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Technical Education: Current vs. ‘Should-be’ Indian Ecosystem

Shivanshi Srivastava Technology Leave a Comment

Technical Education Sector in India – how would you define that?

To summarize: It is a much overlooked, highly concerning and still – the most potent sector of the world. The technology sector is capable of rewriting the whole ‘Indian economy’ story, but the countless loopholes are yet to be filled.

We are a country, where already-graduated people need re-education, industrial training, and skill development program; isn’t that an irony?

As refinement should be our focus and not merely the critique, let’s analyze each and every nook of current Indian Software Development ecosystem, and more importantly – how can we improve that by adopting the right approaches.

State of Indian IT Education System

1.5 million Indian engineering graduates are entering into the market every year, and most of which are actually from IT or computer science. Contrast to this, our technology industry lacks innovation, skilled workforce, and well-trained professionals. On looking a bit deeper into the scenario, you will find, there are two facets of the story:

  • The recruiters, who talk about how difficult is it to find a right fit for their organization.
  • The fresher and experienced people, complaining about unemployment or pay scale.

What does that even mean?

We need people and we have people; then, why aren’t we the industry-leaders yet?

Well, the matter of fact is: The people, we have, are inefficient. The large mass of students, graduating out of engineering college is actually not-at-all ready to meet the requirements of the current industry. Out of every 100 employers, 64 are not satisfied with the quality of skills, possessed by fresher graduates passing out and joining them.

So, is it the fault of students?

Probably not!

The biggest fault, here, could be considered of the curriculum that we have for the technical education, the core academic educators we employ to teach the students, and the practices which focus more on the bookish material rather than the vocational training.

In totality, there is a lot more which needs to be appended in the technical education infrastructure and simultaneously, a lot which is to be removed out of it. The focus should be shifted to coding, instead then classroom lectures. Why? Read here:

Importance of learning Code – FOR EVERYONE

Programming isn’t only about developing the products or websites or any tech solution, it teaches us to think innovatively. Through coding, you can do fascinating tasks. Be it creating a chat app to allow a multitude of people communicate around the world or making an oven work – you feel empowered when you successful ‘code’. That’s because it makes you think that you can actually make things work, the way you want.

To point the fact out, there are some aspects where coding can help us in the real life:

  1. Problem Solving

Simplifying day-to-day issues or big social issues looks complex to each of us. However, when you learn to code, it makes you think about the problems in a different way. You stop getting frustrated by the problems arising and try to resolve them by applying your ideas.

  1. Logical Thinking and Structure Execution

Coding is not about writing lengthy snippets in a certain programming language. Every programmer needs to understand how a problem could actually be solved and how the optimal implementation can be jotted down in a structured way. Breaking down the complex problem into small pieces of tasks, understanding them thoroughly, solving them exponentially, executing the solutions for each of them, and finally ending up with a working solution is what every programmer use to do. Non-coders are never taught to think this way and hence, they could rarely have such a great logical and structured approach to the real issues.

  1. You start understanding Technology

Technology is literally everywhere. Any organization, any industry, any daily chore or any home isn’t left intact of it. When you know how things work, you can utilize them better.

  1. Improves the way you work

Fitting the coding into real life could bring revolutionary changes. Code doesn’t restrict you to stay in the technology field only.

Heard of polymorphism?

It implies on Programming well.

With the object, the ‘function’ of code changes but not the efficiency. It will always improve your capabilities of working, regardless of what you are doing.

  1. Career Opportunities

App or tech product economy (alone) will be $101 billion in three years, while technologies will be creating some $2 trillion of money (or more). Tech will reduce 5 million convention jobs very soon. 22% of the total GDP is from this industry only. Do you still think, it’s not the best career opportunity you could look forward to?

  1. Entrepreneurial Thinking

Entrepreneurship is about taking challenges, innovative ideas, executing them and imagining what’s the next big thing to implement. Looks familiar to how programming works, right?

