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Home > Business > Special

New IT mantra: Catch 'em young

Rajiv Shirali in New Delhi | June 21, 2007

Leading  information technology players  are taking a proactive approach to talent development.

There is a growing need for talent in niche areas of the information technology industry. Leading players realise that the best way to  source the skilled manpower required to fuel their ambitious growth plans is to develop it themselves by working with leading education institutes.

EMC, a leader in information infrastructure solutions, has just inked a deal with the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, to bring the latter under the EMC Academy Programme.

Autodesk, a design software firm, has launched Centres of Excellence for Innovative Design and Research at IIT-Madras; National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai; and the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

Cisco Systems has a MoU with Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University to offer the Cisco Networking Academy  Programme in non-profit educational institutions across Andhra Pradesh.

JNTU Colleges of Engineering in Hyderabad, Anantapur and Kakinada will be accredited as Regional Academies. The latter in turn will identify and accredit 250 non-profit technical educational institutions  which will impart networking education to 25,000 students a year, across 26 Indian states.

IIIT-B's agreement with EMC will enable it to offer a course in information storage technology to its second-year post-graduate students from July.

In return it will receive a storage technology curriculum, course content, learning materials, faculty training and software simulators developed by EMC. The company has forged such alliances with over 45 education institutions across India, at which over 1,500 students are enrolled in information storage courses.

Professor Sadagopan, director of IIIT-B, expects this will enable his students to gain cutting-edge knowledge of information management and storage -- one of the fastest growing segments within the IT industry-- and the institute to produce 'industry-ready' graduates.

According to Manoj Chugh, country manager of EMC India & Saarc region, the number of storage-related IT professionals has been dwarfed by the increase in average storage capacity. With the demand for new storage professionals set to soar to one million by 2012, EMC wants to sign on 100 education institutes by 2010.

Autodesk's CoEs are part of an education initiative aimed at equipping India's next generation design engineers and architects with world-class 3D model-based design capabilities.

Says Tom Joseph, Director-Worldwide Education Programme, Asia Pacific, Emerging & Central, at Autodesk: "Our education initiatives have helped create a talent pool of professionals not only for Autodesk but also for our customers and partners worldwide."

Autodesk's first MoU was with IIT-Madras, where it has invested Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) to set up the Design CoE. This offers the institute's engineering students (and those from other colleges in the vicinity) courses on product design and development. Autodesk will develop curricula for these courses which, says Joseph, will bridge the gap between the current engineering curriculum and industry's requirements.

Autodesk will also provide computing infrastructure, leading 3D design software and industrial design tools.

Cisco's NETACAD, kicked off in 2001, is a partnership between Cisco Systems, educators, businesses, governments and community organisations around the world, through which students are taught to design, build and maintain computer networks.

NETACAD is a four-semester programme on the principles and practice of designing, building, and maintaining networks,  and features hands-on, project-driven training in high-demand job skills.

Says Lokesh Mehra, regional manager, corporate responsibility, Cisco South Asia: "NETACAD caters primarily to technical institutes which are four-year engineering colleges. It currently involves about 4,000 students, while some 5,000 have already graduated. The aim is to impart IT knowledge as well as networking skills, so that those graduating are useful in the knowledge economy."

Mehra says the shortage of networking professionals in India will reach 1.37 lakh by 2009. Hardly surprising, then, that Cisco is investing Rs 20-21 lakh (Rs 2 to Rs 2.1 million) on each of the 160 Indian institutes with which it has tie-ups. It plans to ramp up its head count in India from 2,300 to 6,000 in four years.

Says Mehra: "We want to make Bangalore a hub that can meet the global demand for Cisco equipment and services. Our education programmes will build the skill sets that will help us meet this demand."

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