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Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

2
(OP)
Lazily grabbed from Slashdot

Over 60 percent of the 800,000 engineering graduates that India produces annually remain unemployed, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the apex body for technical education in India, says. So, to make them more employable, engineering colleges across the country will now have to ensure that undergraduate students complete three internships lasting between four and eight weeks each during the course of their programme. Currently, less than one percent participate in summer internships. [...] Indians are obsessed with engineering, particularly since the IT boom. The mid-1990s saw a huge spike in the number of engineering graduates as demand increased in sectors ranging from IT to infrastructure.

Full article https://qz.com/1039617/india-is-betting-on-compuls...

That's a double edged sword I suspect. Finding internships is quite tricky for many clueless academic organisations, so maybe they'll pull out of claiming to teach engineering, thereby reducing the number of engineering students.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

60% seems about the right ratio for those who didn't really pay attention in class. Even in the US there are a lot who are little better than high-school level, and quite a few who are below that.

I think we all suffer from the Indian IT push. There's a major software product I used for a couple decades that made a left turn in terms of rate of improvement as soon as development hit Hyderabad and I suspect it's the tech teaching there that favors unproductive theoretical practices that eats deeply into the UI and performance.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

I can see relationships between academic institutions and companies start to deteriorate with them having to take on such a large number, especially if there is some sort of decree. It ultimately will become a bureaucratic nightmare for the universities if any overhead is needed for the proposed program.

God made the integers, all else is the work of man. - Leopold Kroenecker

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

(OP)
Internships were compulsory at my university for engineers. I didn't have to do one as I was already working. I suppose that there is a danger that some companies will become 'intern-mills' and help the degree mills out.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

'intern-mills' does sound like a likely unintended consequence. I wonder if it'll go so far as the universities paying the companies to take interns, bundling that cost as part of tuition fees?

My course had industrial sponsorship (a.k.a. internship) as a requirement. Oddly, not many of my peers went back to their sponsors, or even stayed in engineering.

No amount of government intervention is going to change the boundary conditions. You can't create a need for more engineering jobs, even if you can better educate/train the students for them.

Steve

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Back in the late-60's, when I was in engineering school, no one had even heard of internships. Our only opportunities were 'summer jobs'. Most people I went to school with fell onto one of two categories, either the they had no need to earn extra money for school ('daddy' was paying) and so their summer jobs, if they even bothered, were things like working as a lifeguard at the local beach/pool or perhaps tending bar at some hot resort. Those who needed all the money that they could earn tended to find higher-paid construction jobs where there would be more chances of working overtime.

I sort of fell into a middle group. While I needed whatever I could earn (I never got a cent from 'daddy') I did have a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and qualified for student loans and worked as an RA in the dorm to cover room & board, at least until I got married. So for my summers, I found work that would benefit me long term in my chosen career. For three summers, plus a 16 month stint where I temporarily left school to get married, I worked as a mechanical draftsman for the company that I eventually went to work full time after I graduated. Each year I was given a bit more responsibility and had a chance to get more involved in the actual engineering of the their products (it helped that the director of engineering went to the same school as I was going to). Anyway, after I graduated I was offered a full-time job, with an above average starting salary as well as 25 months of seniority. I was able to hit the ground running since in essence I didn't need to go through any sort of training/probation period as they already knew what I was capable of and I already knew their product line, manufacturing capabilities, the company staff and even a few customers. It was the best thing that I could have done, despite having to start out with what many would say was minimal wages those first couple of summers.

That being said, in those days, you had to take it upon yourself to find relevant, yet albeit temporary, opportunities outside of school that didn't interfere with your classes. Also note that during my last two years, while in school, I worked for the ME-EM department as a lab tech and draftsman. I also ran the department darkroom (this was the late 60's/early 70's, so it still required a lot of 'wet work in the dark') and provided photography services for many of the graduate students and faculty.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Increasing the intern population by 90-fold is bound to be a disaster, even if they're free to the companies, as it costs money to supervise and train people who don't already have the required skills. Additionally, the lack of demand for employees suggests that the companies don't have that much extra scut work that they can shuffle off to interns.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

SomptingGuy - that's exactly what would happen. The schools may even open their own businesses to 'employ' the students. And that also won't do anything for weak demand.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

