Companies operating in the field of Self-Driving vehicles face a unique set of challenges when it comes to finding qualified talent. First off, the technology itself is in its infancy, so the talent pool of experienced professionals with specific skillsets is limited right from the start. Next, even for those who have the right skills, only so many have hands-on experience with self-driving systems. There simply aren’t that many opportunities to gain this kind of experience. Udacity’s Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program is virtually the only program of its kind to provide this kind of 360 learning experience—one that allows professionals to develop the in-demand skills and gain actual hands-on experience with self-driving systems. That’s why companies like AutonomouStuff are partnering with Udacity to find talent.
Our Hiring Partner: AutonomouStuff
AutonomouStuff is the world’s leader in providing products, software, and engineering services that enable robotics and autonomy. This makes them a natural Hiring Partner for our Self-Driving Car Nanodegree Program. Our goal is to empower students to become more than just specialists in a single technology, and our curriculum is designed to instill a holistic understanding of both autonomous systems, and the industry growing around them. This naturally aligns with a company whose core focus is on customer success. As new as the field still is, AutonomouStuff has already established a reputation as the go-to source for the most cutting-edge modular-based automation software solutions, engineering services, perception, computing, GPS and interface components. From the moment we announced AutonomouStuff as a partner, our students have been energized by the opportunities they represent.
As AutonomouStuff grew, their need for new talent grew with them, and this presented some unexpected difficulties the company couldn’t have foreseen: “We are a small company, and we’re growing so quickly. We don’t have time to invest enormous resources into training new hires on something so new and so specific,” says Avery McDonald, Director of Operations and HR for the company, “The biggest challenges are twofold: 1) how to find someone who has experience in the systems of autonomous vehicles, and 2) how to find someone who is creative about how they think of new solutions to new problems.”
Because AutonomouStuff serves a customer base that is focused on building autonomous systems, it was critical they find talent who understood the whole autonomous picture, as opposed to just specializing in a particular facet of the technology. In addition, as an innovative and agile company, they needed people with the ability to think differently, and be willing to experiment. That’s where recruiting from Udacity’s Self-Driving Nanodegree program made perfect sense.
The Nanodegree Difference
Students in the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program master a full suite of relevant technical skills, build real projects focused on solving important autonomous vehicle challenges, and emerge from the program uniquely prepared to step into challenging roles in the field. Step one for a new graduate is to review our Hiring Partner jobs board. Here, graduates can review open roles, and submit themselves as candidates for consideration to those they are suited for. We route candidate profiles to the appropriate recruiter at a given hiring partner company, and they then select those candidates they wish to connect with directly.
In the case of AutonmouStuff, they interviewed four Udacity graduates, who were part of a larger pool of nine. AutonomouStuff brought two candidates on-site, and ultimately hired a Udacity graduate for the role of Validation Engineer.
So, at the end of the day, what stood out about the Udacity candidates?
The candidates AutonomouStuff reviewed had a combination of skills and experience that made them competitive. But what ultimately set the Udacity candidates apart was the exposure they gained to autonomous vehicle systems directly through the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program: “For me, it’s knowing that you’re speaking with someone who has experience thinking within autonomous systems that makes a huge difference.”
This is a considerable differentiator for Udacity students. Because, aside from those who are already working on self-driving cars, a very limited number of people actually have experience with autonomous systems. On the other hand, Udacity’s 7000 Self-Driving Car students are required to complete projects designed to develop and test relevant skillsets, such as building a Extended Kalman Filters in C++ and a Lane Keeping project that requires the student to keep a simulated vehicle in its own lane.
The benefits of partnership
AutonomouStuff needs the best and the brightest to help accelerate the development of world-class autonomous systems. Through our industry-approved, nine-month Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program, Udacity is proud to help meet this demand by upskilling the next generation of engineers who are ready—and most importantly prepared—to hit the ground running.