IIT placements: When hard work doesn’t pay

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The reality, however, was crushing. “It’s a salary 6 lakh is being paid for my specialization,” said Faridi mint. With the debt suddenly piling up on his head, he decided to join a coaching institute in Calcutta instead. “I was offered 10-11 lakh,” he explained. Ironically, he helped students prepare for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).

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Graphic: Mint

Himanshu Khandelwal, an IIT Hyderabad graduate who won a scholarship to study at the institute, fared slightly better than Faridi. He got one 8 lakh offer from Vedanta and worked in one of its subsidiaries till 2022. Today, the 27-year-old mechanical engineer from Jaipur works as a consultant for a Japanese company.

Faridi and Khandelwal epitomize the relative challenges many IIT students face. The institute’s letter of achievement highlights crore-plus salaries awarded by investment banks, high frequency trading (HFT) firms and quant firms-mint Last month reported that proprietary trading company Jane Street Capital offered a pay package 4 crore plus to an IIT Kanpur student—there are many who end up getting paid on the job 10 lakhs per annum. Even from established IITs.

Rules of software engineers

During the IIT placement season, which starts from December 1 every year and sometimes goes till April, Computer Science batch students are courted by many suitors, followed by students from Electronics, Electrical and the like. Civil engineering is not very hot. According to a placement officer at a new IIT, neither is chemical engineering. Faridi attests to this, saying that in his time a chemical engineer was not the most sought after: “Coders and computer science students were highly paid.”

Desperation for placements increases when batches have to be placed amid recessionary winds or an unprecedented disaster like the Covid pandemic, when companies struggle to retain their existing employees and new hires go off schedule.

Experts and IIT alumni say the wide difference in salaries is a reflection of the market and demand for specific skills. “Salary depends on skill set. And core companies often get candidates 7-10 lakhs. There are students who lack soft skills and even though they do courses at IITs, there is a need for more webinars and workshops,” said a chemical engineer at IIT Kanpur, who did not want to be named. Students must have projects and pursue electives Courses that will help them build skills to meet industry needs, he added.

“IITs have a very wide salary spectrum for fresh graduates, which is in line with how salaries behave in new age/technology and R&D driven industries. Compensation/CTC may vary from IIT 8 lakh from 80 lakh per annum. There are many top employers hiring the best talent from IITs. And yet, they don’t pay the highest,” says Anshuman Das, chief executive officer and co-founder of CareerNet, a talent solutions provider. CareerNet has a team that tracks IIT salaries.

Old order rules

The type of IITs the graduate students come from is also a factor. There are 23 IITs in India, the newest of which are IIT Palakkad (Kerala), IIT Dharwad (Karnataka), IIT Jammu and IIT Goa. According to Aon data, the average salary of the IIT batch of 2022 was 14 lakh, an increase of 7.8% from 2021 Recruitment for the Class of 2023 is underway

Students said new campuses are also having a hard time attracting employers, especially amid fears of a global recession. “A campus recruiter will pick from IITs Madras, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Bombay, Delhi and may even visit nearby IITs. But those who are at a distance get left out,” said a member of the placement team at IIT Kanpur.

Other premier engineering colleges, such as the National Institute of Technology (NIT) chain, also offer higher salaries to companies, though they may not be as high as the top IIT packages.

Paying students at lesser institutions, of which there are thousands across the country, is even worse. However, big and small companies even come to call these institutes and choose the brightest with offers of meager salary packages. For example, large IT services companies like Wipro, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and HCL hire graduates from small engineering colleges to pay salaries. 4 lakhs. Their IIT offerings are however much higher.

What the institutions are saying

We never reveal that we get 100% placement. It’s not our job,” said a senior placement officer at an old IIT, on condition of anonymity. 7 lakhs as well.”

The placement officer said there are case-study workshops and communication and resume-making workshops but students often don’t attend.

“Students need to show some interest and click on online modules. IITs exchange notes before and after the placement season ends and we take feedback but we never claim to give jobs to everyone,” the executive said.

“The Office of Career Services (OCS) at IIT Delhi continuously works to provide avenues to students to enhance their employability skills by organizing workshops, expert interactions, alumni interactions, etc.,” added Anisha Madan, Head, Office of Career Services, IIT Delhi.