(OP)
In my relevant experience although hiring interns has its costs (they are basically more trouble than they are worth), at least you can pick the good ones and offer them jobs. The other ethical alternative, hiring graduate engineers on the basis of some sort of HR inspired interview process is FAR more expensive, both in terms of wasted time for engineers, and the low probability of a good outcome. I'd guess at least 40% of graduates hired out of school are revealed to be unsuitable, and so they either get sacked or moved into a position where they can do less harm. Both are expensive. The reason your managers seem to be duds is because that is what they are. It's where we keep the 'special' children, away from the knives.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

It's a good idea- it will cause the whole house of cards to collapse. Regrettably, of course all those internships will rapidly become free internships too, and the paid internships that had previously existed will disappear. While I agree that co-operative education is an excellent model (in fact the best model) for educating an engineer, the internships have to be paid- and the only way that can work out based on the massive rate we're over-training engineers is if most educational institutions do NOT offer co-op. Locally here in Ontario, the institutions that do offer co-op are perennially short of suitable opportunities for their students, and we see numerous on-campus "work terms" on the resumes of most students we interview.

Regrettably it's not just India that is over-training engineers in relation to market demand for their skills. Canada has a big head start on that. Already only 30% of our engineering grads work as engineers, despite the fact that when surveyed in 4th year, well over 90% of students who aren't staying on to do graduate studies intend to seek employment in the engineering field. Sorry folks, but as the low skill jobs evaporate from the economy, there just isn't a cushy white-collar job waiting for everyone to take. Engineers are merely the canaries in the coalmine on this trend.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

I hate that internships are used for cheap training of new engineers rather than screening. If someone interns for 2 or 3 summers, of course they are going to be ahead of anyone coming in that has interned at company B. I don't think that running head start makes someone a better engineer by any means.

I don't know what to say about mandating internships. I think that they are a good thing but it is hard to not think that mandatory internships are amounting to cheap labor when there is such an oversupply of engineers in India. If there wasn't such an oversupply of engineers, they wouldn't need to be mandating internships. Companies would be tracking students down to try to get them to intern with them and be paying them desirable intern wages. As is, companies don't want them and if they want them they only want them if they work cheap or free.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

That may be true, but part and parcel to the "go to college to get a good job" is that most people under the age of 25 aren't really able to do the self-analysis to determine what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Case in point, 35 yr ago we hired a UC Berkeley EE grad with a 4.0 GPA. He turned out to be not much more than a lump on a log. After toughing it out for 3 yr, he finally quit and worked at his family's restaurant, which is apparently what he had wanted to do in the first place, but likely, his parents pushed him into getting a degree that he didn't really want.

In this time, I thing that many more people are being encouraged, cajoled, or coerced into majoring in engineering, but their hearts and minds are elsewhere. Not that many 18 yr olds are really cognizant of what their life's dreams are.

On a slightly sadder note, UC Irvine rescinded about 500 admissions, some by mistake, some apparently intentionally, because they overbooked for the fall.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

That is certainly an interesting looking mandate. I cant comment on historical expectations, but in the US internships have almost become mandatory as many (most?) companies won't even consider fresh grads unless they have at least 2-3 semesters worth of internship experience. I believe this is where most of the common complaints stem among grads seeking jobs that "require experience" as many anymore have little/no internship experience upon graduation. In college a decade ago now my alma mater's career services office always had far more opportunities than willing students. I never understood why this occurred as internships paid significantly better than the crappy on-campus work-study jobs that many worked through graduation.

Personally I have thoroughly enjoyed mentoring interns and look forward to more opportunities in the future. I have seen colleagues struggle to make use of them while completing their own work, often resulting in the intern being bored/underused while work slows for those around them. Maybe I've just been blessed with extraordinary interns, but they have always somehow become an extension of myself and the arrangement mutually beneficial.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

As with many things, time escalates their importance. When I went to college, having taken 3 AP classes was good enough, by a long shot; today, if you've only taken 3 AP classes you're likely a slacker. Likewise, job experience was important, although I don't recall an official "internship;" I simply found summer jobs that were relevant to my eventual resume, and I exhorted my kids to look for internships or jobs that were likewise relevant, even if they paid bupkis, because having relevant job experience before graduation is now the new normal.

