Friday, November 27, 2009

Must Visit: Hot Or Not

If you have not been to HotorNot or RateDesi, what you waiting for? These are two sites we used to visit quite often 5-6 years back and very very popular then before other websites popped up with the same idea. is a website created by two Asian students in the USA nearly ten years back. This site allows people to upload their profile pictures and visitors to the site are asked to rate their profiles and even maybe date them!

The site reached a viewership of 2 million viewers per day within a week of it's launch taking its popularity ratings to as good as that of CNET. Hot Or Not was sold at approximately 20 million USD in 2008, a site which started at a time when the founders were in student debt!

There is even a Desi version of Hot Or Not at and features your neighborhood hottie, maybe!!! ;)

These are two places you can instant fun at! Take a break!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

PhotoBlog: Volvo Ocean Race Stopover - Kochi (December 2008)

PhotoBlog: Volvo Ocean Race Stopover - Kochi (December 2008)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Education: NASSCOM finding - 75% Engineers Unemployable

Engineers Unemployable! That surely is some bad news for parents who continue to think that Engineering & Medicine is the only way to a successful career. How about being a Male Nurse, for a change? Not that desperate, huh? Or Photography, Travel Reporting?

If you are gonna owe the above NASSCOM finding to the recession, think again. The recession is one reason, of course but surely not as big as employability. The report points to “how trainable you are” as the major reason for not succeeding in getting a job. Traditionally (even 5-7 years back), many engineers got jobs, be it Civil, Mechanical, Instrumentation, even Biotechnology or Chemical, most of them would ultimately become Software Engineers! Most companies did not look beyond the academics. A lot of poor communicators were hired and companies ended up spending a large chunk of their revenue on training engineers who could not speak English well enough or who did not grow up learning different kinds of etiquette. The English language and business etiquette are two key requirements since we are working for mostly Western customers.

Last quarter, we were on a hiring spree for fresh engineers. Over 3 weeks, we interviewed in person, 250 engineers from the 2000-3000 applications received. The screening process we employed was pretty simple and straightforward.

1.     Applications: Starting with the applications, those emails received without a proper subject line or content were simply deleted. If you are serious about getting yourself a job, please address the employer and mention the position applied for.
2.     Education: The pedigree of schools/colleges attended and what grades were scored? Interestingly, most successful candidates were from ICSE/CBSE English medium and top SSLC schools. A lot of SSLC schools are run by the Government and follow the Malayalam-medium which does not give much opportunity to students to speak English, which again is the preferred medium of communication in the corporate world.
3.     Communication: is what all employers think is most important. You might code well but if you can’t write 2 sentences of English well, nobody would wanna spend time and money training you. Again here, those who studied in reputed English medium schools and those who generally spoke English in the family and amongst friends were more successful applicants.
4.     Attitude & PreparationScoring high marks from a premier institution is simply not good enough anymore. I interviewed a Computer Sc. Engineer (with a distinction) from a premier engineering college in the state, who told us he wanted a job coz he was under pressure from his girlfriend’s family to find a job (not that he had any technical skill what ever happened to the focus on career?
5.     Others: What does the family do for a living? Which towns or cities has he studied in? Has he listed “Books, Music & Cricket” under Hobbies?

At the end of the day, we hired 20 out of 250 short-listed. There were another 10-15 brilliant candidates who could not fit in coz we had already met our requirement. So, that is 30-40 out of 250 engineers, all of them with >65% grades, but just 40 had the right skills, attitude and preparation for a career in the corporate world.
With the sudden mushrooming of engineering colleges all over the state and engineering education turning into a business, most Engineers do not carry with them the attitude and skills of the Engineer of let's say a decade back and are not ready to work in the corporate world. 
(A recent analysis of Kerala University's B.Tech results over the last few years showed a declining trend of the technical education standards)

This obvious drop in quality of the Engineer should have academicians thinking of a complete revamp of the engineering syllabus which ultimately produces Software Engineers who know not more than two ancient programming languages thus forcing companies to spend more on training - in both communication and programming.

Cabin Crew Training: Sky-High Dreams by the Sea

A few months back, we were interviewing candidates for a secretarial position and young girls came in hordes from an aviation training institute. Most of them were 18-20, still pursuing their Bachelor degrees and had paid a hundred thousand or more and had never been inside an aircraft. Instead, they were sent to contract jobs in beach hotels at a salary not much higher than that of your maids’. We had high expectations but were thoroughly disappointed when they started behaving like robots during the interviews. Basically, they were trained to greet the interviewer, answer a few expected questions and if ever you asked anything out of the way, they would stammer. Most of them were not even fluent in the English language.

Being the age they were, ignorant and from poor families in small rural towns,  having studied in Malayalam-medium schools and dressed like your pretty airline stewardess but speaking in mono-syllables and in deep debt trying to repay the money they spent on learning to wear business-wear, lipsticks and to speak like robots...