Coding Skills: India’s Engineers Better Than China’s but Far Worse Than America’s

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Delhi (North) has the highest employability percentage, followed by Kolkata. The lowest employability figures were observed among colleges in southern cities.

Indian engineers have better programming skills and are more employable than their Chinese counterparts, but are far worse than American engineers – according to a study by Aspiring Minds, India’s leading employability solutions company.

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As per the study report, 4.7 per cent of Indian, 2.1 per cent of Chinese and 18.8 per cent of the US job applicants to IT and software industry have good coding skills (write functionally correct code).

Interestingly, whereas India does much better than China in terms of number of candidates who code well, the study found that a much higher proportion of Indian engineers (37.7 per cent) can’t write compilable code, as compared to China (10.4 percent).

The US engineers, on the other hand do four times better than Indian engineers in coding and have only 4.0 per cent candidates who can’t write a compilable code. The is quite surprising as the base of engineering population in the USA is approximately four times smaller than India.

This means India needs to do much more work to impart coding skills to the masses.

The research sample includes 170,000 Indian engineering students and over 40,000 and 30,000 jobseekers in the US and China, respectively.

New age IT skills in engineers

Companies now want engineers who are equipped with new age IT skills such as Artificial Intelligence, data engineering and data science (machine learning) to effectively deliver the wide variety of work.

The Gurugram-headquartered company conducted a 15-minute test to find the percentage of students who are trainable and employable in each of the skills.

The percentage of engineers employable in new age skills ranges from 1.2 per cent-5.3 per cent. Among the new age skills, the study found the lowest employability for artificial intelligence and data science related skills.

The percentage of engineers trainable in these skills was also found to be low, at around 10-15 per cent.

Employability in key cities and job preferences

The study also compared employability within students graduating out of different metro cities in the country.

Delhi (North) was found having the highest employability percentage, followed by Kolkata. The lowest employability figures were observed among colleges in southern cities.

In comparison to the previous edition, the aspirations of engineers to work for a large company has decreased by 15 per cent. A slight increase is observed in the inclination of students towards start-up jobs.

Females are more inclined to work for SMEs than their male counterparts.

Similar to the observations in its previous study, the company found that students from lower tier institutions are less interested to work in larger companies.

“This is mostly because they believe that while getting a job in a large company would be difficult, the probability to get the job at an SME is fairly high,” it noted.

Meanwhile, the tier 2 college students show minimum inclination towards start-up jobs.

More than 46 per cent of engineers seek core engineering jobs followed by software jobs (44 per cent). Despite of the mushrooming job opportunities in managerial roles like technical sales, marketing and content development, engineers do not seem to prefer these jobs as yet.

When it comes to income aspiration, core branch engineers aspire for a higher salary than other engineers.

Reasons for the low employability

To understand the reasons for the low employability of engineers, the team tried to find the level of seriousness and check job readiness measures taken by students and universities.

It found that only 40 per cent of the candidates are serious about taking up internships. This indicates a need for intervention from colleges to encourage students to take up internships.

The talks by industry personnel provide exposure to students and keep them updated on current industry trends. But among the study respondents, only a small percentage (22.73 per cent) of students have attended multiple talks, while over 50 per cent of students have not attended even a single talk by an industry personnel.

Over 72 per cent of students have attended talks within their college and have rarely been to seminars, workshops or conferences outside college.

“The support and motivation from colleges and faculties helps students to boost their confidence and become industry-ready. However, the current state of affairs is not very encouraging,” the study pointed out.

According got the report, almost 60 per cent candidates feel that focus on practical applications by faculty is very low. Half of the students also pointed out that there is low focus on workshops and seminars along with unavailability of good faculty in colleges.

Recommendations

To address low employability, the study emphasized the need for long-range system reforms and outside-the-box ideas. “Government and other policy makers will have to play a key role, while all other interested stakeholders such as colleges and industry must be incentivized and equipped to respond to policy changes,” it said.

Here are the three recommendations from the company:

  • To improve the quality of education in institutions by introducing new programs and resources, with a major focus on faculty development.
  • To provide and align incentives for all stakeholders to promote better employability outcomes.
  • To strengthen connections between industry and academia to foster mutual value creation.
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