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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Return of computer cradles

They were a rage in the early 90s. The late 90s saw them struggling to survive and by the turn of the century, many had downed shutters. But with a boom in the information technology industry, the computer training institutes are back.

Attracted by new courses and a new approach, students are once again queuing up at the doors of the institutes. The major players in the industry have registered a growth in enrolment and revenue.

“The computer training industry is moving to an all-time high. There are many opportunities opening up. In fact, we have never done better,” stated Surojit Biswas, regional manager, NIIT.

A leading training institute, NIIT registered a 70 per cent increase in enrolment last year over the year before. Another big player, CMC, has seen revenue grow by 35 per cent in a year, prompting it to plan 10 more centres. Aptech has set up its fifth centre in Calcutta.

The authorities of most of the institutes feel that the industry suffered in the 90s as it failed to adapt to the changing needs of the students.

“We have to adapt to the market needs for the courses to be relevant. We have added a year’s internship to our flagship course because of the need for experienced workers in the industry,” said R. Krishnan, executive director, Aptech.

“Earlier a course in core JAVA was enough for placements. Now there is a demand for advanced JAVA and other specific courses,” said Chandan Jana, assistant general manager, CMC.

If market orientation has given a fresh lease of life to the training outfits, the expansion of the IT industry has broadened the opportunities. The BPO boom and adoption of IT in telecom, banking and finance, hospitality, entertainment, healthcare and education has resulted in a huge demand for trained manpower.

As the animation and gaming industry in India is taking off, demand for multimedia courses has also increased.

“Animation is going to be the next big thing in the outsourcing industry and young people are aware of the changing scene,” said Kingshuk Gupta, general manager (corporate communication), Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics.

The institutes are trying to ensure that they do not repeat the mistakes of the late-90s. “In the last decade, every training centre wanted a share of the pie. They admitted students without quality control. Anyone who wanted to be a software professional was given admission,” stated Gupta. With the change in scenario, the profile of students has changed. “Ninety per cent of our students used to be general graduates. Today, 45 per cent of the students are engineers,” said Biswas.

“These changes augur well for the industry… We cannot afford to repeat our mistakes,” he added.

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