Article by: Anonymous
The success of Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro, and TCS in the late 1990s and early 2000s created a huge demand for software engineers and other IT personnel in India.
Indian engineers are highly sought after by the world’s biggest technology companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and IBM, to name just a few. Indeed, the current CEOs of Microsoft and Alphabet – Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai – are products of Indian engineering colleges.
According to the education department, India has as many as 6,214 engineering colleges with 2.9 million students. Over 1.5 million engineers graduate every year and enter the job market.
However, there is a crisis in the making, if one goes by a report by a New Delhi-based employment solutions firm, Aspiring Minds. This report, based on a survey of 150,000 engineering students in India conducted in 2016, found that only 7% of the nation’s engineering graduates are suitable for core engineering jobs.
While 97% of graduating engineers that participated in the survey indicated that they wanted jobs in either software engineering or core engineering, only 3% had the necessary skills to be hired as software developers and just 7% were found capable of handling core engineering projects.
Just 18.43% of the engineers were found fit to be employed in the IT industry in any role. 27% of engineers were unable to even qualify for an interview. Only 3.84% engineers were found suitable for jobs in tech startups.
There are many reasons for this. One can blame the dismal quality of higher education in India. The country’s lacking education system starts with the fact that the course contents are outdated and don’t focus on areas that are currently in demand.
For example, there isn’t much coverage for mobile computing in the curriculum for computer engineering students. The quality of the education and the skills that are learned by students do not match the expectations of recruiting companies.
Another major problem is the severe shortage of quality teachers in India. There just aren’t enough qualified instructors in the engineering colleges. The faculty in engineering colleges is by and large comprised of those who fail to find a job in any of the top companies in India and abroad and end up settling for a teaching job – so they do not inspire much confidence and suffer from a severe lack of motivation.
Lack of innovation and research is another problem. As education minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Why do we lack innovation in India? The reason is we do not allow questioning. We do not promote inquisitiveness. If a child asks questions in school, he is asked to sit down. The practice of stifling inquisitiveness should not go on. We need to promote inquisitiveness; children should ask questions."
There is a severe lack of skill-based education in India. Most engineering students do not get enough hands-on training and have little understanding of the underlying concepts. They lack English speaking skills, client-handling skills, and suffer from insufficient knowledge of their respective domains.
The government of India does recognize this and initiatives such as Start-up India and Make in India are directed at boosting the employment prospects of engineers. However, transforming the state of the higher education system in India will take years of sustained effort, not just from the government, but also by the colleges, teachers, and students.