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Old 13th May 2016, 15:20   #751
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Default Re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

I think I have an example to sum it up ::

Teacher :: Please let us know the basics of designing a wall with curvature of x degrees.
Student :: Sir, this is out of syllabus.

This actually happened in our engineering college and the student was (considered) a topper.
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Old 13th May 2016, 16:18   #752
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For example, colleges that are affiliated to a government university don't have any say in the syllabus. Even if the college is part of a private deemed university, they are still shackled by the rules of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
In India, it is done by 4 different people. So there is complete disconnect. The syllabus forming committee/person designs the syllabus based on a certain criteria. The lecturers who teach that syllabus have no idea about that criteria. The exam paper setter may neither knows the syllabus criteria nor the teaching technique. And the examiner who grades the paper is neither aware of the criteria nor the teaching method that was applied nor why the question was asked. Frankly, we don't have anything that can be called as pedagogy. In fact, we don't even use that word. I didn't hear the word pedagogy until my graduate studies.

Even if we have a brilliant lecturer who successfully makes her students internalize the concepts of the course, the exam paper setter can ask question suited for memorised answers. If the students who understood the concepts well, write brilliant answers, the examiner would compare it with standard answer and give a big zero. In other words, we have a grid locked technical education system that cannot produce good engineers. Good engineers are mostly self taught or trained later by the industry.

We can't abruptly shift to a new system either. The education industry is full of people who can only survive in the status quo. There are only handful of teachers who can create syllabus, teach, set papers and grade well enough to transfer real knowledge. Because it requires deep practical knowledge of an industry segment. These days most knowledgeable engineers only have bachelors' degree, few have master's degree and very very few have PhDs. According to AICTE rules, most of these won't qualify to teach. Also, industry pays lot more than universities. Therefore, people in the industry who love to teach, can't switch to full time teaching because of lower pay and inadequate educational qualification.

Unless and until AICTE rules for faculty is drastically changed to allow experienced professionals to teach using their own pedagogy, and without getting hobbled by formal qualifications, nothing is going to change.
I'd like to share my observations about your comments.
I studied at one of the best technical institutes in the country. 'Pedagogy' was a word that we were well aware of. Our Professors updated the curriculum every semester and they invited industry professionals to give us a perspective of how what was being taught would be used in a factory. This was true for all our courses, except the ones where programming was involved-there we were given assignments that required us to solve an industry case study based on actual industry data (for example, designing a distillation column for a refinery). Never did we feel out of sync with the outside world. The tragedy was that even in such an environment, many of my batchmates felt the curriculum was irrelevant because they wanted to get into consulting companies, where technical skills are rarely appreciated. Or into finance, where engineering aptitude does not really matter (except the basic mathematics proficiency, which is ensured by the super tough entrance tests). My project guide actually felt sad that so many of the engineering graduates had no interest in the field- this is true for most fields except computer science. Very few people who graduate with a degree in Electronics and electrical communications engineering actually care about how the chips are fabricated or designed. They just want that 'Brand value' out of the college to get into a good company with a managerial profile. Most of them are now doing an MBA at an IIM or in some highly ranked US B.School.
I worked in a manufacturing company implementing six sigma projects for 2 years. There I understood how valuable technical knowledge is. Communication skills help you present well, create good reports and participate in strategic discussions. But the actual ground work has to be done by someone who knows what the mass transfer relationships are in the different sections of the process. Only then can someone analyze the variation, identify root causes and undertake improvement measures. Consultants, even senior ones, are usually good generalists who know nothing about the process and only contribute to a streamlined presentation of the results.
I'm saying this because I came to study at one of the top universities in the world last year. I expected that the curriculum would be drastically different-that is not the case. Subjects are taught in a much more theoretical manner here. Yes, the templates used for the slides are more suave, Professors are more decorated, but the value that a student gets out of the experience is not very different. In fact, I'd say that I enjoyed learning more in my previous experience.
Feedback is something that many Indian colleges are sensitive to. The template that they use is also similar (at least it is for me). It is not that the grass is greener on the other side. It is just that here, students care about engineering. They learn to love what they learn. And very, very few people aspire to go to a consulting company despite the fact that they pay well. People want to develop expertise in a particular domain and then broaden their skill set. In India, our focus is on the immediate gain after a phase of education is complete. We look at education as a qualification and not an experience. This is perhaps because societal pressure to earn well and do that early is very high in India.
While working I also realized how little our HR's understand about the necessity of technical qualifications. Yes, being able to communicate, solve riddles, analyze and present case studies well is important. But good candidates with a PhD or a M.Tech can be good at these things while knowing a bit more about a domain, and yet you hardly find PhDs in corporates outside the R&D departments. I wondered why, and a HR manager once told me that it was because people with a higher education take more time to 'blend in'. I wonder why 'blending in' is important-the priority should be on creating value. Since there are few PhD's in the industry, the possibility of an average PhD teaching with an industrial experience behind him is quite rare.
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Old 14th May 2016, 11:12   #753
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Default Re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

