The T-School Sur­vey: Gear­ing Up To The New Mar­ket Re­al­i­ties

In In­dia, the skills de­bate is rag­ing for a while. It has be­come more pro­nounced when a rapidly chang­ing dy­namic in­dus­try like ICT go­ing through se­vere head­winds in the form of a struc­tural re­ces­sion- chang­ing job roles, skills sets get­ting ob­so­lete, cont

Dataquest - - T- SCHOOL | IN DEPTH -

Learn­ing never stops, but the seeds of learn­ings were sowed at a very young age, and that’s what we call ed­u­ca­tion that in turn be­comes a life­long learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. To aptly quote what Is­sac New­ton said: “I do not know what I may ap­pear to the world, but to my­self I seem to have been only like a boy play­ing on the sea-shore, and di­vert­ing my­self in now and then find­ing a smoother peb­ble or a pret­tier shell than or­di­nary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undis­cov­ered be­fore me.”

It is that dis­cov­ery of new things pow­ers knowl­edge, driven by ed­u­ca­tion, de­liv­ered by our ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. The 2018 edi­tion of the Dataquest-CMR Best Tech School Sur­vey is all about tak­ing a deep dive into the state of ICT en­gi­neer­ing ed­u­ca­tion in the coun­try. As usual, the sur­vey has its share of ups and downs in terms of sur­veyed in­sti­tu­tions rank, their stand­ing across var­i­ous key pa­ram­e­ters like : Aca­demic En­vi­ron­ment, In­fra­struc­ture, In­dus­try In­ter­face, and Place­ment. FO­CUS ON IN­DUS­TRY IN­TER­FACE& PLACE­MENTS In In­dia, the skills de­bate is rag­ing for a while. It has be­come more pro­nounced when a rapidly chang­ing in­dus­try like ICT go­ing through se­vere head­winds in the form of a struc­tural re­ces­sion- chang­ing job roles, ob­so­lete skills sets, con­trac­tion of mar­ket and busi­ness vol­ume lead­ing to cycli­cal un­em­ploy­ment waves.

De­velop a pas­sion for learn­ing. If you do, you will never cease to grow. -An­thony J. D’Angelo


As we take a gran­u­lar look at the ICT in­dus­try over the last 2 years, many of these struc­tural re­ces­sion­ary de­liv­er­ables have im­pacted the very soul of the in­dus­try. More­over the in­dus­try also need to com­bat the im­pact of glob­ally dis­rup­tive pro­tec­tion­ist events in the re­cent past like BREXIT, and the anti-out­sourc­ing and an­ti­im­mi­gra­tion nar­ra­tive ad­vanced by the new Repub­li­can govern­ment voted to of­fice in the United States.

To cut the long story short, the so­cio-po­lit­i­cal-eco­nomic events have up­set both the sup­ply and de­mand side of the ICT mar­ket. It is in this back­drop we need to look at the T-School Sur­vey find­ings for this year and pon­der over the key ques­tion are our univer­si­ties pro­duc­ing rel­e­vant and highly skilled read­ily em­ploy­able ta­lent.

When we asked this ques­tion to some of the lead­ing CEOs, they do agree that there is a chal­lenge at hand. Says Fran­cisco D’Souza, CEO, Cog­nizant, “We need to cre­ate a ‘fu­ture ready work­force’ and at Cog­nizant, we are com­mit­ted to a cul­ture of con­tin­u­ous learn­ing. In a busi­ness and tech­nol­ogy en­vi­ron­ment where rapid change is the only cer­tainty, our pri­or­ity is not just to re­cruit top ta­lent with the lat­est in-de­mand skills, but to re­cruit life­long learn­ers. We seek peo­ple who are en­er­gized at the prospect of learn­ing and ap­ply­ing new skills through­out their ca­reers and com­mit­ted to lev­er­ag­ing our world-class re-skilling op­por­tu­ni­ties for the ben­e­fit of our clients. Cog­nizant is not just an em­ployer where one goes to ap­ply what she or he knows, it’s a place where one comes to build a ca­reer that will con­stantly keep as­so­ciates on the cut­ting-edge of tech­nol­ogy and busi­ness.”

“We seek to part­ner with univer­si­ties and skilling in­sti­tu­tions in com­mu­ni­ties all over the world to train and re­cruit tal­ented as­so­ciates. In to­day’s work­place, dig­i­tal skills are nec­es­sary but not suf­fi­cient. We also want can­di­dates to have the skills needed to thrive in the global work­force. This means that team­work, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, pre­sen­ta­tion, and cross-cul­tural com­pe­ten­cies are es­sen­tial. When these traits are com­bined with a com­mit­ment to life­long learn­ing, we are able to do great things for our clients,” adds Fran­cisco D’Souza.