Just as my kid competed against 90,000 applicants to a state university this March, and every little bit of additional resume entries helped boost his standing against his competitors, his internships and job experiences are going to have to separate him from the hordes of graduates in 4 years looking for the same job opportunities. My older son did internship stints every summer, building his resume up from doing simple technician-level things, to programming apps for a media company, to programming live code for a large software company. So, he's now got a good job, and a large skill set.

For budding programmers, hackathon participation can also be a good thing to put on resumes.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

My high school was so small we never even heard of AP classes (of course this was 1965) and while I took virtually all of the classes that were offered (except Home Economics, but I did take a typing class) as well as some correspondence classes in things like radio theory and basic elements of electrical circuits (originally wanted to be a EE, but switched to ME my second year), but when I got to engineering school I still had to take make-up classes in math since my school didn't offer anything past basic Algebra, Plane Geometry and Trig.

My middle son (who's now 43) had 5 or 6 AP credits when he went to school to get his degree in psychology, after which he decided that he'd rather be a pastry chef so then it was off to culinary school. That being said, his BS in Psychology is actually helping him now as he's teaching baking arts at the art center in LA.

Now I've got a granddaughter, age 14, who in Middle School was already taking AP classes, and she'll be a freshman this fall and all of her classes but one (math) are AP level. And the next granddaughter, who's only 12, is just going into middle school and it looks like she may get the full AP load from the get-go as the teachers tell us, based on her test scores, she's already ahead of virtually all her classmates. Luckily they go to a very good school with a reputation for supporting talented students so we have high hopes for them. In fact, I've been working on the 12 year old trying to keep her interests up as she may be my only hole for an engineer in the bunch. None of our three sons showed any engineering talent and while we still have a three year old granddaughter in the wings, of the other four only the youngest, the 12 year old, has given any indication that she might like to explore engineering or at least one of the heavier sciences.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Any Drexel grads in the house? They might know a thing or two about "mandated" internships as part of an engineering degree. Since graduating in 2014, I've heard mixed reviews about Drexel depending on what year alumni I speak with.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

At the University of Cincinnati, all engineering students are required to co-op (paid position) prior to graduation. If memory serves me correctly, this has been the case since the early 1900's. It was one of the reasons I chose the school. The program lasts 5 years and by the time they graduate they will have three semesters of work experience. The middle three years, the students go to school for a semester and work for a semester.

Where I work now, we actively recruit engineering students to work. They are cheaper labor, but they also gain valuable experience and education. We actually have a education program with "classes" they can take to help them understand the engineering behind what we do. It supplements their college classes.

So, like it or not, interning and/or co-oping has been a good thing in my experience.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Quote (jari001 )

Any Drexel grads in the house? They might know a thing or two about "mandated" internships as part of an engineering degree. Since graduating in 2014, I've heard mixed reviews about Drexel depending on what year alumni I speak with.

At the utility I worked at in PA, we used to get kids from Drexel quite a bit. I was less than impressed with what we got. There was a guy from University of Delaware that turned out to be pretty good.

Where I am at now, I have two under my direct supervision from Texas A&M (one just finished masters and the other just finished freshmen year). Both of them have been pretty good, so I don't have any complaints.

My personal experience, I never took any AP classes, never did any internships, graduated with a 3.95 GPA from a state school in Florida and had about a dozen job offers over a three month span when I finished school. I did work for seven years though between finishing high school and starting college (though not in anything related to engineering), so that may have helped since I wasn't the typical "kid" right out of college.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Same with my alma mater, University of Waterloo- engineering there has been 100% co-op since its inception, no exceptions. Two full years of work before you graduate, all of it PAID. It can't help but improve the following things: a) understanding what an engineer really does for a living, and whether or not you want to do that yourself, b) identifying types of practice that you never, ever want to do for a living and c) if you're at all interested in what you're studying, it confirms that at least some of what you're learning in school has immediate real-world applications

As far as the benefit to employers: for us, co-op students allow us to throw away the almost useless process of interviewing as a means of selecting new team members. We use the (nearly useless) interview process only to select candidates for a very low risk 4 month co-op paid internship, which is basically a 4 month long interview. Those surviving the 1st interview (and by that I mean people who we like AND who like us and what we do) are usually brought back for a 2nd 4-month interview. Not only are early skills developed on the job in our work environment so we have at least some control over how they're attained and to what level, at the end of the day we are nearly 100% assured that the very best of those interns who we may pick up as junior engineers are a good fit with our team, our work style and our corporate culture.

