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Old 7th December 2009, 16:39   #121
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What really bothers me is that they waste that cream. I recall hiring a very creative guy back in 2005, a month later he joined Infosys claiming his parents forced him to do it. They obviously felt his future was more secure in Infosys than in my tiny company. But his parents didn't realise the real truth, their son was already secure because of his brilliant creative mind. By pushing him into Infosys, they probably ensured his mind will be smothered and turned into a drone.
Thats the unfortunate part. The thing is most of the freshers don't really know what they want to do once they are out of college. Even someone very creative may not know what his strengths are if he isn't properly guided.
Majority of people think that all software engineers do same kind of work. So why join some unknown small company when you can join Infosys?
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Old 7th December 2009, 16:56   #122
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My point is that our quality of graduates is falling. There are hundreds of more engineering colleges but even now, you find quality only in the state run IITs and RECs, pvt. BITS and a few other.... India needs to really work on improving quality in education - not to mention Diplomas in lots of allied fields like plumbing, metal works, masonry...IT services is the only source of employment. We need ITIs. There is a major shortage of skilled labour across all fields but this topic is for another thread.

Even in the pvt. engineering colleges, the syllabus is unstructured. My cousins studied in colleges affiliated to JNTU and I was aghast to see the syllabus. They had advanced stuff without introduction to basics.

....

Even now, with a smart motivated fresher, it takes almost 4-5 months of classroom/on-the-job training before we see productivity. With not-so-smart or clueless freshers, as I mentioned before, I had fired people after trying to mentor them for > 8 months.

I would say that students/freshers need to put in a lot of hard work with the basics to get good jobs. Most cos. are short of people, willing to train but expect you to be good at the basics - stuff that's in your syllabus in college.

In response to the title of this thread, 'employab...' let me rephrase it to 'trainability of fresh B.Tech grads'. Of course, the requirements vary from cos. that need warm bodies to cos that require people to think and work.
If we look at BSc/MSc freshers, if its compSci, they require > 7-8 months of training and ramp-up period. If non Compsci, they require more tha 1 yr to be truly productive.

If we look at IT services firm (not ITES) If I base my statement on % of students..i.e. ratio of trainable/employable grads to junk, the % will be ~ 10%. Others need at least 1 yr of formal training for them to be achieve basic productivity.
I agree with you have said, but unfortunately following is true


1. there are 5-10% of the students who excel using the same education system

2. there is information overload, expectations are high (by parents, by teachers as well as by industry) on the students

3. we have a tendency to add extra measures when things do not work using one process/method (e.g. stricter checks etc) w/o analysing why yhe current method is not working

4. There is a gap in the what is being taught vs what is needed by the industry, how many of these companies are taking active interest in improving the capabilities of the colleges and teachers.

5. There is Industrial projects as a part of the BE/Diploma, how many of these actually work, completed successfully, how many of these are really useful for the society ?, how many innovations/IPs have been generated in the academic institutions in the country ?

there are more questions

Certainly blaming the students and/or colleges and/or education system is not a solution.

radical changes would create more problems
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Old 7th December 2009, 20:27   #123
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While There are several accomplished educators out there, Bernard Shaw said it best - "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach'
if you follow what was said more than 60 yrs ago, that's what you will get.

As some have pointed it out, apart from the education system, a big flaw lies in the students attitudes themselves. Easy availability of jobs, from 3rd year itself, kills their instincts for survival and learning.
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Old 8th December 2009, 00:09   #124
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Originally Posted by kcnetid View Post
If we look at IT services firm (not ITES) If I base my statement on % of students..i.e. ratio of trainable/employable grads to junk, the % will be ~ 10%. Others need at least 1 yr of formal training for them to be achieve basic productivity.
That's exactly the percentage I came up with in the 2nd post in this thread.

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But what are we doing about it? Most of us, once we've passed out, want nothing further to do with the field. While There are several accomplished educators out there, Bernard Shaw said it best - "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach'

Instead of moaning about the poor quality of graduates now, remember , the quality is poor because of our inaction. If they have to suffer from conformist and idiot lecturers, its because you and I were too busy doing something else. And denying that knowledge/skills, and then mocking them for the lack of it - we have only ourselves to blame.
A system can be only changed from inside, by people who have enough clout, power and political willingness to pull it off. Companies can scream from outside, give us better graduates, but the Universities wouldn't know how and have no incentive to do so.

