No Java, Oracle or AWS? Sorry, next student please

Who has the better certification? (Hindustan Times)
Who has the better certification? (Hindustan Times)


  • Just a degree doesn't cut it anymore. TCS and Cognizant want additional skills from freshers

In a year of thinning campus recruitments, two of the three large IT companies that still plan to hire freshers have told engineering colleges that they will prefer only those with certified in advanced software skills.

Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) and Teaneck, US-based Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. will prefer to recruit only those certified in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Oracle, Java and among others, placement executives at engineering colleges said.

The move, aimed to reduce training time and costs, will be a blow to many aspirants, given that not all colleges have students opting for these subjects.

Colleges said the decision by TCS and Cognizant reduces the number of students who can sit for placements. Since only three large IT firms will hire from campus this year (HCL Technologies Ltd is the third), the students don’t have an option either.

“TCS is hiring for three roles at salaries of 3.5 lakh, 7 lakh and 10 lakh. While earlier all students who were keen on the firm were allowed to apply, this time, preference will be given to students who are certified in AWS, Oracle, Java, etc," said the placement head of a leading engineering college based in Tamil Nadu that has over 5,000 students graduating this year.

Cognizant, which offers 6.5 lakh onwards, is also looking at similar skill sets; more than 1,000 students will apply for the two firms, the placement head added.

The compensation varies depending on the profiles and the ones above are part of the bulk hiring roles. The roles offered to an Indian Institute of Technology graduate will be different along with higher compensation.

So far, TCS, HCL and Cognizant have said they will head for the campuses while rivals Infosys and Wipro had earlier said they will not. HCL has said it will continue to hire as planned, but TCS is cutting down campus hiring plans.

Emails sent to Cognizant and HCL were unanswered till press time.

A TCS spokesperson said: “There is no change in our campus recruitment process and approach from previous years. As always, we are seeking the best talent available based on our business needs, and we continue our investments in their training and deployment into client projects."

“HCL Tech will keep hiring to meet 5.5% growth guidance," the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) C. Vijayakumar had said in an interview earlier. “We’ll see the hiring momentum continue into Q4 and beyond."

K. Krithivasan, CEO of TCS, said in an interview in January that the company was doubling down on in-campus hiring. “Last year we hired about 40,000 people. This year we’ll start with a smaller number. But we’ll see how it plays out basis the demand situation."

This is where added certifications help; many aspirants are eliminated if they don’t have these ‘stamps’. “If there is one vacant position and two candidates apply for the job, companies will take the one who is more skilled," said Savitha Rani M., training and placement officer at Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bengaluru.

“Certification numbers are an important criteria in contracting, too. Those are factors looked at by IT companies’ clients," explained Apurva Prasad, vice-president of institutional research, HDFC Securities. “What you’re effectively doing is that by having your employees certified, your talent pool is ready to be deployed into projects faster."

Meanwhile, global capability centres or GCCs of MNCs have hired in large numbers from engineering colleges. That has reduced the pool available to the IT services majors.

In another college in Bengaluru,, both TCS and Cognizant are late to the hiring party, even though they are recruiting for salaries around 9 lakh. “Most of the students are placed in GCCs and 125 have applied for these two firms," said its placement head.

According to industry watchers, such filtering helps TCS and Cognizant will raise utilization rates and get incoming batches ‘client ready’ and deployed on projects. Utilization rate refers to the proportion of staff actively involved in ongoing projects while bench is made up of employees who are yet to get deployed on a project.

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