Students do certification courses but fail to gain overall knowledge about the nature and fundamentals of computer sciences, says expert
Over the last few years, the share of ITES companies' contribution to our economy has been rising consistently. Though experts boast of the country's software prowess and there is a steady increase in the number of graduates with computer sciences degree, not a single proprietary software product has come from any Indian firm. What causes these lacunae in the system?
IEEE Computer Society 2012 International President, John W. Walz, believes that this anomaly is a result of the lack of strong fundamental knowledge in the students.
“Students in India go through rote learning and do not have strong fundamental knowledge in any domain. They do certification courses which give them a good knowledge of specific software but fail to gain overall knowledge about the nature and fundamentals of the computer sciences,” he opined.
Though the Indian government agencies lay down the curriculum for courses in the computer sciences, because of the rapid development of new technologies, it needs to be constantly updated or risk learning obsolete technologies, he adds.
What could be a possible solution for this problem? Mr. Walz says that IEEE Computer Society's ‘Software Engineering Body of Knowledge' (SWEBOK) holds the key. “IEEE Computer Society is an International body comprising the experts and professionals from the computer industry. The society has compiled the available body of knowledge under SWEBOK in 2005 which will be revised in 2012. This body of knowledge ensures that a student gets a thorough knowledge in any field related to computer engineering,” he said.
About 200 American universities are following SWEBOK and IEEE volunteers conduct yearly appraisals to check the level of compliance, he said.
To give the students a better edge and to ensure that they are ready with the requisite knowledge, when they join the industry, the society is also offering exams to give them basic and advanced certification. “The basic certificate ‘Certified Software Development Associate' will equip a fresh graduate with the foundation required to join a job and the advanced certificate ‘Certified Software Development Professional' is for candidates with three to four years of experience,” Mr. Walz explained. The society is currently offering these exams in US and will offer them in India soon, he said.
With global economies in doldrums, should students choose computer sciences as an option? Mr. Walz says that students should definitely take computer sciences. “Whatever may be the position of economy, computer sciences is set to retain its prominence. With the newer technologies rolling out, automation of the processes is going to increase and this provides a opportunity for the software engineers,” he explained.
But Mr. Walz also has a piece of advice for the aspiring computer science student. “Learning proprietary software and taking up back office operations may not be an option in the long term. Bigger companies will stop relying on the back office operations when cloud computing becomes more secure and reliable. Students who do not acquire strong fundamental knowledge in the computer sciences will be relegated to inferior positions,” he warns.