Back in 2004 when I started building my company in India, I was quite shocked at the quality of C++ being taught in colleges here. When I looked at my brother-in-law's M.Tech syllabus, it was noted that memory allocation (new & delete) was an advanced topic and not covered. I almost fainted.

It is my firm belief that programming can be taught only by practicing programmers, it can't be taught by people who never wrote a real world application. A problem can be solved in many different ways and only an experienced programmer can teach that. But college faculty are paid peanuts compared to even a junior programmer. Therefore, there is very little chance that a college can hire a real world programmer to teach programming. Now you know why college staff can never really teach programming.

Then I had an idea. Since I always liking teaching, I toyed with an idea of offering my services to some colleges as a C++ faculty in my spare time for free. I had ample corporate training experience to quote as teaching experience. However, before calling up colleges with my offer, I started dry-running my idea, just like I do with any of my software design. For the non-IT folks, dry-running is like thinking your chess moves 10-20 moves ahead. If problems are discovered, the moves can be corrected or avoided before making them.

Say I successfully train a class of students in real world C++. What happens in the university exams? They will write real world solutions to problems given in the exam paper. The lecturer evaluating the paper would obviously have no clue and would award zero marks to each and every one of them. The college will throw me out and the students will curse me for spoiling their perfect record.

If you think I am exaggerating, please don't. During my days as TA, I learned some things about how the dark side of the University works. Here is an example. One day a colleague (senior lecturer) came back from his exam evaluation duty in a foul mood. I asked him what happened, and he gave me the following account.

He was at the university for evaluating material science papers. But they didn't have much work for him as they had enough material science evaluators that day. When he was about to turn and leave...

University Clerk (UC): Excuse me, are you free?
Senior Lecturer (SE): Yes, I don't have any work today.
UC: But we do, we have shortage for system programming evaluation.
SE: Er... that's nice. But I am not a system programming lecturer, not even the same department.
UC: That's OK, we have the model answer paper for your convenience. You can compare the answers and score the papers.
SE: What? You seriously expect me to evaluate system programming using a model answer paper?
UC: Yeah, why? what's wrong? We do that whenever there is shortage of lecturers for any subject.
SE: (storms off the room in frustration...)

Then he told me that some other lecturer would have accepted the assignment because you get paid for scoring each paper. That is when I realised why I was scoring low in some of my exam papers where I wrote better circuits using the knowledge acquired by my choice of technical books. The evaluator would compare it with the circuit design in the model answer and award zero without even reading my long explanation. If lecturers knew their subject well enough, what is the need for model answer paper?

When I understood the possible end-result of my teaching-for-charity effort, I backed off. Instead I decided to hire the best trainable candidates and teach them everything from scratch without the fear of university exams.

Who can really start fixing this mess? It has to start at a deemed university with good leadership, there are many of them now. Pay engineering faculty as much as their industry counterparts. With the high fees structure and capitation fees, it shouldn't be that difficult. Make lectureships/professorships available to highly experienced engineers even if they don't have advanced degrees. We all know that a 2 year experienced B.Tech engineer can blow away a fresh M.Tech, when will colleges learn this? If a B.Tech engineer with 10 years experience can become Asst.Prof without extra degree and similar pay scale, I am sure many will be attracted to switch fields. Some will do it for sane hours, some will do it for love of teaching. Right now they can only do it for charity. Make departments to take up real world assignments and execute them with the help of the students. Imagine civil engineering faculty designing real houses, comp.sci faculty designing/developing banking applications, etc...

