General Motors is looking to recruit the top software developers around the world this year.
GM will hire 300 to 400 software specialists as it builds its Ultifi platform and designs in-vehicle apps and other technology for it.
Ultifi is GM's software platform that will support future apps and services to customers over the air in both gasoline-powered and electric cars. It enables fast software delivery and offers the potential for more cloud-based services too.
"We're building up the team to create the Ultifi platform and all the services, pieces and parts that need to be in place for that, which is about 100 people," said Gary Cygan, GM director of software program and solution management. "We're staffing out the other areas that are building what sits on top of the platform: The apps, the features, the customization, things that we want to deliver to the customer."
GM's software development area is growing fast and will need to fill 200 to 300 jobs there — jobs that range from lower-level system work or writing customer-facing apps and features, Cygan said.
The automaker started looking to hire people last year and is moving as fast as it can to find talent, Cygan said. There are currently 381 open positions for careers in software on GM's website.
GM is hiring people right out of college as well as experienced developers, Cygan said.
"When you look at the types of developers that we want to get, you're not competing with the traditional auto companies for talent," Cygan said. "You're competing with the Apples, the Googles, the Facebooks. We're aggressively hiring in a lot of areas."
GM's software development is done across various facilities in Warren, Milford, Austin, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, Markham, Ontario and Tel Aviv, Israel.
But many of the open positions are full-time remote, which helps GM get a competitive advantage over Silicon Valley, Cygan said.
"That's a huge enabler for us to be able to get talent across different areas regionally," Cygan said. "Before the pandemic it was, 'Come write software, but we'd like you to move to Michigan.' Now we're a lot more flexible."
Last year has been dubbed the 'Great Resignation' in reference to the roughly 33 million Americans who've quit their jobs since the spring of 2021.
While Cygan could not say if GM was immune to attrition, he said GM has worked hard on retention. He said the nature of the work involved with writing software for a car company compared with writing software for consumer electronics offers a lot of opportunities for people who are driven.
"When I talk to new people joining the company ... the number of different types of software that you have on a car, it just dwarfs what is on consumer electronics," Cygan said. "So what we see a lot of is people are really stoked to work on something where ... it's a much, much bigger development bed."
Software professionals have stayed with GM too because they can make a good living without having to live in the pricey San Francisco-area, Cygan said.
"Automotive is the next frontier of massive disruption from a software perspective," Cygan said.
He has not compared GM's attrition data with that of competitors, but he said GM has been able to hire people from companies that it could not in the past. He credits that to GM's move to bring 30 new EVs to market by 2025 and transform GM to a software company that makes cars.
"We're really focused on transforming this business — it was the whole reason the Software Defined Vehicle Organization was created inside GM: To pull the key software people and resources out from vehicle engineering," Cygan said. "We're focused on running a software company within product development."
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: GM to fill 400 software jobs in defiance of the Great Resignation