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IT Layoffs: Ameerpet's Jugaad Succeeds Where Engineering Education Fails

Ameerpet has one of the largest concentration of IT training institutes in the country and these institutes provide market-oriented crash courses in IT skills, which most engineering colleges are not teaching.

Tushar Dhara | News18.com

Updated:July 24, 2017, 6:33 PM IST
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IT Layoffs: Ameerpet's Jugaad Succeeds Where Engineering Education Fails
Ameerpet offers something for everyone: Data mining, cloud computing, the internet of things, machine learning and more. (Photo: News 18.com)
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Hyderabad: Lohith Reddy, a young computer science graduate, peered into the laptop screen as he tried to make sense of the code that he had learned in class. Around him, two of his friends were similarly occupied with their machines. All three hope to land jobs in the $150 billion Indian IT industry in the next couple of months after they finish their course at an IT training institute in Ameerpet, a bustling cyber hub in Hyderabad.

"I want to come back to IT because of growth opportunities," Lohith told News18. He is not worried about the news of layoffs and the changing nature of the IT industry. "The layoffs are mostly of people on the bench in IT firms or of managers. The IT industry will always require freshers for basic work."

IT industry's struggle to adopt new technologies and to remain competitive is mainly affecting those who are either highly paid or have not picked up new skills. Freshers like Lohith, his friends Ravi Kumar and Eeshwar can always land jobs, provided they have the requisite skills.

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Lohith and his friends have come to Ameerpet to learn IT skills. (Photo: Tushar Dhara/ News18)

This is what has led them to Satya Technologies, one of the bigger training centres in Ameerpet. They are learning how to write code to build mobile apps. Lohith wants to specialise in developing apps for commercial transactions. The 23-year-old from Hyderabad completed his B.Tech in Computer Science from CMR IT Institute in 2016, but couldn't get a job.

"My B.Tech degree is just a piece of paper that shows I did four years of study. I didn't learn any computer skill there," Lohith said. His friend Eeshwar studied Electrical Engineering from GVR&S Engineering College in Guntur, 300 km away in Andhra Pradesh. Ravi Kumar did Civil Engineering from Ushodaya Engineering College in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, about 600 km from Hyderabad.

All three have come here to upgrade their skills. Ameerpet has one of the largest concentration of IT training institutes in India. By some accounts, more than 10,000 technical training institutes are located in an area of 1 square kilometre. These institutes provide market-oriented crash courses in IT skills, which most engineering colleges are not teaching.

Urban legend has it that everyone connected with IT in Hyderabad has at some point or the other been to Ameerpet. It symbolises both the crisis of engineering education in India and the solution provided by private enterprise.

Satya Technologies is famous for teaching Java and .Net, basic programming languages used in IT industry. It is one of the largest such institutes and nearly 10,000 students do various kinds of courses here every year.

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Students getting counselling at one of the IT institutes in Ameerpet. (Photo: Tushar Dhara/ News18)

Interestingly, such institutes are fast in adapting to change. Some of the new courses being offered here are on machine learning, robotics, data science and artificial intelligence. The people who come for these courses are working executives who want to upgrade their skills either to survive the sackings or in hope of being promoted. And the people who teach these courses are mid-level working executives who moonlight at Ameerpet.

Apart from regular courses, institutes here offer 'projects'. Every engineering college expects its students to do a 'live' project before graduating as no IT firm offers internships to rookies. Sadly, barring the top colleges, engineering colleges fail in training students to finish real-life projects on their own. That's where Ameerpet steps in. Institutes here offer project experience for as little as Rs 1,400. The 'internship certificate' that they provide is accepted by hundreds of colleges in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka.

Lokesh, Manideep, Rohan Chandra and Satya Kiran are from Aurora Technical and Research Institute in Hyderabad. They are looking for a suitable 'project internship' in Ameerpet. The institutes here offer bulk discounts, a group of four can do a joint project for as little as Rs 3,000. They will be given an IT case study and be taught hands-on how to write the program and get the source code. This makes them market ready. Many students describe this experience as more relevant than four years spent in an engineering college.

Lohith and his friends feel they will be ready for walk-in interviews with IT firms after they finish their course at Satya. Lohith's preference is a startup over an MNC IT firm. "A startup would mean that I can work on all platforms, which is not the case in a big firm," he said. "Moreover, the threat of layoffs is greater in big firms."

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By some accounts, Ameerpet has more than 10,000 technical training institutes. (Photo: Tushar Dhara/ News18)

Ameerpet offers something for everyone: Data mining, cloud computing, the internet of things, machine learning and more. These are just the more esoteric offerings.

There are also institutes that teach computer design, accounting and advanced Microsoft Excel. Aim Technologies is one such institute in the Maitrivanam Building, which houses many of Ameerpet’s IT institutes. The institute teaches 'new' technologies and is much smaller. Every year around 1000 students learn the basics of AI, robotics, data science and mobile applications here. "Java and .Net are old applications, but they are still bread and butter skills," Ramu Reddy, the founder of Aim told News18. "Employees who don't upgrade their skills are most at risk of becoming obsolete and being fired. We promote the latest technologies. Graduates and junior executives from IT firms come to us to upgrade their skills," Reddy said.

Although technical and engineering colleges have AICTE approval, outdated curricula and faculty means that the courses they teach do not have market relevance. This is what brings thousands of techies to Ameerpet. Here, they still have their hopes pinned to the IT industry.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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