Dr. Peter Rohrbach is CEO of cellent AG, an IT consulting and systems house. In an interview, he talks about why his company trains and why older employees in IT are also urgently needed.
Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer 2013, Rohrbach was internationally active as Divisional Director, CFO and COO of various companies, including 15 for several years in several international management positions in the Siemens Group. His approach is to promote the well-established IT consulting company headquartered in Stuttgart. cellent benefits from Rohrbach's international experience as CFO and COO of various companies, including the Siemens Group. Customers value his pragmatic approach and know-how in finance, operations and sales.
How many employees do you employ?
In total, we employ about 530 employees at a total of 11 locations, including 8 in Germany.
And how many are trainees?
We always make up around 25 - 35 young people. On average therefore slightly more than 10 annually. Of which 7-8 is part of a dual company training, the others within the framework of a trainee program. These are usually university graduates from IT-related study subjects.
How many do you assume?
If it were after us, 100 percent. Anyone who wants to stay after a vocational training or a trainee program can do so.
However, we also find that after having completed the first few years of post-training experience, our skilled workers are being recruited - for example, through annual salaries that are higher than we can pay for 10.000 or 20.000 Euro, a salary leap up Of course, the first glance looks attractive.
In fact, such abandonment frightens many companies to invest in education at all. How do you deal with the problem?
Yes, we too realize that the loyalty of the company is decreasing, the labor market is becoming increasingly dynamic. We are trying to offer attractive conditions and build a good image in order to retain employees. Some apprentices also want to study, here we sometimes give something to it.
In addition, we only train at the Aalen location, because here the loyalty of the employees to the region is high and the competition is less than, for example, in Stuttgart or Munich. In our view, there would be no training there at all Sense, the employees would be gone immediately.
Is the creation of training places or trainee programs worthwhile for a company?
Yes, if the employees stay long enough: If specialists are at least three years in the company after their apprenticeship, the costs pay off.
After four to five years, it really paid off for us as a company.
What skills, expertise and training should IT staff bring with them today?
Our trainees have a technical background, so we can use them very soon in projects because of their experience. The trainees are usually younger and usually do not have the corresponding previous experience - so they are slowly introduced to the project assignment.
But what is becoming more and more important are communicative abilities: in the quiet cot alone unworked in front of itself can work in the networked working world of today hardly any. For many IT projects today are agilely developed, keyword Scrum.
This means that all developers at home and abroad, not only the project managers, must constantly communicate with each other and also with the customer. Developers need to understand what the customer wants, the customer needs to understand what the developers are doing. Communicative abilities are also becoming more and more important for developers, as the requirements for IT employees are increasing.
Conversely, the skilled workers are also very demanding: because they know about the rapid technological change, they increasingly want to take on challenging projects in which they can continue their education.
Does it offer opportunities for career adversaries from other areas?
Only conditionally: It depends on the area: The depth of detail for the process and IT understanding in marketing and sales are certainly to be distinguished from the respective specialist areas. Here, business knowledge, understanding of the core business of the company and its customers, a healthy understanding of the people and the ability to think in a structured way are at the forefront.
However, the more application knowledge is required, the more important is a well-founded IT-theoretical background. If, for example, you are familiar with the SAP Basis, you can quickly get involved in SAP HANA. Without this basic background knowledge, however, it is not enough to have read in a book.
Conversely, however, the more knowledge you have, the easier it is to get involved in new developments. This is also urgently needed in the current rapid change.
There is a trend to look for employees abroad - what about you?
We also do this, preferably in Eastern Europe, where there are highly qualified specialists. About 15 percent of our employees come from abroad. However, the German language is often a problem: Many customers, even with large corporations, want to express your wishes in German rather than in English. Do not forget that.
What about older employees in IT? Supposedly you have no chance with 45 anymore ...
This is generally nonsense and as always depends on the level of knowledge. The young people today learn Java and .Net, of which older semesters often have little knowledge.
The younger ones often do not even know what Fortran, Cobol, LISP, are. But in many large companies, Legacy IT systems are based on such programming languages. Especially banks, but also car manufacturers often have this problem.
And these black boxes can hardly wait or support one more. Therefore, often 60-year-olds with such knowledge are highly sought after specialists. In addition, we also specifically hire older IT staff, because their experience is priceless, whether it is project experience, business and methodological know-how or process knowledge.
Which way do you advise young people who want to work in IT because they are always listening to the fact that there is a deficit there?
Even if it is not necessarily pleasant for companies: Many young people first make a company training and then want to study. With this training they get the best of both worlds.
However, those who also enjoy the theory and system architectures should definitely study at a university or college. The chances are good, as developers and IT consultants are being sought in more and more areas today - just think of the growing share of IT in all sorts of areas such as vehicles, power generation and distribution etc.
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