India might be trying very hard to usher in the digital era by going cashless after the demonetisation and encouraging online transactions in almost everything, yet digitisation looks like a remote dream with even engineers churned out from the various premier Institutions of India are not creating any significant impression on the global employment scenario.

A recent statistics show that out of more than 6,00,000 engineers that the country is producing every year, only a miniscule percentage (18.43% approx) are deployed as software engineers in the IT and IT Enabled Service Industry in India. It might sound alarming, but it is a fact that a wide and unabridged gap exist between the number of engineers produced and those who can be really termed as employable. Let us try and trace the reason behind such disturbing phenomenon.

Increase in Quantity and not Quality

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There has been a substantial increase in the number of educational institutions – specially engineering and technical institutes to augment the standard of education in India, but unfortunately this has actually become inversely proportional. The quality of education imparted along with the infrastructure of such institutes in the rural areas has not been up to date at all. This is the reason why there is such an unprecedented rush for admission in the few IITs in India, even after so many years.

The engineers who come out of the less renowned institutes remain largely unemployed, or get absorbed in jobs which do not do justice to their capacities. It is therefore essential that our education system has to be revamped and certain changes should be brought in to ensure that more engineers are globally employed.

The curriculum is dated and need to cope up with the changes worldwide

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In most of our engineering colleges and universities, the curriculum has not been altered for a long time. Although globally the changes have taken place in leaps and bounds, we are still limping into various technological upgradation and changes in academics primarily because as a society, we are averse to changes and also because the lack of good teachers and educators who can really be at par with the changes worldwide. This impetus on the quality of teaching that is imparted and an overall change in the curriculum followed by the institutions is very essential.

Students should realize the importance of quality technical education

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In India, students are so bogged down by the overall pressure of their studies, that they do not give importance to the fact that the education they are getting are not going to fetch them a good job. In fact, they realize the seriousness of their plight only in the final year of college. It is only when they gear up to look outside into the job scenario. They understand that the skills they have developed are mostly theoretical and bookish- with very less impact on the practical job market. These are imperative in landing them in a better position in the job portals; by the time they realize this and start brushing up their employability skills, it is too late. So their position remains in the “largely unemployed” bracket.

Lack of seriousness regarding the purpose of study

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In the last decade the system and purpose of getting an engineering degree has undergone a sea change- the student community pursue engineering just to get a technical degree to better their chances of getting a job faster than a regular degree holder. They are not interested in the process, and most of the times this lack of seriousness gets spilled into their professional career. No wonder then, they largely remain unemployed.

Major discrepancy between employer aspirations and student capacity

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As the job scenario across the globe is changing and evolving every day, work responsibilities are also becoming more flexible, thus demanding candidates to develop multiple skills. Many times they are not directly related to their area of specialisation in engineering. For example- a Computer Science Engineering Graduate might be hired for technical sales support in a software firm, but nowadays his job may demand that he is well-read, knows fully well what the competitor firm is offering. Not only that, he should also  be well conversant in English and other local languages if required, so that he can seamlessly fix any issue without depending on a local person or a higher authority or somebody from another department tackling the issue. For Indian engineers, who are passing out every year from the tier two cities and towns, they may be technically very sound, but are unable to handle multiple responsibilities at the same time. Speaking in English is also a major hindrance to getting a good job in the global market, because even after so many years the candidate gets rejected because of his inability to speak properly, though he is very good at his work.

Impatient and presumptuous- a major flaw in Indian Engineers

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In India, most fresh engineering graduates to experienced ones tend to think no end of themselves, primarily because engineering and medical degrees are still regarded as two of the most coveted branches of education. A Humanities or a Commerce graduate do not get the importance or respect he deserves, though he can be a much better human being and competent at work too. This triggers bashful and arrogant behaviour in many engineering students – they feel that they will eventually get away with everything.

Many suffer from insecurity also. They are more worried about what their friends think of them than realising what is actually good for them. In many cases this leads to wrong decision in career choices, and they end up being dissatisfied and frustrated. Many times, it gets spilled over to their professional arena too, and so they do not get the break they are looking for. As a result Indian engineers largely remain unemployed.

Employability Assessment: A key factor to evaluate job readiness

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This is of prime importance and must be incorporated in the engineering colleges and institutions across India because this helps a lot in understanding and evaluating how far the student is ready for the job market. This is still in a very nascent stage in India, and only few elite institutes have incorporated this in their curriculum. Few specialised programs like the AMCAT by Aspiring Minds is designed in such a way that if a student enrols himself in this program in the very first year of his engineering course, he gets a directional feedback on the type of profession he is good in.

In fact he/she can hone his skills in that direction and by the time he reaches the final year and about to approach the job market, he/she will be already equipped with the right skill sets and ready to face the professional world. This way his employability will also increase manifold times.

The Indian Education System needs a major overhaul and there is an urgent need to adapt an industry relevant curriculum which will deliver a more hands-on experience to the budding engineers of India. The institutions should also groom the students properly and a parallel approach is required to tackle the issue of employment and skill building outside the curriculum so that the employability of Indian Engineers rises slowly but surely in the not so distant future.

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