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I'd like to share my observations about your comments.
Very interesting to hear the stories from the other side. Thanks for sharing.

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I studied at one of the best technical institutes in the country. 'Pedagogy' was a word that we were well aware of. Our Professors updated the curriculum every semester and they invited industry professionals to give us a perspective of how what was being taught would be used in a factory. This was true for all our courses, except the ones where programming was involved-there we were given assignments that required us to solve an industry case study based on actual industry data (for example, designing a distillation column for a refinery). Never did we feel out of sync with the outside world.
Wow, I studied in the much maligned Bangalore University in the 80s, when job ADs regularly used to say Bangalore university graduates need not apply. Fortunately, I read Feynman's autobiography in the college library in 86-87, which changed my way of thinking. I started searching book shops and found books on electronics that gave me conceptual understanding. This was important for me as I am incapable of memorizing large volume of text. This is how I could catch lecturers saying wrong things in the class. By 3rd year, some lecturers has figured out my secret. They saw me with books they didn't recognise, borrowed it, browsed it, and then bought their own copies. However, I had to pay the penalty for all this conceptual understanding without memorizing anything. My marks really suffered, and I ended up graduating in 2nd class. Can you imagine my job prospects after graduating 2nd class from the notorious Bangalore University? And to make it worse, Saddam took over Kuwait just as I finished my final year exams and Indian economy faced bankruptcy.

But my habit to seek conceptual understanding truly paid off in my career. I didn't work in electronics after I graduated. However, conceptual understanding is still there. I am able to interview electronics graduates even now, and I am dismayed to notice that fresh graduates know less than what I remember after 26 years.

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The tragedy was that even in such an environment, many of my batchmates felt the curriculum was irrelevant because they wanted to get into consulting companies, where technical skills are rarely appreciated. Or into finance, where engineering aptitude does not really matter (except the basic mathematics proficiency, which is ensured by the super tough entrance tests). My project guide actually felt sad that so many of the engineering graduates had no interest in the field- this is true for most fields except computer science. Very few people who graduate with a degree in Electronics and electrical communications engineering actually care about how the chips are fabricated or designed. They just want that 'Brand value' out of the college to get into a good company with a managerial profile. Most of them are now doing an MBA at an IIM or in some highly ranked US B.School.
It is truly gut-curdling to hear this. Those of us who wanted to be nothing but engineers got bad engineering education. And the majority of IITians who get the right kind of engineering education, couldn't care less about engineering.
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Old 15th May 2016, 18:57   #754
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......
It is truly gut-curdling to hear this.............

..........And the majority of IITians who get the right kind of engineering education, couldn't care less about engineering.
Seen it all first-hand. Of all my IIT-bound class-mates from school, only ONE stuck to his discipline (Statistics and Computing, I believe) because he was really passionate about it. Every single one of the others got an IIM MBA straight after and are investment banking flunkies (or some such) as I type this.

Call it sour grapes, but I see it as them wasting valuable engineering education that could've actually helped someone else who truly cared about it.
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Old 16th May 2016, 18:56   #755
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Default Re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

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They just want that 'Brand value' out of the college to get into a good company with a managerial profile. Most of them are now doing an MBA at an IIM or in some highly ranked US B.School.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
It is truly gut-curdling to hear this. Those of us who wanted to be nothing but engineers got bad engineering education. And the majority of IITians who get the right kind of engineering education, couldn't care less about engineering.
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Seen it all first-hand. Of all my IIT-bound class-mates from school, only ONE stuck to his discipline (Statistics and Computing, I believe) because he was really passionate about it. Every single one of the others got an IIM MBA straight after and are investment banking flunkies (or some such) as I type this.

