Engineering jobs, as of today, is a hot topic as there are millions of students graduating out of colleges and applying for jobs. However, in this era of digital transformation, it is extremely pertinent for students to have new age skillsets like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and so on. In an interview with DataQuest, Mr Kashyap Dalal, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Simplilearn, talks about the current status of the students that are passing out and what Simplilearn has to offer for them regarding re-skilling.
Status of current engineers and new age skillsets
Unfortunately, in India today, out of all the engineers who are graduating and entering the job market, there is a very low percentage who have the skillsets (artificial intelligence, machine learning, python, etc.) already and also lack the level of proficiency that is needed by companies. So, at this point of time we don't see engineers coming out having most of these skillsets. This is mainly for two reasons - one is mostly because of the kind of curriculum that is perhaps not most aligned to the industry needs and also the offline universities revise their curriculum once in 5 years and it's not frequent in terms of the changes happening outside.
The second reason is that the demand from the industry when they hire on campus has not been the strongest so the approach so far is that all the companies will go on campus and they will hire only based on aptitude and they will not hire for skillsets. So their entire approach is that they will hire people that may not know these technologies and they put them through a nine months or six months program, and by the end of it they will have the skillsets required.
However, this mentality is changing very quickly and over the last three months, we have seen announcements from TCS and Wipro where they have very clearly moved away from this approach and are offering differential salaries on campus where there is salary for people who don’t have the required skills and but higher salaries for new hires on campus who have the relevant skills. So anybody on campus who has already trained on data science and machine learning skills immediately translates to almost 40-50% higher salaries from campus. So campuses will catch up; however, at this point we can say that it is not as positive and most of the students don't have the skillsets on day one.
Initiatives by colleges/universities/companies like Simplilearn to provide skillsets to students
So, we can say that there is a combination of things. We have already started working with colleges and have seen a lot of interest in the last few years on a lot of campuses that want to start offering these kinds of curriculums, and Simplilearn itself has partnered with many such colleges where there are courses that we offer and colleges offer credits on the same. So there are optional courses which are already included in the curriculum and a person can take a call on doing courses from Simplilearn and s/he will get semester credits.
Students have also started looking out and exploring on the kind of courses available so we have seen a very big jump in terms of the number of students who are coming directly to Simplilearn.
Is Simplilearn completely online?
Our entire process is online even when we partner with universities. The entire learning is offered online and for the areas that we operate, whether it is machine learning, deep learning, robotic process automation and so on are areas of AI where a person can learn everything digitally and there is no need for physical infrastructure.
How Simplilearn interacts with the students and solves their queries
Simplilearn’s learning approach wants to make sure that we contribute from our side to make sure that the outcomes are positive. Majority of the online learning has a perception of having only online videos and online tutorials, which students can watch and learn from but Simplilearn’s offering is designed to be a very high engagement online learning platform. We do have e-learning but it is only 20% of what we offer and the rest is entirely based on efforts. For all these courses we also have something that we call “light classes” which essentially consist of a platform with a real industry expert who is teaching that course and it is a very interactive experience and so the person is going through the curriculum explaining the areas and taking examples he is also answering doubts. When someone joins the live class and has any confusion he can immediately ask his doubts like how he would in offline class.