Education, featured, Opinions

The crossroads: do we need to rethink about education and hiring strategies?

Arslan Ali Written by Arslan Ali · 2 min read>
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They say, “If you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree.”

For us, the best way to attain the right professionals is to attain them right from the academia;

Information Technology and Sciences is a creative and contextual business domain. It thrives on what milieu it belongs to and hence put its effects on the individuals and companies which form its base ingredients.

The basics of Information technology starts from Hardware and Software. Within these two main domains, the field dives down to several technological and non-technological domains. These domains thrive on the skills of human beings. Being at the end of the user interface, a common user of the technology would never be acquainted with what kind of twists and turns are sculptured by these driven forces to make that icon they just tapped.

Appropriate education, training, and skill development is required to attain the right dexterity for becoming a technology professional. On the average at least 4 years of professional education along with the driven passion converts a normal human being into an IT professionals, maybe you have heard of a few.

In their 2013 revised curriculum, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has stated the importance of a multi dimension IT education structure, with the focus on volatile courses, communication skills and learning of new technologies.

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Within the electives are two subjects which caught my attention, as I belong to the same skill-sets. These are “Verification and Validation” and “Software Quality Assurance”, where the former is an elective is BS Course, and the later in the Masters course, with 3 credit hours each. There are other courses as well, covering a very broad range of Information technology sciences and beyond.

The complete degree program however does not primarily focus on elective skills, rather the student becomes an average developer, and those who are driven become really good developers.

My question to everyone is simple; Information technology and sciences is not just about becoming a developer. There are several segments which can be adapted by the students and they can form a good progressive career. Marketing and Sales, Customer Support Services, Quality Assurance and Software Testing, Search Engine Optimization, Digital Marketing, Digital Strategy, Network and Engineering and yes, the Development too.

Mr. Ashraf Kapadia, in his statement as Chief of Pakistan Software House Association (P@SHA), stated that “Pakistan Needs 15,000 IT Graduates Every Year.” There are above 70 Computer Sciences and above 100 engineering institutes and universities in Pakistan. On average these universities train and produce graduates with an average 10,000 per year (this number is based on average calculation, and no data is available anywhere)

Although things get interesting when we compare the talent acquisition problems of year 2002 and then a decade later in year 2011, wherein the daily news article, depicted here, tells the same story as PASHA Chief expressed here, 10 years later. A question is; where is the problem?

In a recent article in Testing Circus Magazine, I have proposed some solutions to academia and industry, which they can adapt on ground levels to enhance student skills on the basis of their current project development and without wasting anyone’s time and changes to the HEC course outline.

If we keep training our students on the trends and traditions of old methodologies, while trying to implement new technologies in their final year projects, we will only keep getting a lot which will be very hard to absorb in the current market structure.

The “gap” can only be minimized when academia and industry come together on the same page. There is no shortage of jobs and there is no shortage of candidates. The catch comes with the wrong candidates for the right jobs. If industry can somehow keep on adding the right seasoning in each year of the degree / graduation programs, they can get the students as the right candidates.

Several initiatives, such as recruitment drives, career guidance and speaker sessions are already in place. Academic tech events such as Pro-brain, Procom, Pro-battle and ITEC are making huge vibes among the youngsters. These events are not only sponsored by Industrial tech leaders, but are also attended by 100’s of IT professionals and academic representatives, something which our students need.

However, there is a very long road ahead for Pakistan IT industry and the young blood to carry the mantle, but one thing we are sure of that the future holds a promise and we are speeding up with the change.