India is probably the first country that will see it's population get get connected via the mobile and not the desktop first. There are close to 1.3 billion people in India and considering an optimistic internet penetration rate at 10%, the number of people without the internet is 1.1 billion! These people are most likely to get access to the virtual world via mobile. With a very high mobile penetration, India has close 700 million people using mobiles. The number smartphones is definitely less but is rapidly rising. And this growth is going to be fuelled by apps. With this huge potential in mind, instead of developers having to learn on their own, wouldn't it be better if colleges integrated certain certain aspects into the curriculum?
"An app development course" in college might seem awkward but Stanford already has a free course on developing iPhone software. The course curriculum is available for download but it is never the same as learning it physically. Android development courses have also been carried out in colleges across United States. The need of the hour in India is a course dedicated and developed keeping in mind local requirements. "There is a severe misalignment of the Indian education system with the needs of the IT industry. It is important to note that courses in computer programming and coding, the most important skill required to create the digital devices and software of the future is not currently on the present curriculum of most of the colleges/universities in India." says Ayyappa Nagubundi, founder at Possibillion.
The courses are far from reality and a person has to be a very good learner to acquire the skills. An engineering graduate from Delhi College of Engineering, now an indie Android and Windows developer says, "It'd have been great to have atleast an introduction to these areas during engineering. Because, frankly speaking, these are the avenues which will be open to an engineer more than any other area." The courses in Stanford are taught by engineers from Apple itself. If not highly specific, people from the industry can be a part of these courses in India. "I believe mobile software is the future of technology. As technology is growing rapidly and is becoming reliant on mobile phones, a formal course on mobile technologies will give students an advantage in the career field." added Ayyappa.
Capturing the essence of the discussion, Sameer Guglani, founder at The Morpheus, an incubator for mobile and internet startups, put forth the point very succinctly,
I am not a big fan of the current education system. Most colleges in India are not even teaching the basics of computer science. The main reason behind this is lack or knowledgeable faculty with industry experience. So, if there is a program with involvement of good app development engineers from industry, it will surely be beneficial. The only catch here is that college authorities should just select a good industry partner and let them run the course without any interference.
Independent developers like Shan have risen to the occasion to come up with good applications but it is always an individuals' drive that leads to success in India. Partnering with some of the industry leaders in the field of development and also design, will definitely give a huge boost to a colleges' reputation alongside producing great problem solvers. Proper guidance and exposure at a nascent stage will go a long way in shaping engineers become better and contribute in a more useful ways.