Like every morning I was catching up on the local and world affairs and going through the news updates and my newspaper. A particular article caught my attention with the above subject line “95% engineers unfit for Software Development Job”. This article was based on a survey carried out by an employ-ability assessment company, Aspiring Minds which stated only 4.77 percent can write the correct logic for a program.
It caused me to reflect the challenges I faced while building up my team in Revolux Solutions (my software product company) to hire right quality software development talent in India. As a product company I’m not looking at hiring 1000’s of software engineers who are good at menial work, they are engineers and are suppose to help build future great products and bring new innovations. I was looking for only few talented people for my products who can write quality software programs, have a research oriented mind to learn, those who can apply their engineering mind to write optimal software codes, people that understand and apply the best way to use the underlying technology to deliver the best result.
Good or great software products are not necessarily built by hiring 100-1000s of average or below average software developers on a single product and hoping that end result would be a great product.
During our interview, I ask prospective candidates to write a piece of code around a given problem and I ask them to use a programming language of their choice, yeah don’t even dictate what language to use. The objective being primarily to see their logic and skills and style, whether they can write functionally correct and efficient codes. 95% are unable to meet this basic expectation.
With most of the apparently bright students lining up and being lapped up early on by the bigger companies directly from the campus (guess even though they take in 1000’s but 5% would be the real bright as per the survey), it was a tremendous uphill task to then seek out and identify and find the ones which do have the right programming DNA. But thankfully we were able to find the right team albeit with some great effort.
I looked for the right programming mindset ability and further spent time to train my team to learn the latest technologies that we work on, the architecture code blocks, right coding practices, whats needed to build high performance and scalable products etc. took us a while but we got around building the right foundation team.
So to a large extent my experience in finding good programming talents connects to this survey, which states 60% candidates cannot even write code that compiles, and only 1.4% could write functionally correct and efficient code. So to me, the software engineering students and their present curriculum needs a sea change, they need to spent more time writing codes and working on projects.
They need to be taught the technologies that are relevant today and need to be trained to write the best software code, taught coding practices, trained to research, innovate, trained on various other elements related to software industry like software testing, analytics, analysis, software architecture etc. Why do they need to spend more money to further train once they are out of college to get a break in the industry which is constantly looking for high quality team members?
Can a Chartered Accountant clear exams and be allowed to practice if he is not having the basic skills, can Doctors be allowed to practice if they don’t know how to diagnose basic illness and treatment’s, So why should software industry be any different.
There is a need for change, so that our young engineers do not become irrelevant in this era of growing automation and are trained in relevance to industry needs.
There is a need for change so that our young engineers can spend more time building great products and continuous innovations, instead of trying to get their first job and unlearning and learning what the industry needs.
There is a need for change for responsible authorities to engage with the industry and chalk out the right road-map to make relevant improvements in education process of our next generation software engineers and the time is now.
Author : Vikas Shetty, Founder and CEO – Revolux Solutions