Pictured: John Cormican, General Manager, Jaguar Land Rover Ireland
We spoke to John Cormican, General Manager, Jaguar Land Rover, Ireland, about the cutting-edge work taking place on their Shannon campus and the importance of spreading the word about Ireland’s tech capabilities.
Cormican was instrumental in setting up the Jaguar Land Rover Software Engineering Centre of Excellence in Shannon in 2017. Beginning with a small team, today, they employ up to 300 people on the twelve acre campus.
Your office is a little bit different. Can you tell us about that?
Our campus here includes a garage and laboratory where essentially software meets cars. We have a test platform with teams working on rigs simulating two tonne vehicles. If you take out the body panels of the vehicle, there are a whole load of computers in there and we’re consolidating a lot of those individual functions and features and redesigning the whole vehicle network. We’re currently working on a number of different aspects of software including some automated and assisted driving and parking features.
We also have data scientists and engineers looking at the data of the vehicles which is very powerful in terms of what it can do for us. They can potentially use data to fix problems that might arise as we can evaluate how the car is being driven.
Our teams include cyber security engineers and dev ops experts and we have been tangibly involved in some major critical programmes, for example the New Defender, which was an absolute knockout success.
The Tech industry is going through a turbulent time, how is JLR impacted?
It’s a difficult time for a lot of people. During Covid there was a huge uptake in some tech industries and a lot of companies invested in future growth. Who knows what the future holds but some of them possibly overinvested and there’s a lot of activity now with layoffs.
Here, we’re still hiring and actually have up to 100 positions open right now. The company has worked to reduce its cost base over the last few years. Of course, we’ve also gone through difficult times with a number of crises including Brexit, semi-conductors, CO2 emissions, Covid and, of course, the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
What do employees look for in a company?
It’s a combination of things and I think environment and culture are the most important aspects. A culture where people are respected and can grow and a work life balance is key. Also, speaking personally, the work we’re doing here is really exciting. It’s incredible to work on these cars, they’re full of technology. It’s modern luxury on wheels and to be part of that is incredible.
Any advice for those interested in a tech career?
If you’re starting your journey in college, even if you’re studying law or accounting or business, a lot of universities allow you the chance to do a tech module so you can get a feel for it. I would really advise taking up those opportunities. Also, there is now a wide variety of courses related to tech, it’s not just computer science anymore. There is gaming, immersive software and other non-traditional courses, so there is a huge choice out there.
If you’re at a later stage in your career and you’re in a totally different industry like construction, baking or tourism, for example, you can do a course online which can give you a feel for technology. We’ve had people here in JLR who were in very different careers and made the switch. The career and lifestyle opportunities in tech can be incredible. You potentially could be in demand around the world.
Why is it important to be involved in Tech Nomads?
Well, many people will consider JLR as a car manufacturer and think of mega-tronic type engineering but, here in Shannon, we’re looking at the digital transformation of the company which is a very well established and respected brand and we want to get that message across. We’re part of the tech and digital industry, driving new features and building technology for the future.