IT layoffs: Mid-rung engineering colleges explore ways to skill talent

Top rung institutes like IITs that are at peace despite the job losses in the IT industry
Amidst layoffs marking the IT industry, while top institutes are relatively immune, mid-rung engineering institutes are exploring ways to impart latest skills to students ahead of placements this year. 

From roping in external agencies to collaborating with corporates, especially IT firms, these engineering colleges are looking to make their students "industry ready".  With coding no more being the only major skill required by IT firms, mid-rung engineering colleges are led to explore latest areas of skills like 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 such training in form of one or two credit classes.  Representatives from companies like Cisco Systems and McKinsey have been roped in by PSG College for training in varied skills.

"While we have already 38 companies registered for the upcoming placement season, there is a forecast that advanced skills will be required. Firstly, we are looking mixing up the set of recruiters from just software companies to a mix of product companies as well.  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 institute sources at PSG College of Technology.

Similarly, Dharwad-based SDM College of Engineering & Technology has turned to electives ahead of the placement season.  While roughly 400 students out of a 600 batch participate in placements with over 50 firms visiting the campus, the institute is leaving no chances to ensure skilled jobs being made available.

"We have signed MoUs with some of the 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 the areas of business intelligence, analytics and automation. The need is such that increasingly even mechanical engineering jobs now 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 IITs may not see much impact due to high profile recruitment in artificial intelligence, data analytics and data science, the lower rung campuses may see an impact in recruitment numbers.  

The impact may also be seen both in terms of number of offers as well as compensation packages. The average salary packages offered at low rung engineering colleges tend be to around Rs 5-7 lakh while that in the top engineering colleges including IIT and NITs tend to be on the upper side of Rs 15-18 lakh and onwards.

Skilling up talent:

-Engineering institutes tie up with IT firms for short term courses

-Rope in external agencies for training students ahead of placements

-Add data analytics, business intelligence, automation to curriculum

-Experts say campuses may see some impact in terms of packages

-Top rung institutes remain more or less immune
"The IITs may not see such an impact since the latest skills have been embedded in their curriculum since sometime now.  However, it is the mid and low rung engineering colleges that have to up the ante. Some of them have already begun launching electives since we are also getting requests for such training," said Kris Lakshmikanth, chairman and managing director, The Head Hunters India Pvt. Ltd.

Institutes like Pondicherry Engineering College (PEC) have also reached out to marquee firms like Infosys and TCS for conducting such training at their campus 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, whose recruitment should not be an issue for us," said an institute source.

However, it is the top rung institutes like IITs that are rest assured despite the job losses in the IT industry. 

"The situation does not affect the IITs like us who see most of our students being recruited at significantly higher positions.  Moreover, through various activities and curriculum, our students have been graduating fully skilled for the industry," said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director of IIT Madras.

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