PITB’s upcoming IT Bootcamp initiative

February 27, 2010 at 10:24 am 6 comments

Each day that I interact with the Punjab IT Board (PITB) team, I realize that there is renewed energy in their activities, and they are out to do some things that they feel are very important for the IT industry in Punjab. Their main objective, they say, is to help the industry grow. And what is more important is that they are taking all stakeholders on board and are holding consultation sessions with different segments of the industry before they embark on any new initiatives.

On Tuesday for instance, CEOs from technology companies in Punjab have been invited to the PITB office in Model Town to discuss an initiative which is being referred to as the IT Bootcamp.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and agree upon tentative outlines for an IT Boot Camp for fresh graduates to prepare them for the current job market. The gap in knowledge and skill of fresh graduates has been something that has been voiced by many CEOS and CTOs in Pakistan as well as around the region.

The first IT Boot Camp of 50 students at each of the campuses is being planned this summer for about 9 weeks and will be conducted at the FAST, PUCIT and LUMS campuses. So what is the idea? The program will be advertised and applicants will be screened online before they are asked to come for interviews and tests at various IT colleges. The course fee will be Rs.100,000, 80% of which will be subsidized by PITB.

IT companies are being asked to assist in structuring the program and the course content, as well as to teach the course. Companies are also being asked to provide 12 month internships to all students who pass out of this Boot Camp. PITB will give Rs. 10,000 subsidies for 6 months for each student thus employed.

Some reservations have already been expressed. There is a larger supply of qualified graduates available on the market right now than there were in previous years so is the Boot Camp really necessary at this stage? Will the program be able to attract good quality applicants from Tier1/Tier2/Tier 3 universities? And even if it does attract them, how does one incentivize these kids to spend 9 weeks in a Boot Camp and consider investing Rs. 20,000 to improve their chances of getting a good job? Is it even feasible to expect them to? Will companies commit to hiring these kids? Will they stick to their commitments? Will they take time out to help structure and deliver the program? How can continuity be ensured? The PITB’s  intent is that this not be a one-off program.

After the completion of the first Boot Camp, they want to extend the program to other cities in Punjab like Faisalabad and Multan and to other university campuses.

I have asked PITB’s permission to put up this information so that some of you can contribute to the discussion and help them make this into a workable program that has a buy-in from all stakeholders. Come on guys and gals. These chaps are trying to do something for our industry. Let’s help them. They are open to productive feedback, criticism and ideas. The team comprising Dr. Jawaid Ghani, the Chairman, Athar Mian, the Chief Strategy Officer, COO Joudat Ayaz and Nasser Lone are all very gung-ho and are keen to help the IT sector grow. Let us extend our support as partners and team-players.

I guess some of these questions will be answered during the meeting on Tuesday which I am looking forward to attending.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. PITB’s upcoming IT Bootcamp initiative | Tea Break  |  February 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

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  • 2. uberVU - social comments  |  February 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jehan_ara: The Punjab IT Board ready to launch IT Boot Camps to improve skills & knowledge of fresh graduates http://bit.ly/9HdoS8

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  • 3. Rafaeel Akbar  |  February 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Has this been done for Engineering graduates of different fields at this moment of time, it would have got enormous response as most of this lot is quite frustrated due to the lack of job opportunities in the field. But still it would get a great response.

    I cannot speak for Karachi and Islamabad but i have pretty much good relations with those in the software industry of Lahore. Being a graduate of FAST-NU myself, i receive calls everybody from different HR Managers to tell them when is the next batch graduating so that they can hire as they have 30-35 vacancies available whereas in 2008, only 60 people graduated from FAST and in 2009, it further dropped to around 40. Similarly, LUMS graduated 30 CS Majors last year. Consequently there are hired on pretty higher salaries but this is not over. Whenever I have interviewed recently, I see the resume with multiple job switches and people are switching jobs within 3-4 months and this is primarily because the software house next door is willing to pay you higher as they desperately need good HR. As an HR Manager, I would never hire them because I want somebody to atleast stick with us for a year. This year around 160 CS students would be graduating from FAST-NU and perhaps around 100 from LUMS so it’s a good news for HR Managers.

    So what I wanted to say is that the schools that one should focus on should not be the Top IT Schools. There are plenty of other universities whose graduates fail to impress us because unfortunately they have Faculty who have never interacted with industry but still they have graduates flowing out. GCU Lahore, COMSATS, UMT, UoL, etc. etc. Aren’t these unis? The only thing people don’t hire them is because they are merely shown path of graduation instead of industry. We need to focus on these people.

    Also when FAST Lahore reduced its intake to 50 and the Telecom/Computer Engineering intake was increased to 250 students merely after seeing the increase in number of cellular operators, when most of these graduated, there were few or no jobs. But these guys are good to go as in their initial years all of them study C++, Object Oriented Programming, Data Structures, OS etc. and we have many local examples who have done wonderful work in Software and Game Development Industry being Telecom Engr. Grads. Most of the people don’t hire them because “THEY LACK SKILLS” according to HR Managers. I was taught Satellite Engineering as an elective in my Telecom degree and I flunked. I had to only waste 6 more months studying that single course in the semester to graduate but I made the HoD of Engineering believe that this course will not do benefit us in the market and thus a course of Databases was also introduced as an elective for the junior batch. So what I mean to say is that just teach these Telecom chaps Web Programming and DB in summers or those who have studied DB should be taught something else. They would be atleast good to fill up the gap of PHP developers for whom most of us keep on whining these days.

    Concluding it, it’s a great initiative and we need to consider these facts too. For me it’s still a small industry. If we have to bring the IT Revolution, HR development is a must and all of us would have to contribute in that being part of the industry.

    Reply
  • 4. Khuram Iqbal  |  February 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Just a year before, biggest problem for IT industry was finding qualified and real professional, who can stay for some time.
    But it has become secondary problem. Now biggest problem is infrastructure. No Electricity, NO Gas.
    I wish PITB first provide some good infrastructure, and IT parks, before launching such bootcamps.

    Reply
  • […] Ara on her blog has covered this in detail here. There has always been talks about gaps the Industry faces when hiring new graduates and the time […]

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  • 6. FZQ  |  March 15, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Well similar sort of initiative was taken by PSEB in 2008 as an “Internship Program”. The idea and mission was the same to groom resources and provide IT industry with fresh trained blood. But I feel sorry to say that it was a failure. Even after more than 1.5 years I am still struggling to get the dues cleared for the interns we hired. There is a single answer that PITB personnel have i.e. govt. is not releasing our funds. Well…. it is easy it get away by providing this short answer, but do they have any idea, being on the face of interns how difficult it becomes to handle?
    I don’t want to criticize much, but generally govt. initiatives are like this. The policies keep on changing with govt. and good initiatives becomes bad. As per my knowledge PITB is putting lot of efforts on this Boot Camp and many entrepreneurs have invested their precious time till now. So I wish PITB all the best and hope they would ensure commitment bring continuity and last but not the least secure “funds”.

    @Khurram: You are very right. I got to know from a reliable resource that STP project would be inaugurated in March 2010 but looking at the site, I can predict it taking couple of months from now.

    Reply

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