| March 21, 2019

Lack of skilled workforce hindering growth of IT industry

Lack of skilled workforce hindering growth of IT industry
KATHMANDU, Sept 29: Stakeholders of Nepali information technology (IT) industry say shortage of skilled workforce is hindering growth of the industry.

They say IT companies have already started facing shortage of skilled manpower.
Though around 3,000 IT graduates are produced annually, stakeholders say IT companies are still facing shortage of skilled workforce.

According to industry people, ITC sector needs around 500 skilled personnel annually. The demand is mostly for experts with more than 2-4 years of experience. Most of the companies Republica talked to were in need of two to as high as 50 skilled workers.

A study titled 'Status of Computer Hardware and Software Industry' conducted by Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) Federation shows 11 percent of the workforce in Nepali IT industry earn between Rs 8,000 to Rs 12000 per month. Similarly, 13 percent of them earn Rs 13,000 to Rs 19,000, 43 percent take home Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000, 9 percent pocket Rs 31,000 to Rs 39,000, and 19 percent earns Rs 40,000 to Rs 50, 000 per month. Only around 6 percent of the workforce earns more than Rs 51,000.

"Nepali IT industry is facing shortage of skilled workforce mainly due to education culture of the country, lack of opportunity, and smaller market," Amit Agrawal, CEO of Janaki Technology, said. "Nepalis who are creative enough and see the opportunity either go to the US where their dream of earning and getting established materializes. Others work as a freelancer where earning is infinite, or work for outsourcing companies where they can get much exposure," he said, adding: "Those who are the best in both practical know-how and academically sound get best opportunities in foreign land."

Agrawal also said the country can produce industry ready people by bridging the gap between the colleges providing academic education and the need of the industry.

Industry people and IT students have a common view that the gap can be bridged only by incorporating practical knowledge with internships right from the first year of university education.

Janaki Technology has been looking for full-time Python developers for the past one month. But it has not been able to find candidates who fit the bill. "We are getting application from beginners and trainees only," said Agrawal.

Despite offering good salary and benefits, and tremendous opportunity for growth, IT companies are not getting the right candidate for their jobs. The unavailability of skilled workforce has forced IT companies to hire people without IT education.

Though he doesn't have university education in IT, Raju Gurung has been working as a software developer at Rapid Web Solutions for the past two years. "The industry is all about creativity, learning new technology, and getting oneself updated. Necessary trainings would enable one to enter IT sector even if s/he does not university degrees in IT," he said. "However, one must have passion and a great deal of enthusiasm."

Abhijit Gupta, managing director of Rapid Web Solutions, agreed with Gurung and said one needs to be smart enough, should be self-motivated and creative. "We actually do not need people with degrees in IT. We need brains that can tackle and adjust with the demand of the market, and upgrade themselves to the need of the clients," Gupta said, adding that practical experience is what that matters must.

Shovan Sainju, general secretary of ICT Association of Nepal said, IT graduates that the country produces lack expertise in specialized areas. "They must take short-term special courses or have experience to match the need of the industry," he added.
Kriti Bhuju

Kriti Bhuju is associated with Republica English Daily since September 2010. She has been reporting and writing economic issues mainly focusing on tourism, aviation and Information Technology (IT). She used to report and write about consumer goods like automobiles, electronics, gadgets, apparels, food products, advertising and real estate business.
Twitter : @kritibhuju

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