OF COURSE anyone walking in the door for an interview is at a disadvantage relative to one of our former co-ops when competing for the limited number of entry-level jobs! The former co-op student represents a lower risk of becoming a bad hire. But even when comparing the resumes of co-op and non-co-op fresh grads, there is absolutely no comparison: the co-ops are much more reliably ready to hit the ground running, reducing the barrier to fresh grad employment that many employers fear.

There remains the danger of co-ops becoming "part of the furniture", i.e. getting hired because they become "familiar", or become buddies with certain staff rather than due to having the best overall on the job performance. That's why we don't like 16 month "experience year" co-op placements, and prefer the 4 month placements over 8 month placements. You'd have to be a really tough-minded businessperson (i.e. lacking in compassion) to turf a co-op prior to the end of their term even if they're terrible, and you can put up with anyone for 4 months. Putting up with a poor candidate for 8 or 16 months can be a real toothache...remember, the nearly useless interview process is the only thing standing between the selection of a great candidate and selecting a terrible one.

Another thing the co-op system brings to employers is it gives them PLENTY of practice doing interviews...over time, you can improve the interview process from its inherent nearly utter uselessness to at least being somewhat useful as a filter against certain types of candidates that have proven to be a bad fit in past.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

An interesting side note about "AP" courses that parents and students should be aware of is that term has various meanings and does not necessarily involve college level coursework so caution should be applied to verbiage on college applications to clarify the type of AP course taken. In many areas "AP" refers to common high school (not the college) courses taken a year earlier than normal in preparation for a college course senior year, however they're often not a prerequisite for taking those same college classes as the high school curriculum is usually far from a full four years. Like many I took "AP" classes starting in grade seven during the mid-90s and finished up the high school graduation requirements by grade ten. Grade eleven was optional higher high-school coursework and grade twelve was all college coursework taken through Syracuse U's extension program. I had non-AP classmates take college courses with me and AP classmates who chose to skip the college courses for an easier senior year. Something else worthy of noting is that not all college courses taken in high school are equal. Some high schools give a 16-week college course over a full nine-month school year while others follow standard semesters. My senior year math was Calc I & II, senior science was Bio I & Organic Chem, etc...I ended up with 30-odd credits from eight(?) courses.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Quote (moltenmetal)

Same with my alma mater, University of Waterloo- engineering there has been 100% co-op since its inception, no exceptions.

Ditto for my alma mater too. NSWIT/UTS (in Sydney, Australia) was (and still is) a co-op university by "sandwich" or "partime". "Sandwich" was 6 months work/6 months study, repeat for 6 years. Always paid 'co-op' work programs.

My younger brother is a structural engineer too, and graduated from the same uni as I, and attended U of Waterloo for 1 year as an exchange student - the co-op program at Waterloo is very good. I worked in Toronto for a few years in a consulting office and the U of W grads were excellent - very practical thinkers.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

I'll keep this response short, because the territory has been covered.. but as a Kettering grad, the co-op experience was invaluable. An engineering degree with zero exposure to actual practice teaches you very little about what an actual engineer does day-to-day.

How free internships will affect Indian students is out of my realm... but in my experience, every H1B I've ever worked closely with has struggled MIGHTILY with the difference between the way you solve the example problems in the back of an engineering text, and the way you solve actual problems in the real world where budgets and timing and serviceability and simplicity and consistency and standards are important. Seems to me it will do some good for their median level of real-world engineering competency.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

If graduates aren't finding employment (in India) ... where will meaningful co-op placements come from ?

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Maybe this is very good news. By decreasing the number of graduates, the number of resumes that get thrown out will be much smaller.

RE: Indian engineering education - make internships compulsory

Internships should be required for all engineers, everywhere. At least 60% of the engineers that I've worked with, couldn't design something produceable if their lives depended on it. The best engineers that I've ever worked with, come from humble beginnings, and have a trade on their side. The worst engineers that I have ever worked with, tend to come straight out of Academia, and more often than not, never see a manufacturing operation - and certainly haven't had their hands dirty. Many of the latter belong in strictly research positions.

Education should be a means to build upon a talent or passion, not just open a door, or raise one's net potential. However, more often than not, it's just that. Meanwhile, talented individuals get displaced by "educated" ones.

I'd like to see more internships, with the idea of "discovering" engineers.

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