Software companies are on a hiring spree, as the IT industry, after a few years of sluggishness, is back in robust growth mode.

It is as if the software industry is on a hiring binge. Students from private universities are being recruited in thousands. First, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recruited 1,091 from SRM University where 2,023 students were placed in software leaders including TCS, Wipro and HCL, in just seven days. Next, Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) handed over job offers to 1,643 students of VIT University, Vellore.

At SASTRA University, Thanjavur, as on date, over 1,800 job offers have been made with TCS, creating a new record. TCS recruited 1,359 SASTRA students during its three-day campus recruitment drive early this month, says V. Badrinath, Dean - Training & Placements. Over 30 companies have visited the campus till now.

“The university is also formalising various post-recruitment activities in consultation with the recruiters to utilise the last semester in the most productive form. This will make the graduates readily employable by the industry and also address the growing concern of students' academic interest after securing a job,” says S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, Dean - Planning & Development, SASTRA University.

In Madurai, TCS has selected 618 students from Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE). It is not just the ECE, CSC & IT, EEE graduates are getting placed. Students of bio-medical engineering, bio-informatics and other disciplines, with aptitude and communication skills, are being picked up by the IT industry in droves.

After a few years of sluggishness, the IT industry is on a robust growth path. “There is a pent-up demand,” says Lakshmi Narayanan, vice-chairman, Cognizant. “In the last one year (October 2009 to September 2010), we saw a net addition of over 27,500 employees. On December, we crossed the 1 lakh employee mark, says Sriram Rajagopal, vice-president, HR, Cognizant.

Software professionals say that the projects are lined up from January next year and the demand has hit a high again with companies luring programmers with lucrative packages as a result of which the attrition rate has also been quite high everywhere. Employees are asked to refer candidates on a weekly basis.

Significantly, this is the first batch of students, after the State scrapped the entrance test for engineering admissions, being placed now. “Even the students who studied in Tamil medium in Plus Two are placed in good numbers. It is the basic subject knowledge that matters most,” says G.K. Rajesh, placement officer, TCE.

In Tiruchi, Anna University of Technology - Tiruchi (AUT-T) and Bharathidasan University are viewing the job market with cautious optimism. Recruiters enlisted for conducting job interviews at the AUT-T during the course of this year constitute an equal mix of manufacturing and IT/ITES sector.

According to M. Jayakumar, director, Department of Extension and Career Guidance, Bharathiar University, the university was not able to place more than 300 students last year. “This year, as of now there is a 30 per cent improvement. Many more drives are in the pipeline.” Companies showing interest in placements (in arts and science) this year are from banking, insurance, customer support services, infrastructure and financial services. K.P. Dhanabalakrishnan, placement officer, Dr. Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology, Pollachi, says that at the first placement drive the college conducted, nearly 300 students got placed in four companies.

“In the IT field, Pondicherry University has already achieved 100 per cent placements this year,” says S.K.V. Jayakumar, the head of placements. Mass recruiters such as TCS, Cognizant and Accenture select the candidates first and then include them in projects once they join. Small recruiters on the other hand make project-specific selections.

“This year we have come out of a slowdown. Recruitment is expected to be high, since the growth projection of the industry seems good in the coming year. We plan to recruit from at least 25 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu in the next month,” says V. Viswanathan, talent acquisition team, WIPRO.

For science graduates, Wipro has a special PG programme called Wipro Academy of Software Excellence in BITS Pilani, after which the students will be employed in the company. “This year we are looking at providing admissions to at least 5,000 students under this programme. The percentage of science graduates recruited every year is around 5 to 8 percentage. In the subsequent two or three years we must try and translate this into 15 to 20 percentage,” says Mr. Viswanthan.