Startups Are Awesome, Where Are The Coders?
Being in India and knowing the engineering educational system inside and out, I have serious concerns about the future of this country and the world.
A Billion People
India is a country with more than a billion people, the common mentality for people who attend college is “Medicine or Engineering?”, since medicine is much harder to get into, most people end up in engineering, not because they like engineering but because, if you’re not either a doctor or an engineer, you’re considered to be a dunce that couldn’t get into one of these programs.
What is even more scary is the number of graduates being produced every year. Normally, this would be considered as a good sign, more people graduating means more qualified workforce, more employable people etc. However, in India this is not the case. Being a graduate is no sign of skill and without skill, there is no employment. India has a rote learning system where you are rewarded for memorising and reproducing. Even the practical so called “Projects” are mostly nonsense where you just copy and paste something from the internet or you buy from someone else who’s submitted a similar project in another university.
Most of these engineering graduates are working at jobs which have absolutely nothing to do with engineering at less than Rs 10,000 per month. To give you some perspective, uneducated drivers make around Rs 15,000- 20,000 per month.
And if you’re thinking that there will be growth in the field you’ll be mistaken, growth only happens if you’re employed in a field of your expertise, if you’re working in a job which can be done by anyone, with or without a degree, Where Is The Growth?
Now, this has painted a very grim look of the Indian higher education system, I’d like to clarify here that there are some brilliant institutions in India that are doing a wonderful job, however these institutions can serve no more than 1% of the student population. So, what happens to the other 99%?
Are the Students to Blame?
If you are studying Computer Science in an engineering college in India, you may come across a situation wherein, the teacher is writing code on the board and students are copying the code into the computer. This is the state of affairs in India.
Who is to blame? The teacher is supposed to lead the class and the institution is supposed to lead the faculty, so by that logic, Students are definitely not to blame as they have been ruined by the system.
When they graduate from high school, students are actually eager to learn, they believe that college has something exciting in store for them. In an excitement for the future, they come to college and they are not challenged, there is nothing exciting, but when they experience such a pathetic system that rewards only rote learning, memorisation and putting that content on a paper on a specific day, they learn to game the system.
They don’t have to cheat on exam day to do this, all they need to do is buy a book called ‘Question Bank’ for the past 10 years, memorise the questions that have appeared most in the last 10 years, go to the exam and just write the answer word for word.
How did this come about? The system is ruined, so the quality students that got into a bad system had only 2 choices, leave the system or ruin yourself. Unfortunately, most choose the latter simply because they have been trained to think that a degree means a good job and a good life. That was what a degree used to mean, but today, it is definitely not the case, not in India anyway.
Q:Who get jobs?
A:People who can get things done.
Q: How do you know someone is capable of getting things done?
A: Check if they have a degree, preferably from a good university.
Q: How do you know they can code?
A: Check for a Engineering degree and conduct a basic skill test after screening out most candidates from bad colleges.
Q: Is there a better way?
A: If there could be a way to have students trained in coding skills along with great communication, works well in teams and has a great positive attitude, that would be great.
Q: Is there such a place?
Why do I say no?
Let’s look at the data
IIT JEE- Tests Math, Physics, Chemistry
AIEEE- Tests Math, Physics, Chemistry
EAMCET- Tests Math, Physics, Chemistry
In the US, there is a test called the SAT Reasoning Test which tests English skills, reasoning skills, math skills. That too has it’s own share of drawbacks but at least they test for something other than MPC.
Is there a test for the attitude of a person?
What about the English skills of a person?
What about his ability to work with Teams?
If there is no test, is it assumed that they have all these skills?
How do they know that students have these skills?
How will they get jobs without these crucial skills?
If this doesn’t change, we are going to have a serious dearth of quality coders in the coming years.
If you’re reading this article, you’re one of those people that have great communication skills, perhaps had a good schooling and might live in a city. For you, communication in English probably isn’t a problem, you could pull off a conversation in English.
For those people who didn’t have a good schooling, this is something that is very difficult to develop. College is supposed to teach you these skills, but you probably can’t learn how to speak by reading about it in a book. You need to actually speak (what a concept!). Indian colleges have an exam which they call ‘Communicative English’ where they intend to test your Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking (LSRW) skills by asking you to write dialogues instead of speak (Genius!).
This doesn’t prepare students in any way for the world that they need to face. This needs to change.
What About Startup India, Skill India?
It is a great thing that the Government has acknowledged that Indians need skills and they want to train people, however, this means that the govt is admitting that the current system isn’t working so we need something better. If the current educational system was working, there would be no need for ‘Skill India’. Like any govt program, Skill India is another one. I think you know what we can expect from it.
Make A Coder
At Make A Coder, we have a immersive 3 Year residential program that trains you in Coding and Communication. This is a place every developer would have loved to have had when they were learning how to code, but sadly no such place exists in India(or the world). For admission, we don’t test your Math, Physics and Chemistry knowledge but rather, we test your skills in logic, basic coding and interest in solving problems.
We believe that skill can be developed without the need to memorise knowledge and that theory can and should be learned by asking the right questions and working on the right problems and only then will students actually remember the theory.
If you’d like to know more please visit www.makeacoder.com
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