Jostling for space among a crowd of women at a recent job fair in the city, were three young women, all science graduates from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, who have been living in a hostel in Egmore for almost a year.
“We came here to learn computer languages to get employed in an IT company. We joined Java classes, but have not got jobs yet,” says Jyothi Babu, one of them.
While trainers at the computer centre where Jyothi studies assure that the “tie-ups it has with renowned IT firms” would fetch her jobs she is unsure. “I have already spent around Rs.30,000 and the quality of the faculty keeps deteriorating as the course progresses,” she says.
The IT industry, with its promise of plush jobs and salaries, has not only attracted engineering graduates, but also those from other disciplines. Several computer training centres have mushroomed across the city to train such non-engineering graduates.
They offer courses in programming languages, database systems, scripting languages, networking technologies and animation applications, and promise jobs. But many of them fail to do so.
“Many of these classes flourish because they offer training at half the rates of reputed ones,” says T. Bala, a B.Com graduate, working as a testing assistant in an IT firm. “After learning JSP from one such institute , I was handed a resume which said the training centre was a software firm, and I had been working there for two years. Many training institutes do that,” he says.
“The installation of 3D software like Maya would cost up to Rs.5. lakh, apart from annual maintenance,” says A. Suresh, senior consultant, Arena Multimedia. “Most small-time firms either use pirated software or do not bother to upgrade their software,” he adds. Rekha Narayanan, trainer-consultant, Aldea Academy says: “Many offer software courses that are obsolete, but sound similar to popular ones. Being accurately informed is very important.”
However, Raja Bhaskar, who recently got a job as a software developer, feels that the training in such centres, if imparted by skilled faculty, can help students . “The timings are flexible and tailor-made coursesare available,” he says. “The problem lies with non-fulfilment of the promise of jobs. But not everybody can afford to go the reputed institutes,” he says.
Those who run these classes justify their work. “Many engineering students come here to learn new technologies and work on their software projects. Few colleges actually train them in hands-on work. These colleges can provide them jobs, but only the knowledge of software can help them grow in the industry," says A. Harirajan, trainer-proprietor of a training centre in Adyar.
With the demand for software employees rising massively, software firms will welcome people from various disciplines who have the required knowledge, says NASSCOM regional director, K. Purushottaman.
“But candidates need to evaluate the courses and be cautious about what they specialise in. Talking to people in the industry, choosing contemporary technologies and the right training institute would help,” he adds.