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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Engineering Degree and Science Graduates - They are same for IT Outsurcing services

There was a time when B.Tech or B.E. degree was indeed the minimum to really get into core of Computer Science and Information Technology Jobs. Slowly, we had more wider education degree holders e.g. Master in Computer Applications (MCA) also joining in the IT Jobs. Then there are specific IT jobs where commerce and accounting functions need to be automated. Here B.Com, M.Com graduates with IT application training started getting IT Jobs. Now a days we are seeing multiple functional stream graduates working with technology graduates to create end value.

However a sweeping statement as made here by an IT Outsourcing Giant and the drivers for such action needs to be studied little deeply. The article here quotes Premji of Wipro as saying,

"Most of the engineering students can perform as well as an engineer after one year of [on the job] training. They are the cream of the crop and highly motivated," said Premji. "

To me this can be explained in two ways either the engineering education is really not sufficiently different or the work that IT services organization are really doing doesnt really demand engineering degrees. I suspect the reason is closer to the latter. If that is the case, then would not it be better to take the existing engineering gradutates to a higher plane by giving them more challenging work - say a new product design - rather than counting billing rates dollars per hours for fixing field bugs of applications running out there or having to test the badly written computer codes through so-called six sigma processes and making labour factories of software development.

Interesting is the driver for such initiatives as quoted by the article, To keep a lid on wages, Wipro is decreasing the number of engineering graduates it hires in favor of students with a general four-year science degree. Science graduates in India typically command salaries at a level about half of the $750 per month of engineering grads, he said. (This is attributed to the HR)

The defence of such action is below, "They are smart people but could not afford an engineering degree or wanted to graduate in less than four years," he added. "At half the costs of an engineer, this creates an extremely powerful model. Our customers often don't care if we bring in an engineer or non engineer as long as they are trained and smart," he said.

One reason that is missed out is that they could not qualify for an engineering degree admission test which is quite tough in India.

Mind you, I have absolutely no problems with Science graduates becoming IT Honchos - I really am for this inclusion. What really is disturbing is the under utilization of Engineering graduates - they are being converted quickly to Managers by such initiatives.

In the long-run IT and ITES revolution in India may be doing more harm to Engineering, Science and Technology creation capability of the Nation?
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