There will not a singular job focused on building autonomous cars. Cars, autonomous or not, have a series of subssytems that need to be designed and engineered to meet performance and cost requirements. If your objective is to engineer the AI, then focus your education on AI--Coding will be a component of this. However, if you want to "code", there are many lines of code which are typically written by a software development team in support of an AI architecture designed by engineers--this is usually a different role.
Figure out what you want to do, and what part you in the process you would ideally like to play. Then get the education and apply to companies developing autonomous vehicles.
You asked a very important question.
Here is a site that has a very helpful video and other helpful information:
Here is the site of an association of people who are involved in various aspects of automotive design and engineering.
Perhaps the reference librarian at your local library could help you to find a local chapter, so that you could attend a meeting and mix and mingle and learn more. These organizations are very interested and eager for student involvement.
I think that you will find this site a very helpful one, as it is designed for girls who might be interested in engineering:
Please let me know if and how this helps. I would like to follow your progress. Please keep me posted. Best of luck!
Here are two companies to watch:
Ford Announces Plan To Research Autonomous Vehicles
In early 2015, Ford announced its “Smart Mobility Plan” to move the company forward on innovation, including vehicle connectivity and autonomous vehicles. This plan culminated in the formation of Ford Smart Mobility LLC in March 2016, a new subsidiary focused on connectivity, autonomous vehicles, and mobility (e.g. car- and ride-sharing services). As part of its 10-year autonomous vehicle plan, Ford also announced that it would triple its test fleet to 30 total vehicles in January. It has pioneered the testing of self-driving cars in less friendly environments, such as snowy Michigan, as well as in complete darkness.
Read More: Ford, Business Insider, Forbes
General Motors Pushes Ahead With Autonomous R&D, M&A
General Motors has made waves in 2016 with a series of aggressive moves within the tech sphere. In January, the company bought up Sidecar‘s assets and invested $500M into Lyft, and March saw GM’s acquisition of autonomous tech startup Cruise Automation. These deals have already borne fruit, with Cruise prototypes following Google in expanding their testing regimen to Arizona. Self-driving taxis are slated for testing with Lyft beginning in 2017.
Separately, GM has also been developing its own semi-autonomous technology in-house, with its Super Cruise technology slated to come to market on high-end Cadillac models in 2017. GM has said that the Cruise acquisition would have “no impact” on its Super Cruise launch, and has also detailed plans to hire 700 engineers focused on autonomous R&D.
Read More: The Verge, Bloomberg