Only when engineering colleges start doing real engineering work using industry experienced faculty, they can teach real engineering.This might sound like a pipe dream, but you have to start somewhere. Medical/Dental colleges do real medical/dentistry work, the faculty/students actually treat people. Imagine if Medical/Dental colleges manufactured doctors/dentists without real exposure, like they do engineers? Can you even imagine that horror? That horror is a reality in engineering today.
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Old 8th December 2009, 10:38   #125
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Your real world experience reminds me of mine.
I was at the railway station waiting for the train home.
There is this guy, in mid forties, evaluating some papers on the train station. From the look of the papers they looked like mathematics.
He was talking to another guy, and simultaneously marking the papers. Many answers he marked without even looking at them.
Then I guess what he was doing, he was checking the first 5-6 answers, and for the rest of the paper he was giving score based on what the student scored in first 5-6 answers.
So if you get 4/5 right initially you will score 80% even if rest of the paper is junk.

So the system is really hollow, and punishes people who are creative. The only place where I have seen extra marks given for creativity is IIT. But I do not know whether thats an aberration or the norm.
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Old 8th December 2009, 11:48   #126
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Who can really start fixing this mess? It has to start at a deemed university with good leadership, there are many of them now. Pay engineering faculty as much as their industry counterparts. With the high fees structure and capitation fees, it shouldn't be that difficult.
Its indeed a great solution. But we need to ensure 2 things -
1. Needy students get financial help. (assuming these students will get better offers)
2. Colleges are producing engineers as per demand. For many jobs which Btechs are doing today, 4 yr degree is waste of time.

In TODAYs scenario, some amount of charity (sense of duty ?) will be required, by experienced professionals. May be not as part of regular syllabus, but something additional. I think we need not worry whether anyone is ready to take extra "burden"; bright students will always pick up.
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Old 8th December 2009, 11:53   #127
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@ samurai, I know exactly what you're talking about. The first paper i flunked in college was because i drew a practical op amp based circuit(one which I'd built at home to test, since two books gave conflicting circuits diagrams, and i needed to be sure about my understanding of op amps) instead of the prescribed textbook one.
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Only when engineering colleges start doing real engineering work using industry experienced faculty, they can teach real engineering.This might sound like a pipe dream, but you have to start somewhere. Medical/Dental colleges do real medical/dentistry work, the faculty/students actually treat people. Imagine if Medical/Dental colleges manufactured doctors/dentists without real exposure, like they do engineers? Can you even imagine that horror? That horror is a reality in engineering today.
So true.
I was once shown a TO3 case to identify during lab viva. I had seen the damn thing from away, and my friends who had taken the viva got away with claiming it as a power transistor. When I saw it, i noticed that the device markings had been rubbed off over the years. I said it was a T03 case, but I couldnt say with certainty what it was. Might be a Power transistor, might be a power IC , but I couldn't be sure, since the markings could not be read. The external examiner asked me to brush up on my studies -This was apparently a power transistor, and nothing else. I didn't want to pick a fight, and left quietly.

After the lab, my internal told me that if I had not been so stubborn, and answered that it was a power transistor like everyone else, I would not have lost marks for that.


And then there was this lecturer who failed an entire class because we wrote assembly using the intel 8086 instruction set ( well, that was what was there in the syllabus). And apparently at the university where she had learnt, they had taught using the Motorola 6800 instruction set. Pointing out to the sylllabus etc were of no help. She would teach only according to her textbook.

When we complained to our HOD, he said that this particular lecturer was given a job as per orders from 'much higher above' , and they could do nothing about it.

Last edited by greenhorn : 8th December 2009 at 12:05.
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Old 8th December 2009, 12:23   #128
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Samurai and Greenhorn reading your accounts of engineering education ( In the states where maximum number of engg. colleges are) I can only say situation was much better up north in the days I studied that is in late 90s.

Now a days it should be same situation because states in the North around 2001 -2002 recognized potential "revanue" outflow to Maharashtra , KA and TN and allowed private engineering colleges on 50-50 formula and there are now more engg. colleges then Arts , Commerce and Science put together IMHO

But there was another problem in those days your lecturer and evaluator will be one same person and you were required to be always in the good books .
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Old 8th December 2009, 12:37   #129
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Samurai and Greenhorn reading your accounts of engineering education ( In the states where maximum number of engg. colleges are) I can only say situation was much better up north in the days I studied that is in late 90s.
Realise that there is 15 years difference between my experience and greenhorn's, may be even different states. So nothing really has changed.