  1. Builds Optimism and Dedication

People are going pessimists, know why?

Consider this: You belong to the banking industry. A customer comes to withdraw some money urgently. But due to some circumstances, his money couldn’t be given. You are bound by rules and can’t allot his the required amount even if you are willing to do it wholeheartedly. There come restrictions and rules, which prevent you from taking actions. You know it can’t happen, so you stop trying.

That’s just an example.

In all such professions, there are boundaries and limits on what you can do. Your behavior and actions need to be predictive. You do not innovate, you just follow the procedure.

While in coding, there is uncertainty. A task which may look impossible could be done with a bit more dedication, if put. Here, you always know that there must be some way of doing this task – just some more efforts are needed. That’s how code induces optimism in us.

  1. An aid to your Boredom and Away to stay Creative!

Picasso once said – Every child is creative; sustaining that creativity while growing up is, however, a deal.

Do you know why children are never bored and always have innovative (sometimes, weird) solutions to every situation?

It’s because they experiment. They aren’t too much into ‘let’s see how everyone is doing it’. It lets their brain come up with new ideas all the time. In the IT industry, every day brings you a new problem. You do not repeat the tasks, unlike other professions. Hence, that ‘boredom’ never overtakes you, keeping you creative ‘forever’.

Analyzing Successful Technical Education Models

Okay. We knew coding is important, but how to build a good education tech model for the Indian ecosystem. Aren’t you thinking that?

There are numerous ‘tried’ and countless ‘not-tried’ ways of doing that. We can either use ‘tried’ once directly, or we can innovation ‘non-tried’ ones by understanding the ‘tried’ ones. So, it is good to begin towards the change by checking out the tried and successful tech education models, existing around the world:

  • Singularity University

The business incubator of Silicon Valley! Here, tech think tanks offer educational guidance to ensure student’s complete exposure to practical, scientific and exponential aspects of technologies. The program has fruitfully impacted millions of people yet.

  • Hack Reactor

It is a San Francisco based Coding Boot camp program, which offers 12-week Software Engineering training. Hack Reactor focuses on the fundamentals of JavaScript, developer tools and technologies. Full-time, part-time and online courses are available. Hack Reactor alumni are employed by Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and many tech giants, indicating how successful this program is.

  • io

Turing offers a 7-month Software Development and Design course, guaranteeing to turn their students into professional developers. Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Ruby web apps with Sinatra, API and service integration in apps and advanced web app development are the core skills taught at Turing, along with many diverse tech skills. Proven to unlock human potential, there are numerous products of Turing who are contributing the tech advancement through their skilled brains.

  • Dev BootCamp

The first ever boot camp, which bought the boom of boot camps, seeing its success and effectiveness! This 18-week long course was specially-designed to bring out the talented brains as software developers, support engineers, product managers and more influential professionals in multiple industries. JavaScript, HTML, CSS and Ruby are the basic technicalities taught at Dev BootCamp.

  • Draper University

Giving your entrepreneurial dreams a completely new overlook, Draper University (of Heroes) is a for-profit organization in the Silicon Valley. This 5-week course may change your way of thinking as it nurtures the students under the guidance of best innovators of Silicon Valley. Risk-taking, critical-thinking, logical empowerment and many skills are emphasized on, rather than coding only.

  • Harvard HBX

Harvard’s Business School started the course HBX for digital learning enthusiasts. Accepting 500 students at once, this 11-week program is prepared to change the online learning ecosystem. To a large extent, it’s been successful at what its motive is.

  • Asoka University: Young India Fellowship

YIF or Young India Fellowship is an Indian initiative, run by Ashoka University. That’s a 1-year residential multi-disciplinary program for the undergraduates. Not only coding, management skills are also taught to the students. One of its kinds, this off-beat course is grabbing the attention of youth and technology pioneers very fast.

