Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA), now called Stellantis post its merger with Groupe PSA, has a dedicated Data Services CoE that is integral to FCA’s growth plans. This horizontal centre of excellence operates with a high degree of autonomy and provides analytics and data science expertise across the various business IT verticals.
The company recently committed $150 million to set up a new Global Digital Hub in Hyderabad, slated to create almost 1,000 cutting-edge technology jobs by the end of 2021. The company will hire in niche technology areas such as AI, connected vehicles and cloud technologies.
“The Data Services CoE is currently working on a wide and exciting portfolio of problem statements. With strong demand for data science and analytics skills at Stellantis, we will continue to recruit actively and scale the CoE,” said Karim Lalani – Director and Head of Global Digital Hub, FCAIT Automotive India, in conversation with Analytics India Magazine.
Through the Data Services CoE, the company aims to build an innovation powerhouse to harness the intelligence enabled by data to create exciting products and services and quickly adapt to customers’ evolving needs. “Our data scientists are already driving innovation in multiple areas, including customer safety, connected mobility and our digital showroom experience,” said Lalani.
At the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre, the company looks for candidates with core technical competencies in data engineering, data analytics or data sciences. However, domain expertise is the key to how they identify and recruit new talent. They look for candidates with a clear understanding of business pain points and the right approach to directly impact the end customer.
In terms of educational background, most of the positions at Stellantis are focused on candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. However, they are also open to those with a Master’s or PhD for more niche roles. They also look for candidates who have graduated from universities that offer specific data science curriculum or have demonstrated their passion for the domain by completing recognised data analytics/ data science certifications.
“A strong understanding of technical concepts, algorithms and data models will certainly enable candidates to dive right in and contribute to the exciting products and services that we are building at our Data Services CoE,” said Lalani.
While educational background certainly provides the right foundation, at ICT India, they prefer candidates who possess the drive to continually learn, collaborate with global teams, passion for driving change and owning the work they deliver. That said, strong quantitative and programming skills are crucial to getting hired.
Being A Data Scientist At Stellantis
An ideal data science candidate at the company should have:
- An ability to understand the big-picture strategy and navigate through the technical complexities at the execution level.
- A mix of business acumen and technical skills.
The ideal candidate should adopt a consultative approach to work and possess strong communication skills to translate technical concepts into simpler terms for our business partners. “We also would like our data scientists to help us understand ‘the art of the possible’ that intelligence enabled by ‘data’ can create in the context of our business,” said Lalani.
Further, the company has a clear career path designed for employees. It believes in providing a continually challenging and rewarding work environment that encourages people to pursue lifelong careers at Stellantis. As data scientists, they can either explore a technical or managerial career path depending on their evolving interests.
“At the same time, we offer a wide range of learning opportunities ranging from technical certifications to higher degree education programs to support the learning goals of our employees,” he stated.
The Stellantis’ Global Digital Hub has a rigorous hiring process. They look for the best technical data science and data engineering experts with strong communication skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. Lalani explained the process:
- The interview process typically spans four weeks, during which the data science candidate is evaluated across various core competencies, including technical, leadership, communication and stakeholder management.
- The first step is a screening process where the HR team assesses the candidate’s resume. Next, the candidate goes through a technical assessment, where he or she is asked to work on real-world data science problem statements.
- A candidate who aces the technical assessment is then invited to final interview discussions with the North American and Indian teams. This discussion provides an opportunity for the candidate to learn more about how the Data Services CoE operates in ICT India.
The interview questions are primarily structured around evaluating candidate capabilities around the following dimensions: interpersonal skills, logical skills, technical skills and fundamental concepts of data analytics and AI/ML. Stellantis put the candidates through an interview process that resembles a “day in the life of a Data Scientist or Data Analytics Engineer”.
To ensure this, they have adopted an Activity Driven Screening Approach. They evaluate problem structuring, technical rigour (reliability, readability, conciseness of the code developed to accomplish task/objective, and scalability), analytical rigour (clarity of approach, methodology and conclusions ), the usefulness of code and more.
The company is looking to collaborate with startups to bring high-quality talent and augment the internal efforts at developing IPs, solutions and accelerators. Hackathons are also a way to attract cutting-edge talent. “We are also looking forward to partnering with universities to train and ramp up talent to address data science efforts at Stellantis,” added Lalani.
Talking about the data science positions, Lalani said they always have new roles opening up and encouraged interested candidates to explore their careers page. Job seekers can also reach out on the Stellantis ICT India Linkedin Page.
Lalani said they face their own set of challenges while recruiting for data analytics and sciences roles. “From a skill and competency perspective, we look at candidates who have the right blend of skills across mathematics, statistics, machine learning, programming and business domain knowledge. Getting this blend is a challenge,” said Lalani.
The company has invested in training platforms to help the talent at Stellantis address any gaps in terms of knowledge, competencies and skillsets. “As there is a sheer shortage of data skillsets, at Stellantis, we take extra efforts to position the cutting edge nature of work we do to attract best in class talent,” he said.
Highlighting some of the hiring mistakes companies make, he said that candidates being hired for data roles need to be moved through the screening and selection funnel much faster due to the high demand for the skillsets. “Competitive Compensation is the key to attract the best in class talent in this space. Involving a cross-functional team of stakeholders is the key to screening and selection of candidates as data sciences/analytics can never be done in silos,” he said.
Lalani said the data offers a large spectrum of possibilities. Therefore, it is imperative to pick a focus area and build deep specialisation to differentiate oneself. “Equip yourself with the right tools programming languages, database management systems, data frameworks, libraries, and data wrangling tools to business intelligence and visualisation software,” he said.