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    SOFTWARE development company Vinsol is keen on hiring candidates who are good in programming and have an intrinsic flair for problem solving, but finding them from a pool of over five lakh engineering graduates is an uphill task.

    The National Employability Report on Engineering Graduates, released by Aspiring Minds, an employability solutions company, last week shows that out of the five lakh engineers who graduate from various engineering colleges across the country every year, only 17 per cent are fit for the IT services sector. The report was based on a sample of more than 55,000 engineering students from 250 colleges chosen from the length and breadth of the country.

    The challenge for an employer lies in sifting through all the five lakh job applications before identifying the candidates with the right kind of skill set. Some of these concerns were raised by hiring heads at the employability conclave organised in the Capital.

    "I have come across engineering candidates who cannot even type!" said Kapil Bhatia, Head, HR Department, Vinsol at the conclave. "The least that you expect of a software engineer is that he is comfortable with machines," he remarked.

    Ignorant about programming!

    Most of the candidates Bhatia interviews on a regular basis are said to be clueless about programming. "When we ask candidates to write programmes, they say they have learned it in their first semester and have forgotten all about it! These skills require continuous practice which institutes are not providing," he said.

    Kapil urges prospective engineers to go beyond programmes such as ‘. Net’ and ‘ Java’. "Candidates should know about applications such as Ruby Rail and Python (a programming language) too. These are some of the programmes where demand is more than supply," Bhatia added.

    It is not just the technical and theoretical knowledge that the engineering graduates lack. Companies, which place more emphasis on soft skills, are also shocked at the quality of engineers. "Engineers have to interact with customers.

    I have come across candidates who cannot draft a straight mail in English that he to be sent to their customers," said Puneet Kumar Pandey, Senior Director, Talent Management Group, HCL Technologies. "Written, verbal communication and etiquette have now become a major part of the selection criteria," he said.

    Training required...

    Even after a strict selection criteria, in-house corporate training for three to six months has become a norm. "This is lost revenue for the company as the can-didates are not going to be productive in work from day one," said Prashant Bhatnagar, Director, Hiring, Sapient Consulting.

    According to him, colleges should start imparting education which is relevant to the practical work environment.

    "We need candidates with expertise in mobile and analytics," said Bhatnagar. "A lot of companies have started influencing the curriculum of colleges to get the right candidates," he said.

    There are also certain attributes, apart from mandatory repertoire of skills and technical know-how, which companies like HCL Technologies want their employed engineers to imbibe. "Whether it is an ‘ A’ grade or a ‘ B’ grade school, talent is available everywhere," said Pandey. "What we value more is the ability of the fresh graduates to stand up to their mistakes and learn from them," he said.

    Article Source: Mail Today