Renaissance in Indian IT Education
Every now and then we come across those studies and reports which find only about 10% of Indian Engineering Graduates to be having employable skills. Those studies not only pointed to the gap in soft skills but also lack of coding and design skills which are generally considered to be the strength of Indian IT Engineers.
It is this gap that the initial training programs of major IT companies try to address. While this model was successful to an extent in the past decade till 2020 or so, past few years have almost seen an explosion in new skills required by the engineers. If we consider the Analytics space, the evolution of Data science and Big Data engineering has brought a plethora of tools & technologies in play. Open source technologies require extensive coding skills with good platform knowledge (mostly Linux). The explosion of tools in this space like the one seen in the image below made this space very daunting.
Engineers are now required to be multi-skilled in the true sense and the constant evolution of technology and its disruptive impacts has ensured that IT engineers are now life long learners and have that rare ability to learn things on the job and implement them.
These skills require a long learning curve of few months to an year. So the traditional methods of KT or shadow trainings or cross trainings are no longer good enough to train engineers on job. While the ‘self-paced courses’ did bring in a great platform for self-motivated engineers to learn and explore things, the outcomes were not so encouraging. Only about 4% of the learners could complete the courses that they had enrolled for.
This led to a massive gap between the demand for skilled engineers and their availability. It is this massive gap that parallel TechEd platforms such as Upgrad , Great Lakes, Simplilearn, Trendy Tech are bridging. They have the platforms to constantly deliver diverse technical courses in a time bound manner and also acquaint the cohort on the skills to get multiple job opportunities.
As a first hand learner from these platforms (i did my Masters in Data Science from Liverpool John Moore’s University in collaboration with Upgrad and PG Diploma in Cloud Computing from Great Lakes and pursuing Big Data from Trendy Tech) i found the following key advantages that these platforms offer,
- The course curriculum is time bound, this is perhaps the biggest advantage. As this ensures, all the learners complete the course that they have enrolled for. The completion percentage of the learners is high as 95% compared to self paced courses which are about 4%.
- The course content reflects the current trend in skills and competence and are in line with Industry.
- The course content is the form of recorded videos and so helps the learners to go through them at the time and place of their convenience. The course content is available for a period of 3 years, so the learners can always come back at a later stage for further revision & refresh.
- The fees charged is economical especially considering the ROI that the candidate can achieve in terms of career transitions.
- The learners are grouped in teams of 3 or 4 which helps the entire learning experience to be in group mode than in solitary isolation and greatly helps learners complete the course on schedule.
- The brand value of some the Institutions such as IIITs, IITs, Great Lakes provide good bragging rights for learners.
- On a weekly basis there are guest sessions by Industry experts who talk on the current trends in the Industry and how the course content can be applied in real life scenarios.
- The commitment of a learner for a period of 12 to 18 months is a great indicator for potential recruiters about the tenacity of the learner and his urge to learn new skills while working a full time job.
- The course curriculum includes an extensive module for interview preparations, resume building, LinkedIn profile augmentation and has a dedicated portal for career transition and Job Alerts.
- They offer extensive modes of engagement such as ‘after-hours’ which engage learners even after completion of the course.
The skills imparted by these platforms are in high demand across the globe and the quality is of global standards which is attracting many international students as well. This i feel will eventually lead to companies across the globe to recruit students from these platforms for remote working options. The covid pandemic has triggered this trend in a great way.
This will lead to a situation in which Indian IT engineers and Managers can now remotely work from their home towns for global locations. They can negotiate salaries which in PPP terms can be competitive to what the local engineers in those countries earn.
The usual VISA restrictions and travel concerns will no longer be road blockers for skilled IT engineers and managers to exploit their skills on a global scale. This will encourage the learners to constantly upskill themselves and be part of organizations which work on the latest technologies while also offer good work life balance.
I therefore have no doubt that these TechEd platforms will disrupt the Indian Technical education space drastically. There will be true democratization of the Technical Education and learners of different age groups can greatly benefit from this. Recruiters today need skill more than degrees , so learners who can equip themselves with the niche skills from these TechEd platforms will in great demand.
I however do feel there are certain areas where these TechEd platforms can improve upon,
- The instructors are senior faculty from premier institutions. Their pedigree is remarkable. However the needs of the Industry are engineers who are skilled and can write production ready code from day 1. So, more practitioners from Industry can be on-boarded as faculty for these courses.
- The course content can be dynamic with customized course of lesser duration say 3 to 4 months for learners with prior experience than keeping it of same duration of 12 to 18 months for all learners.
- More emphasis and weightage can be given towards coding assignments which are of production ready quality.
- The evaluations can be made more tough and include more coding based evaluations.
- Opportunity to work on internships for freshers while pursuing the course will go a long way in making them industry ready and grab multiple job opportunities.
- The TechEd platforms can collaborate with Companies across the globe and not just in India for providing more job opportunities.
- Some of these platforms are marketing referral programs for their current learners to attract the new ones. I strongly feel this should be stopped to prevent commodification of the skills. It will not attract serious learners and lead to dilution of quality.
The covid pandemic has proven more than anything else the need to have the latest skills in the Industry. It also has opened the doors for engineers to apply and work globally while based in their home locations.
Tech Industry is challenging, constantly disruptive , so the need is to be skillful and flexible. Both these are imparted to a great extent by the TechEd platform and i therefore strongly feel the much needed renaissance in the Indian Tech education has finally arrived and the true value of Indian IT engineers is all set to unlock.