Monday, September 16, 2013

IT: Get prepared for the future- IT Education in Nepal

The emergence of technology as a major field in the global job market has projected Information and Technology (IT) as one of the major areas for higher studies.

As a profession, the Bureau of Labour Statistics of the United States has ranked IT as the fastest growing professions over the next 10 years. While IT grows by leaps and bounds in the global market, Nepal isn’t an exception.

The ever increasing technological innovations and their phenomenal success overseas have attracted students towards IT. How influential IT as a subject is can be gauged by the fact that the country which saw the launch of IT education some 15 years ago with computer engineering, now offers a dozen subjects.

There are above 150 IT colleges affiliated with domestic universities like Tribhuvan University (TU) and Purbanchal University (PU) and numerous other universities from across the globe. It is estimated that over 1,000 graduates of Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology (BSc CSIT) come out annually.

“We are witnessing a constantly rising craze towards IT-related subjects for the last two-three years,” said Krishna Chandra Poudel, director at Trinity International College. “The unlimited scope that IT as a subject offers has attracted numerous students towards this subject.” Poudel said BSc CSIT, a four-year eight-semester course offered by the TU, has been receiving tremendous response now, although it was launched a decade ago. “We have 36 quotas for BSc CSIT and we are running in full occupancy,” Poudel said.

Amrit Thapa, business development manager at Softwarica International College, says the wider prospects in terms of jobs in the local as well as global market have made IT a prominent choice for students. “IT has emerged as something that drives a country’s economy. Its importance is being felt within the country and beyond,” Thapa said. “This is why students who are aware about its impact are joining courses on computing, networking and software engineering.”

What makes IT an area with wider prospects is the growing number of businesses and industries, making a shift from traditional ways of data keeping to modern-day efficient and reliable technologies. Not only the private institutions, but the government too seems to be adopting the latest technologies, increasing the opportunities for those wanting to pursue a career in the field of technology. In a way, the IT sector of the country, according to experts, is a “virgin” sector, where a lot is still to be done. “Numerous students are getting opportunity to try their hands in developing websites. This is helping them earn as well as learn even before completing their study,” Thapa said. Another major reason that makes IT a smart option for the young aspirants is the returns against investment. IT programmes in Nepal normally costs around Rs 450,000 to Rs 500,000. For those willing to acquire graduation from colleges that have tie-ups with foreign universities, the cost ranges from Rs 600,000 to Rs 800,000. Experts say an IT-proficient person having around three-five years of experience can earn up to Rs 150,000 per month in a Nepali company itself. Nepali companies like F1 Soft International, Leapfrog Technologies, Dearwalk, Javra Software and Mercantile, among others, can be among the prominent destinations for students, apart from big corporate houses and multinationals.

“There is a huge potential in the IT sector within the country. Technology is something that changes from time to time and we are really short of capable manpower,” said Biswas Dhakal, president of F1 Soft International. “We are tying up with several colleges and educational institutions to get IT personnel as per our need.”

Another factor that has made IT professionals rare in the country is the exit of qualified manpower to foreign countries. Dhakal said the lack of awareness among people that there is a massive opportunity within the country too has prevented the retention of qualified manpower. Despite IT education showing a momentous growth, both Poudel and Thapa feel the government needs to promote IT for achieving greater success. “IT education has emerged as the need of every individual. Since it is s practical-based course, even students performing average in theoretical subjects can do well. The government should take some initiative to spread the knowledge about IT education,” Thapa said.

source:The Kathmandu post,15 Sept 2013