning system, and helping the company’s mission of improving safety for road users!

Oren’s story is a wonderful example of how passion can produce transformation, and we were eager to get his thoughts on what the future holds for these amazing technologies. Oren was gracious enough to share some insights with us. We began by asking him what he foresees for the future, and why he was so eager to enter the field now.

Oren, can tell us a bit about your sense of where technologies like deep learning are taking us, and why you’re so passionate about this field?

I firmly believe deep learning is going to transform the computer science field and the world at large in the next decade and beyond. More than any other industry, autonomous cars are already making great progress towards becoming consumer products and services.  I believe autonomous vehicles will have an enormous impact to transform cities—the need for fewer city-center car parks, reduction of traffic jams—whole industries such as taxis and deliveries, and our lives, by reducing the number of cars per household  and their associated costs, and also by becoming more ecological.  

You’ve been an iOS developer for quite some time. Can you talk a bit about your new direction, and how you see the skills you’re learning now supporting your future career success?

I started with iOS in 2009, when apps first started appearing and changing the world. I was at the right place at the right time then.  I believe I am at the right place now. Like in the case of mobile apps, learning the right tools and gaining experience at the right time gives me a competitive advantage, and the ability to choose where to seek employment and what I want to work on.

How do you see transformative technologies like AI, Deep Learning, and Autonomous Vehicle Technology impacting the future of work?

In some sectors ‘smarter’ machines will replace human workers.  This can already be seen in production lines, security surveillance, and other places.  However, like any other technological advancement in history, I believe these technologies will create new industries and open many science and engineering jobs not possible before.

What advice would you give to someone who’s trying to decide whether a path like this is right for them?

Udacity provides the perfect platform for learning necessary skills for new upcoming industries.  The program is very high quality, well delivered, certified, and most importantly, it is designed to allow the student to study while holding a full-time job. It is not easy but certainly possible. I would also recommend trying 1-2 free MOOC courses.  There are great free courses at Udacity and elsewhere that are great starting points you can try before enrolling in a Nanodegree program.  I studied free MOOC courses for a while before the Self-Driving Car program was announced, and when that announcement came, I knew it was right for me.

Oren, thank you for sharing your perspective, and congratulations on your success!

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Stay tuned for more stories about Self-Driving Car students in jobs!