On the Road to Success: Maximilian Koller, Senior Developer Automotive

Meet Maximilian Koller, Senior Developer Automotive, sharing his journey through the automotive industry. In this interview, Max provides insights into his career path, essential skills for success, challenges faced, and his perspective on the future of the automotive sector. Join us as we delve into Max's experiences and discover what makes his career journey unique in this ever-evolving sector.

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

I joined the automotive industry straight after leaving school when I started my dual bachelor study program at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. I chose this path because I am convinced that the automotive industry has great potential for innovation and offers many different areas of development and careers. At the time, I didn't know exactly which area I wanted to specialize in later on, so this seemed like a good option.

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

I think that good communication is always one of the most important things for success. Given the collaborative nature of automotive projects involving multiple stakeholders and companies, the ability to articulate ideas clearly and to strengthen productive dialogue is essential.  Furthermore, it is also important to understand complex systems and their interfaces and interaction with each other. The automotive domain involves interactions between mechanical, electrical, and software components. Having a deep understanding of these systems and their interfaces is key for developing innovative automotive solutions.

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

Yes, definitely. Initially in my previous company I worked as an electronic engineer and I was responsible for testing equipment in production, which verified the electrical functionality of control units.  After that, I switched to the Software industry and worked for several years as a software developer at intive, primarily focusing on tool development. For the past two years, I’ve been deeply involved in software platform validation projects.  One persistent challenge that I’ve faced over the years is to obtain precisely defined customer requirements and to understand them in exactly the same way as the customer. Here again, it is important to have frequent feedback loops and to communicate a lot.

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

I use various ways to stay up to date. For example, I still have good contact with former fellow students who are also all active in the automotive sector. The exchange with them is very valuable and interesting. On the other hand, I also like to read tech news like “golem” or “heise”.

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

Well, I think one aspect that sets the automotive industry apart from others is the very long onboarding process. This is due to the large amount of abbreviations and sector-specific terms that newcomers must familiarize themselves with.  Additionally, given the complex nature of automotive systems, understanding how one system works and interacts with other systems is very challenging. Also, it is often not possible to simply ‘google’ issues or problems since you can’t find appropriate answers for your problems on the internet. As a result, it takes time for new colleagues to make meaningful contributions to projects.  Given these factors, it is crucial to keep turnover low in the team and retain both knowledge and talent in the team and the company.

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?

Due to climate crisis, the automotive sector is responsible for reducing their emissions. There is an urgent need for electrification and adoption of greener technologies. We need to think about investing in charging infrastructure to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles.   Another point which is important is autonomous driving. OEMs are currently struggling a bit in advancing beyond Level 3 autonomous driving due to stringent regulations and safety concerns. Proving the safety of autonomous technology is taking a long time and needs extensive simulation and real-world testing. Additionally, issues such as liability in the event of an accident add to the challenge.   Professionals will have to adapt to these fields and acquire skills in sustainable technologies. Regarding autonomous driving, they will need skills in technologies like AI, sensor technology and software-development

What makes intive special?

It’s the team and the working culture. I like working with my colleagues at intive, an open-minded company where help is always available whenever needed.   I really feel as a part of intive and always enjoy all the social events in our company.  Shape the Future of Transportation with intive!  The automotive industry offers a fascinating blend of challenges and opportunities for growth. If you're passionate about innovation and eager to be part of shaping the future of transportation, explore opportunities within our automotive team. Together, let's develop our passion and drive towards a future fueled by creativity.

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