Anup Agarwal (name changed) is 26 and works with one of the leading electronics companies in Bangalore. I met him at electronicIndia 2008, efficiently handling the stall of his company. He was not one of the few lucky ones who cleared the campus interviews from his engineering college. But he managed to get a good job after six months of specialised training in VLSI. Agarwal attributes this to a reputed training institute where he had enrolled himself.
Among India’s electronics professionals, Agarwal is not alone in honing his skills with the help of a training institute. Most of the industry veterans agree that there is a need to bridge the gap between the quality of knowledge imparted by the engineering colleges and the industry requirements. Training Institutes try to fill this skill gap.
“Curriculum development is a slow process compared to the pace at which the industry advances. A suitable training institute may be a good alternative to bridge the skill gap,” opines Sanjeev
Jain, director, TNS Network Solution. Training institutes offer various types of specialised vocational courses in VLSI, microcontrollers and embedded systems, electronics design, automation, surface-mount technology (SMT), telecom, and hardware maintenance and repair These courses are designed keeping in mind the skill requirements of the industry. They prepare engineers to handle projects independently, providing employers the opportunity to induct
Curriculum development is a slow process compared to the pace at which the industry advances. A suitable training institute may be a good alternative to bridge the skill gap
—Sanjeev Jain, director, TNS Network Solution
new staff in a project with minimum domain-specific training. Says Loganathan V., vice president, ISM, a Bangalore-based reputed training Institute, “We provide finishing touch to engineers on their practical skills.”
For optimising telecom applications, even professionals with science and engineering background often require specialised training
—K.S. Mittal, director-project, Mobile Communication (India)
Focus areas for training
During the past three months amid this recession, whenever I found a ray of hope in the Indian electronics industry it invariably had to do something with the word ‘telecom.’ If there is one sectorwhich is showing tremendous growth, and will continue to expand, it is telecom. This is clearly corroborated by the fact that India is currently adding 8-10 million mobile subscribers every month. Given the huge size of the nation and the fact that only 25 per cent of the population has communication network now, the future looks bright.
“Considering that telecom is a booming sector even in times like the current economic recession, the demand for employable individuals is quite high. And in this regard, the types of firms that engage in recruiting are spread across operators, integrators and vendors,” reveals Pius Maria Prasad, director-human resource, Huawei Technologies India. This huge manpower need can be addressed only by an extensive training network throughout the country.
“For optimising telecom applications, even professionals with science and engineering background often require specialised training in theory and practice in order to properly handle different types of machines and instruments in various systems of telecom equipment, both in wired and wireless communication,” says, K.S. Mittal, director-projects, Mobile Communication (India).
The niche skill sets required are 3G and other advanced mobile technologies, mobile repairing techniques and networking.
We do see a gap in such areas as VLSI design and embedded systems software
—C.P. Ravikumar, director-university relation,
“Since the automation sector comprises fairly large and mature companies with highly technical processes, this reflects on the manpower needs as well,” says Vishal Dahiya, factory automation, Panasonic India. Complex industrial automation control systems are already installed or being installed across industries.
There is a need to understand and acquire knowledge of these systems to keep the productivity and profitability high, reduce downtime of machines and troubleshoot the systems faster. So practical, industry-focused training on various industrial automation systems like programmable logic controllers (PLCs), SCADA, HMI, drives, PLC networking, process instrumentation and panel designing can be of huge value.
The semiconductor industry—driven by the networking (wireless, broadband), optoelectronics and personal computing requirements—has also showed a whopping growth in recent times. Candidates joining this industry would be expected to have technical skills in the areas of embedded systems, microcontrollers, VLSI, designing and sometimes in the niche areas like digital signal processing (DSP).
such areas as VLSI design and embedded system software. In particular, getting people for analogue design is a challenge. From an application’s perspective, knowledge of DSP, image processing, graphics, video/audio/speech processing and communication network protocols is invaluable for those who will work on front-end design and embedded software,” explains C.P Ravikumar, director-university relation, Texas Instruments (TI).
SMT is another area with a huge manpower requirement. The electronics industry is facing a tectonic shift from through-hole soldering to SMT with each passing day.
N. Chandramohan, country head (SMT division), Juki, predicts, “With the steady growth of the SMT industry each year, inevitably, the demand of trained manpower will also increase.”
Since the automation sector comprises companies with highly technical processes, this reflects on the manpower needs as well
—Vishal Dahiya, factory automation, Panasonic India
“We do see a gap in Unfortunately, none of the undergraduate electronics engineering courses offered in India covers practical aspects of SMT as part of the course curriculum.
Last but not the least, there are some subject areas like basic electronics, PCB designing and hardware maintenance that are always in demand from the entire electronics andallied industries.
Industry-training institute interface
Undoubtedly, training institutes with their short-term courses are important for companies to help improve the productivity of their engineers. Texas Instruments works with several thirdparty companies to help them in their endeavour to train their professionals. Cranes Software, its university programme partner, runs a programme called ‘Cranes Varsity’ wherein it imparts training on TI products such asDSPs, microcontrollers, Beagle boards, and analogue and medical electronics devices.
Often training institutes also provide training services to corporates and academic institutions. For example,eilabz has conducted many successful training programmes for companies, both big and small.
In some cases, training institutes may evolve as the outcome of long-time understanding of the skill gap by the industry. BIT Mapper, a well-known training institute, is the brainchild of Rakesh Mehta, who, after successfully running Mechatronics Test Equipment (India), envisioned a great future for skilled manpower. Leading firms like Panasonic and NMtronics have also established their technology
centres with the same vision.
EFY Tech Center, another successful training institute with centres in Delhi and Bangalore, has alliances with leading firms like Renesas Technology, Microchip Technology and Freescale Semiconductor. It offers training courses in basic electronics, microcontrollers, embedded systems, robotics and PCB designing, and will soon start digital signal processors, FPGAs and VLSI courses. After successful completion of some of these courses, a certificate is issued directly by Microchip Technology for their microcontrollers, or by EFY for the rest.
All the courses of ISM, a Bangalore-based training institute, are co-designed by domain experts from Wipro Technologies, Kyocera, BOSCH, Motorola and Philips. The subjects have been chosen with a view to impart knowledge and training in areas that are in maximum demand by the industry and are usually the weakest link in the repertoire of a student.
Sofcon, a Noida-based industrial automation training institute, has faculty members with experience in executing various automation projects and automation training.
“Being an industrial automation solutions provider and training company, we get ample requests for trained manpower from our client companies. We also recruit engineers for our own projects, from those who have undergone training on our platforms,” says Anshu Singhal, director, Sofcon.
The future ahead
With the advancement of electronics, more and more recruiters are looking for specialised skills during recruitment. Given the high level of technical know-how required for most profiles in this field, the employability of jobseekers depends on the advanced technical skills they possess. Additional skill sets gained through the training institutes always provide an extra edge to aspirants over their competitors.