Chairman and CEO of US industrial giant General Electric (GE) Jeffrey Immelt.
Photograph by ERIC PIERMONT AFP — Getty Images
By Madeline Farber
August 5, 2016

If you’re a millennial and want to work for General Electric, be prepared to learn how to code.

“If you are joining the company in your 20s, unlike when I joined, you’re going to learn to code, “GE CEO Jeff Immelt wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday. “It doesn’t matter whether you are in sales, finance or operations. You may not end up being a programmer, but you will know how to code. We are also changing the plumbing inside the company to connect everyone and make the culture change possible. This is existential and we’re committed to this.”

GE is more than 100 years old, but coding is part of Immelt’s plan to adopt a “startup-like mentality” to make products that are more digitally driven.

“We [GE] need to move quickly, take risks, fail fast and behave like a startup to keep winning,” wrote the CEO, who has been chief since 2001. “We have to embrace decentralization and use technology to help our people to stay connected and allow more automated decision-making so you can look at an app and see what’s going on inside the company.”

 

GE employees 300,000 people and is growing. In May, the company announced it will add more than 2,000 new jobs in Saudi Arabia as part of a $1.4 billion investment that is a part of the kingdom’s plan to wean itself off crude oil. If Immelt truly wants to implement a startup mentality within the company, teaching all those new hires to code will be a big job, especially abroad.

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