I woke up this weekend to this depressing news http://toi.in/ot3e_a
I have worked at various SIs all my life before deciding to join SAP labs in January of this year . So this problem hit me hard – and in some way, I felt that I am responsible too somehow for this dismal situation that the younger generation is facing .
This is not just an HCL problem – every SI I know of has had this issue of having a big mismatch between supply and demand . The irony is that these SIs all have very capable S&OP type experts who have done fantastic work for their clients solving this exact problem . Yet they can’t seem to solve it for their own business .
The academic world in India does not work as closely with Industry as it should. I am a mechanical engineer by training – but there were hardly any good mechanical engineering jobs when I came out of college . The only decent jobs were in IT – that too in SIs . There was practically nothing that I learned in Engineering that I could directly apply to my IT job . And yet, vast number of mechanical engineering students come out of colleges every year and look for IT jobs . Why isn’t there a supply adjustment to suit demand ?
It is not as if the education is much better for core mechanical engineering needs itself. The labs in most colleges still use engines that were obsolete 40 years ago . When I went to college – auto transmission was popular outside India . I remember just passing references to it in my text book – and that was it . I am glad I did not have to do mechanical engineering for a living . I just wasn’t well prepared for it . As I talk with young students now – I think the syllabus has barely changed from when I did engineering 20 years ago.
And yet – thousands of new engineering grads are churned out every year . This cannot be good – the average quality is not good for their core discipline nor is it good for IT .
IT education is not much better . People still learn C and java and come out of school looking for software jobs . I met a recent computer science grad last week who did not know why servers use fusion I/O cards or even SSDs. They very rarely have seen good code in college , because there is very little interaction with corporates . So corporates take them, train them and few years later they are productive . If academicians took a look at what the industry wants – these unproductive years could be absolutely minimized . But most of them don’t – they just love status quo.
The VC culture in India is nascent at best . All the major VCs have presenxe here – but several people who could use their investment have no idea where they are or how to get their attention . And vast majority of people don’t understand even basics of how startups work . It pains me to see some of them fall prey to local loan sharks . This lack of awareness results in several brilliant students live a “next best life” as a programmer at an SI, and rise through its ranks to varying degrees of success . It depresses me to no end . I try to talk to as many people as I can and try to give them pointers and help them build a network – and I know several others do it too . But it is not done at a scale that matters , given the magnitude of the opportunity cost .
This should change – and every Indian who knows better should spend some time and effort in helping those who don’t . If enough people take an interest at grass roots level – I am sure this could change for the better . Actually, I am not sure any more – but I sure hope and pray that it will change !