Agrees Srini­vas Kan­dula, Coun­try Head, Capgem­ini, “To stay ahead of the curve and co-in­no­vate with our clients, we need to en­hance our skills and keep our­selves abreast of new age dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. Capgem­ini has adopted ‘Dig­i­tal Age Learn­ing’ through well-de­fined up­skilling and re-skilling pro­grams. Our key fo­cus is to en­cour­age all our em­ploy­ees to ac­cess these train­ing pro­grams and be part of this dig­i­tal jour­ney. The ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in In­dia needs to align with the chang­ing needs of the pro­fes­sional world to im­part ed­u­ca­tion that goes be­yond the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge and fo­cuses on em­ploy­a­bil­ity. This means greater in­dus­try-academia link­age.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Pradip Dutta, Cor­po­rate Vice Pres­i­dent of Synop­sys. Inc. and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Synop­sys In­dia, he says, “One of the fun­da­men­tal tenets that we fol­low within our lead­er­ship team in Synop­sys South Asia is an un­com­pro­mis­ing at­ti­tude to­wards who we bring on as our col­leagues in the com­pany. The sim­ple motto is to hire the best. Our un­wa­ver­ing aim is to have a stel­lar ta­lent base in Synop­sys. We deal with deep tech in elec­tronic de­sign au­to­ma­tion, semi­con­duc­tor IPs and en­ter­prise level


soft­ware in­tegrity. The skills re­quired are rather com­plex. For ex­am­ple ideally we would like to have a mix of data struc­tures and al­go­rithms, cou­pled with an un­der­stand­ing of elec­tronic cir­cuitry, pro­fi­ciency in math and fi­nally ef­fi­cient pro­gram­ming skills. Such a com­bi­na­tion is es­o­teric by na­ture and not too many in­sti­tutes at the un­der­grad­u­ate level can sat­isfy this kind of a re­quire­ment. We, there­fore, there look for en­gi­neers who have a good base and ea­ger to learn. As we like to say, hire for at­ti­tude and train the skills.”

Clearly what emerges out of con­ver­sa­tions from these CEO’s who are veter­ans in the ICT in­dus­try is that in­sti­tu­tions to­day need to forge closer ties with the in­dus­try for a wide-rang­ing of ac­tiv­i­ties and re­cal­i­brate their cur­ric­u­lam and course de­liv­ery. They need strate­gic Cen­ters Of Ex­cel­lence(CoE) to at­tract the best of com­pa­nies for cam­pus re­cruit­ment drives. The sur­vey hence takes into con­sid­er­a­tion in­dus­try in­ter­face and place­ments as two crit­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters. IN­NO­VATE TO BE COM­PET­I­TIVE The T-School Sur­vey in its am­bit cov­ers both the Pri­vate and Govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions. As we com­pare and con­trast Govern­ment and Pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions each has its high points in terms of var­i­ous sur­vey pa­ram­e­ters, the Govern­ment Tech Schools like In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Kharag­pur are clear lead­ers in many counts. How­ever if one looks at the over­all 100 rank­ings ( Pri­vate and Govern­ment com­bined), 8 are from the Govern­ment cat­e­gory and just 2 pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions man­aged to be on the Top 10. So this in a way in­di­cates the pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions need to up the ante to be more at par if they want to bench­mark them­selves with some of the lead­ing Govern­ment tech schools in the coun­try.

That said, the pri­vate univer­si­ties we sur­veyed are no means lag­ging be­hind, many had ramped up their in­fra­struc­tures the last few years and at­tracted some highly qual­i­fied fac­ulty and pro­duced great alumni, but many need to up the ante in pa­ram­e­ters like in­dus­try in­ter­face and place­ments to fur­ther gain a com­pet­i­tive edge. KEY TAKE­AWAYS So at the end of the day, if one were to in­tro­spect on this year’s find­ings, we need to see through the prism of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion and how it has im­pacted the jobs in the ICT land­scape. Tra­di­tional job roles are chang­ing and au­to­ma­tion and AI are tak­ing on and out­dat­ing repet­i­tive tasks.

As Dr. Pradip Dutta, of Synop­sys aptly sums it up, “My per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tion to the in­sti­tutes is to pro­vide a solid base and then in­tro­duce the stu­dents to a lot of elec­tives that are suited to the in­dus­try. They should also tai­lor their pro­gram where stu­dents can do an ex­tended, roughly six months of in­tern­ship, with the in­dus­try to ori­ent their think­ing to what would be ex­pected of them in the fu­ture.”

So one of the big­gest take­aways is the key ques­tion ev­ery tech school needs to ask: Are we cre­at­ing enough em­ploy­able new age tech skills for the new dig­i­tal age? We leave you with this thought and the sur­vey re­sults and the HR lead­er­ship in­ter­views, ta­lent man­age­ment in­sights in the fol­low­ing pages pos­si­bly might pro­vide some key point­ers.

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