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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good step - hiring non-techies!

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Is it worthwhile to hire non-techies for techies' work?
By   Sikta Samantaray
Wednesday, 28 April 2010, 15:01 IST
 
Bangalore: With the new trend being set up by IT firms to hire non-techies to do techies' work, it seems that working hard at engineering colleges for 3-4 years to enter this field is worthless. In the last few months, it is noticed that many of the Indian IT companies such as TCS, Wipro and Infosys are turning towards non engineering graduates for the same work that engineering graduates have been doing for long.



For instance, Nandini Sahay is currently working in one of the Indian IT firms as a Software Engineer after completing her BA degree in History and one year certificate course in computer programming. It might be a dream comes true for this village girl Nandini, whose parents feed their stomachs by earning from agriculture field in the remote area of Andhra Pradesh, but at the same time, these IT firms need to think of those millions of engineering graduates, who have worked hard for 3-4 years to enter this field, are sitting idle to get better opportunities. One of the many students, who are feeling the heat of this new trend, is Gaurav Jain, B.Tech/B.E. student at Malviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He said, "If it is possible to train one person in just six months or one year then why engineers are taught for four years?"

So the big question - will these hiring of non-techies affect the quality of work? Mahalakshmi Subramanium, QA/QC Manager, Genpact said, "I think yes. It will affect the quality. Normally an IT graduate undergoes 3-4 years of training to become a professional. If that education is given to a non-IT graduate in just one year or six months, it's obvious that they won't be taught everything due to which their basics won't be strong and they won't be able to perform as nicely as a properly trained IT graduate can do. Even with techies, project success rate is less than 25 percent. With non techies, they are intending to smash it to zero."

But all these firms who are hiring these non-techies believe that quality of the work will not be affected by hiring non-engineering graduates, as these non-techies are being hired for testing software applications and managing computer infrastructure, in order to do more with fewer staff and at lower wages than computer engineers.

It is believed that from nearly 10 percent of their current workforce, non-engineering graduates could account for nearly 20-25 percent of the staff at companies such as TCS, Wipro and HCL, over the next one to two years. The IT company like Cognizant already has almost 20 percent of its global workforce who are non-engineering graduates. Speaking on this issue, Amitava Roy, Chief People Officer, Symphony Services said, "Hiring non-techies might work for some of the IT companies, but as far as Symphony Services is concerned; our work requires the expertise and knowledge of technical engineers. Candidates from non engineering background do not fit into our framework of expertise required and hence the hiring model." Even Srini Rajam, Chairman and CEO, Ittiam Systems agrees with Roy and said, "It's not right way to build any company. One company gains more value by differentiation of knowledge come from competition."

Some of the experts feel that basically this step is being taken by companies to cut the costs and increase the employment across the country. Normally, an Indian IT firm pays Rs. 2-4 lakh per annum to an engineering graduate, but when they hire any non-engineering graduate, they just pay Rs.80,000 - Rs.1,50,000. Nandini has got the package of Rs.90,000 per annum. One of the officials of an IT major said, "It's not everything about cutting cost. In the last few years, skill mix has changed because of a fundamental shift in sourcing behaviour - customers sourcing a broader range of services, including BPO/KPO. So, we hire according to that need."

Now, it is to be seen that these IT firms understand the real value of an engineering graduate or keep hiring non-techies in near future also, as it is possible for only these IT biggies to train non-techies to do techies' work, not the smaller firms.

courtesy: SiliconIndia

Thursday, April 15, 2010

SIGAI Workshop on Emerging Research Trends

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SIGAI Workshop on Emerging Research Trends

in Artificial Intelligence (ERTAI - 2010)

17th April, 2010, C-DAC, Navi Mumbai, India

Supported by Computer Society of India (CSI)


Keynote Address by Prof. Rajeev Sangal, IIIT Hyderabad

Two-stage Constraint Parsing for Indian Languages
Natural Language Processing deals with understanding and developing computational theories of human language. Such theories allow us to understand the structure of language and build computer software that can process language.  For example, if a query in a human language can be processed (that is, analyzed and understood) by the machine, then it can try to find an answer from a given database or from a set of documents. A search engine of the future is likely to use such a technology.