Faridi isn’t sure how much that will help. “I could have taken coding classes to get a better job, but even the classes taught by the placement cell team wouldn’t have led to a better job,” he said. A short-term course will not lead to a good placement, he insists. After five years of teaching IIT aspirants, he is now pursuing his PhD at IIT Bombay, hoping that his prospects will brighten.

“Those with a low CGPA (cumulative grade point average—used to measure overall academic achievement in an engineering course) face a challenge as companies want a CGPA above 6,” says Jyoti Singh, in-charge of placements at IIT Goa. Contracted with external parties, who help students prepare for the placement season. But there are companies that have hired 6 lakhs when we insisted 10 lakh minimum.”

years of preparation

Poor pay is a bitter pill after years of preparation and a four-year engineering program. To enter the hallowed corridors of an IIT, students often start preparing from Class IX, attending “coaching” classes. Kota, India’s coaching mecca, will see nearly 200,000 students flock to the city to train for the national entrance exam. Promising to open doors to career success: JEE Main (Engineering Colleges) JEE Advanced (for IIT admissions) and NEET (for Medical admissions).

About 155,538 students appeared for JEE (Advanced) in 2022. According to the data of Joint Seat Allocation Authority 2022, the total seats available were 16,598. Unreserved seats can be bagged only by a handful (more than 50% of seats are reserved for candidates from underprivileged sections of society). Even among them there are many who wait for one more year and make one more attempt hoping to get the specialty of their choice.

Students usually have to pay in between 1.2 lakhs and 1.5 lakhs for one year in coaching classes. If they can get admission in one IIT, another Fees for four year programs in government aided colleges are Rs.6-7 lakhs Thus after investing at least 8-10 lakh coaching and an IIT degree, a job offer Leaving 6 lakh students struggling.

As per the placement rules, in most engineering and B-school campuses, once a student gets an offer, he is barred from sitting for another company’s interview. This rule forces some people to leave companies of their choice, especially when the number of companies is limited and the roles on offer are less than the number of students looking to hire.

When Himanshu Khandelwal sat for a job interview at IIT Hyderabad in 2018, he was interested in joining a public sector unit (PSU), as state-owned units had a better profile. So, despite an offer from an audit firm in hand, he was asked to quit. “I then sat for Vedanta and gave one Eight lakh rupees package. The PSUs I wanted came but by then I had Vedanta offers and could not sit for those companies,” said Khandelwal.

IIT Hyderabad, in the placement statistics on its website, said that for 2021-2022, 77.29% of its students were placed; Average salary was 20.73 lakhs per annum.

Ongoing placement

New IITs fare well with less than 200 students in a batch, and some are contracting with firms to train their batches in mock interviews, resume building, etc. IIT Goa Placement Team said mint Most of that 120 batches have been placed. Average Salary for Computer Science 18 lakhs and is for electrical and mechanical stream 13-14 lakhs in IIT Goa.

IIT Tirupati placement is better than last year. “This year is a dry one but we are working hard to get students places. Although we wanted 10 lakhs as minimum compensation for recruitment from our campus, there is a company that recruits 6.85 lakh,” said J Prabhu Kiran, placement officer, IIT Tirupati.

Kiran said a couple of weeks ago mint Of those 280 students, 138 were placed, in part because computer science students are always easier to place. “Those in mechanical, civil and chemical streams (90 students) also seek compensation that matches their classmates, those in computer science (190 students). Ex-pats are often willing to join an edtech startup even if the profile doesn’t match but the pay is better,” Kiran said.

The need for higher salaries than profiles or matching skill sets is leading to a rush of edtech and startups. So, even as the sector suffers from a funding crunch, which has led to around 20,000 layoffs, many IITans are jumping into edtech.

Average Salary in IIT Tirupati 16 lakh so far but Kiran warned that there would be students who would not get a place.

IIT Roorkee did not want to comment on the salary but said its placement team is “continually working hard to connect with companies through LinkedIn and the alumni network”.

Entering the gates of an IIT as a student is a rite of passage for thousands of Indians—it’s a ticket to success. While engineering seats in private colleges are expensive, and a tiny fraction can pay their way abroad, getting a seat in an IIT is seen as an achievement in itself. The real problem is what awaits some students at the departure gate.

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