The IT industry, as we see it today, is in a state of flux, and has various challenges on hand. Some of them pertain to the way users are consuming software and digital content, and how that is changing very fast. Also, there are challenges we face in human resourcing, in both acquiring, and keeping talent.
In the very recent past, i.e. last couple of years, we are seeing an increasing departure of people from using software and consuming content on conventional desktop-based platforms, to the web and mobile. The era of desktop applications is well past its prime, and all software products, be it a flashy new food delivery startup, or the Government of India’s services, are now launching first on iOS or Android, because that is where the users are. Gone are the days of renting out DVDs or buying Audio CDs.
This is the era of Netflix and Spotify, or talking of Indian companies, Hotstar and Gaana and the likes.
New And Fast-changing Technological Platforms
There are countless languages and frameworks to build web servers and websites and apps today, compared to the scenario few years ago. While Java and .NET are still the backbone of the enterprise IT industry, newer technology like Python and NodeJS is coming fast and filling newer gaps.
The modern software ecosystem is a continuously connected one, with humongous quantities of data travelling on it. Conventional database management techniques are giving way to newer ways to store and manage big data. The sheer number of platforms required on the front end is creating demand for frameworks like React and React Native with which both webapps and mobile apps can be built.
Quality Of New Talent
A long-standing tradition in the IT industry has been to train newly hired software engineers for the platforms that they will work on. In our years of experience, we have seen students graduating after studying computer science and software engineering for 4 years at colleges right from the top to the average ones, only having basic, shaky programming skills.
When you read headlines like “Only 7% of India’s engineering graduates employable,” it is usually not shocking, but a well-known fact within the industry.
It is due to this fact, that all large software companies must train a new hire, often from the ground up.
A New Breed Of Software Developers Required
Due to the fast-changing nature of the industry, if we are to hire young software developers whom we can get to work on cutting edge technology, it will have to be an entirely different breed of developers. The software industry is looking for people who not only have impeccable fundamental programming skills, including rock solid knowledge of advanced data structures and commonly used algorithms, but also has significant exposure to product development skills including mobile app development or web development.
Freshly graduated engineers who have ventured into the world of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence or Internet-of-Things are also, obviously, seeing a great demand for their skills in the industry.
With the aforementioned challenges to the industry in mind, we at Coding Blocks, are making an effort to provide guidance and opportunities to aspirants of a career in computers and software, so that they get the career they dreamt of, and the industry gets the talent it direly needs.
Imparting The Skills That Matter
While there is a plethora of sources to get started with programming languages, what is more important is to build a robust foundation of data structures like Graphs, Heaps, Tries, which are increasingly used to create performant systems. Equally important is a well-rounded knowledge of various common algorithms used to solve complex programming problems – like how Google Maps creates the shortest and fastest route between two points, and how Facebook finds mutual friends.
Hence, we drill down on advanced data structures and algorithms and make sure those who graduate have the essential problem skills that often many software developers lack.
Technology That Is Upcoming, Not Obsolete
A common problem with most colleges and universities in India is the rate at which syllabus gets updated. And while the same curriculum from 2000 might work for Civil or Chemical Engineering, the computer industry is changing every day. What was the next big thing in 2010, is a technology on the verge of being phased out in 2016, and thus, the importance of learning tomorrow’s technology cannot be underscored more.
We have made it the very first priority, to make sure the knowledge being imparted pertains to the latest platforms, using the latest version of tools and APIs on that day.
[The author of this post is Manmohan Gupta – the founder of Coding Blocks, a learning institute that focus on training students with the latest technologies and programming languages.]