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Amid IT layoffs, engineering colleges shift focus to skilling

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Business Standard | Vinay Umarji  |  Ahmedabad  June 3, 2017 |

Middle-rung engineering institutes are exploring ways to teach their students latest technical skills ahead of placements this year amid reports of layoffs in the information technology (IT) industry.  From roping in agencies to collaborating with companies, especially IT firms, these engineering colleges are looking to students “industry-ready”.  With coding no more the only major skill required by IT firms, middle-rung engineering colleges are exploring areas such as business intelligence, data analytics, automation, and machine learning.  For instance, Coimbatore-based PSG College of Technology has invited IT firms and external agencies to conduct training in the form of one or two credit classes.  Representatives of companies like Cisco Systems and McKinsey have been roped in by PSG College for giving training.
“While we have 38 companies registered for the upcoming placement season, there is a forecast that advanced skills will be required. We are looking at mixing recruiters from software companies with those from product companies. We have also roped in external agencies and recruiters for conducting one or two credit classes on data analytics and machine learning, among others,” said an institute source at PSG College of Technology.  Dharwad-based SDM College of Engineering & Technology has turned to electives ahead of the placement season. While roughly 400 students in a batch of 600 participate in placements with over 50 firms visiting the campus, the institute is leaving no chances to ensure that skilled jobs were available. “We have signed MoUs with leading IT and non-IT resources recruiters, who suggested industry-relevant courses to us. These courses are now integrated with our academics as electives. The courses look to upskill students in business intelligence, analytics, and automation. The need is such that increasingly even mechanical engineering jobs require significant automation skills,” said Ravindra Dastikop, training and placement officer, SDM College of Engineering & Technology.
According to recruitment experts and engineering institutes, while top campuses like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) may not see much impact, the lower-rung campuses may see a decline in recruitment.  The impact may be on the number of offers as well as compensation packages. The average salary packages offered at lower-rung engineering colleges tend be to ~5-7 lakh while those in top engineering colleges, including IITs and National Institutes of Technology, are on the upper side of ~15-18 lakh.  “It is the middle- and lower-rung engineering colleges that have to catch up. Some of them have begun launching electives since we are getting requests for such training,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, chairman and managing director, The Head Hunters India.  Institutes such as Pondicherry Engineering College (PEC) have reached out to marquee firms like Infosys and TCS for conducting such training at their campuses even as they look to minimise the impact during the placement season. “We have collaborated with some of the top IT firms for training our students in the latest skills,” said an institute source.  IITs are unperturbed. “The situation does not affect IITs like us who see most of our students being recruited at significantly higher positions. Moreover, through various activities and curricula, our students have been graduating fully skilled,” said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras. – Courtesy
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