Will this Work?

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Guest Post by Salman Munir

Will this work?
Everyone who is in the industry is so familiar with these words Shortage, Scarcity of talent & lack of skill set. Every IT company with its HR team is on the hunt for best of the breed programmers. Bigger fishes have been eating smaller companies experienced, self-groomed and technically matured staff easily due to their big name and big money. Even then there is still need to get more resources. Yesterday’s newspaper carried a very interesting advertisement from Netsol.

(Please take full photo from the following link)

http://www.paperpk.com/jang/09-12-07/Ads/jang_admissions/Net_Sol_Admissions.jpg
Interesting.. I never knew that the 4 years I’ve spent in college can be squeezed down into a 12 month program. Imagine, no numerical analysis, no automata, no discrete logic, no computer architecture, no Pakistan studies. You take this 12-month magic pill and you’ll be jack of all programming skills. For a few years, you’ll be considered extremely lucky if you come across a 4 years BS program candidate, who is willing to learn, earn and work. As most of them are just curious about the “earning” part.
What’s your take on the subject? Will it work? What are your reservations about the idea?

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13 Comments

  • Well, I think its another way of squeezing the job seekers. Their target market is (and sort of applications that they will receive, and perhaps accept) graduates who are either fresh with low self confidence or are in the field for couple of years but unable to make their mark yet (may be hovering under 15K).

    Now what NetSol will get out of it:

    Say, in a class of 30, they give 50% discount to half of the class (assuming, as there is no criteria defined in that ad.). Annual earnings from this course will be:

    (50% full): 15*12*10000= Rs. 1,800,000
    (50% half): 15*12*5000 = Rs. 900,000
    ======================================
    Total: Rs. 2,700,000

    Say, there will be 40% revenue from this (after paying for academic faculty and other operative expenses). Net Revenue will be Rs. 1,080,000 which will be enough to pay as Rs. 18,000 salary per month for 1 year to 5 people.

    Cool. Isn’t it? Ideally, they can successfully pay to 5 people for a year without spending a dime from their pockets and will get publicity for providing guaranteed-job course.

    There were similar institutes in the 90’s who were providing courses, trainings and certifications with “guaranteed” job in USA. However, the scenario is different now and they may not be able to gather the critical mass.

  • Cool Analysis Kashif

  • Killer manpower is needed, and what NetSol is doing, it will downgrade IT manpower values.

    Nightmare.

  • from what I’ve read, this is pretty much what a LOT of Indian companies and educational institutes have done. All you need to do is read up on profiles of companies like Infosys and Tata – half their employees don’t have a 4 year CS degree from recognized university.

    Over the course of my career, working with Satyam, Infosys, TCS and other outsourcing houses of India, I’ve recognized that a lot of their developers and middle managers had degrees in chemical engg, industrial engg, etc – and then they’ve trained themselves a few select skills and taken it from there.

    Adding 10-30 highly skilled engineers and managers per year may be the correct way to grow a complicated technology company, but for a lot of generic work, which a lot of services companies do, NetSol’s program is the way to go.

    Doing it in an ‘operation Badar’ way back in late 90s would probably be a better route than what NetSol is doing though

  • The kind of knowledge you have mentioned is a pre-requisite for making technology-aware, self-aware and society-aware people who are dynamic enough to lead through all kinds of situations. In other words, you are talking about knowledge of visionaries.

    Big corporate style companies are usually one man show or reflection of energies of a few geniuses. The rest of the people in the company are small cogs of a big machinery.

    In my opinion, in case of NetSol, their strategy is good and it will work because they are looking for those “small cogs” which can be placed at appropriate places. These small cogs need to do only what they are supposed to do; requirement specifications gone through rigorous processes.

    If NetSol fits in startup style, freedom seeking resources in these places, the resources will fed up very soon due to confinement (and statistics show that they do get fed up). However those getting through 12 months of squeezed training will most probably feel comfortable because most of their ideas will be imposed and will have little critical thinking.

    Hence it is going to be a Win-Win situation.

    PS: By no means I tend to infer that one group is better than the other. It’s all about different types of personalities and where they best fit in.

  • Most of indian companies , including InfoSys and Tata , started their own in-house training programmes for Science graduates. This can be used to overcome “coding” deficiencies , however I think the dilemma in Pakistan is “deficiency” at middle management. We cannot have such programs implementation in Pakistan unless we have proper Strategic Human Resource management in companies and Proper Project Planning & Control.
    In my opinion, each company might have to conduct trainings, this is what i personally suggested to various startups. A strategy by Netsol, might not provide a solution to all.
    However, this might allow some of science graduates to equip themself with CS ( sorry programming ) skills and aim for attractive compensation. I am not sure, what might be the situation of IT industry after 12 months :) A tough bet to make !