Parsing gives the grammatical analysis of a given sentence.  Here, we will describe 2-stage parsing in the Computational Paninian Grammar framework. The parser is a constraint solver, where constraints are expressed in the form of integer programming constraints. Research results regarding its performance would be presented, and compared with data driven parsing.

Invited Talk by Dr. R Uthurusamy, General Motors

AI Research Trends and Resources: A Personal View
A personal view of current AI Research Trends and Resources will be presented in three parts. First part will outline available resources for AI researchers and practitioners and resources on advice for beginning graduates on doing research. Second part consists of short videos of a select set of AI and other innovative research projects.  The concluding part will present a few actionable suggestions to assist those seeking interesting AI research areas and innovative applications.

Invited Talk by Dr. Hiranmay Ghosh, TCS Innovation Labs, Delhi

Semantic Multimedia Web
The vision of semantic web proposes an environment where the data and services on the web can be semantically interpreted and processed by machines to facilitate human consumption. In today's cyberspace, audio-visual artifacts compete with traditional text and data in their information content.  Machine interpretation of multimedia data is therefore essential for realization of the semantic web vision. Semantic web technology relies on ontology as a tool for modeling an abstract view of the real world and contextual semantic analysis of documents. Ontology languages like Web Ontology Language (OWL) uses linguistic constructs for modeling the real-world and can be conveniently used for interpreting textual documents. An attempt to use ontology for interpreting multimedia contents is hindered by the semantic gap that exists between media features appearing in the documents and the linguistic structures representing the concepts in the ontology. We argue that the concepts have their roots in perceptual experience of human beings and the apparent disconnect between the conceptual and the perceptual worlds is rather artificial. The key to semantic processing of media data lays in harmonizing the seemingly isolated conceptual and the perceptual worlds. In this context, we propose a new ontology based approach for contextual semantic interpretation of multimedia data and services on the web. This ontology representation “Multimedia Web Ontology Language (MOWL)” is an extension of OWL and supports perceptual modeling and reasoning essential for semantic multimedia applications.
And Research paper presentations along with Open discussion on AI Research Trends, Challenges & Methodologies

For more information please visit: http://sigai.cdacmumbai.in/index.php/ertai-2010

Software engineer and Others...!

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A real story ....A conversation between a Soldier and Software Enggr in Shatabdi Train .... .....An interesting and a must read !

Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man.. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel.
It was not the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time.

He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.

'Are you from the software industry sir,' the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop.
Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care
and importance as if it were an expensive car.

'You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir. Today everything is getting computerized. '

'Thanks,' smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He always found it difficult to resist appreciation.

'You people always amaze me,' the man continued, 'You sit in an office and write something on a computer
and it does so many big things outside..'

Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naiveness demanded reasoning not anger. 'It is not as simple as that my friend.
It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it.'


 'It is complex, very complex.'

'It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid,' came the reply.

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone. '
Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. .
'Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized.
You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking
centres across the country.

Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity, locking, data security.
Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?'

The man was awestuck; quite like a child at a planetarium.
'You design and code such things.'

'I used to,' Vivek paused for effect, 'but now I am the Project Manager.'

'Oh!' sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over,
'so your life is easy now.'

This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, 'Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder.
Responsibility only brings more work.
Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me,
that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality.
To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always changing his requirements,
the user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday.'

'My friend,' he concluded triumphantly, 'you don't know what it is to be in the Line of Fire'.
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with
a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

'I know sir,...... I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire........ '
He was staring blankly, as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.
'There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night.
The enemy was firing from the top.
There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom.
In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive.'
'You are a...?'
'I am SubedarSushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 inKargil. They tell me I have completed
my term and can opt for a soft assignment.
But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier.
On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while
we were hiding behind a bunker.
It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety.
But my captain sahib refused me permission and went ahead himself..
He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of
the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded...
....his own personal safety came last, always and every time.'

'He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter,
as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me.
I know sir....I know, what it is to be in the Line of Fire.'

Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop.
It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom
valour and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far attributed only to epical heroes. The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight.

'It was nice meeting you sir.'

Vivek fumbled with the handshake.
This hand... had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the tricolour.
Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.
It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

PS: The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war.
Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight.
For this and various other acts of bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra,
the nation's highest military award.

Live humbly, there are great people around us, let us learn!
Winners are .....
too busy to be sad,
too positive to be doubtful,
too optimistic to be fearful
and too determined to be defeated