|HOME | BUSINESS | FEATURE|
June 8, 2000
The Rediff Business Special/George Iype
Boom for software, gloom for others
The software boom in India has fuelled a huge demand for high tech engineers and resulted in an acute shortage of qualified techies. But interestingly the exponential growth in the software industry has also resulted in a skewed job market for other engineering divisions in India.
Experts argue that the lure of the software discipline has led to "an educational distortion" in the country. The government's cost of educating thousands of students in areas other than computer sciences is quite high and is shared between the state governments and the Human Resource Development Ministry.
"But in the last few years, there has been high social and economic loss because thousands of students are leaving other disciplines to join the software boom. So the software field's gain is the loss of other categories of engineering," says Sudheendra Yadav, an education consultant.
For instance, according to Yadav, these days students who enroll for mechanical or civil engineering in a state-run engineering college opt for minor software courses after passing out. They then get into some software jobs and cease to be civil or mechanical engineers.
"Therefore, the software boom and high demand for tech jobs has ensured that there are not many happy takers for other engineering divisions across the regional engineering institutes and other colleges in the country," Yadav says. "The software industry's attraction is skimming off the best engineering students," he adds.
The unprecedented growth in the software sector has indeed fueled a huge demand for high-tech engineers. But this had led to a mismatch between supply and demand of engineers in various disciplines.
While in the area of pure telecommunications, there is an under-supply of qualified degree holders, in areas like computer hardware, broadcasting and IT equipment manufacturing, there is an oversupply of manpower.
But even in the IT infrastructure industry like the telecommunications, there is an under-supply of manpower. "The engineering job market remains directionless and distorted because there is a huge mismatch between the industry requirements and the curricula of engineering institutes," says Jyoti Karnik, an engineering lecturer in a private engineering college in Bangalore.
According to a recent study by the Marketing and Development Research Associates, the lure of software jobs is such that few students these days opt for postgraduate or doctorate degrees in telecommunications. It further said the demand for postgraduate engineers is abysmally low in the country.
The result is that the government and telecom companies are making up for the shortfall of postgraduates in the telecom sector by appointing mere diploma holders. The telecom graduates, who find it rather demeaning to work in government-owned telecommunications department, are migrating to software production, management and marketing.
Higher degrees are required only in a few public sector organisations like the Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, where quality research take place.
According to the records from the Ministry of Information Technology, of the total manpower employed in the IT infrastructure sector, only 15.3 per cent have a B Tech degree and only 2.9 per cent are postgraduates. The bulk, over 47 per cent, have no relevant degree or diploma.
The result of all this is that prime research into many scientific and engineering branches in many prestigious institutes across the are simply languishing because of lack of students.
The apex All India Council of Technical Education, or AICTE, conducted an in-depth study to find out what ails the engineering education in the country. Its finding said that engineering education is in the midst of a grave crisis because of the absence of qualified teachers and interested students.
For instance, the AICTE report said, more than 40 per cent of students in the communication streams of the six prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology in the country go for software jobs. This has not encouraged the IIT communications faculty to update their courses for years now.
Professor Goverdhan Mehta, director of Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science, points out there are many reasons why science and disciplines other than software sector is not taken up by students for research and career.
"A career in science now-a-days is not considered attractive in terms of money and other material benefits of life. Therefore, the young people are not excited and motivated by science," he points out.
"In this information era, everyone wants to jump onto the software bandwagon, go abroad, make money and live happily. There is no harm in their thinking. But science and other engineering disciplines suffer because there is lack of interest from the government and students towards these sectors," Mehta added.
|Tell us what you think of this feature|
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK