I’ve got a little business based upon this

Talent shortage is acute in the IT and data science ecosystem in India with a survey claiming that 95% of engineers in the country are not fit to take up software development jobs.

According to a study by employability assessment company Aspiring Minds, only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a programme — a minimum requirement for any programming job. Over 36,000 engineering students form IT related branches of over 500 colleges took Automata — a machine learning-based assessment of software development skills — and over two-thirds could not even write code that compiles.

The study further noted that while more than 60% candidates cannot even write code that compiles, only 1.4% can write functionally correct and efficient code.

We’ve been wading through piles of India written code and sorting it out into something efficient and functional.

One little story. One program brings up images of events onto the screen. Perhaps 50 images might come up on one screen. The original code brought all images up in full size and people then wondered about system performance. While we were doing something else we just added a bit here. Full sized image goes into storage, a medium sized copy too, main screen just brings up thumbnails. Click on one to get to medium, again to full.

Just an obvious thing to do.

Get call from client. Umm, why is this running really fast now? Have you finished all your work?

Nope, but while we were doing other problems we did the above.

Wait, what? You mean you are actually thinking about how this should work and making it so?

Err, yes….

We didn’t know that it was possible to find a contractor who does that…..

21 comments on “I’ve got a little business based upon this

  1. This is why developers in India are paid peanuts, while developers in London are paid London wages. It’s not so much the quality of the code (although per your link, there is some element of that); it’s being able to bollock the person responsible for the code there and then.

  2. We have staff in India. Some of them are very good. A lot of them churn out total effluent.

    Still, the “writing code that compiles” test is perhaps a little out of date. People generally write programs in IDEs which continuously compile in the background and highlight any errors you make so you can correct as you go along.

    But the point does stand. I suppose as most of them are still young they just haven’t had the experience yet to realise what is good practice and what isn’t. Hopefully in ten years time standards will have improved.

  3. Yes I’m quite proud to receive, the “you’re not like other contractors” comments, but it does make you wonder what the ‘other contractors’ – not just the poorly paid overseas ones – actually think they’re doing.

    The nonsense they sometimes come up with takes more effort (with no more reward) than engaging the brain cell and putting in an efficient solution.

  4. @Andy

    … but never underestimate the propensity of clients to set a stupid set of constraints on a contractor, who tells the client it won’t work that way, who then departs, having proved the point.

    The client then engages in a wee bit of retconning and then you arrive…

  5. Yarp. Know a couple of genuinely great Indian techies. Most are useless though.

    Indian IT bods have a high opinion of themselves, but academic fraud is rife there, and many (most?) Indians don’t care about the difference between knowing your stuff and passing exams because your mate Rohit sold you the answers.

  6. Ce always said coding is all about solving the problem first and then writing the code.

    As to your image solution I’m mostly self taught and I did that for my wife’s art website. Partly because when I first did it most people were on dial up. It’s not difficult, I did it as the image when the image was uploaded, but then storage wasn’t a problem.

  7. ‘only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a programme — a minimum requirement for any programming job.’

    Not necessarily a problem.

    Programming involves interaction between the programmers and the people wanting the software. As BiND says, program logic is developed jointly between the programmer and the user, “solving the problem first.”

    But, with ‘95% engineers in India unfit for programming,’ I’d venture the users can’t work it out, either. I.e., the problem is even worse than it appears. The capability is not 4.77%, but .0477 X .0477.

    0.2%. Completely hopeless. India should outsource its software development. Gawd, I love saying that! But I wouldn’t want the job, dealing with clueless users.

    I am a happy-to-be-retired computer scientist.

  8. The Inimitable Steve – “Indian IT bods have a high opinion of themselves, but academic fraud is rife there, and many (most?) Indians don’t care about the difference between knowing your stuff and passing exams because your mate Rohit sold you the answers.”

    I am not so sure this is unheard of in the West these days. There is a lot of careerism in academia with students more interested in the piece of paper than learning anything as well.

    I think it is especially a problem with female students. Male students are more likely to be interested – but also more likely to screw up. In between there is a happy medium where the male students don’t understand something and say they don’t understand it.

    Female students want to please so they will not say they do not understand something, they will smile nicely. They comply. That means doing the homework but not necessarily getting the point.

  9. In India, do they use ‘programme’ when talking about a computer program? I’ve never noticed that. In the UK it’d cast doubt on the writer’s knowledge.

  10. Hi Tim, two pretty successful IT services companies operating out of Eastern Europe pretty much take advantage of this niche (cheaper but actually have some idea what you’re doing) – Luxoft and EPAM.

  11. I don’t know about IT engineers but most of the Indian engineers you encounter in the oil and gas engineering companies are pretty useless. Of course, most of the engineering now gets done by Indians because it’s cheap and quality long ago ceased to matter in my industry, but it is rubbish nonetheless. One of the main issues is Indians, due to their culture, won’t flag up problems in the designs as they encounter them: they just keep quiet only for it to be discovered much later.

  12. I heard someone once draw a careful distinction between Indians from India and Indians who had grown up in the west. He had little time for the first lot.

  13. The IT industry brings this on itself. So many job add are placed requiring a particular​ skill set, when in practice aptitude and ability is probably more important when it comes to getting the job done. I know one or two IT employers who filter applicants by aptitude (both big players in IT), but most filter by (claimed) skill set.

  14. 10-4, AlexM.

    Many times I saw employment ads requiring 3 years experience in NEW TECHNOLOGIES!

    I found it far easier to teach required computer skills to people who knew the business and had computer aptitude. Trying to teach the business to a college boy/girl computer scientist was difficult. Few had business aptitude.

  15. One of the companies I worked with a few years back had a good system of working out who had the knowledge. As part of the interview process the user was taken into a room and told to solve the problem. That’s before they saw the interviewers.

    The problem was from an internal list of thousands and was totally random but relevant to the skillset claimed.
    It weeded out those who had purchased exam results or who had studied solely for the test rather than being able to apply knowledge.
    Was across the company they did this sort of pre interview selection, not just the IT section.
    The company still had its share of staff problems, being unable to do the work generally not one of them though.

  16. “Many times I saw employment ads requiring 3 years experience in NEW TECHNOLOGIES!”

    When 5 companies in U.K. We’re looking to build the world’s firs GSM networks the all advertise for GSM radio planners with 5 years experience.

    Later on when I was recurring I had a simple question for those claiming to be radio planners: Where does an antenna get its gain from. I had some wonderful answers, most did not lead to job offers.

    During

  17. BiND: Being anisotropic, natch.

    There’s a huge range of skill levels in software development, and I wouldn’t mind betting like most things it’s a power law distribution. Quite apart from the plain programming stuff, it’s amazing how few people know about the process itself. Companies start writing code without any idea of how to manage what’s going on. How often do you book code into version control? Who does code review? Do you use scrum, or Kanban, or agile? What’s your CI/CD strategy? Who writes the unit tests? The integration tests? The end-to-end and smoke tests? Are they written at all? Do the DevOps guys also code? Do developers do any DevOps stuff? Who reports to whom? In a lot of places these questions will elicit blank looks.

    Coding is obviously the sine qua non, but it’s surprisingly generic. I knew the square root of bugger all about Go three weeks ago and now I’m writing production-grade client/server code. I could have written it in Node or C++ or Ruby, but Go is a good fit in that arena, so off I went. That comes from having been around the block a few times.

  18. Yes, obviously Tim should tewrite it in React with a mongodb backend and host it in an AWS docker comtaimer.

  19. BiCR – so much yes. Runnable code is not hard, basic code quality can be caught by any half-decent ide or analysis tool. But actually managing the whole dev cycle? Nah, why bother?

    And then they wonder why they can’t hit any targets. Look baffled when half their releases require rework, crapping on their dev plans. Stand around with forced smiles on their faces as the teams and subgroups start to loathe each other over incompatible processes.

    Happy Monday!

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