How is the current situation of engineers in India?
Are those ‘Engineers’ can really be called engineers?
For most of the people in India including engineering students, the answer is very easy. They call themselves engineers after 4 years completion of their course. It means that they they are engineers just by degree and not by skills.
The definition of being an engineer is limited to an “Engineering Degree” in hand, rather than whether the person is actually having any engineering skills or not.
Degrees wont give you jobs, skills do. Out of all the computer science graduates in India, only 15 – 20% can actually pass fizzbuzz test, only 5 – 10% would be able to utilize proper data structures and algorithms when it comes to problem solving. I have myself interviewed candidates ranging from fresh graduates to 7 – 8 years experienced professionals, but they were not able to tell me basics like time complexity of their approach, basic data structures like BST or basic algorithms like merge sort or binary search.
The problem is not with students, they will learn what they are taught. The problem is with quality of education and mushrooming colleges in every single street.
People would say that I am just taking baseless assumptions, so for those let me share my experience.
My hometown is Bhopal, which is capital city of MP, and so called education hub of central India. Though I have not done my studies in Bhopal, I was fortunate enough to have some friends (and my wife) who were studying in engineering colleges of Bhopal and I have observed the system there very closely.
- Exams: When it comes to exams, almost all the students buy a book famously called with name “Shivani”. It is like a guide book with a set of defined questions and answers.
- Professors are so lazy that they will pick the questions word to word from the same Shivani book, which students were mugging without understanding.
- Most of the professors are B.E or M. Tech students passed out from the same college where they are teaching.
- Assignments: Direct copy paste from Wikipedia and other web sources. 100% plagiarism. Taking the print outs and submitting it.
- Projects: Almost all the photocopy shops have readymade projects available with them. One can easily buy a project ranging from Rs. 100 – 1000. Project submitted by student x at college a, will also be submitted by student y at college b. For CS grads, the projects are available with working code. So, basically the students submit the project and code, without writing or understanding a single piece of it. In case of EC students also, working electronic circuits and projects are available based on how much you want to spend.
- VIVA: Profs be like – What the hell is this? I am more interested in my samosaand tea. Oh you look pretty, let me give you good marks without asking a single question.
- Young passed out profs (from same college) flirting with girls and taking advantage of them with the promise of giving good marks.
- High trend of going to programming coaching classes. Almost all the students go to one or the other coaching classes where they are taught so called ‘programming’ in java or .net or c/c++ or php. They will be taught how to run loops and write if else conditions, but they will not be taught concepts of DS and Algo, along with its implementation. During one of my summer vacations, I also joined one such famous coaching institute in MP Nagar Bhopal because I wanted to experience this programming coaching culture and also it was very cheap Rs. ~2000. I noticed that third and fourth year students were learning, what they should learn in their first or second semester.
- Boys students are more interested in setting a girlfriend rather than setting up their own life. I can say with 100% surety that almost all the college girls in Bhopal must have witnessed some sort of harassment (sexual and mental) over phone by their fellow male classmates/young profs from same college or another college.
I can go on and on, but this is the condition of central education hub which I have witnessed. I am not saying 100% students are like that, but this is the trend. Not 100%, but 90% are following the same trend which I mentioned above in bullet points. Remaining 10% hardworking students are skilled engineers who are definitely not jobless.
- Applied studies, rather than theoretical studies.
- Actual qualified professors who are sincere and professional in their work.
- Check on guide books and coaching classes.
- Disciplined college administration and awakened students.
- Strict administrative and police action against any antisocial involvement by students. Example. Harassment of girls (physically or over phone), gang wars kind of group battles.
- Emphasis on reducing plagiarism. Originality in work, whether it be assignments or projects.
- Accepting weaknesses, overcoming it, and understanding that engineers are by skills and not by degree.
I am sure that most of the ‘Engineers’ from these engineering colleges in India are having the same problems which I have mentioned above, as a result of which only few thousand students are skilled & ready enough for a job out of all the lakhs (~16 lakhs) of students per year.
I am not saying IITs/NITs are best, even they have got many flaws. But my point is I have seen many students from tier 2 or tier 3 colleges who are really very skilled and successful in their field, and on the other hand there are 1000s who are lost in midway.
Zeal to learn should be more important than satisfaction of just getting a degree.