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Old 8th August 2013, 17:33   #541
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

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Our IT industry which is run by American rowing team model, was sustained by the high margins. That gushing of dollars has reduced to a trickle. Now every IT company large or small has to look inside and see who really deserves their salary. At first I suspect they will fire the rower...
For those who do not know what Samurai is talking about, this is it
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“A Japanese company and a North American company decided to have a canoe race on the St. Lawrence River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The North Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.
A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the North American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. So, North American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.
They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.
To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.
It was called the “Rowing Team Quality First Program”, with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices, and bonuses.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the North American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments in new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year’s racing team was outsourced to India."


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Old 8th August 2013, 17:56   #542
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I wonder how they figured this out. In my personal opinion, 80% of the IT industry is thoroughly overpaid thanks to the high margin that was prevalent in this industry.

The IT industry is full of American type managers described in this story.
Completely!

For me having come into IT from a thoroughly non-IT background and having a close friends circle who all work outside of the IT industry, at the risk of generalizing, I do find that a lot of people in IT keep thinking that they are under-paid (compared to their class-mates who joined another company or someone from their team who left and got a big salary hike etc. etc.).
I personally believe that IT salaries in Mumbai (which is the only IT perspective I have) are pretty good compared to average salaries in a lot of other industry areas and I have heard that IT salaries in IT hot-beds like Hyderabad, Bangalore and now Pune are higher than in Mumbai.

I realized that all through my life, there will always be someone I know who earns much better than me (for various valid reasons). If you keep comparing income, then folks will never be happy until they reach Warren Buffet's net worth -and there's a reason why there's only 1 Warren Buffet.

BTW, nice story Samurai. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 8th August 2013, 18:11   #543
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

I've been following this thread very closely having been a part of the IT industry for a very long time at a pretty senior level. I completely concur with Samurai's views on the state of technical education in this country.

Some of my experiences with campus placements interviews were eye openers. I blame the system, not the students (or the hapless parents) for the large number of graduates that turn out to be literally unemployable.

And yes that American type manager story hits the nail on the head. Very prevalent in large American tech companies but Indian IT companies are getting there.

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Old 8th August 2013, 20:25   #544
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And yes that American type manager story hits the nail on the head. Very prevalent in large American tech companies but Indian IT companies are getting there.
I bear the brunt of the American manager in my present job. The hierarchy in the organization gives zilch value to the foundation of the "food" chain - the actual engineer. The number of people to supervise, manage and pick up fights sometimes outnumber the real developers. No, I am not talking about IT. This is common across any engineering concern - computer, electronics, mechanical, auto, avionics - anything.
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Old 9th August 2013, 01:05   #545
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This thread often depresses me, because we have nothing positive to share on this topic. Not even "It will get better", because it isn't. So let me share an old story that was positive.

In the year 1989, many useful things happened to me. I learnt my first programming language (8085 assembly), followed by C language. I also started my final year BE project at Karnataka Telecom Limited. They were in-charge of assembling and testing telephony circuits designed by C-DOT. This was the time when India was moving from analog exchange to digital exchange. We were asked to create a 8085 microprocessor driven test jig to verify E1 circuit boards.

Since we knew nothing about E1, we asked the department manager to teach us. Despite her responsibilities for assembling and testing the E1 board, she didn't have the confidence to teach us, so she kept evading it. Finally, she told us to contact the company that provides the professional test jigs for KTL. That company was Measurement & Control, at Electronic City. Then E-City was a village far away from Bangalore, we had to take a red KSRTC bus to reach there. A desolate place with no shops or hotels, except for a dhaba in front of the E-City gate.

Anyway, my team of four landed at Measurement & Control (M&C), and met the top boss there. I don't remember his name anymore, but I remember thinking he looked like Prannoy Roy. He was very irritated to meet us. He knew we were clueless, and didn't want to waste his time on us. I guess we were no different than the typical BE students of today. Since he couldn't yell at the KTL manager, he vented at us, telling how clueless we were and how we won't understand anything even if he tries to teach.

At that point, he struck a nerve in me and I gave it back, saying how are we to learn if everybody refuses to teach. I don't recall the exact words we exchanged, but he finally relented to train us. He asked his main engineer Sunder to teach us about E1 and become our unofficial guide. The official guide was the KTL lady who never taught or guided us. Over the next one year we made 30+ trips to M&C, designed circuits, wrote 8085 programs, learned to burn the firmware to the EEPROM, etc.

