Sunday, March 12, 2006

What does the IT industry want?

In a report commissioned by NASSCOM, the lobbying arm of India's software and BPO industries, McKinsey's consultants concluded that nearly 75 percent of our graduates are not employable. It has led many people -- college students in particular -- to ponder this exasperating question: "What do IT firms want?"

N. Gokulmuthu, who has been "in the IT industry for the past 10 years" and has conducted "hundreds of tests and interviews" offers his views in a short article in the Hindu today:

From candidates fresh out of college, we expect good analytical skills. For example, the question may be "If six typists can type 40 pages in two days, how long will it take for 5 typists to type 100 pages." We also expect good mathematics. For example, the candidate should be able to plot "y equals x square minus seven x plus 12," or the candidate should be able to explain the concept of a prime number. Our reasoning goes like this:

1. A candidate, who has learnt well whatever was taught in school and college, is trainable to do our job.

2. A candidate, who can logically analyse and deduce solutions from a given set of facts, can work on the technical problems that we face everyday.

What he says a little later makes me really sad:

Sadly, the candidates who come out of the colleges fare very badly in our tests. Usually our questions are limited to high school mathematics. No calculus. No complex analysis. Plain algebra and trigonometry is what we test candidates on.


  1. Anonymous said...

    So true.

    I'm an engineering graduate (2005) and I have noticed that this was the case with MOST of my classmates, and sadly, still is.

    While cramming HUGE equations in Digital Signal Processing, somewhere along this line, point #1 Mr. Gokulmuthu mentioned is lost.

    I didn't read that article, but I suppose you must be knowing that point #2 necessarily follows from point #1.

    This, actually, just highlights the immense importance of a good, solid education right up to high school. Heck, SOLID education up till the 10th would be enough to see most people straight throught their lives...

    Wot say?

  2. Abi said...

    Shrik: I would wholeheartedly agree with you on the need for 'good, solid education right up to high school'. The way things are in our country, a reasonably good fraction of our kids (which translates into HUGE numbers!) do get pretty good education upto that level; somehow our colleges -- we seem to have a large number of them in engineering! -- end up destroying them during their four years of study. It's not clear to me how they accomplish this task, but they do!