State of education

Half of what a student learns in Ist year is outdated by the time they finish the degree.  We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist and to use technologies that are yet to be invented.  But we are still using the traditional way of teaching which was formalized during Industrial revolution period. Traditional teaching is based on learn once and use it through out the career, so it was more focussed on adding more information to your brain so that you can use that information during your work.

Most of the technology which are most popular today such as web2.0 and  social networking sites like wordpress, twitter, linkedin, youtube,  facebook did not exist 10 years back. Learning one technology and how to use that particular technology is not sufficient to cope up with the technology changes which is prevalent in this era. Students should go at least one level below to understand how the technology is developed and how it can be improved and one level above to understand how the technologies are currently used and how it can be utilized better.

In order to do this, critical thinking or logical thinking is not sufficient. Better way of doing things/Creativity does not happen by using logical thinking, rather it happens by doing parallel thinking or lateral thinking. Thinking procedures should be part of the syllabus and more time should be spent on thinking/analyzing on the subject rather than taking notes from lecturers.

Lecturers should ask to themselves “Are we teaching creativity and challenging students to think?” while designing the course materials and planning the lectures.

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Guy Kawasaki – Art of the start @ Nasccom Product Conclave 2009

Guy Kawasaki:  Author of 9 books, CEO Garage Technology Ventures, and Co founder of Alltop.com. In this presentation, he talks about the 10 important things to be considered by every start-up company, Art of Startups.

Key Highlights:

  • Build products/services you want to use
  • Invest Zero money for tools (LAMP, etc) to develop your product
  • Invest Zero money for marketing
  • Invest Zero money for development
  • Your product should be unique and provide value to the customer
  • Use social media like twitter, linkedin,etc

Full Video presentation

http://nasscom.blip.tv/

Guy Kawasaki Google videos on the same topic presented at TiEcon – 2006

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3755718939216161559#

Swadeshi in IT industry

India, developer nation of the world provides IT services to other parts of the world by using the technologies developed by other countries. We have reached great position in IT as solution providers. All IT majors in India are into these services business by virtue of having many english speaking technology users like us. India produces Computer science engineers but all the engineers are working in IT services (solution providers) rather than creating products which enable solution providers to provide solution for the problems in other industry sectors.

Let’s take telecommunication sector, which provides mobile service to citizens of India. It depends on IT sector to set up the required infrastructure to provide service to its customer. They have to set up thousands of servers, networks, OS, SAN, Database server, Web servers, Billing servers, SMS Server, Speech recognizers, IVR platforms, Text to speech engines, Home Location Servers, Visitor Location Servers, VOIP servers, contact centre software, CRM, Auto Dialers,… and the list goes on.

Below is the set of product lines and companies who create them

Hardware (Desktop, Laptop, Servers) – Sun, Dell, IBM, HP

Network – Cisco, Nortel, Juniper

OS – Microsoft, Sun, IBM, Apple

Database – Oracle, IBM, Microsoft

Storage Area Network – IBM, HP, NetApp

Web Servers – IBM, BEA web logic

Billing Servers – Lucent, UTStar

Speech – Nuance, Telisma, Lumenvox

Contact center – Avaya, Genesys, Cisco

HLR/VLR/VOIP – Lucent, UTStar

CRM – Amdocs, Peoplesoft, Siebel

Though we are the biggest IT developer nation, our companies are still not there in the above list. Anyone out there in India who creates OS, Routers, Firewalls, Database engines, etc.

We are busy in providing solutions with products developed by the above mentioned companies. Computer science professionals are working on these technologies as users of these technologies rather than creating new technology.

We have lot of engineers who do system administration for OS, but none who creates better OS.

We have lot of engineers who do network administration for OS, but none who creates better routers and firewalls.

There are lots of private certification courses for administrators, but not even one on developing new products. This mandates huge effort from our side to make us ready for creating new products.

After getting into job, we are put in one domain (insurance) as programmer to develop some application using Java. After one year we switch from insurance domain to telecom domain because new employer will give 20% hike in salary. But what we do not understand is we lost one year of experience and we are not going to sharpen our knowledge on that domain anymore as we will have time only to struggle and understand telecom domain.

We move from domain to domain, and after some years we enter into middle management roles such as Team lead … and then project lead … and then project manager. By that time we are completely out of the technology and we become heavy desktop users by using word, excel, project plan, etc.