In one of the trips I asked Sunder where he did his BE. He said he wasn't a graduate. He was from Nettur Technical Training Foundation (NTTF), which was not really college, but like a vocational college. I guess it is a proper college now, but it was something else then, I don't really recall. I hadn't even heard of that place until then. But they were producing people who could do real engineering. And M&C was full of NTTF people. These guys were designing circuits from scratch, and producing equipment to test complex telephony boards. And their circuits were more complicated than the boards they were testing, in order to measure and generate report. Their electronics knowledge in both theory and practice was far far far superior compared to our professors at college. And none of them were graduates. I think I can safely say that NTTF produced real engineers, even though they didn't have a degree.
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Old 9th August 2013, 10:09   #546
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

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This thread often depresses me, because we have nothing positive to share on this topic. Not even "It will get better", because it isn't. So let me share an old story that was positive...

I think I can safely say that NTTF produced real engineers, even though they didn't have a degree.
Some of my colleagues are from NTTF. Must say that they are good. The legacy is still maintained
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Old 9th August 2013, 15:08   #547
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

NTTF still has the same hold in churning out highly "practical" knowledge oriented & very well informed graduates in mechanical services based industry as well. Their simplicity in explaining the technical attributes and basics understanding is quite impressive compared to the overrated BE crowd in quite a few cases.

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Old 11th August 2013, 22:29   #548
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For me having come into IT from a thoroughly non-IT background and having a close friends circle who all work outside of the IT industry, at the risk of generalizing, I do find that a lot of people in IT keep thinking that they are under-paid (compared to their class-mates who joined another company or someone from their team who left and got a big salary hike etc. etc.).
I personally believe that IT salaries in Mumbai (which is the only IT perspective I have) are pretty good compared to average salaries in a lot of other industry areas and I have heard that IT salaries in IT hot-beds like Hyderabad, Bangalore and now Pune are higher than in Mumbai.
I'm an IT guy, certainly not the creme-de-la-creme. I had a friend who left IT few years ago, to join media - and when I asked about the salary hit, he said he was getting paid even more. Watching news articles and investment advice for various employees of several sectors, I don't think IT is overpaid. Almost all others have caught up and exceeded IT payscales. As per Times of India , a factory worker with experience ( how much not specified, but assume 4-5 years ) in Hero Motors, gets paid INR 45000 a month. That is certainly not bad for a blue collar payscale.

Now way have Pune/Bangalore overtaken Mumbai. I keep reading, even here on Tbhp that average IT worker's salary is 1.5-2 times years of experience , excluding the very highly skilled or niche technologies. By that scale, I am surely underpaid. But even then, companies still want to negotiate on salary.

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I bear the brunt of the American manager in my present job. The hierarchy in the organization gives zilch value to the foundation of the "food" chain - the actual engineer. The number of people to supervise, manage and pick up fights sometimes outnumber the real developers. No, I am not talking about IT. This is common across any engineering concern - computer, electronics, mechanical, auto, avionics - anything.
I concur. I used to think this phenomenon was typically American, and Europe/British firms would be better. My friend works in the UK, and what he says paints British management equally inept and American. There used to be several articles in Indian news about the corporate world discovering Indian management talent couple of years ago, naming Arun Mittal, Indira Nooyi and others. I think they mistook Indian's cost-cutting with immediate results at the expense of long term disaster for better management. I think the worst is yet to come, and by then, these much fabled managers will have cashed in and left, while those who inherit the mess while unravel just how deep the mess became.

PS : you must be a Dilbert fan !

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NTTF still has the same hold in churning out highly "practical" knowledge oriented & very well informed graduates in mechanical services based industry as well. Their simplicity in explaining the technical attributes and basics understanding is quite impressive compared to the overrated BE crowd in quite a few cases.
Must be why I never heard of it !
I read an article regarding aviation development. It summarized the piece as , back in 1960s , aircraft went from first drawing board to first flight to production in 5-8 years, using only brains , pen , paper and geometry tools and slide rules. Now in the 1990s-2000s, even with computers and CAD/CAM and other tech , aircraft take 15+ years to get to serial production. No doubt, electronics have got more complex, but for all the progress the projects go into cost and time overruns ( F-35 , F-22 , F/A-18 Superhornet ) and still under-deliver. Compared to that, the SR-71 designed in the 1960s seems like it was designed in the future.