  • Is it me or most of you have observed it in local IT scenario, that organizations try to have 2-3 mediocre employees than 1 highly talented and skillful. As far I see the only prob. is that almost 70 of IT graduates are not working in pure IT organizations, reasons being job risk mostly due to one man show, low growth, rare exposure, socially cut off. In my view if IT graduates are treated what they deserve, there will be no need for these quick and cheap fixes.

  • I’m very happy that we have such a healthy discussion going on here.

    I’ll quote a work related example here. A client with whom we were discussing placements at different caters, refused a year back to hire experienced programmers due to high salary expectations. Instead, he hired relatively fresh but “cheap” resources whom he would teach and train himself, as he has been doing it as a profession abroad. Almost a year later, today, he calls up and says “I’m done with the training part. The minute they (programmers) are ready to deliver, they jump board for a higher salary. Get me talented resources whom I don’t have to train!”

    @Hanif! It’s true a lot of CS graduate would end up picking any job which offers them a sound & steady salary. Some get drifted away due to No Counseling available.

    @Hira! you are right on the dot about the middle management crises. We need to work aggressively in this sector for IT & Non-It specific roles in the industry.

    In house training and grooming is the most effective tool for any organization as no one can be actually fully customized to a company needs. Interesting thing would be to look at mushroom growth of such programs all around the country. Imagine a “Become Programmer for Dummies” series or something like that!

  • As long as NetSol is upto its claim of “guaranteed employment of 70% of the grads”, i think its worth the shot.

    I suppose the only downside with this certification would be that “its either Netsol or no where” cause i dont think other IT companies would be willing to take Netsol certified 1-yr grads.

  • Oh come now, university education is 90% bullcrap. Especially in Pakistan where they force Islamaiat and Pakistan Studies down your throat. For me, the total useful courses I attended at GIKI were about 5 and I could have taken them in a single 4 month semester. The rest of the time was spent studying from non-passionate faculty, doing mundane assignments and reinventing the wheel.

    Pakistani universities are years behind the industry and I imagine its much the same out in the west.

    Personally, I am *strongly* against current educational systems where *everyone* is forced through the same time-period. So, if your child has an IQ of 210, he will still *have* to spend one whole year as will his colleague with an IQ of 65.

    If you just want to be a good programmer, a university education will not help, it would do the opposite. If you want to be a good programmer, practice, submit to FOSS, show results. Honestly, how often do you see great university-level projects in Pakistan?

    I’m not for the NetSol program but I’m sure as hell anyone can squeeze university education in 12 months without all the bull.

    University was my biggest hurdle to education. I could have stayed home and programmed for 4 years and I would’ve been better at CS.

    However, my non-CS skills are a lot to do with my Univ.

  • /me agrees with Nash and recalls his (Punjab) University days (last century), when he was maintaining a full-time job along with his MSc. program, and still had a few hours left over to waste on IRC. Remember that Sharjeel? :-)

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  • (Caveat Emptor : This post just my own opinion, real time statistical evidence may prove otherwise and refute my assumption)

    From personal experience, building good software products that people are willing to crave, use and pay for it doesn’t require a university degree at all. Some of the world’s best programmers and developers are self taught, have little or no CS degrees, or have degrees in other backgrounds like engineering, or even microbiology. John Carmack and Tim Sweeney come to mind. It’s a paradox, getting a degree may give you access to a network of like minded programmers in the universities where you could bounce off ideas, but it doesn’t guarantee you would create great products. How many great developers\programmers do you have around with a Phd degree? Programming is something you learn by doing and not by studying courses that have nothing to do with logical thinking, and putting creativity on the drawing board.

    However, still by accounts by major accounts to become a productive programmer, I think coding as much as possible and absorbing everything you can related to computers is the way to go. The more unstructured it is (contrary to what universities do to you) the more skillful you become. Even more than that, just programming something doesn’t get you there. You may code a cool product that no one is willing to use or buy. With the easy access to information, knowledge and resources, I don’t think it is difficult for anyone to start programming and developing applications.

    I think CS degree in Pakistan maybe good for a government job (where they have a long list of prerequisites) However if you look job boards, it puts a smile on my face when I see job ads asking a long list of university degrees and experience without any request for evidence of previous work. In my opinion, all you need is a sample problem to code, and a one page documentation for it to be submitted by the applicant. That will tell you all what the developer\coder is made off.

    And this is a very important point, about how to keep great programmers with you for longer periods. It is not as straight forward as hiring and keeping cheerleaders on a soccer team. Even cheerleaders leave for greener pastures. Hiring and keeping great programmers is a complete matter on it’s own and probably would require a complete post.

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