The 21st century technology has given us many new words. A couple of decades ago, the terms like Mobile Supercomputing, Intelligent Robots, Self-Driving Cars, Neuro-Technological Brain Enhancements, Genetic Editing and many more were strange to us. Now, these are evidences of the dramatic changes happening around us. At an exponential speed, it will fundamentally alter the way we live and work. The technology enthusiasts call it as 'Fourth Industrial Revolution,' which is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human. Although, we are not sure about how these things will unfold in the future, one thing is clear; the response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.
In the midst of such technological revolution, India - a country that is forecasted to have the largest number of manpower in the world - is struggling with a serious skill crunch. Although, we add around 20 million youths to the work force every year, only a meagre number of them are able to secure a job. "We have thousands of colleges churning out lakhs of engineers, whereas hardly 15 percent of them are having employable skills. This employability percentage further shrinks when it comes to high-end product development areas like Embedded Systems," opines Maaz Jukaku, Managing Director, Emertxe.
Located in Bangalore, the IT hub of India, Emertxe is one of the leading IT finishing schools in the country. Since its inception in 2003, the institute has been striving hard to bridge the industry-academia gap that is prevailing in the Indian technology industry. "With challenges like lower hiring ratio and higher time spent on on-the-job training to make the fresh graduates productive, the tech-companies in India are struggling to deploy their projects on time. Indeed, there is no major problem in the engineering course curriculum, whereas the gap is mainly due to the way it is imparted to entry-level engineers," says Jayakumar Balasubramanian, Director, Emertxe.
It is true that a large chunk of our fresh engineering graduates does not have the practical knowledge of emerging technologies, which is the key requirement of any technology company today. As a pioneer institute in Embedded Systems, Linux and IoT training, Emertxe aptly understands the scale of the problem in terms of market demand of skilled engineers and the supply demand ratio, which is significantly low as per the industry demands. "We were determined to set out on a mission to solve this problem by offering hands-on practical oriented training programs in order to make entry level engineers employable, which is the only way to resolve this huge skill gap," pinpoints Maaz.
Mentoring at its Best
In any educational institution, teachers and their expertise play a vital role in shaping the future of its learners. In this regards, Emertxe learners are a fortunate bunch of people. The institute employs a team mentors who come with solid work experience by working with companies like HP, Huawei, Novell, Samsung, GE and through internal product development wing of the Emertxe.
Indeed, they are not just trainers who give lectures on random topics, but enthusiastic learners with deep passion towards technology and training, which makes a huge difference during program delivery. "When it comes to technology, they stay ahead of the curve. From the senior leadership's point of view, we have made heavy investments to ensure that there is an environment in our institute for learning, not only for our students, but also for our mentors," states Maaz.
From programming languages like C, C++, Python and Shell Scripting to Linux platforms like TCP/IP Networking, Device drivers and Embedded Linux and from Micro-controllers like Peripheral and Sensor interfacing (IoT) to Applications and Framework like Yocto build framework, ARM architecture porting and Qt application development, the Emertxe mentors bring in a lot of real-time work experience into the table. In other words, for anything that comes under the Embedded Systems or IoT, there is at least one senior person at Emertxe, who has already worked on a real-time project in that field. Jayakumar adds, "They already have natural attribute to look for what is coming new in a particular technology. In fact, most of them are contributors in popular open source and electronics magazines in India. Very frequently they get invitations for guest lectures, assessment panel, keynote speaker invites from technology conferences."
At Emertxe, a trainer's job is not limited to teaching. Maaz says, "Our mentoring team not only delivers the subject, but also ensures that our students really learn in a right way. This requires handholding students when they face both technical and non-technical issues, clarifying doubts, organizing 1:1 counselling/coaching sessions and making them interact with industry experts in the form of guest lectures." Since more than 90 percent of the Emertxe students come from tier-2 and tier-3 places, they not only lack adept technical skills but also require lots of behavioural coaching. "Inadequate technical skills further lead to self-doubt, sense of insecurity, lower self-confidence and so on. Here, we resolved this problem by taking a holistic approach towards learning," mentions Jayakumar.
With such expert mentors on the board, Emertxe prepares course content depending on its target audience and learning outcomes. "Here, we do not take 'one-size-fits-all,' as outcomes are different for a fresher looking for a job and a working professional looking for up-skilling. Once the audience and learning outcomes are finalized, our team consisting of subject matter experts prepares the overall course outline, which further gets broken into classroom slideware, hands-on sample programs, assignments, projects, videos, reference materials and so on where detailed contents are prepared," explains Maaz. Eventually, these contents go through multiple rounds of review with final approval by technology head. Jayakumar adds, "This stringent process ensures there is absolutely no compromise done with respect to technical quality. The same subject matter expert team constantly reviews the course contents and makes continuous improvements based on technology change by bringing latest tools, methodologies and updates into our curriculum."
