What exactly do students learn?
Senges: The first small projects deal with tasks such as representations of “Hello World” on the screen. Later, students can specialize in 13 areas such as machine learning, distributed applications, IT security, Open Internet or 3D visualization. Since tens of thousands of software developers are in demand worldwide and our graduates all speak English very well, the software world is open to them. In Wolfsburg, we also want to develop and offer a specialization for the automotive sector. Here, students learn to write software for vehicles, mobility solutions or ecosystems. Among other things, to develop and pilot the learning projects in this area, we have launched a fellowship program in which experts from academia and business – including, of course, from the various organizations at Volkswagen – will work together.
How does corona impact your planning?
Senges: I assume that the “piscines” – the four-week admission tests – will take place entirely online. Actually, these are face-to-face events – but that will probably not be possible at the beginning of 2021. Starting in May, we would like to offer the in-person courses in Wolfsburg. But during the pandemic, we will also enable digital participation. Interest is considerable, by the way. But we are still looking forward to applicants, both for the bootcamps in spring – February, March, April – and in late summer – August, September, October.
Volkswagen is becoming a software company – what does that mean independently of 42 Wolfsburg?
Kilian: Software competence is elementary for our future. After all, software is becoming the brain of the car. That is one of the reasons why we have created the Car.Software organization within the Group. In the medium term, thousands of IT specialists will work there. Volkswagen will double its investment in digitization over the next five years to 27 billion euros. The money will flow into the Car.Software organization and into important technologies such as artificial intelligence or autonomous driving. The biggest challenge, however, will be to meet the high demand for education and training in terms of digital skills and thus enable our workforce to play an active role in shaping the transformation. In my opinion, this is the key to how quickly and sustainably Volkswagen will make the leap into the digital age.