EDUCATION PLUS

As you like IT

Children learn at an NIIT centre on World Computer Literacy Day. — Photo: Parth Sanyal

Children learn at an NIIT centre on World Computer Literacy Day. — Photo: Parth Sanyal  

THE first search took us to a young lady from Chennai on a groom hunt. The page didn't give her name but did say she was a science graduate with a Masters Diploma in Software Engineering (from Aptech). Wrong link. So we went to the next.

The search engine next presented us with a Senior Applications Executive and a GIS analyst who had an M.Tech in Remote Sensing from Anna University and boasted of a Diploma in Information Systems Management from — guess where — Aptech again.

And all we did was search for ``Aptech + Chennai.''

We got to the Aptech web site finally, but didn't recognise it at all (especially from 10 years ago). It's not just a hep computer course hangout anymore. It's gone global with its career courses; has tied up with two universities — one Indian and the other, Australian — to offer their degrees; has started its own colleges, and by the end of the next year, should have its own university up and running.

It's much the same with SSI and NIIT. SSI and Aptech are partners of sorts now, which lets them combine their individual strengths. NIIT runs not just a matrix of career and short-term courses, but over the last two years, has been trying to bridge the digital divide in India with a computer literacy drive that has the Prime Minister rooting for it. Its target: Making one lakh poor kids computer literate.

Between the three of them, their course tags have become good enough to be on any resume, be it a bride, a scientist or a corporation school kid trying to tell his daily-wage folks back home all that a mouse can do.

So, here's a low-down on some of their courses:

Its boast: An international curriculum to meet the demands of industry requirements worldwide. In the words of Sudhir Mathur, Marketing VP, Aptech, "It makes a complete IT professional out of you." Course duration: Three years, with exit points after each semester. Can you go for it: You can, if you are done with school.

Our take: It's got a whole lot of Commerce and even Engineering students going for it. Aptech guys say its good enough to be a graduate course.

Its boast: For the Business Process Outsourcing segment. Special courses for Sales and Marketing, Banking, Accounting and Call Centres. Course duration: 4-10 months. Can you go for it: If you are a graduate.

Our take: A definite skill-upgrade course for the kids who want to be a whiz. Besides these, Aptech has tied up with the Sikkim Manipal University for a Bachelors in Applied Information Technology, and with the Southern Cross University, Australia, for onshore and offshore graduate programmes. It's also setting up the Aptech University in Raipur.

Its boast: A one-year mentorship programme with top IT and non-IT companies that are likely to absorb you. "It's the course we are most known for," says Jeffrey S. Peter, Regional Manager, NIIT. Includes two years of rigorous training and a year of professional practice in a company — with a "decent stipend." Also allows lateral entry into the M.Sc (IT) course of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU), Mysore. Course duration: Three years, if you don't stretch it. Can you go for it: Right after school.

Our take: Over 90 per cent absorption rate by mentor companies and a dual qualification.

Its boast: Allows lateral entries into Indian and foreign universities. The KSOU allows lateral entry into the B.Sc (IT) course, and the Rajiv Gandhi Pratyogi Vishwa Vidyalaya into its B.Tech course. Includes a credit system for offshore and onshore degree courses in universities in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Course duration: Two years. Can you go for it: Right after school.

Our take: Good Credits.

The NIIT's CATS programme — Curriculum for Advanced Technologies Studies — is another sought-after course, especially in Chennai. Good for engineering students and IT professionals "migrating into new skills."

It's got its IMPACT (Implementation of Advanced Computing Technologies) and TechPace courses, ideal for Engineering, MCA and regular students, but we aren't going to talk about them. Because, SSI has got what none of the others have — a course in Bio-informatics. Deals with: Proteomics, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Advanced Genetics, etc. Can you go for it: If you have done Life Sciences and Computers at the class 12 level. Course duration: One year.

Our take: Could give a biology foundation and some real scope for growth. Still in its pilot stage with only a few centres offering them (including the Chennai branch).

Feroze Ahmed

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