30th Apr 1997
The Institute of Computer Software Professionals of India. (ICSPI), modelled on the lines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), is expected to offer its first course during 1998-99.
Seed money of Rs.5 crores has been allocated for the project. The proposal is pending with the Government, as the institute has to be created by a statute of Parliament. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) estimates put the annual requirement of software engineers at around 65,000. These numbers can be broadly broken down into four categories.
The first category comprises the highest cadre of engineers who are usually involved in design and R&D and primarily drawn from the premier institutes such as the IITs. The second group includes those who do applications development and testing–mostly MCAs or Engineering College graduates. In the third category are technicians who do software installations, trouble-shooting, porting, modification and customization. Lastly, there are data entry operators, who are rarely hired by software development companies in any significant numbers.
Against a shortage of the first three categories of people. Mr.Dewang Mehta, Nasscom Executive Director, estimates there is a “large floating population of computer literate manpower who require additional education and training to make them useful for employment in the software export industry”.
The ICSPI will prescribe a national syllabus and set up authorized coaching centers across the country. Remote locations will be accessed through television with the help of Doordarshan. Indira Gandhi Open University, which has experience in distance education, will also be roped in. ICSPI students will have to additionally undergo a period of apprenticeship at a software company. The institute will also organize qualifying exams to certify successful students.
The courses can also be taken up by working professionals who wish to upgrade their skills. A one-year course will be offered for such people. A longer two-year course will be offered for fresh graduates.
Mr. K.V. Ramani, Nasscom President, said the ICSPI would produce software engineers with specific domain knowledge. “We are not generating people with domain knowledge–a mechanical engineer knows nothing about commercial applications, he or she will not know the difference between an invoice and a debit note,” he said. This focus is expected to increase the quantum and quality of application software developed in India.
The focus on apprenticeship is expected to reduce the number of training months from the current average of six that any new recruit undergoes at software export houses. Mr. Ramani pointed out that nearly 50 per cent of graduates from engineering colleges in Tamilnadu were not employable. Therefore, another initiative of ICSPI, along with the Planning Commission and UGC, will be to improve the syllabus and coverage so that a large portion of this 50 per cent is also employable.
The first batch of around 2000 ICSPI students will pass out in 2000. The number is expected to increase to 15,000 professionals annually by 2005.