  • SOAL (School of Accelerated Learning)

TEP: WebDev is SOAL’s 14-week immersive program. It’s another appreciable Indian initiative, providing a solid base to the young people who are interested in software and web development. The program adopts a product-based approach instead of teaching the students how to provide IT services. Using the cognition and social intelligence modules alongside NodeJS, React, Electron, Docker, JavaScript, etc., the learners are taught to correctly use semantics rather than learning the syntax of the language.

There could be many more small and large level skill training institutes, but the main concern is – How to make these educational organizations mainstream? How to tell parents that it’s Okay to score low marks but Not Okay to learn the practical aspects of what their kids are cramming.

Shaping the Future of Indian Tech Education

There are 4Es of Education as per Dr. Shashi Tharoor (Yeah, India’s most-praised intellectual. He is brilliant at times and disgusting at the very next moment), namely –

  • Equity
  • Education
  • Excellence
  • Employability

In the current era, we have almost achieved equity of gender, caste and religion. Education is there but the quality is the concern. 74 of Indians can now read and write. This rate drops to 69% when students reach 8th Grade, 39% for 10th Grade and only 19% of Indians reach colleges.

Not to disguise it with Technical education, we still lack excellence in providing tech education to young undergraduates. To make it better, practical and vocational training should be given to the students in the colleges, or even in the schools. It will reduce the problem, students face after their studies, as employability criteria and academic criteria have a wide gap between them.

The skill gap, which is too vast at present, could be filled. We just need more boot camps, integration of practical tech education in academic curriculums and engaging the students through telling them the concept of semantics, not just the syntax.

Here, I do not mean (Though I know, today’s parents are more excited about it, sad!) that your 2 years old must be able to operate your mobile phone, open videos, etc. Of course, he or she should not be exposed to digital devices for at least 4 to 5 years. I just mean that when your kid graduate and enters into the industry, the person must be self-sufficient to develop products, most importantly – think and execute ideas. Got that?

For a Bright Future of Indian Tech Education, we can focus on:

  • Coding Bootcamps

Coding boot camps are accelerated learning programs, which promise to teach the extensive programming skills in a short time period. In India, students are generally judged according to their percentile or cramming power. But the truth of tech industry is: you need to be creative, innovative and out-of-box thinker if you really want to sustain.

As we are always forced to do things in a conventional or non-actionable way in colleges and schools, the ‘common sense’ and ‘creativity’ keep dying at a slow pace. To seed this quality back into the talented brains, Coding Bootcamps are the best destination henceforth.

  • Lifelong Learning

Life and learning go side-by-side. Similarly, a developer has to keep harnessing her/his coding skills for whole the life. Technologies keep changing, refining, re-inventing and always need refreshed learning from time to time. The best methods to introduce lifelong learning are:

  • Employee training programmes (on regular durations)
  • More and more community colleges so that people can learn the skills of their interest, irrespective of their age.

 

  • Developing Growth Mindset in Kids (and Parents)

Let’s begin it with Parents! How can we miss talking about them here?

No risk-taking and greed of government job – 2 of these creativity-killer habits are inserted in Kid’s brain by their parents. And more than 80% of Indian parents have exactly the same mentally.

Did you even realize why 17% of world population is generating only 2.8% research output?

That’s because of:

  • Kid’s disengagement from studies due to the excessive focus on facts rather than practicality.
  • Discouragement, which young innovators generally receive for their failures or creative thinking.

To develop a growth mindset:

  • Encourage students to come up with their own and unique implementations, instead of following old methods.
  • Motivate them to try harder; failure isn’t the dead end.
  • Change the methods of learning. Make them more interesting and engaging.
  • Teach persistence and how not to give up in tough conditions.
  • Fun learning

One thing is clear. Technologies cannot be fitted in kids’ or youths’ brain through mere theory. It is required to provide them with the chances of experimenting on their own. Let them explore this magical world, because it’s the only way they can learn and innovate.

What do you think about technical education in India? Is it sufficient or need uplift?

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