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Just 3% of desi techies have AI skills: Study

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NEW DELHI: The seventh annual report on employability by Aspiring Minds, one of the largest employability assessment and job credentialing companies in the world, sounds a tocsin for governments and administrators of our technical institutions: The US has a much higher proportion, almost four times, of engineers who can code than India.

The report shows that only 3.84% of our engineers have the technical, cognitive, and language skills necessary for software related start-ups. Additionally, a mere 3% of engineers have new-age skills in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science, and mobile development.

Varun Aggarwal, co-founder and CTO of Aspiring Minds, says: “We found that only about 3% of engineers have new-age skills in AI, data, mobile, and cloud. This is a situation which must be immediately remedied — both for the sake of Indian industry, and our relevance to the world at large.”

The employability of Indian engineers continues to be low with over 89% of them unemployable for any job in the knowledge economy.

This data came up in an employability survey of 1.7 lakh engineering students and 70,000 engineers seeking jobs in the US and China.

The first large-scale study on employability was done in 2010 and the “stubborn unemployability” numbers seem to have held ground ever since; the report further shows that on aggregate, the employability for new-age jobs is 1.7%, on average.

While around 18.8% of engineers applying for IT jobs in the US can write correct code, only 4.7% of the engineers can do so in India. Whereas Indian engineers show better potential than Chinese students in writing correct code, a much higher proportion of Indian engineers, around three times, write code that do not even compile (computer program that transforms code written in a programming language into the machine code).

For the first time, the report quantifies the reasons for low employability in India: Only 40% of engineering graduates do an internship and only 36% do projects beyond coursework.

While 47% engineers attended industry talks, 60% of the faculty doesn’t talk about the industrial application of concepts, which makes engineering disciplines in India very theoretical. Worse, only about 7% of the candidate pool did multiple internships.

“Engineers learn by doing and not reading. We found that the proportion of engineers taking up projects beyond curriculum and doing internships is low. Further, the faculty barely talks about industrial application of concepts in class, even as the exposure of students through industry talks is also wanting,” Varun said.

The report recommended employability assessments and training programmes from the first year of university study, including all incoming students to be assessed on basic skills and, based on the results, three to six months training programmes in students’ gap areas.

It also recommended private colleges and universities to start building niche research programmes, reform college examination system, and encourage internship programmes and push project-based learning.

Source: Economic Times