This afternoon, a friend from San Francisco John Lurie sent me an email saying that General Motors has announced plans of hiring programmers and software developers numbering up to 10,000 of them in the next three to five years.I responded by saying this is a bold and costly move that General Motors main intent is to counter auto industry’s history of buying software and electronic applications from software companies.When I saw Lurie email, I said to myself that this could be start of a trend where Western countries manufacturers realize that software is among the few things that will set them apart from competitors as has been the case with Asian Manufacturers who have invested heavily on Computer professionals over the last decade.Studies have shown that companies that build the software themselves in general are always at an advantage and for those who outsource the development of software they end up being unable to compete in the future. Lurie whose brother work in one of the GM technology centers where staff try to stay on top of software trends told me in a mail reply later that GM team is expected to develop new ways to link smartphones with cars and to an extent control a vehicle’s heating and air conditioning with voice commands.General Motors is expected to offer competitive wages and benefits to pull graduates and experienced information technology professionals and there is no doubt that iconic brand status will help attract people in and outside USA where there are shortages of programmers and software engineers that will General Motors assemble a team that will be counted on to invent technology that no other competitor has thought of yet in the auto industry.
Seeking the game changers will help General Motors in ushering a new age of automotive innovation bearing the fact that gap in quality of automobile brands is vanishing very fast and the future of automobile competition is poised to be the way a car drives and its electronics. This move will bring end relying on outside software companies for touch screen and other technology.The problem I personally see with this daring move, is that outside companies have immense expertise that could take General Motors decades to catch up, making it impossible that the Detroit based company will entirely walk away from outside firms in the foreseeable future.Over the last eight years, I have witnessed software’s gaining so much prominence in the way companies operate globally and I would not bet against GM finding its next CEO somewhere in the computer centers because I believe that future CEOs of every dynamic company are going to be software thinkers and enthusiasts. Just like what other automakers are focusing, I expect General Motors to recruit analysts who can create algorithms to process data derived from car’s electronic systems to spot malfunctions quickly, early and user-friendly, and partly to allow cars to perform tasks like choosing the quickest route to a destination. Programmers and designers will also definitely help General Motors create platforms that allows their cars to connect easily to the vehicle and its occupants.No doubt coders and developers are going to be in high more demand. Building highly sophisticated electronics in cars need high number of coders and developers.From developing dashboard infotainment system to engine systems, General Motors has a reason to hire such a high number of programmers.General Motors is clearly optimistic about its ability to attract IT talent with that announcement.