During a freewheeling discussion, a group of students of Model Engineering College, Kochi, tell The Hindu-Educationplus about how they view the current campus placement and job market trends.
The IT industry seems to be lapping up fast and quick the increasing number of engineering graduates churned out every year. And the demand for fresh talent in the booming IT sector seems to be incessant. All arms extended, the who-is-who of the Indian IT industry woos the graduates in more ways than one. If earlier it was the students who were the seekers, now it is the companies that are waiting to net the best. At Model Engineering College (MEC) in Thrikkakara, just one week in to the final year classes and 181 of 220 students have already been placed. How do the students view this trend? Are they equipped to meet the demand? When faced with more than one offer, what are their selection criteria? The Hindu-Educationplus caught up with a group of students on the MEC campus for a freewheeling chat. Seven students of the seventh semester batch, who have landed jobs in plum IT companies, shared their perceptions with us. It was Deepak Jason T., a student of the Electronics and Communication branch, who initiated the discussion by throwing light on the job trends in the IT industry.
"The current market has given students a lot of hope. The boom is not just confined to the IT sector alone. There is tremendous scope for all branches of engineering. The hottest trend in electronics is the very large scale integration (VLSI) division. The Indian IT industry is at its peak. The scene is bright. This is only the tip of the opportunities iceberg," he said. Rahul Rajan, a student of computer science and engineering stream, joined the debate by saying that it is not companies that are selecting students these days. "The scene has changed with students picking the best recruiters visiting the campus. Today, the demand is more. We have a good supply. It is about selecting companies that actually exploit our potential. At this young age, students can choose companies that provide them a platform for development. Students are going for companies that are developing fast," he said. Rahul was quick to point out that engineering graduates do not usually go to BPO companies. "Our skills are not fully harnessed there," he said.
The young talents are so aware of the need to have good soft-skills to make it big in their career. Manu Sankar Das, convener of the placement cell of MEC and a student of Computer Science and Engineering, said that future engineers need good communication skills. "When we interact with the corporate world, they look out not just for your technical skills. The industry wants people with communication skills. Students who score 90 per cent marks may not make it if they are lacking in good communication skills. At MEC, regular training sessions are held for improving both technical and communication abilities," he said. Asked whether the "dream pay package" and "a dream company" would not hamper their chances of going for higher studies, the students came up with some interesting thoughts.
Making the decision
Swapna Vasudevan, a student of electronics and communication branch, said that it should be left to the student to decide what he or she wants in life. "If I want to make money and have family commitments, then I would take up a job. There are students who are attracted by the pay package. But I would like to add that not all students are swayed by the salary offered. There are several others who want to pursue higher studies," she said. Students were also clear about how to go about selecting companies. Carishma Cyriac, a student of computer science and engineering, said that she would probably go for a company that has already flourished. "The job in such a company would expose us to global trends and help us integrate better. For any fresher, I feel that training is very important. Irrespective of the pay package, it is the quality of training programme that will decide your future," she said. The IT boom is such that leading companies absorb even students in fields like biomedical and civil engineering streams. Shefin Sam George, a student of Electronics and Biomedical Engineering, supports the view. "Biomedical companies are not able to absorb students in reserve. The pay package is low compared to what IT companies offer. The view that India is becoming a biotechnology hub might be true but the opportunities need to be more attractive," she said.
The young crowd concluded their discussion by sharing a few tips on how they cruised through the campus placement without any hiccups. Saju Vaheed, a student of electronics and biomedical engineering, gave some tips on how to face an interview board. "Be confident. You should have a good knowledge of the subject. In HR interview, they look out for your communication skills." Students said that companies want not only students who are ready to learn but also those who are not hung up on what they have learnt earlier. "They are not looking for extremely bright students. They want people who can adapt easily to any situation. Flexibility and adaptability are the two major factors for success," they said.