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Automakers focus on information technology

Automotive service professionals may soon need to start recruiting computer engineers in addition to vehicle technicians. According to a recent article from The New York Times, automakers are seeking software developers and information technology specialists to work on applications for the next generation of advanced vehicles.

While the hiring of tech specialists is happening everywhere, a high concentration of professionals are finding their way to Detroit to work with manufacturers like General Motors.

"General Motors, newly flush with cash after emerging from bankruptcy, is on a hiring binge, quadrupling its information technology staff and recruiting software developers to create a spate of apps for its 2014 model-year vehicles," the article stated. "While the hiring is taking place across the country, many of the new recruits will be working out of the Detroit area."

High-tech car trend to advance
According to a recent report titled Global Automotive Infotainment Technologies Market 2013 - 2023, the auto infotainment technology market is expected to total more than $31 billion in 2013. This includes everything from information and audio visual entertainment systems for navigation to amusement.

With the increased popularity of smartphones and tablets, consumers are expecting modern vehicles to include similar capabilities. This has led to many in-vehicle infotainment systems mimicking current mobile technology.

However, according to the report, much of this in-vehicle technology fails to match the potential of smartphones and tablets.

"The biggest and most obvious disadvantage of the majority of infotainment systems is they feel dated and underdeveloped compared to modern tablets," a release for the report stated. "These shortcomings are somewhat inherent to automotive infotainment as development times for vehicles are so much longer than for other consumer technology. However, it is also somewhat caused by the automakers' inadequate approach in developing their head-unit infotainment systems."

It's this deficiency that is likely leading to the recent hiring of so many tech professionals by automakers.

Effects on professional service centers
Independent automotive repair facilities are no stranger to the exponential growth of vehicle technology. The reliance on computers in modern vehicles has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and it looks as if the market is on the cusp of another major transformation as manufacturers focus on developing new applications.

This will only increase the need for independent service centers to focus on recruiting employees who are well versed in the changing technology of modern vehicles, as well as continued training for current employees. In order to stay competitive with dealerships who have instant access to this new technology, the role of advanced training is becoming even more essential.