Chris Morgan from Bosch and David Moise Discuss How Bosch: “Makes their Own Technical Talent through Their Apprentice Program“
We also talk about the need for Data Science Professionals, why that is a great field to study and how to start your own intern program.
— Contents of this Video—
00:00 – Intro
1:04 – Internships program to attract technical talent
1:40 – 5 Million Lines of Code in a Car
1:54 – Cars are Becoming a Collection of IoT Devices
2:30 – Autonomous Driving from the Parts Up
3:10 – Using Apprenticeships to Bring in Talent
3:52 – Apprenticeship goes back to Robert Bosch working for Thomas Edison
4:50 – Apprenticeship evolving into Software Development
5:35 – Who Bosch Brings into Apprenticeships
6:50 – Bring in People without Software Experience
7:40 – A 4-Year Degree is Not Available to Everyone
8:35 – Partner with the Right People
9:40 – Teach Them, C, C++ & Python for Embedded Controls
11:10 – Learning About Requirements Analysis and Project Management
12:00 – Alternatives to MIS and Computer Science Graduates
13:10 – 60,000 Graduates / 700,000 Jobs
13:50 – Bridge the Skills Gap
16:44 – A New Way to Build the Talent Pool
17:45 – How to Develop Your Tech Skills
18:40 – Advice to High Schoolers Wanting to Get into Tech
Today I am speaking with Chris Morgan.
He is a senior HR specialist at Bosch.
You may know them as the auto parts manufacturer and
a lot of the tools that you see in the
hardware store, but they are much more than that.
And Chris, just give us a quick introduction
to Bosh and what you’re doing there. Definitely, David.
So thank you for that introduction.
And as you pointed out, we
are a manufacturer of automotive components.
We are one of the largest suppliers
in the world for automotive components.
These are the things that propel your card
for this is the stuff that keeps your
car driving safely on different surfaces.
You think about technologies like anti lock
brakes, stability control, rollover protection, things like
rear view cameras and driver’s assistance features.
So even the things that you see on
the dashboard of your car and as you’re
doing your controls for your music or maybe
as you’re trying to navigate to your destination.
But we’re more than just that.
As a company, we do have divisions that are
set up to build power tools and technology.
So maybe you’re more familiar with that segment.
We do things in the energy industry.
If you look at our thermal Technologies group, tankless
water heaters, geothermal thermal heat pumps for us, we
actually try and invent and develop products that are
holding true to our Creed, invented for life.
So all the products that we develop, all the
services we develop are really focused with that intention.
And how can we impact people’s lives in a positive way?
And we’re talking to a lot of it people here.
And I’m going to validate or not validate, but it’s that
I’ve heard before is that inside most cars today, there may
be 5 million lines of code written in there.
And depending when you look at all the different parts
that are in there, there’s a lot of software.
And cars are actually becoming more of a collection of
IoT devices than mechanical devices to a certain point.
And so you guys are getting involved heavily in
just the programming and IoT devices that are winding
up inside cars, inside other types of equipment, correct?
I think when you look at the automobile and the
transformation it’s currently undergoing, the big drive right now is
to create vehicles that are able to navigate safely to
their destinations and to also do so where you have
computers that will help you aid in that driving.
So autonomous driving is probably a buzzword that
I think most people in industry recognizes this
big new technology on the horizon.
And in order to enable that, you have to
be able to measure what the vehicle is doing,
but also what’s the world around you doing.
And then you need to be able to react to that.
And computers allow us to be able to do that
so much more quicker than a human can be.
But there’s got to be somebody who
is actually writing the code and testing
the code and validating and verifying all
that software components and systems work together.
Way more than 5 million lines of code
in an autonomous vehicle, that’s for sure. Yes.
Now, one of the reasons that we first got
together, as we were talking a lot about just
how companies are struggling to find the technical talent
and find it people and software developers, QA Engineers
and Bosh has done something very interesting.
You guys, I guess we could
say creating your own apprenticeship programs.
Long history of apprenticeship programs at
Bosch from the automotive side.
But you guys just said, hey, let’s expand this to everything
else that we’re doing here and on the tech side.
So can you speak to that a little bit?
And as you noted, we have
a long history with apprentice programs
with OnTheJob learning an apprentice program.
It’s so important and so essential
to developing the skills needed.
Our company founder, Robert Bosch,
was an apprentice himself.
