IT job placements: What you must know
With the resurgence of the IT sector, engineering students have a reason to smile. This is because companies are hiring in large numbers from single campuses.
From a company's point of view, the fight for talent acquisition is getting intense, and they are looking at expanding their operations.
Leading recruiter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recently announced that it made 24,000 campus-offers during the fiscal year 2010-11, and plans to hire 37,000 engineers from campuses in the next fiscal year (2011-2012).
Cognizant, between October 2009 and September 2010, saw a net addition of over 27,500 employees.
"On December 1, 2010, we crossed the 100,000 employee mark. We continue to hire talent aggressively across North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia," says Shankar Srinivasan, Chief People Officer. Cognizant recently made job offers to 1,643 students of the 2011 batch of students at VIT University, Vellore.
Accenture, close behind, made 1,309 offers to students at Amity University.
Illustrations: Rediff Archives
What's on offer
Companies recruit engineering graduates for roles in application and development, programme delivery, R&D, network support, security, testing.
MBAs undertake a varied spectrum of roles such as IT consulting, client relationship management, and business development. Designations include Junior Engineer Trainee (JET), Junior Software Engineer and Trainee.
"We see continued demand for talent in business consulting and domain-intensive roles, apart from niche and new technologies. Also, a sustained demand for offshoring services such as IT Infrastructure Management and BPO functions," says Srinivasan.
Generic IT companies (competencies in J2EE, .NET, Mainframes, and so on), ITES, BPOs as well as areas such as Data Warehousing & Business Intelligence, Analytics and Testing, need skilled professionals.
According to Prof. Ajay Rana, Director Placements, Amity University, "tech firms offers similar packages in line with NASSCOM guidelines. The average is Rs. 3-3.2 lakhs per annum for freshers."
Some companies may require you to sign a bond, an agreement that you will work for a stipulated minimum time frame. If you leave company prematurely, you will have to pay pre-determined monetary compensation that is actually the cost incurred on training the candidate, Prof. Rana elaborates.
However, Cognizant for instance does not have this practice. The phenomenon seems to be catching with companies like Wipro and HCL also doing away with it. To counter this, IBM and Accenture have started offering better salaries states ET.
The leading recruiter, TCS on other hand has made eligiblity of minimum 60 percent in X, XII examination making more students join against stringer norm of minimum 65 percent in X, XII and 68 percent in engineering semesters by Infosys states ET. Similarly, Accenture considers only Graduation, shares Prof. Rana further.
With companies on a hiring spree, and sharing the placement slots, there are various common offers that also exist. Jadavpur University saw that Cognizant made 309 offers, while Wipro made 71 of which 68 were common ET elaborates.
"While some companies share the slots, others like Infosys and Cognizant did not come because they were not given the Day 1 slot," said Prof. Ganapathy.
Amity follows a rotational policy with no company in common since last 10 years. This year, Accenture grabbed the day 1 slot, said Prof. Rana.
The selection process
Although the selection process differs from one company to another, the process is largely divided into three stages: ie, the written test, the group discussion and the personal interview.
In some cases it comprises of two rounds, i.e., aptitude and technical test.
The aptitude test assesses the numerical, quantitative and verbal aptitude of the candidate while the technical interview assesses a candidate's knowledge of a specific domain or subject.
It comprises technical and HR rounds. The technical round assesses a candidate on the subject know-how and the HR round assesses whether a candidate has the appetite to learn, the ability to work in teams, soft skills, cross-cultural adaptability, flexibility, and open-mindedness.
The final interview also helps the company assess whether a specific candidate is the right cultural fit for the company.
"With companies like HCL and TCS, top performing students in academics have the privilege of skipping the written round and attending group discussions/ interviews directly," adds Prof Ganapathy. HCL Technologies calls this initiative 'Toppers-Shop'.
The companies are keen on technical and communication skills rather than certifications in Java, dot net, CISCO etc while hiring freshers. So, it is advised that one must stick to fundamentals rather than on add ons, says Prof Rana.
Bagging the job
Prof Ganapathy discusses the ABC of skills required to make the cut.
A stands for the right Attitude, ie, readiness to learn, grow, face challenges and aptitude which means technical know-how; B for the Basics, the student's fundamentals, and knowledge; C for Communication. Students must have a sound technical knowledge apart from soft skills, he elaborates.
The combination of consistent academic scores, subject knowledge and good communication and interpersonal skills can pave the path to a good placement and a rewarding IT career.
SRM offers mentoring and grooming for placement through the career guidance cell, which organises GD and PI training and seminars by corporates from the first year onwards to help students get placed, says Prof. Ganapathy.
Grads getting choosy
Engineering graduates who are set to join companies are making informed decisions unlike in the past when students often simply got wooed by the brand.
ET quotes a few parameters on which tech firms are assessed by students before accepting the offer. These include the financial performance, time taken for appraisals/promotions, and bond agreements.
Campuses that make the cut
The defining factors while choosing the campus include the quality of students, the exposure, and previous year's experience. "Companies follow the practice of grading an institution as A, B, or C before visiting it for recruitment," says Prof Ganapathy.
Amity has been visited by 35 companies, placing 2,361 students of their 2011 batch. Prof Rana believes that companies go by college reputation and alumni response.
"We have a graded point system to measure and rate a college based on various parameters. Apart from student feedback, there is technical lab and computer lab infrastructure, the quality of the teaching staff, student-to-teacher ratio, papers presented, performance of their alumni in Cognizant, campus placement record, and so on," adds Srinivasan.
From a student's perspective, it's a good idea to also explore these parameters when taking admission to a college and it will stand you in good stead during recruitment time.