Overhauling IT Education in India
I feel that level of IT education is really pathetic in our country (except in maybe top 20% colleges like IITs and NITs). It may seem funny coming from a non-graduate like me, but running my own software company for over 10 years gave me enough exposure and interaction with programmers coming out of colleges and also teachers teaching them. I visited colleges often to give seminar, workshops etc.
I have observed that in most technical fields, everybody first wants to join a great company and earn big bucks. Engineers, MCAs want to join Microsoft, Google, TCS, Infosys when they come out of college. Students who are not selected by big companies, try to get job with small software companies and students who don’t get job with any software company end up finally applying for teaching positions with colleges. So basically we have failed programmers teaching programmers of future.
How can we expect this system to work? We need to change the system at many levels. Here are my thoughts in brief:
- We need to attract good bright people to become teachers.
- We need to partner with Software companies and involve working professionals to teach in colleges part-time or over the weekend.
- We need to make competitive coding contests compulsory to attend. Google Code Jam happens once every year. Should be mandatory for every IT engineering and MCA student.
- Every student should participate on challenges on websites such as HackerEarth, Codechef, Topcoder etc.
- Many courses from Harvard, Stanford etc. are available online and even free in many cases. May be they can be taught as it is to whole class-room with teacher just acting as facilitators.
- MCA is a Master’s program, but it’s considered inferior to engineering which is a Graduation program. It needs to be improved with greater stress on industrial training which is part of 6th Sem.
- Colleges should open incubation centers and encourage their students to become entrepreneurs. Maybe college can even have a stake in the formed company. Not all such startups will succeed, but even if a few do, govt. will easily make up the investment in other failed companies.
- Teachers normally don’t upgrade themselves with the time. They should be regularly asked to take courses and appear for exams themselves to keep improving.
- IT Teachers should also be allowed to pursue some programming related profession. Not teaching or private coaching business, but some real programming with some software company or independent programming work. It’s allowed for Architects and Doctors as they are quite practical intensive fields. It should be done for the IT teachers as well.
- Students should be made aware about open-source resources such as Github and made to participate in resources like StackOverFlow
- New and Emerging programming languages/ frameworks should be included in the curriculum — Ruby on Rails, Python, Node.js & of course Swift
Update: 27th May 2015 — Google has just published it’s own guide if you are looking at a Career in Software for yourself.
If given a chance, I would love to talk to Colleges and even Government in detail and explore how can we work along these lines and overhaul the IT education scenario in the country. Looking forward to hear thoughts from readers of this blog.