Unlike IITians, we succeeded despite our engineering education.

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But there was another problem in those days your lecturer and evaluator will be one same person and you were required to be always in the good books .
In the times of big universities, that was never the case. The syllabus selection, teaching and evaluations were done by different people. However, in the current days of deemed Universities, all three of them could be the same. That is a very alarming situation. You can score high just by mugging up the notes given by your lecturer. I have even heard that the lecturer gives 10 questions before hand saying 6 out of them will be on the exam paper. That means one never has to read the full syllabus, just mug-up the answers for those questions and you can get a distinction. Knowledge be damned.
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Old 8th December 2009, 16:45   #130
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The Indian education system is geared to-wards teaching you bunch of things. They don't worry about making you a thinker, innovator, creator, inventor, etc. Also, the system is geared to-wards making nerds with no concept of building all-round personality.
....

Moral of the Story: If you are creative, and want to pursue that interest, you can succeed despite your Indian education and IT industry. Just don't let them stop you.
Your story is inspiring me to think differently. Got out of college around 3 years back, and work in a law firm..have been killing myself since then in the drudgery that is corporate/finance law/practice. Its got its highs (some first of its kind structure/largest deal of the year), but I wonder if they are all one should aim for. One conveniently forgets endless 4 a.m.s when you are again the last person of 150 associates to leave office, correcting comma's and language in documents which just reflect what has already been agreed commercially. Essentially you are a glorified record keeper. No wonder lawyer's are a bunch who crib the most about their job.

Planning to leave this job, sell my car, spend a couple of months travelling the himalayas on a bike..and to do some thinking. I did not realize it, but know my plan parallels one of my favourite books- zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Hopefully I realize by the end of it that corporate law money is not only thing in life..doing something which you enjoy is more important. If it requires, plan to take up some short term interships/research positions with Ministry of Finance/Commerce till I finally form a good idea about what I want to do and what I need to do, so that finally when I get down to it, there should be no regrets.

Sorry went but I have been thinking on these lines for some time, and felt like sharing.
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Old 10th January 2010, 00:54   #131
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Tonight I saw the movie 3 Idiots... I was almost in tears. Finally a movie maker tells the real story of what really happens in most engineering college in the country. I hope it will lead to some changes in the education system. I am probably dreaming.

Not surprisingly, the moral of the movie was same as I had mentioned before.
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Moral of the Story: If you are creative, and want to pursue that interest, you can succeed despite your Indian education and IT industry. Just don't let them stop you.
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Old 19th January 2010, 02:15   #132
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Every company complains about employability of graduates, but what do they do to counter it ? If you want mangoes today, you ought to have planted the mango seed few years ago and watered the sapling/plant into becoming a fruitful tree . How many companies do that ? All I see is people looking out for ready-made experts out of the box , none really willing to spare some effort into molding those they have into experts .

I usually get the denials attributed to cost-cutting , but cost-cutting at what cost ? I read a report that India ranked 44th in IT competitiveness. If you add up US , Canada , Aus , NZ , and all of Europe , do you get 43 countries ? I think not , which would mean India's competitiveness is still long way off . It bothers me that our clients are more well-versed in their skills than we are , yet our managers couldn't be bothered as long the project is making money and their KRAs are achieved, who gives a damn if a youngster fresh out of college isn't really learning anything useful in 2 years because the management saw it fit to get repetitive tasks done without opportunity to learn , without any intention to change the status quo . Managements don't seem to care that once inflation raises the salaries close to what an IT guy in Europe/US would make , that day Indian IT will be doomed because no one bothered to develop an employee base with strong skills and knowledge , just code monkeys to get the job done within the rules/SLA stipulated by the client , no more . Whereas the European IT employee is a geek , he may know just a few things , but know them very well , not like ours who are handed any task because the manager finds his timesheet shows unused hours and not because it's in his skill set .

My experience in IT taught me what I put in a quote like : Trees and techies cannot be grown overnight
And that's the quote I left at my desk when I left the same to try my hand elsewhere .

Last edited by Ricci : 19th January 2010 at 02:24. Reason: spelling and added some sentences
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Old 29th June 2011, 12:36   #133
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Today I experienced something I had to share here, and I saw this.