Call it sour grapes, but I see it as them wasting valuable engineering education that could've actually helped someone else who truly cared about it.
Actually the scene is not really that pathetic.
The amount of technical work and expertise required to carry out that work - which happens in India - is something that even a 12th pass can, if he has interest in the subject. Most of the technology developement (except perhaps in software domain - I am not well versed with it) happens in "Developed countries" - where most of the IIT grads (well at least they used to many years ago) head over to, to obtain their MS and PhDs ... and do some justice to their degrees.

Most people go to IITs not to study Engineering (not many have real identified interests in life by the time they are 17, except earning money and scoring with girls) - but to compete and defeat countless others in getting a stamp of approval.
The same happens at the IIMs.

Stamp of approval of being competitive.

Last edited by alpha1 : 16th May 2016 at 18:58.
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Old 6th July 2016, 11:27   #756
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Recently I saw this news article, and got me some hope. May be they will remove the need for educational qualification and replace it with industry experience. It is really stupid to believe that a PhD holder is a better teacher to engineering undergrads than somebody with industry experience. Yet, this is the current policy.

Just to mention some recent experiences with BE graduates...

1) The candidate had maintained above 90% in 10th an 12th, and near 80% in BE. This is what the engineering colleges would call a brilliant student. However, by sheer accident I ended up asking a strange question. Seeing that the candidate hailed from an unfamiliar part of the town, I asked the general direction to that place from our office. The brilliant candidate totally blanked out. We had to cajole for the next 10 minutes with lot of hints (is there a landmark nearby, is there a major highway nearby, is there a bus-stop nearby) to get an idea about where the candidate lived. This performance was no accident, candidate's project work was a bigger disaster.

The above experience shook me up so much, I asked the same question to next candidate whose home was 4 times further away. He gave a surprised look and then belted out the directions in 15 seconds. What a relief!

2) We demand candidates submit their resume in PDF format to avoid dealing with different word formats. However, some of the aspiring software engineers don't even know how to create a PDF file. They just rename the extension from doc to pdf and upload it!!!

3) We once asked a candidate about the impact of technology on education. This is how it went:

Candidate: There are pros and cons.
Panel: Ok, please describe one pro and one con.
C: Pro is...Now we can communicate with lecturers via Facebook.
P: Huh!
C: Con is...Students install FB and whatsapp on their smartphones and spend too much time on it. So they don't focus on studies, get less marks and then commit suicide.
P: <too dazed to react>

Keep in mind these are not exceptions anymore, they form a significant portion of the candidates we get. And they are from colleges where most teachers have PhDs. And many of these colleges, who can't turn out a decent undergrad, have Phd programs too.
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Old 25th October 2016, 12:20   #757
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Where do the best programmers come from? Not from India. That was no surprise. But I was quite disappointed to find out we are not even in the top 10.

http://www.cio.com/article/3134504/a...ogrammers.html
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Old 25th October 2016, 12:43   #758
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Unless and until AICTE rules for faculty is drastically changed to allow experienced professionals to teach using their own pedagogy, and without getting hobbled by formal qualifications, nothing is going to change.
I doubt that AICTE will allow too much leeway in this matter.
Their bigger concern is probably enforcing a minimum standard and ensuring some degree of consistency, and ensuring that all the commercial institutes out there with idiot lecturers expose their students to at least something useful. Imagine if all those lecturers who join engineering colleges because they couldn't get an IT job were allowed to control the whole process . India does need talent, and this is a good enough model that can scale.

Let good colleges be deemed universities, and let the others stick to the factory model

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Old 7th November 2016, 12:30   #759
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Does anyone here use sites like Hackerrank.com or Codeground.in to give online tests to screen candidates? I have used 30 minute hackerrank tests in a free trial - but I find their paid plans just a little bit expensive. 300$ a month for 15 tests. Are there any other sites which provide functionality similar to hackerrank but are cheaper?
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Old 30th July 2017, 19:35   #760
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There are plenty of folks high up who somehow ended up their by sheer luck, and then decide that their ignorance is superior to your knowledge.
While that is a fact, what is the relevance of that to this thread? This thread is about employability of tech graduates, and not about seniors. Bringing that up is like dragging a red herring in the discussion.

If you want to discuss ignorant seniors, they are are being discussed in the recession thread.

Last edited by Samurai : 30th July 2017 at 19:42.
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