Kochi: It’s official. The health of the Indian software services sector is deteriorating and it’s beginning to jolt the job market more seriously than imagined.
While students of tier-I colleges such as IITs, NITs and other premier institutes like College of Engineering, Trivandrum, are largely insulated from the job crisis, the hard hit will be tier-II and tier-III colleges in the state.
“Ten or more engineering colleges out of the nearly 160 colleges in the state will have to shutdown next year as students are beginning to realise that it’s much better to go for a three-year undergraduation course, instead of four years in engineering,” said T K Suresh Babu, head of training and placement, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kozhikode.
Babu said NIT has not felt the impact of the slowdown yet as only 30 out of its 600 students get hired by the software services companies, amounting to just five per cent. “We have not been affected as our students are looking for core engineering sector which includes digital services,” he said.
Compared to Rs 3 lakh per annum starting package for a software services job, the core engineering jobs fetch upwards of Rs 6 lakh per annum, though the number of hires are lower. Babu said the big three software services companies – TCS, Infosys, Cognizant – cutting recruitment by more than half was an alarming prospect for the engineering students. “The increase in engineering colleges and the number of seats should have been in proportion to the industry demand,” said Babu.
Varun Chandran, founder of Corporate360, an IT sales information company, blamed the engineering curriculum for the lack of job opportunities in emerging fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the current point of focus of some IT MNCs.
“It’s time we update our curriculum and refreshing it to keep up with ever-changing industry innovations. At our engineering colleges, legacy technologies like c, c++ etc are being taught. There’s lack exposure for students to the latest technologies like big data, robotics, artificial intelligence etc,” said Varun. James Varghese, in-charge of placements at School of Engineering at Cochin University, said the “intake” is dull this year compared to previous years.
“Almost all the companies that have come for campus placements last year have shown interest to participate this year too. But their requirement is far lower this year,” he said. “There is good demand from prospective employers like Indian Oil Corporation in specialised sectors such as Safety&Fire Engineering,” he said.