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

Indian Engineering Colleges: General Info. and Graduate Employability

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Indian Engineering Colleges: General Info. and Graduate Employability

Discussion/Informative Posts Involving Others' Articles/Views, Media reports and Some Comments from me

Private study claims: Less than 9% of Indian engineering students have required programming and algorithm skills for IT product company jobs, July 2014

GATE and UGC NET CS & IT exams can be employability measures if they include practical knowledge assessment, June 2014

The Hindu's higher education student guidebook - thenxt.step 2013 - CS & IT picture, April 2014

2014 National (India) Employability report - Poor Employability of Andhra Pradesh Engineering Graduates, February 2014

Andhra Pradesh (India) Engineering Colleges - Half Empty!, December 2012

An "educated guess" analysis of Large no. of Seats in Andhra Pradesh (India) Engg. Colleges Going Empty, December 2012
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Private study claims: Less than 9% of Indian engineering students have required programming and algorithm skills for IT product company jobs

Net url:

Here is a now-normal, but still depressing, article in The Hindu, dated July 16th 2014, Less than 20 per cent engineers are employable for software jobs: survey,

It is based on the Aspiring Minds, National Employability Report for Engineers - 2014, which can be downloaded (after providing contact info.) from here: (the link is towards the bottom right on the page and has the title, NER - Engineers Annual Report 2014).

Two small extracts from this (NERE-2014) report:

Page 9:

"The report is based on a sample of more than 1,20,000 engineering students from 520+ engineering colleges across multiple Indian states. All these candidates graduated in 2013."

Page 12:

"The employability of engineers in IT product companies is exceptionally low, to the order of 3.21%. This is because jobs in IT product companies require a strong understanding of computer programming and algorithms. The study found that the candidates strongly lacked the required skills: around 91.82% of graduating engineers do not have the required programming and algorithm skills required for IT product companies, whereas 76.23% show lack of soft-skills and cognitive skills."

--- end extracts ---

Ravi: This report which says it is based on an extensive sample, tests programming and algorithm skills, and less than 9 % of engineering-student-candidates (presumably final year students) got the grades/marks considered suitable for IT product company jobs! I think AICTE (India's top technical education regulator) and NPTEL/IIT-Madras (leading educational institutions) should have a similar computer programming and algorithm skills exam as a stand-alone exam which any final year engineering/science student/graduate can take. Then we will have two sources for such skill level figures with one coming from the top agencies/institutions associated with technical education in the country.

Now, pundits may dismiss this dismal less than 9% qualifying figure as being private survey results and question its methodology. If AICTE and NPTEL/IIT-Madras is involved in this testing then they cannot dismiss it so easily.

Further, students and parents should have access to the results of such exams for each educational institution. That will give them some idea of the teaching quality of computer programming and algorithms in these educational institutions.

TRANSPARENCY - that is what is desperately needed in Indian CS & IT academia. However, until Indian CS & IT departments of academic institutions are forced to share such information with the public, most will refuse to do so. So AICTE must take the lead and force such transparency on these departments/institutions.


A correspondent responded (Nasscom is the premier Indian software industry organization):

Despite what the Hindu article says, according to Nasscom around 300,000 of the million or so fresh engineering graduates do get jobs in the software industry. Of course, these jobs can range from mainstream developers to people working in the BPO industry.

Nasscom's figures are credible because if you add the number of new recruits claimed by the big 3-4 software companies you easily get to 100,000+. The other 200,000 could well find slots somewhere else in the industry.

However, standards are indeed dropping and the big companies have to run 3-6 month training programmes (read this as remedial training) before the new recruits can be moved to project teams. Even so, these companies have between 15-30% of their staff 'on the bench', or unbilled, which is an enormous cost.

--- end correspondent response ---

My response, slightly edited, was as follows:

Copy-pasted from Page 11 of the report:

ROLE                                                                    EMPLOYABILITY
Software Engineer – IT Product                            3.21%
Software Engineer – IT Services                         18.43%
Associate – ITeS Operations (Hardware and Networking ) 35.37%

--- end copy-paste ---

So there is a differentiation between IT Product and IT Services. 18.43 % of 1 million would be 184,300 jobs. And 35.37 % would be 353,700 jobs

Considering that the NASSCOM figures included the BPO jobs, we have to apply the ITeS Operations figure of 35.37 % - so the figures do not diverge very much.

BTW the report claimed that 600,000 engineers graduate every year. But for the percentage figures, given that the sample size was over 100,000, it does not matter whether the total size is 600,000 or 1,000,000.


I guess the "employable" criteria of this assessment would be such that a person who qualifies does not need remedial training.

I guess the Indian IT services industry realized long ago that most CS & IT graduates, let alone graduates from non-CS&IT streams, would need remedial training given the poor standards of teaching of programming & algorithms in Indian CS & IT academia, and so took that burden on itself.

However, many IT product company types are now an important and excellent-salary employer of CS & IT graduates, especially in Bangalore & Chennai (going by what my past students tell me). They do not have any scope (or interest perhaps) for organizing remedial training and so graduates who are taught programming & algorithms better in colleges itself, get a break in these companies. And those graduates & post-graduates (like M.Tech. (CS)) who are poor in programming & algorithms fail to make it, even if they have published some conference research paper as part of their M.Tech. work. I mean, the bottom line for many of these product company types is programming & algorithms; research is extra.

[In contrast there are companies who seem to be looking for research assistant types and are happy to employ M.Tech. (CS) chaps as research assistants with some fancy designation. But, without a Ph.D., most of these chaps will surely hit a glass ceiling and get stuck doing lower-quality research work rather than great research work in these firms, IMHO. I mean, if you want to pursue research as a career a Ph.D. OR enough research publications to be counted as equivalent to Ph.D., is an absolute must.]

Sunday, June 29, 2014

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