Q. For our readers, can you tell us about your job profile and elaborate on the industry you are currently working in?
I am working as Program Manager in a software development and service providing company. We are providing software and price-science services to companies that manufacture beverages and similar products. Our software helps them to determine selling-price of their product such that it maximizes the profit, brand value and edge over the competitors.
Q. What are the upcoming domains, technologies and skill sets in the industry that are high in demand right now and expect an even further surge in the coming years?
Currently the software development industry is seeing the trend of developing software that can be used by mobile devices (e.g.: phones, vehicles, machinery etc.). It is also called as IoT (internet of things). It’s about making things ‘smart’ by making appropriate use of sensor that deliver pulse/readings to a server to make useful decisions. For example, traffic-signal having sensors to detect and count vehicles passing by will transmit the information to the central server. The central server then correlates information gathered from all junctions to determine the traffic-pattern (route, peak hours) and helps to tune the time-duration for which the green-light to be flagged to reduce congestion.
Technologies involved here are related to hardware and software both. Hardware for sensors and connectivity (wireless – nfc, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, mobile data etc.), Software such as cloud-based hosting and computing, artificial intelligence, optimization algorithms for real-time analytics, data mining etc.
Q. How big is the gap between the average quality of engineers in our country and the required level in the industry? What steps can the government and colleges take to reduce this gap?
It is natural that education curriculum can’t be sync with the latest technology and trends. Education system can continue to focus on making the fundamentals strong. If the students have strong fundamentals of legacy technology and systems, it would be helpful for them to adapt the newer technologies because newer tech/concepts are evolved or derived from those legacy systems.
Let students learn and practice the fundamentals – ask them to prepare projects/assignments, provide presentation on whatever they have learnt etc. make them learn “how to learn new things”.
Q. How important are soft skills to become successful in any industry? How do you think colleges can prepare students better and improve this aspect (soft skills)?
Soft skills are the core ingredients. Employers evaluate soft-skills equally as compared to the technical skills. For example: self-Integrity, ability-to- grasp/learn, communication: understand others, present your ideas and thoughts, body postures; attitude: don’t give-up easily, detailed approach, think out of the box/unconventional, ask for help from peers towards the problem solving; and team-spirit: gelling with the team, helping others, avoid working in isolation.
Q. With the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ programmes launched by the government in 2014 and 2015 respectively, what are the noticeable impacts of these programmes in the industry?
It is encouraging and providing easy ways to start a new venture. Creates opportunities for others to learn and get employment.
Q. What advice would you like to give to an engineer who is in the first or second year of his/her course?
Learn concepts and sharpen your soft-skills along with technical aspects.
Q. What are the different ways you think you can collaborate with our department and help our students?
We can coordinate over email or WhatsApp – a group to discuss the difficulties and guidance.