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Reshma, a BTech Civil Engineering student in Trivandrum had scored high marks in all semesters and was looking forward  to a glorious career (future) on completion of the course. After several campus interviews, she couldn’t get shortlisted. Her direct applications to several companies in response to advertisements also couldn’t help (work out).

Her classmate Anila who had a brilliant academic record also failed to get her first job after several tests, group discussions and interviews. Ultimately, she enrolled for an MBA course to improve her career prospects. Saif Khan, who did Mechanical Engineering from a high ranking college in North Kerala also couldn’t get a good placement.  His parents urged him to write bank exams and he ended up in a public sector bank.

Once considered a lucrative career, engineering graduates now find the going tough with more number of students seeking lesser number of job opportunities. In 1990’s and early 2000, India witnessed a technology boom, a mere engineering degree was sufficient to get a foothold into industry.

In this era of digitization, enhanced mobile technologies, companies whether they are established ones or start-ups are looking for some core qualities in new recruits- they include technical and functional competencies, excellent communication skills, passion for innovation and desire to keep learning throughout their career.

BTech provides a firm foundation in engineering concepts and technology. But, companies are seeking recruits with strong analytical and problem solving skills. They need project-ready people who are flexible in learning, be willing to handle -multiple tasks, have rich domain knowledge and display professional maturity.

Are you project ready, are you certified?

More importantly, engineering graduates should be able to work with various tools that are widely used in industry. This is possible by obtaining certifications that denote competency in a technical or functional area.  In hardware, networking-candidates with certifications in information security such CISCO, ISC2, ISACA- information security certifications-CISSP, SSCP, ISSEP, ISSAP, ISSMP, CAP, CSSLP are preferred. Likewise there are certifications offered by leading companies such as Oracle and Microsoft for database packages, cloud, applications, systems, operating systems, Java and Middleware.

According to Saurav Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Cube26, engineering and management grades should be specialists in one area and competent in atleast one more domain.

In mechanical and civil engineering, certification in CAD/CAM software can open the door to new opportunities and career growth. Likewise, in management and engineering, job prospects improve on getting certified in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in functional areas and technical areas respectively. SAP and IBM are offering online and on-campus programs to help students become readily employable on completion of the course.

According to industry analysts, there a few key reasons why certifications are beneficial for both industry and the job aspirants. For the job aspirants it improves job prospects, improves work performance, help in career growth, worldwide recognition and enables specialization. Gartner estimates that there were 4.4 million jobs in Big Data in 2015 but only a quarter might have been filled. Certifications equip a candidate with better understanding of business and management practices. They can excel in project, program and IT service management roles.  Senior professionals with decades of experience in various disciplines continue to add certifications to their profile in tune with the rapid changes unleashed by digital and mobile technologies,internet-of-things (IOT).

Industry now have a preference for students with certification as it lowers their overhead costs involved in training them to handle various tasks,  be project-ready, and ensure more productivity in the long run.

Earning a certification shows the desire of a candidate to specialize in a particular domain or area and hence organizations prefer them over others.  With more IT companies and institutes offering certification through online learning, the process of earning certifications along with BTech/MBA has now become much easier

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