Irrespective of the program, Emertxe maintains a 70-30 ratio between practical and theory. This means participants spend 30 percent of the time in building foundations required for a particular technology and apply 70 percent of the time by demonstrating working output in terms of classroom exercise, assignments or projects. This delivery model ensures participants have maximum takeaway.
An Institute with Several USPs
As an organization that has been offering one of the most exhaustive suites of embedded technology courses available in India, this year, Emertxe became the first Embedded Training Institute to be affiliated with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under Electronics Sector Skills Council of India (ESSCI). Maaz says, "Our Key strength in Embedded Systems and IoT Domain comes with a deep domain expertise of our team, since we develop complete embedded products for Industrial, Automotive and Agro automation products."
Unlike many training institutes in India, Emertxe has developed a structured delivery model with high emphasis on quality. To take care of end-to-end quality control activities the institute has formed a Quality Management System (QMS), which is continuously fine-tuned with processes, workflows, tools and methodologies. "In fact, this QMS was one of the main USP that has given us the edge and helped us to obtain affiliation from the NSDC, which is the strategic arm to implement "Skill India" initiative from Government of India," shares Maaz.
Being one of the best in the market has helped the institute to bring a large array of learners to its classrooms. Starting with fresher graduates, Emertxe offers various training programs to working professionals and corporate organizations on specialized topics. For fresh graduates who are looking to get into their first job, Emertxe run NCDC Certified long-term programs, which are immersive in nature and assure placements at the end. The programs such as Embedded Systems Course – Intermediate and Embedded Systems Course – Advanced come under this umbrella.
On the flipside, even professionals who have more than 15 years of experience are part of the Emertxe training program. For those who are looking for a career growth by up-skilling themselves, the institute has created courses, which cater to working professionals with at least 2 years of working experience. Delivered as a fast-track workshop oriented way, these courses are offered during weekends. "Each of our learners comes with a different goal or objective. To ensure that our students are able to achieve their objectives, we offer a complete suite of training programs in advanced and latest technologies like IoT, Embedded Android, Qt and other related technologies. This unparalleled technology depth is one of our USPs," explains Jayakumar.
At Emertxe, the students go through a highly hands-on, practical oriented training in the field of Embedded Systems and IoT, which make them Ready-To-Deploy (RTD) engineers for any real-time project. This not only benefits the learners who take up various courses of Emertxe, but also helps companies that directly recruit from the institute. Maaz claims, "Reduced ramp-up or training time and faster deployment into real-time projects are the major benefits for our recruiters. Initially, it was a challenge for us to convince organizations to have Finishing Schools as one of their hiring channels. On the positive note, once they started seeing these benefits, they have become our regular recruiters." Now, with over 290+ companies in its recruitment list, Emertxe ensures 100 percent joining rate of all selected candidates.
Today, Emertxe not only attracts learns to its classrooms in Bangalore. The institute has a strong presence in the corporate sector as a training partner. "Our clientele consist of almost all the major names in the technology industry who have a heavy focus in embedded systems. They come under various verticals like automotive, telecom, consumer electronics, aeronautical," says Jayakumar. Emertxe offers a wide range of customized programs including, on boarding of new joiners, up-skilling for experienced professionals and high-end technology consulting. Till now, they have served more than 100 corporate organizations with different teaching methodologies.
The Goals Ahead
The enduring success of Emertxe does not end here. Considering the importance of IoT in the immediate future, the institute will launch placement oriented IoT programs for fresh engineers to prepare them for the emerging IoT domain. Jayakumar says, "Our diversification efforts have already started as we have recently launched our sister concern WebStack Academy (WSA) –www.webstackacademy.com, to give exclusive focus on web and mobile training programs."
On the hand, Maaz has very ambitious long-term goals for his institution. He summarizes, "Technology goes through frequent change, which is inevitable. To cope with this change, both individuals and organizations require constant up-skilling and re-skilling. We see this as a global challenge and a huge opportunity. Hence, our long-term goal is to offer training programs on a global scale in terms of our innovative e-learning offering."
Maaz Jukaku, Managing Director
Right after the college, Maaz took up entrepreneurship as career. His first venture was into IT Infrastructure management solutions. Later he launched his second venture Emertxe, which has two independent divisions. While, one is an embedded product and design service division, which provided end to end services especially focussing on Industrial, Automotive and Agro automation products, he runs a fully fledged IT finishing school with expertise in similar Embedded technologies focussed to contribute bridging the skill gap of fresh graduate engineers as well as up-skilling professionals in the Technology domain.
Jayakumar Balasubramanian, Director
Jayakumar is responsible for strategic initiatives and technology delivery functions. Graduated from NIT Warangal in Computer Science and Engineering, he worked with Ishoni Networks, Hewlett Packard and Huawei Technologies before joining Emertxe. He has hands-on experience in E2E embedded product development right from conceptualization to product launch. He has deep interest to make quality education available for global audience, powered by technology.