Berlin, Germany – Auticon is a software testing company headquartered in Berlin that is the first of its kind to exclusively recruit employees on the autism spectrum. The company was founded in November 2011, with a 500,000€ grant from the Social Venture Fund.
It was founded by Dirk Muller-Remus, who started out as a project manager in the commercial software development of Siemens. He has also worked at Aastra Technologies and NoraVision AG. He has four children, one of whom has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. His experiences in the IT world, along with the personal responsibilities of raising a child with autism, gave him the idea to start a company that would train individuals on the autism spectrum for employment, while also educating clients regarding ways to maximize the unique talents of these individuals.
Many individuals with autism and Aspergers syndrome exhibit attention to detail and the ability to concentrate on repetitive tasks for long periods of time, which makes many of them uniquely qualified to perform tasks related to software testing. Their challenges lie in the social arena. It can be difficult for someone with autism to present themselves well during a job interview, or to get along with co-workers in an office setting. Auticon seeks offer these individuals an environment that is suitable to their needs, while educating and supporting clients on the strengths they can bring to the job with the right accommodations.
Auticon also employs job coaches, whose function is to act as an intermediary between the employee with autism and the employer. The role of the job coach is to help the individual communicate with supervisors and co-workers, and to guide the staff and management on suitable accommodations that would help the employee be successful. The goal is to help more talented individuals on the autism spectrum use their skills to contribute in meaningful, full-time employment.
Skills offered by Auticon employees include analysis, checking and testing of highly complex systems specification, static code analysis of programs written in C, C++, C# and other languages, specification and modeling of complex work flows, migration of content-management systems, analysis and cleansing of large amounts of data by visual comparison, draft of technical manuals and documentation, and high-quality data -recording and indexing.
Their website describes the company philosophy as follows:
“By drawing on the logical and analytical strengths of our consultants – especially in software testing- we create sustainable employment for people on the autism spectrum. At Auticon consultants are employed on a permanent basis and matched to client’s projects in terms of interest and expertise. We assist our consultants by offering the services of Auticon job coaches. This innovative approach provides our clients with outstanding high-quality work and at the same time grants our consultants stable employment, independence, as well as tailored support when needed.”
Auticon currently has locations in Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, and Frankfort Am Main, and are planning to expand into Hamburg and Stuttgart. Their goal is to provide a template for other companies to help individuals with autism gain stable, suitable employment.
To find out more, visit there website here.
A similar program has been set up by Meticulon in Calgary Canada. CEO Garth Johnson also uses job coaches and seeks employers who need workers in software testing or data management. Read our Autism Daily Newscast report here.