He spent some time working with American inventor.
Thomas Edison came to America supporting
Thomas Edison did not know that. That’s awesome.
It’s very cool.
And so when you look at it, I think
apprenticeships are ingrained in our DNA as a company.
Right. It’s about learning. It’s about innovating.
It’s about developing the new skills and technologies
that, again, go back into developing products and
services that are invented for life.
With the apprenticeship program now shifting from the
traditional apprentice programs that you think about maybe
electricians pipe fitters, welders machining, you think about
those in the traditional sense.
Our program is focused more on
this information technology software development.
We’ve had plenty of help.
I can’t say that we are pioneers necessarily.
I think we are definitely looking at IBM, who started
this what they call new collar approach in the mid
20 times where it’s developing on the job training programs
for these type of information technology jobs where we’re focusing
is the end product and end service.
And that’s how our program somewhat differs is
that we’re developing software to go into automobiles.
So we’ve got this very close connection to hardware.
And how do we ensure that we’re
able to make real time decisions?
How are we able to take sensor data and
use that to come up with our different algorithms
and then control some sort of output?
And again, it all goes back to the
ecosystem of the vehicle and moving that forward.
Wow, that’s great.
So what kind of people are coming into
the apprenticeship program and what are they doing?
Yeah, for our first cohort, we hired in 2020.
So in the midst of the
pandemic and they actually just graduated.
So our program itself is about twelve months long.
And we do focus completely on the job
training and complement that with some theoretical training.
We hired in and graduated five apprentices.
And I’m happy to report that in late 2021,
we were able to convert all five of those
apprentices post program into positions within the organization so
they can continue on and post program.
From a background standpoint, what we’re looking for
are people who have the ability to have
a valid driver’s license because they have to
be able to support vehicle testing, perhaps in
some of the divisions that we’re working with.
But then we also look at do they
have a high school equivalency or some sort
of GED equivalency high school diploma?
And are they authorized to work in the United States?
And so all of our candidates
for this apprentice program and software
needs to have those minimum requirements.
But outside of that, we’re not necessarily
looking for someone who has a ton
of experience in software development.
Things that catch our eye are people who maybe
have tinkered with software, either at home doing home
automation projects, things that maybe they’re supporting.
They have a son, daughter, niece, nephew that
is participating in some sort of Stem science,
technology, engineering and math program, something like First
Robotics, Vex Robotics, something like that, where maybe
they’ve gotten involved and they’ve helped go through
some of the software development there.
And again, no formalized training, but they’ve
realized that this is a passion and
they want to pursue it further.
And prior to this type of opportunity, you
would have to necessarily go through a four
year degree program, get a degree Bachelor’s of
science in computer science, and then connect up
with a company, maybe your internship through that.
But for a lot of people, maybe a four year
degree path just isn’t available to them at this time.
And so for a number of reasons, and I
think with our first cohort, if we look at
those five individuals, a common theme amongst them is
that they are already engaged in the workforce.
Some of them may already have some
credentials, maybe it’s a degree, maybe it’s
a certification in unrelated fields.
But what they are looking to do is pivot
and try and engage the technology sector in a
way that allows them to continue developing this passion
and enthusiasm around software in a more formalized format.
And that’s where our apprentice program, we can
now connect those individuals to the theoretical training,
but then provide that on the job training
experience so necessary in developing hardware and software
solutions for the mobility sector.
And then they’re also not doing this alone.
They are partnered with a mentor, an experienced
software developer who can help navigate the ins
and outs and connect that theory in a
more easily mannered are to the actual applications
that we’re using and developing here at Bosch. Wow.
And so an example of some of the things
that they’re actually working on right now because we’re
calling them software developers, can we dig into like
you have people working with C Plus Plus programming
on a piece of on a device, or is
it C Sharp or full stack development something else.
Could you elaborate a little bit?
I love to talk about the projects.
And I think for me, as the apprentice program
lead, it’s always exciting when I talk to the
apprentices and ask them what are the things they’re
working on and trying to get an understanding.
And you can see the enthusiasm
and how encouraged they are.
And you can also sense sometimes that when
they hit a wall or they’re being challenged. Right.
In our job or my job is
to help coach them to overcome that.
But from a skill set, we primarily focus
on mobility development, C Plus plus Python.
And what we’re looking at is not just developing the
code and the algorithms that go into the embedded control
unit, house whatever feature function on the vehicle.