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Every company complains about employability of graduates, but what do they do to counter it ? If you want mangoes today, you ought to have planted the mango seed few years ago and watered the sapling/plant into becoming a fruitful tree . How many companies do that?
Next you will ask the companies to do parenting too.

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All I see is people looking out for ready-made experts out of the box , none really willing to spare some effort into molding those they have into experts.
No, employers are looking for good raw materials. What colleges give us are spoiled raw materials which the companies try to repair.

It is hiring season again. I just came out of a presentation given by a first class Comp.Sci Engineering graduate of 2011. It was about technologies of 20th century. Some of the points:

Candidate said 20th century lasted from 1990 to 2000, and yes, century has only 10 years in it. When it was pointed out that the cricket century has 100 runs, the candidate quickly corrected herself and changed the century to 100 years. Now she revised the 20th century to have ended in 2009, and 21th century started in 2010. That obviously makes Vista, Win7 to a 20th century technologies. ATM too was discovered (not invented) during 20th century. When I wondered who was the Vasco da gama of ATM, she didn't know. BTW, Microsoft would be glad to know they discovered Android, probably in some cave. And C/C++ doesn't work in Vista/Win7, you need newer languages like WinTel for that, yup that's a language if you didn't know.

It became too difficult to keep a straight face after that for me, I had to call for the end of the presentation and sent her off, after that all burst into laughter.

PS: BTW, last year I had a candidate who claimed century was 20 years and 20th century lasted from 1980 to 2000.

Last edited by Samurai : 29th June 2011 at 12:39.
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Old 29th June 2011, 13:29   #134
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BTW, Microsoft would be glad to know they discovered Android, probably in some cave. And C/C++ doesn't work in Vista/Win7, you need newer languages like WinTel for that, yup that's a language if you didn't know.
....
I had a candidate who claimed century was 20 years and 20th century lasted from 1980 to 2000.
WOW.. how do you keep discovering such gems?
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Old 29th June 2011, 14:54   #135
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I have worked my way through the entire thread, so here I go. I will say that about 85% or so of Engineering Graduates in India are unfit for employment. This was stated in a seminar about six years ago in Bangalore by the top honchos of firms like Intel, IBM, and the like. There were some top chaps from the education admin present as well. What I can figure out and remember is

1. Unmatched Skill Set: The curricula are often totally obsolete. So the student does not learn what is needed today. It is true across the board, take management, sarkari institutions like Bajaj and FMS, Delhi were falling behind for the same reason. They were not just dynamic enough.

2. Poor Faculty: In many institutions (at least in the North) the bulk of the faculty are either retirees (by and large disinterested) or freshers, often their own graduates.

3. Substandard Raw material: A lot of students are just not 'having the marbles'. Remember seats are going vacant, and the cut offs in the SEATs are near zero.

4. Soft Examinations: As was stated by a top chap it is impossible for state universities to tighten up on the examinations. The small college chap pleadss, that as it stands he has a problem filling up his seats, and if a large fraction fail, then he is in even more trouble.

5. Poor Infrastructure: Most smaller colleges have an apology of lab facilities. This coupled with low quality faculty leads to a total resistance to any up-gradation of syllabi or changes of any sort. So the better colleges are stuck.

I was shocked when before the panel discussion, I was approached by some edupreneaur (education - businessman). It took me some time to figure out that he wanted me the help him organize formal bridge courses for graduates to make them suitable for industry,.
Solution:
The Chinese way: Make all colleges autonomous with their own syllabi and degree. The market place will decide, who sinks and who swims.

Clamp down: Get tough with examinations. Not politically feasible in my view.

Permit Education to be profit making: This may drive a lot of fly by night operators out. Does anybody believe that all the chaps clamouring to open colleges are doing it only for charity?

Shut down organisations like AICTE. Only have have an accreditation body to bring some order out of chaos.

Maybe now that Engineering seats have started going abegging some order will emerge. I remember about a decade ago there was a UR Committee on the need for Engineers. His conclusion- Availability: 460,000pa, Demand: 49,000pa. So a lot of places are hiring engineers, even though they really do not need them.
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