What Industry Wants?

Divyam Goel
Divyam Goel

The biggest challenge industry, startups, and corporates alike, is facing in India is hiring - getting the right people with the right skills for the right job. On the other hand, majority of the youth are forced to struggle from pillar to post to find employment. This is the biggest contradiction in India.

The cost of hiring is very high for a company. Finding the right candidate is a massive exercise to which companies have to allocate immense resources. After hire, it can take months of training to initiate a fresher hire and sometimes it takes about a year to get the new hire to optimum contribution.

Across all verticals, at the fresher level, the industry needs people who have a deep understanding of the fundamentals of the subject and can apply those fundamentals. It’s essential to note here that these fundamentals change slowly and the latest buzzwords change faster, it’s important not to get distracted by the latest buzzword trends. A candidate with strong fundamentals can adapt to changing trends and be confident of pursuing a great career. Similarly, the company finds it easier to create opportunities for such candidates providing high mutual benefit relationship.

Further, the industry needs people who put the bigger picture first. This means that rather than being task-oriented people need to be end customer oriented, and strive for excellence above and beyond their individual tasks. This is often termed as an empathetic problem-solving mindset. In terms of the right mindset and attitude, ownership and motivation are highly valued assets. In this age and time, most companies do not have the bandwidth to spoon feed employees. Similarly, while feedback and pointers are definitely provided it’s expected of a great employee to take the feedback constructively, to explore and find ways to improve and learn by themselves. This brings us to the importance of learning how to learn (attitude of figuring out things on the go) in the 21st century.

One of the biggest missing pieces, is effective communication. Make no mistake, this is not as much about language proficiency, it’s more about the right thing to say in the crispest way at the right time. In today’s fast-paced world, managers are bound to be impatient, this is where a great employee needs to know when is the right time to bring something to notice and what’s the clearest way to communicate. The lack of timely communication, in the entry-level employees is attributed to a lack of confidence in spite of the open doors culture at modern-day companies. In the end remember, that time is the most coveted resource, it’s best to speak up early than be responsible for preventable delays.

To talk more specifically about what the software industry expects from freshers, besides the above things, is first and foremost systematic, analytical thinking. The primary goal of interviews is to assess how a person approaches problems and thinks of solutions in a systematic way but makes sure to keep the problem and its scope as the north star to solve for. At the fresher level, most hiring is language, tech stack and project agnostic. Students are not expected to be proficient in the specific technologies the company is using, which are likely to change over time. They are expected to have a deep understanding of the fundamentals to be able to effectively work on any project, pick up any technology in collaboration with the team.

In software engineering, at the entry level, one of the other bigger, overlooked pieces is attention to code quality. This is one thing which most students don’t understand. From a company’s standpoint, it’s very essential that the code written by one employee can be easily read and understood by other employees. This means following high standards of code practice including practices like documentation and commenting. Similarly, checking for overlooked edge cases which might break things in production and result in major irreparable damage. This is also where thinking of nth order consequences i.e. all potential code outcomes becomes very important. Almost all the projects in companies are done in teams, this means that clear communication, definitions of scope and interfaces, planning of the product development lifecycle are qualities that companies focus on.

In the next article, we will talk about our batch progress so far and what our current students have to say about AttainU.