But we’re also looking at how do we
test, how do we validate the software code?
How do we ensure that the code meets
the quality standards expected by our customers and
also by the end users who ultimately are
going to be interfacing with our products?
And so I think with that in mind, we see a
lot of projects right where it’s maybe supporting automation task.
So our apprentices could be coming in and
developing and using scripts to create some automation
tasks to ensure that we can repeatedly test
certain elements of our code.
Maybe they’re looking at the
data analysis element of it.
So when we look at, okay, we’ve tested it,
but how do we quickly come to a conclusion
or a result that we say, okay, this code
is meeting the standards that we’ve set for releasing.
So can we automate some of the test results there?
And then obviously we have to still sit
down and work together with our approvers. Right.
So we have release engineers. Right.
So we want to make sure that again, everything is
not just a matter of checking boxes and saying the
software is good, but also making sure that the tools
that we’re developing are also being validated in a way.
So a lot of opportunities for apprentices in the
software space to really learn about the different elements.
And I would say even going as far as
requirements analysis, trying to understand the different tools.
So when a customer asks for a change or
maybe there’s a function change that needs to happen,
something that needs to be configured a little differently,
the apprentices are being exposed to those types of
change requests, and they’re able to work with their
mentor and understand what is it the customer’s asking,
how can we meet the customer’s request?
And how can we ensure this in a timely manner?
So they’re not just learning
the technical skill set, right?
They’re learning a little bit too about
some project management, how they manage their
time, how they manage themselves, and they’re
doing that all within the Bosch framework.
So there’s a lot of people going to
hear this and say, this is different because
so many software and technical oriented companies, they’re
used to hiring the mis the computer science,
electrical engineering majors out of school.
Maybe they interned for a summer before
that and they got to work.
But it’s very tightly coupled.
And you’re saying we’re going to go outside that spectrum
a little bit, bringing some just smart people who may
not have gotten into that four year program or had
a different career path or studied something else.
And we’re going to train them for a year on what
they need to do here and have success with it.
You stepped out of the box
and sounds like everything is working.
Awesome support for boss so far.
That’s correct, David. Yeah.
And everything so far.
It’s been a really great journey, I think, for
the apprentices who have graduated for the apprentices currently
in the program from our side as managers and
mentors that are working with these apprentices.
But I think for us, too, the concept of a four
year degree program or if you go on for a Masters,
we still have a tremendous amount of need for individuals who
follow traditional academic pipelines to connect to jobs.
But some of the statistics that research shows
that maybe it’s 60,000, 70,000 graduates from four
year programs are coming out with the skills
needed to support information technology jobs.
It jobs, software developing, being one of them.
People for the jobs, but not enough people. Absolutely.
And I think, again, it’s something like
an industry is asking for 700,000. Right.
So you’ve almost got this tenfold difference of what
industry needs in order to continue to move their
products forward, because of the increase in complexity, because
of the new features, because of the new technologies
and tool sweets and and things that are available.
And then again, it’s how do we bridge this skills gap?
And by offering an apprentice program,
we’re able to start building an
additional pipeline in the organization.
So not replacing any pipelines just complementing them
in a way where we still have space.
If you’re listening to this and you’re graduating
with a computer science degree, electrical engineering degree,
any of those, I encourage you to check
out the Boss career’s website.
There are opportunities there for you.
But at the same token, we are definitely focused on
also trying to build and develop this apprentice pipeline, just
like we work to develop all of our associates.
Now, speaking of building the apprentice pipeline, is
there another class cohort coming up in the
near future, and how many people are you
looking to bring into that, David?
Right now we’re looking at
talking to our business units.
So every year we go through strategic workforce planning
and we want to make sure what are the
number of entry level positions that we’re potentially looking
for, that we can develop an apprentice to be
able to meet those entry level needs.
So right now we’re in those discussions and finalizing
the numbers, but the goal is to try and
open the postings for Q two of this year.
So if you’re looking again at the Boss careers
website and you type in keyword apprentice, you should
be able to find our program then and then
with a target start date of Q three.
Once we get through the
hiring process, us and everything.
So I think the key too is that for this,
it’s not just hiring a single person, but when we
develop this program with this apprenticeship program, even though all
of our apprentices are working in different divisions.
So there may be supporting chassis
control divisions, maybe they’re supporting some
of the driver’s assistance functionality sometimes
in the powertrain, the propulsion systems.
