On the Road to Success: Sebastian Höller, Principal Solution Architect Automotive

Meet Sebastian Holler, Principal Solution Architect Automotive, sharing his journey through the industry. In this interview, Sebastian takes us behind the scenes of his evolution from a junior developer to a dynamic leader, revealing pivotal moments, hard-earned lessons, and invaluable insights along the way. Join us as we delve into the pulse of automotive innovation, uncovering Sebastian's unique perspective and discovering what sets intive apart in this ever-evolving landscape.

What initially attracted you to pursue a career in the automotive sector?

During my studies in computer engineering, I completed an internship in the automotive sector, and I was immediately fascinated by it. That was almost 20 years ago, and by that time it was already foreseeable that software would become increasingly important in the automotive industry.

What skills and qualities do you believe are essential for success in this field?

Communication! The projects are huge, the overall system is made up of many individual components. It's about communicating within the project teams and fostering good cooperation with clients. When the individual parts are integrated into the vehicle, it's essential to work openly and productively with the developers of neighboring systems.

Moreover, in series development, perseverance and diligent work are also essential. Safety-critical systems need a lot of documentation and a lot of testing. Carrying out these tests as early as possible in the development cycle and incorporating the results into the development process is the key to staying on schedule, quality, and budget.

How has your role evolved over the years, and what challenges have you encountered along the way?

I started as a junior developer and was given a lot of responsibility very early on. I was able to learn the basics of automotive series software development in various projects. Of course, I also learned all the abbreviations in the automotive sector, and there are a lot of them 😉

After a few years, I took over as technical project manager for software integration and testing of a central control unit for driver assistance and successfully built up the project team. I am pleased that the customer relationship still exists and that we are already working on the second successor system thanks to our convincing work. I think this is the project that taught me most about the importance of good communication skills.

Over the last 7 years, I have continued to develop in the direction of software architecture. I find it interesting to support my colleagues in the projects in the application of methods and tools. I always try to take a modern and participative approach to achieve the best result with the whole team.

Finally, I have been a team lead for 3 years in addition to my work in the projects. Besides the classic team lead tasks such as performance reviews, I simply try to guide my team members well through the world of software development.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in automotive technology and industry practices?

First and foremost, it's the interesting and often cutting-edge projects at intive that keep me up to date, as learning on the job should be.

I also like to look ‘beyond one's own nose’, for example, by attending conferences, in recent years also as a speaker. My topics usually center around trends in methods and tools in the field of software architecture. Ideally, I have already used them successfully in projects at intive.

Can you share a significant lesson or insight you've gained from your experiences working in the automotive sector?

In the end, it's all about a well-functioning overall system! In a project to integrate driver assistance functions, I was asked to provide support at the customer's test site. At first, I wasn't enthusiastic and thought I couldn't contribute much. After a few weeks, however, I realized that the occasional collaboration of different suppliers in one place improves the development of the overall system.

At a time when people are working from home a lot, I try to convince my team members to go into the field from time to time.

What do you foresee as the future direction of the automotive industry, and how do you think it will impact professionals working in the field?

Faster! New models of collaboration, both organizationally and technically, will emerge. There will be a continued emphasis on software development, with a focus on intelligent software reuse. Additionally, there will be a trend towards more standardized hardware and software, resulting in fewer specialized solutions unique to the automotive industry. For individuals, this shift may entail a greater need for specialization. However, it's crucial not to lose sight of the overarching system focus.

What makes intive special?

We cover a broad spectrum in the automotive sector. In series development, where I work, we have recently expanded to include the ePowertrain domain.

I also benefit from exchanging ideas with software developers from other business units. Some trends arrive a little later in the automotive industry, providing an opportunity to stay at the forefront.

I think, we have a diverse portfolio of customers and projects, with significant responsibility across many initiatives. This holistic approach allows for various roles and ample opportunities for personal development.

And, of course, great colleagues! Hire for attitude, train for skills is a top priority at initve. From my point of view, this is very important to form project teams that our customers enjoy working with.

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