Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How can startups get right engineers?

Few initiatives like Pluggd.in, Proto.in, Headstart.in, NEN, are doing a wonderful job in educating engineering institutions in India to get exposed to the startups of India. They are taking initiatives to bring startups to the campuses so that interested students can be recruited by them. 

While talking to one of the very energetic campaigners at NEN, I started giving my opinion on how and what they should be doing. I am penning down the points from that talk. 

Startups are too busy and are not in a position to go to a campus for recruiting candidates. First, they don’t have time and they don’t have people who can spend a day on recruitments. Second, they don’t have money to travel to the campuses if they are in far off cities. Third, they will never get the kind of guys they want at the salary they are willing to give. 

Instead, as a startup, I would like to receive a document which lists all the master’s and PhD students in an institute that has a small picture of the candidate, their contact details, and a 10 line biography, highlighting their project, their interest, area, and other technical and performance information. I can then choose the candidates that are of interest to me, call them up or send them an e-mail. NEN can also create a separate list of those candidates showing interest in working for a startup so that I don’t have to bother spending time telling the candidate what it takes to work in a startup. 


I feel a sense of loss when an extremely talented and passionate engineer who wants to work on certain DSP design eventually takes up a job at a financial number crunching software company only because he did not get the right kind of job. Also, it is a huge loss to companies like us since after two years of working at that financial company his expertise in DSP design is of no interest to me. 

Also, I believe that all engineering students, especially the masters and PhDs should have a LinkedIn profile which should be given in contact information. The LinkedIn profile should contain all the course details along with details of the project or thesis. That way, I can get to know the details before I decide to call him. 

Some groups like Pluggd.in, Proto,in, Headstart.in, NEN are trying to solve the well-known problem facing the startup industry. Campus recruitments do not favor startups. Companies which take up candidates in hordes, like Infosys, TCS, get the preference to hire the candidates early on. So does the MNCs which pay really lots of money. Many students do not find the job of his choice. There may be some engineers who are keen on working on a particular domain rather than with a recognized brand. Such candidates may lose out since the startup may not show at the campus recruitments. 

If a very talented RF engineer who has done master thesis in making better and efficient power amplifiers takes up a job at an insurance software company only because he has not found the right match, it’s a pity.

I look forwarding to seeing a web portal. At any point of time, I would like to look at a database of Masters and PhD students in India working in the fields of Electronics and Communications engineering and know what they are working on. If I find a candidate working on a nice project, I would like to contact him and see his interest in working with us. Such a portal can be used by startups and technology giants to list some problem statements that can be used by institutes to create projects that are more relevant to the mainstream businesses. Some of these projects can be funded by the industry as well.

I have hundreds of problems that I would like get them solved, in embedded systems, in RF engineering, in thermal engineering, wireless communications, etc. I would like to post those problems on a website. T he interested students can contact the companies like us and get the detailed problem description from us. Over a period of time, this interaction will influence the colleges to fine tune their projects to the needs of the industry. The industry can then hire the guys who are already working on relevant domain. 

I look forward to seeing such a database of Master and PhD students, the details of their projects, and in the long run, I would like to see a portal which can contain the list of all such students working on those projects, including the problem statements from the industry.

3 comments:

Shalin Mantri said...

Hi Sujai, thanks for your insightful post. You hit on a key issue that NEN faces everyday: startups lack visibility into and influence with students at engineering institutes across India. Further, these students lack knowledge about startups that want their help to address cutting-edge engineering challenges!

From what I've seen, students are craving to have real-world exposure in their project classes. If you could provide a list of problem statements, many institutes in our network would be interested!

Bosky said...

Hi,
I just stumbled upon this post via greader.

You MUST check out http://ekalavya.it.iitb.ac.in/availableprojects.do?area=-1 , and possibly apply as a mentor in specific area. You can query teams/students working on a particulra project idea, submit your own, take up evaluations, all in the scope of a mentor.

And the good part is that although it is mainteined by IIT-B, it's open to anyone online - students,mentors,academia,etc.

Come to think of it, I think a new additions of possibly role of users such as "startups" would fit inwell. A forum would also help.

~
Keep Clicking,
Bhasker V Kode

control valves said...

doing much more challenging and more skillful task make the students to show more of what they've got..