If you’re an electronic engineering student entering your final semesters of college, you’re probably carefully thinking about your future and crafting your actions based on where you want to be in life. Which niche should you go into? How can you put your skills into practice? How do I apply for a job? Surprisingly, there may be more in store for your future in this field than you initially thought.

An Expanding Job Market for Luxury Cars

With luxury car sales starting to outpace regular car sales, the luxury car industry needs to keep up with demand by hiring more talent. Take for example, United Kingdom’s Jaguar Land Rover. Recently, the company made an announcement saying they’re looking to recruit 1,000 engineers in the next year.

A Change in Job Applications

However, what’s significant to note about JLR is their entirely digital, albeit strange, strategy for recruitment. The automaker is teaming up with English virtual band Gorillaz to appeal to younger and more technology savvy candidates. For candidates to apply, they will need to download the Gorillaz app onto their phones. From there, candidates will face several game-like challenges within the mixed reality app. Some challenges test code abilities through breaking puzzles and others encourage applications to digitally assemble concept cars. Those who are successful with these challenges will be on the fast-track to earning their spot at JLR.

According to JLR, this method of job applications is seen as a way to address the skills gap in the electronic engineering sector because talented individuals will not be looked at based on how many years of real-word experience they have under their belt, but more so how well they do on these virtual challenges. “As the automotive industry transforms over the next decade, fuelled by software innovation, we have to attract the best talent and that requires a radical rethink of how we recruit,” said Alex Heslop, head of electrical engineering at JLR.

Addressing the Skills Gap

Speaking of addressing the skills gap, the University of Nottingham plans to roll out new undergraduate and graduate courses this fall specifically aimed to combat the skills gap issue in electronic engineering. In addition, a new apprenticeship program for students on the electronic engineering track will be in place, which will allow students to evenly split their time between study at the university as well as employment.

“This focus will ensure that students get three to four years of industry experience before they’ve even graduated,” said Professor Neil Mansfield, head of engineering at Nottingham’s School of Science and Technology. Instead of students spending four years learning the theory of electronic engineering before applying it to the real world, they simultaneously learn about the skills in the classroom, then immediately put it into practice in the real world.