We still start all the apprentices at the same time.
So we try and coordinate that from
a selection process and a start process.
And what we found is this journey going through.
Even though they’re working with different
products and services, maybe their focus
is even on a specific language.
So maybe one group is focusing more on C and
one is focusing on C in their development work.
They create a bond within that cohort experience. Right.
They’re going through a very similar learning transformation
journey and we want to promote, encourage and
foster that type of bond because ultimately it
is an intense twelve months and they are
the only ones that really, truly know.
We can anticipate what they’re going through, but they
know what they’re going through when they’re being asked
to step outside their comfort zone a little bit.
And I think for this type of program to
be really successful, that cohort experience has been amazing.
And I’m sure any of our recent apprentice
graduates will be able to verify that. Yeah.
So I can’t emphasize enough that this is just a slightly
different out of the box way of looking at this.
And you’re talking about the gap in
the number of people graduating with the
skills and what businesses are demanding.
It’s only going to get bigger.
We look at that and just using
just one thing that you’re really closely
in touch with the autonomous vehicles.
When we got 5G and all the cars talking to each
other and talking to all the IoT devices and smart cities
are coming down the road fully enabled by 5G.
We are talking about a degree of devices and
mobile devices and cars talking and using all that
5G bandwidth, it’s only going to go one direction.
So you guys are smart for
getting ahead of the curve here.
I congratulate you on that.
So anything else about the program that you want to
make sure that people know about or anything else with
boss you want to make sure people know about? Yeah.
From a program standpoint, I think if you meet the
minimum requirements and you think that you would be a
good fit, good candidate, I think it’s never too early.
There are so many free resources available. Right.
To just kind of check things out and you
look at University platforms, you look at Edx Coursera,
all of the things that are available. Right.
Pick up something, pick up a kit, pick up
a Raspberry Pi, pick up an Arduino Tinker a
little bit, develop an app for your phone. Right.
I think it will only show you a little
bit about what the challenges that you’re potentially going
to face, but it will also help you because
it will tell you whether or not you really
are passionate about this, whether you have the enthusiasm.
Like I said, we’re not expecting everyone to
come in with the knowledge already in hand.
But if you’ve already discovered in yourself
that you are truly passionate about this
type of career field, that’s definitely going
to be showcased through the selection process.
And that will only serve to help you.
And I think if you’re coming out of high school
and you’re not quite sure what to do, I think
where you want to go next and everybody says, oh,
you have to go to a four year program, you
know, definitely consider that if that’s something that works for
you and you’re able to make that connection.
I definitely value my background
from an academic standpoint.
I went to a University.
I have an electrical engineering undergrad.
I have a master’s in mechatronic systems engineering.
And so for me, I was a
first generation College student from my family.
And there was a lot of things that we
navigated that if I would have known them, how
to pay for school and everything like that, maybe
the Apprentice program would have been an appealing alternative.
And again, it doesn’t say that once you
go through the Apprentice program, that you don’t
ever have to go back to school. Right.
I think within the Bosch organization, apprentices
who graduate are encouraged to utilize tuition
reimbursement if they want to continue learning,
developing upskilling, so to speak.
That’s a resource that becomes unlocked
after you join the organization, after
you’ve graduated the Apprentice program.
I think for us, as an organization,
we look at this not only for
apprentices, but just for all associates, the
mindset of continuously learning, continuously improving, growing.
And it’s adding to the skillset toolbox.
So I think for all associates, we’re very
proud of the resources and opportunities that the
organization provides us and trying to take full
advantage of them to continue moving forward and
finding a role in the organization that’s satisfying.
And my background, I think also I don’t know if
we mentioned, but before I joined, I work in HR
currently, but I spent eleven years working as a power
train calibration engineer, HR with an engineering degree.
It was a completely different path.
But for me, this is developing people, contributing
to this type of program and helping people,
I think, realize their passions and their potential
has been a tremendously good fit.
And I’m very thankful for the opportunity
that the organization has provided and allowing
me to contribute in this space. Yeah. Okay.
You guys are definitely on the right
track on a lot of things.
I think you guys are going to get
a lot of positive attention about this.
The more you talk about it, it’s steady flow
of people wanting to know more about it.
So Congratulations. Alright.
Well, thanks for your time today. I appreciate it.
All right. Bye. Bye. Thanks. David.