Indian Computer Science (CS) & Information Technology (IT) Academic Reform Activism Consolidated Blog Document

Poor software development skills Indian CS graduates - Google Search Results

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Poor software development skills Indian CS graduates - Google Search Results

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I felt it appropriate to share on this blog a mail I sent on December 27th, 2012 to the (Indian) Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, UGC, AICTE and AIB-ITE heads (top academic administrators of the country) and Planning Commission Nodal officer. I also felt it appropriate to share that I received a prompt response from the office of a Minister of State from the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, which was copied to all the other mail recipients of the original mail. The response acknowledged receipt of the mail and mentioned that the mail will be forwarded to another official in the same ministry for "his kind perusal and needful further action thereof". I have not had any further response from them so far (January 25th 2013).

I am quite happy that at least the mail was acknowledged by a Union minister of state's office. Hopefully it may result in some discussion/debate on the matter.

The mail was sent on December 27th, 2012 and its contents are given below:

Dear Gentlemen,

Teaching software development skills effectively to current and future generations of Indian Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT) graduates is, in my humble opinion, vital for India's material/economic development. In fact, software has become so pervasive now that software development skills are becoming necessary for graduates of other streams like Bio-sciences/Bioinformatics, Physics, Chemistry, as well as, I presume, most, if not all, engineering streams (Electrical engineering, Civil engineering, Chemical engineering etc.)

However the current standards of teaching of software development skills in most of Indian academia are quite unsatisfactory.

Google search for 

poor software development skills Indian CS graduates
improve software development skills Indian CS graduates

gives my academic paper/article, "Improve the Practice of Software Development in India by Having a Software Development Career Track in Indian CS & IT Academia", as the first result.

As you gentlemen are very influential in formulating and implementing higher education and Information Technology policy for the whole of India I felt it appropriate to draw the above Google search results top ranking of my paper for the above terms, to your kind attention. Please note that a friend of mine who lives in the USA confirmed today that Google Search from a USA computer for the above terms gives the same top ranking result for my paper.

If you would like to read my paper (latest version dated 21st December 2012) hosted on the e-print facility of Cornell University, USA, you may please visit the (currently) top Google search result link for search terms mentioned above or the links given below:


[Of course, the Google search results ranking change over time and so my paper may lose its current top ranking for the above mentioned terms. But I presume it will retain this ranking for the next few days, at least.

Also note that the short description that comes below the search results has text (date) from the older version of the article but the result link takes one to the latest version of the article.]

For your reading convenience, I have also attached to this mail a copy of my paper.

Please note that the review remarks for my article by a noted international academic publication focused on CS education and my response to the same are provided in Appendix A of the paper.

I felt it appropriate to include the introduction in the Appendix of my paper in this mail itself, below:

Appendix A

Review Remarks of Noted International Academic Publication and Response of Author

After a lot of consideration the author decided to take the unusual step of sharing review remarks for this article by a noted international academic publication focused on CS education. The editor-in-chief of the publication graciously provided permission to share the valuable review remarks of the knowledgeable reviewers in this appendix. The author thanks him and the publication for this kind gesture.

As the author sees it, the stake holders of software education imparted by UGC/AICTE recognised institutions in India are:

1.     Students (& Parents): They invest their time and pay the tuition fees.

2.     Teachers/Academics: They are supposed to be knowledgeable and do the primary task of imparting appropriate knowledge to students.
3.     Employers (Industry): They use the products of the education system (students-turned-graduates) to contribute to economic work and provide a livelihood for these students-turned-graduates.
4.     Funding agencies & regulators, namely MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development,, UGC & AICTE: They provide the tax payer contributed money for higher education (e.g. as UGC grants) and try to maintain good standards of education. They also look at nationwide issues and society issues like the needs of the country and imparting ethics. Further, they try to promote an environment that will encourage good education (attract good teachers, provide job security to teachers, give students a safe environment, etc.)

The author is of the opinion that this article/paper may not be easily accepted in a forum primarily controlled by one of the stakeholders here, namely the teachers/academics, as it is somewhat critical of them even though the criticism is mainly directed at the system rather than the individual academics. But the article/paper may find a lot of acceptance in forums of some of the other stakeholders especially students, parents, industry and perhaps even MHRD.

This article went through 2 rounds of review with the noted international academic publication. The first round feedback was incorporated in this version of the article, which is what was submitted for the 2nd round review (except for a minor difference in the title of the article). It was not found suitable for the publication in the 2nd round review though the reviewers had some appreciation for the article.

The author views the 2nd round reviewer comments and his response to them as a debate between CS academic viewpoint and industry software developer viewpoint. (The author is not an academic but a software design & development practitioner from the industry who helped out a CS department in an Indian educational institution, a deemed university, to improve the practice of software development in it). He opines that some stakeholders of software education like students, parents and industry practitioners may want to read this debate and that it may contribute to a better understanding of this issue among the public at large. Very importantly, the reviewers provided very knowledgeable comments which contribute significantly to the discourse on the topic. Therefore the author decided to share the review remarks and his response to them in this appendix.

--- end extract from Appendix of paper ---

If you gentlemen have any comments on my paper, critical or otherwise, I will be glad to know of them. I would like to mention that my intention in putting out this paper (and this mail) is to help Indian CS & IT students learn software development skills well.

Thanks & Regards

Ravi S. Iyer

Software Consultant

--- remainder of email signature snipped --

Monday, March 19, 2012

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