So, it's not just IT, it does seem like it's all over. I routinely find older American citizens lament the decline in practical education/knowledge of younger Americans. Education seems to be getting dumbed down globally. It's going to take a lot of work to climb out of this hole.
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Old 12th August 2013, 09:35   #549
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

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I read an article regarding aviation development. It summarized the piece as , back in 1960s , aircraft went from first drawing board to first flight to production in 5-8 years, using only brains , pen , paper and geometry tools and slide rules. Now in the 1990s-2000s, even with computers and CAD/CAM and other tech , aircraft take 15+ years to get to serial production. No doubt, electronics have got more complex, but for all the progress the projects go into cost and time overruns ( F-35 , F-22 , F/A-18 Superhornet ) and still under-deliver. Compared to that, the SR-71 designed in the 1960s seems like it was designed in the future.
Very likely. Wat happens nowadays is that with extensive CFD modelling there are far fewer surprises when the prototype is made. The result is that this phase of the development cycle is grossly truncated in terms of both time and cost,
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Old 12th August 2013, 10:59   #550
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

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I'm an IT guy, certainly not the creme-de-la-creme. I had a friend who left IT few years ago, to join media - and when I asked about the salary hit, he said he was getting paid even more. Watching news articles and investment advice for various employees of several sectors, I don't think IT is overpaid.
.
.
Now way have Pune/Bangalore overtaken Mumbai. I keep reading, even here on Tbhp that average IT worker's salary is 1.5-2 times years of experience , excluding the very highly skilled or niche technologies. By that scale, I am surely underpaid.
IT is one field where gauging a employee's worth is extremely difficult. In this, it is very different from other fields.

"A great lathe operator commands several times the wage of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer." - Bill Gates

"90% of the code that gets written in the world is written by 10% of the programmers. The other 90% of the programmers write the remaining 10% of the code" - Robert C Martin

For better understanding of this, check out these links:

http://programmers.stackexchange.com...old-difference

https://www.odesk.com/blog/2009/06/r...-productivity/

Now consider the best and the worst programmer in your team with similar years of experience. The best is probably worth 10, 20 or 50 times more than the worst programmer. Does the best gets 10, 20, 50 times the more than the worst programmer? I doubt he makes even 50% more. Therefore, one underpaid good programmer subsidizes many overpaid bad programmers. Therefore, when an employee multiplies his experience by 1.5-2L and says what he is worth, what does he really mean?

The only people who can gauge the worth of an employee are the ones who know technology and business side of that company. Such people can be found only in small companies. In big companies, technology people never get exposed to business side, and business people never get exposed to technology. No matter how much the former can convince the latter about a candidates worth, the latter will be skeptical. That is because the latter (some MBA type) will value business knowledge over technical knowledge. Now bring in the HR guys who lack both business/technical knowledge, and put them in charge of hiring and fixing remuneration. They will take input from both technical and business side, but will listen more to the latter. And they will bring in their own set of filters like academic marks, age, college, industry standards and what not. Ultimately, nobody really gets what they deserve.

Therefore, if you know you are well above average, stick to smaller companies, where they can gauge your worth lot more accurately. But if you know you are below average, stick to large companies.

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There used to be several articles in Indian news about the corporate world discovering Indian management talent couple of years ago, naming Arun Mittal, Indira Nooyi and others. I think they mistook Indian's cost-cutting with immediate results at the expense of long term disaster for better management. I think the worst is yet to come, and by then, these much fabled managers will have cashed in and left, while those who inherit the mess while unravel just how deep the mess became.
This is terrifyingly true. I don't know about the cases you mentioned, but our business got severely affected once many of our customers brought in Indian procurement managers to save money. These managers prefer cheap over everything else. Say we are selling Honda City, they would ask us to sell it at Tata Indigo price, saying both are mid size sedans. Since their incentives are based on the money they save, they would be relentless in searching for cheaper vendor without worrying about quality. Later it costs their companies 2-3 times more to do damage control due to bad software.
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Old 12th August 2013, 13:36   #551
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I am sorry to say that this thread is turning towards cynicism and deviated from the central theme of employability. Not to say employability by whom was always left undefined to begin with

Since I do not want to quote each and every post which I found cynical I am summarizing some important points and my take on them

#1 There is not much of the product development here

My Take : Product development happens in economies where there is some demand for the product. AFAIK there are gazillions of projects being done by Indian IT service companies for local governments / municipalities / hospitals / defence and other enterprises in USA. These IT projects use several products as per specifications set by some government body or industry consortia. So the product development happens there.

