The world is changing faster than we would have imagined. Technologists and Entrepreneurs are at the helm of this change. New technology has not only enforced a change in the behavior of the consumer who is consuming this technology but also the producers who are developing these technologies. There is an urgent need for a new breed of technologists who can change and adapt to this fast-moving world. Engineering colleges graduates around the globe can no longer assume the security of engineering jobs by following earlier trends. They need to change with changing times and they need to do it fast.
According to various reports and researches conducted we know that more than 80% of the graduates passing out of our engineering colleges are unfit for engineering jobs. Talking to employers reveals several shortcomings among students, most prominent one being: – Lack of basic technical knowledge, lack of hands-on exposure, inability to communicate effectively and lack of practical aptitude. Though this problem has been there for more than 10 years now, the education system in the country has failed to address the issue and it has now turned into cancer. Last 10 years have seen an exponential growth in the number of engineering colleges and thus in the number of engineering graduates coming out of these institutes, which is good, considering the demand in engineering jobs has increased. What is not good here is the degradation of quality among these engineering graduates. Even the top engineering colleges in the country employ faculty which has never worked in an organization. They themselves don’t have the practical exposure of the technology they are teaching. It would be childish to expect the outcome of such colleges to be of superior quality.
Another major factor of concern for our young graduates is the advent of cutting-edge technologies like Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These technologies promise companies to reduce their need for hiring a staff, as a majority of the tasks performed by individuals can now be automated using the above technologies. As per the reports, 70% of the existing engineering jobs are going to vanish in the next 5 years. New jobs will take over the market like for example the demand for data scientist has increased by 400% in the last 1 year alone and is expected to follow this trend. Machine Learning graduates, Game developers, User Experience designers represent some of the booming sectors when it comes to engineering jobs creation. So the real problem is not that we don’t have enough jobs in the market but rather we don’t have enough candidates which fit the new kind of jobs which are getting created in the market. Even our top engineering colleges have failed to tackle this problem effectively
The problems of lack of employable young graduates is huge and thus would need a multi-pronged solution. It must start with awareness among parents and students who should understand that having a B.Tech college degree doesn’t provide a 100% job guarantee. The engineering college they are joining will not be sufficient to make them employable even if it is one of the top engineering colleges. Its high time parents and students start asking the right questions from the engineering colleges like what is their “Return on Investment” from the college, do they provide 100% job guarantee after the college ends, which kind of jobs they will be offered, is there a specialization which comes with the B Tech degree etc. Education Institutions and companies must be made accountable in terms of not only the number of engineering jobs which their graduates are getting but also with respect to the quality of engineering jobs.
The second leg of the solution employs the need to merge technologists with educationalists. We need teachers who are smart and have made their hands dirty by diving deep into technology. We need a curriculum which is world class and very relevant to current engineering jobs. Curriculum validated by technologists and taught by experts who have already worked in those domains. A curriculum which makes students adept in technology and specializes them in a field rather than just making them learn theoretical concepts. Learning must extend beyond classrooms of engineering colleges to go deep into the world of how companies work. Students must visit lots of companies, talk to a lot of CEO and HRs understand themselves what are these people are looking for in the candidates they hire and how can he/she prepare for that. Students must do relevant projects in sync with the engineering jobs market. They must not only focus on technology but on overall development which helps them develop softer skills like communication and analytical skills. Finally, a program which takes responsibility and provides a premium category to students which in turn will reflect on its commitment to provide the highest quality education.
Education needs to allow students to reach out for the stars, ask questions and mentor them in the right direction. Until our education system and engineering colleges respond to this call for change we are looking at a very grim future for our next generation.