Addressing ITís workforce woes

Apr 27 2012, 02:06 IST
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SummaryOver the past 15 years, the IT industry has come a long way, witnessing unprecedented ups and downs and yet remaining one of the sectors with hope.

NSDC could play key role in driving essential skill enhancement initiatives

Over the past 15 years, the IT industry has come a long way, witnessing unprecedented ups and downs and yet remaining one of the sectors with hope. Nasscom has predicted significant growth by 2020. To meet such large growth, India needs to develop its talent pool right at the universities.

With an about 25 lakh workforce, the Indian IT sector represents about 6% of the organised sector. Nasscom predicts the IT workforce will touch 30 million by 2020. Being heavily people-dependent, the biggest challenge for the industry will be to find the right quality engineers.

A recent national employability report states that only 20% of the engineering graduates from colleges are really employable in the IT industry. If a similar study was conducted 15 years back, the percentage of employable engineering graduates in the IT industry would have been much higher, as the industry was not as mature and expectations were comparatively low.

It is not surprising to see lower employability impacting admissions into engineering colleges. Reports indicate that there are no takers for engineering seats in many colleges. Further, over the past few years, engineering graduates from core domains like mechanical or electrical are reluctant to take IT precisely due to the same reason. In fact, many private colleges lack the intellectual infrastructure--broadband connectivity to access knowledge resources on the internet, libraries, and, most of all, a qualified and knowledgeable faculty.

A recent news report suggests that there are about 3,000 engineering colleges in India. Over 10 lakh students are admitted into engineering colleges every year. Essentially, the problem of quantity is addressed, however the challenge in terms of quality of engineers remains. What could be done to improve the quality and skill of our engineers?

The Indian education system needs an environment that fosters active partnerships between industry and colleges/universities. In the advanced countries, research work is given high priority among the engineering colleges/universities. Research activities help the students to think out of the box and also are supported by the industry through grants.

As per the Dr Anil Kakodkar Committee report in 2011, India lags way behind China in terms of university research in engineering and technology. India produces 1,000 PhDs annually in technology and engineering, compared to 8,000-9,000 in the US and China. Why? Unlike India, both the US and China have large well-funded universities that encourage higher education.

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