Now pray tell me, how many Indian customers barring a few banks and stock exchanges have demanded a new product ? It is not a coincidence that the only Indian products worth a note are in Banking sector and for exchange settlement ( done by FTIL)

MNC captive centres do a lot of product development here, but these products are branded as per the market they are developed for and belong to the country where MNC has HQ.

So do not harp about lack of product development if you are really concerned about products demand better services and IT interface from enterprises. Moment you will dump a service provider for unusable IT interface they will be forced to look for a product that can fill the gap.


#1 IT guys were paid too much due to $ conversion rate and there was not much of value addition done by these guys.

My Take:
Macro-economics of IT workers wages is orthogonal to employability of Indian technical graduates but still since the point is raised
Wages are driven by market and function of demand and supply like anything else . Historically always goldsmiths were paid more then blacksmiths. Why exactly this discussion is restricted to IT workers alone ?
Do you ever question the real intrinsic value of any commodity which is seeing spiralling prices such as price of real estate.

Surely there was and still there is some consumer surplus in using Indian workforce and that is the reason why companies such as IBM Global services has close to 1 lakh employees in India today. May be this consumer surplus is shrinking due to rising costs but costs are not driven by wages alone. While falling rupee helps to increase the arbitrage value it also fuels inflation of local goods and services and puts pressure on input costs.

#2 Good programmer versus bad programmer argument.

My Answer : Why does any one believe that IT worker is equivalent to a programmer in any country ? And what makes you think that ratio of bad programmer to good programmer is any better in any other economy such as USA, UK, Germany or Japan ?
I have great fortune of coming across absolute morons in these countries who can not solve small issues.

In 21st century most business software jobs are actually customization jobs and require more of domain knowledge rather then programming knowledge.

Programmers are still required in OS development , Graphics , protocols etc and you can still find good programmers in these areas.

#3 Harping about American management techniques.

Well this in no way is related to the thread topic but I would like to say probably you have not faced misfortune of working with Japanese management in software / IT field .
It is OK to crack jokes but seriously there is a reason why Japanese could not come up with a single decent software product the culture is too authoritarian and managers attitude towards "subordinates" is too patronising.
Which does not bode well in an industry where free thinking is required.

Last edited by amitk26 : 12th August 2013 at 13:42.
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Old 12th August 2013, 15:48   #552
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MNC captive centres do a lot of product development here, but these products are branded as per the market they are developed for and belong to the country where MNC has HQ.
I run one such product development center, which is why employability of technical graduates is important to me.

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Historically always goldsmiths were paid more then blacksmiths. Why exactly this discussion is restricted to IT workers alone ?
I was actually referring to bad goldsmiths, when I brought up the issue of overpayment. Wasn't comparing with other fields. Eventhough 20% of goldsmiths are doing all the work, remaining 80% also get paid on-par with them, despite their lack of skill.

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#2 Good programmer versus bad programmer argument.

My Answer : Why does any one believe that IT worker is equivalent to a programmer in any country ? And what makes you think that ratio of bad programmer to good programmer is any better in any other economy such as USA, UK, Germany or Japan ?
I wasn't picking any country. In fact, I was quoting Bill Gates.


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#3 Harping about American management techniques.

Well this in no way is related to the thread topic but I would like to say probably you have not faced misfortune of working with Japanese management in software / IT field .
I do know working for Japanese is lot more stressful than working for Americans. I had colleagues in HP who were handling Japanese clients. You seem to be missing the moral of the story. This isn't about Japanese or American, you can swap the countries or change them if you like. Call them X and Y if you want. That story is a well known parable in the industry and I don't know who picked the countries. Don't focus on the countries and miss the forest for the trees.

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It is OK to crack jokes but seriously there is a reason why Japanese could not come up with a single decent software product the culture is too authoritarian and managers attitude towards "subordinates" is too patronising.
Which does not bode well in an industry where free thinking is required.
Fully agree with that.
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Old 12th August 2013, 23:01   #553
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@amitk26 - point noted ! It is a little off topic, but nevertheless related since the management is the same students who go on to bigger roles later in their lives.

@Samurai - the matter with finding my own competence is that I have been in a solitary role/profile so far, most of the time. I did have a junior who I coached in order to take on my responsibilities, and I did serve under a senior, who by account of my manager , I did a better job than. However I lack the means to benchmark my own abilities against someone in similar role since I've the only one in that role most of the time.

I have given serious thought to joining a startup purely to learn things an established setup wouldn't confer, one that a fellow BHPian is behind, but I haven't heard from him for a while, was travelling and said he'll update when he's back in town. That said, I haven't any family/ancestral riches to inherit/fall back on , so it seems prudent to stick to better paying jobs and upgrade my skills within those walls.

Over the years, I found that most companies don't want to spend on training, despite the complaints from managers that graduates have little real world knowledge/skill. If universities don't provide them with talent, why not develop their own ? Infosys does have training program for freshers, but I think that's hardly any different from college classroom lessons.

They want people who are already experts (be they fresh out of college or experienced pros) who won't make mistakes, ready-made solutions, rather than create an environment where one may join knowing nothing but emerge years later with more complete perspective. Today sysadmins are trained to so x things - take backups, configure networks, create users etc. but know little beyond the regular tasks; whereas sysadmins used to be the last word on any question related to their OS.

I left my first organization with a statement on the whiteboard of my cubicle:
Trees and techies cannot be grown overnight.
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Old 13th August 2013, 12:03   #554
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... Over the years, I found that most companies don't want to spend on training, despite the complaints from managers that graduates have little real world knowledge/skill. If universities don't provide them with talent, why not develop their own ? ...
I see a bit of mixed up expression here - probably what you wanted to say didn't come out.

1. Real world knowledge / skill doesn't come from training. It comes from doing. And there lies the conundrum: whether to do and learn, or get trained and do. Most lean towards the latter part.

2. No amount or quality of training will produce real world skills - "one can take a horse to water, but not make it drink"!

3. Universities are *not meant* to provide talent. Not even knowledge - that students are supposed to acquire themselves. Universities, as opposed to schools, are meant to teach people "how to teach yourself". That fact is lost on everyone who expect knowledge from something that you can swallow with water

4. All white collar jobs are given with the understanding that the person will use his intellect - without having to be explicitly told how to. Training is given *always* to impart processes and standards

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... They want people who are already experts (be they fresh out of college or experienced pros) who won't make mistakes, ready-made solutions, ...
While true in some parts of some organizations (singular reason: driven by bad individuals, who shouldn't have been there in the first place ), that would be a really cynical way of looking at it

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... Trees and techies cannot be grown overnight.
Very nicely put. But ...

Trees grow by themselves, without needing any nurturing. Not even watering or supplemental fertilizers. Only for decorative horticulture do the horticulturists ensure straight vertical growth by applying constraints.

Techies, on the other hand, have got used to expect constant nourishment and coaxing - completely ignoring what they can do themselves, to themselves, for themselves. Aren't they worse than trees, who at least faithfully follow what was genetically ordained? And trees don't even have brains.
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Old 13th August 2013, 17:24   #555
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At the outset, I completely agree that the quality of our graduates is detoriating as fast as our roads during the monsoon.

We are helpess in the latter but not completely in the former, I believe.

Like Samurai and others said, the negatives are too depressing. So, I look forward to a positve outcome from this thread - help address the problem.

Things which I feel we can do:
  • If you meet kiddos (schooling / early college), mentor them to ensure they end up doing what they love.
    If one is not interested in something (forget even loving it), there can never be quality in what they do. Where is there any question of employability then?
  • I cannot agree more with Samurai that the culture in Startups accelerates learning.
    When I meet about-to-pass-out-grads, I advertise the benefits of joining a startup.
    The chances of realizing "Enginnering is not my cup of tea" can come much earlier if more and more graduates join startups early in their career.
    Realize the mistake early, go elsewhere and find peace. Leave the rest alone.
  • Take it up with the HR team, head on. We are so used to keeping quiet and murmuring that sometimes we don't realize how a simple email explaining the problems of the conventional recruitment process and suggesting simple and effective ideas can influence the recruiters to turn around.
    I agree this is may not be taken positively in all,organizations and if it isn't, then they don't deserve us either.

Please add more. Hope to see more solutions from this thread.

Cheers!
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