India and China IT Resource Challenges, 2012 Contemplation

  • India and China provides the largest pool of outsourcing software development talents to the global market.
  • Even though a million graduates come out every year in India and China, very few are globally employable.
  • More than 80% of developed nations’ talents  are globally employable where as China is 10% and India is 25%
  • Rapid increase of need in India and china forces employers to train talents outside of the traditional supply of talents.
  • Growth of local and global markets makes even lower skill level resource in high demand.
  • Today’s scarcity in India and China will be tomorrow’s resource “threat” to talents in developed countries because of the sheer volume of  resources now getting trained.


There is no doubt that India and China provides largest pool of outsourcing software development talents to global market. With 1.3+ billion people in India or China, thousands of universities and tens of thousands of technical institutes/colleges, one would imagine that getting right IT technical talents in these countries is very easy.  But truth of the matter, it is extremely difficult to get to right talent.  This article will list some of the parameters causing this issue and solutions for it. It has lot to do with university systems/training programs in these countries.

Resource Threat to Rest of the World

But how can these resources be a threat to resources in other countries, if there is scarcity in India and China.  Important point is that if companies need resources and if the university system did not train them, these organizations will train these resources to make them globally competitive for multinational employers to attract such talent.

Choice of Higher Education in India and china

  India China
Universities 348 2884
Regular Colleges 17625 – 
Engineering Colleges 3573 – 
Total Yearly Graduates 847000 1,900,000
Computer/Engg Grads 497000 763000
Globally employable talent % 25% 10%
Globally  employable talent /year 124000 76300

As per 2011 UGC of India statistics, India has 348 universities with 17625 colleges which include 3573 engineering colleges and 828 colleges educating Computer science/Computer Application post graduates, accounting total of 847000 graduates, in which around 497,000 graduates are trained to work in computer related industries. With 2884 universities and several thousands of colleges china produces 1.9 million graduates including 763000 engineering graduates (3 year and 4 year) trained to work in computer industry.

My Experience

During last two years, I interviewed more than 250 computer professionals of varied skill sets from India and China for different types of openings.  Results were not encouraging.  Most of them are not trained enough to work for global market place, atleast not to the extent that western universities train resources.   Very small percentages of them are globally employable.

Following difference will explain why these resources are globally deployable.

Education Streams India and China

Even though years of education are very similar, talents coming out of these universities are not same skill level. Most cases they possess far below skill set than western graduates.

USA Equivalent qualification in India
Associate Degree Graduate Degree Post-Graduate Degree
Diploma – Engineering  Diploma (3 years) BE– Bachelor of engineering(4 years) MS – Master of Science in engineering(2 Years)
BSc– Bachelor of Science (3 years) B.Tech – Bachelor of  Technology(4 Years) ME – Master of Engineering (2 years)
BA – Bachelor of Arts(3 years) MSc – Master of Science(2 years) M.Tech – Master of Technology (2 years)
BCA -Bachelor of Computer Application (3 years) MCA – Master of Computer Application(3 Years)  
PGDCA – Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Application(PGDCA)    


USA Equivalent Qualifications in China
Associated Degree Graduate Degree Post-Graduate Degree
Associated Degree of Science (3 years) BS – Bachelor of Science – (4 to 5 years) MSc – Master of Science 2 to 3 years)
Associated Degree of Engineering(3 years) BE – Bachelor of Engineering (4 to 5 years)  ME – Master of Engineering (2 years)
Associated Degree of Art (3 years) BA– Bachelor of Arts (BA)(4 to 5 years)  MA – Master of Arts(2 years)


Innovative vs. Transaction Talents

Education system in India and china produces majority of transaction based talents. Transaction based talents are well known for their ability to understand certain defined problem domain and find solution for problem.  These talents are very good in repetitive tasks and often provide higher productivity as they attain more experience.

Those who can bring innovation to engineering process are often called as innovative talents.  Innovative talents are abstract thinkers and great problem solvers.  They also work well within a team and possess strong personal skills. Many universities in India and china do train such talents, but volumes of talents are very less.  IIT/NIT programs in India and “C9 league” programs in China are best examples of such training programs. Lately several private universities in India train and produce top talents.

Choosing education selection stream

There is a major difference on how students choose education stream in India and China compared western world.  Most part of western world students chooses education stream based on their interest.  But in these Asian countries, education selection is driven by earning potential at large.  Most often these programs are selected by their parents or relatives for them. School system is not equipped to guide this student to right career paths. Most often lot of students end up in careers they are not passionate about.  Students with interest may not be able secure admission because the competition from the above group.  Situation is slowly changing in India and China with emergence of several alternate education streams now to train these resources in IT field.

Skills gap in India and china

Here are major difference between western world and Asian countries. Some of them are part of culture and some are part of education.

English: English knowledge is not wide spread in all of China and rural India. India still have higher % of English speaking population due to English being medium of instruction in most of the Indian universities. Besides, British ruled India almost 2.5 centuries, and left English awareness all across the country. On the other hand china started these programs probably only few years ago. Their medium instruction is still in Chinese. China introduced the CET (College English Test) levels (4, 6) in recent years as part graduation process. But these exams only guarantee writing skills and emphasize on spoken language. Younger population in china speaks better. During my 2010 visit to China, I spoke to several students in university and schools system and they seem to have higher skills in English and thus future looks promising to China.

Team work: Team work: Ability to work in team comes natural to graduates of several western universities.  It is a premium skill set for lot of graduates in India and China. This is due to education systems, training of these graduates. Several of education curriculums in India and china give higher importance to academics and often forget to impart enough training in team building and leadership activities. We are seeing big leap in India, in this area from private universities and premium private colleges. They are showing active interest in training such talent using varied facets of skill development programs.

Technical skillsAverage technical skill level of equivalent degrees in India and China is far below expectation from average western university graduates. This is due to the lack of practical problem driven training coupled with excellent lab facilities and access to best teachers.

Some other areas of challenge are leadership and problem solving skills.


With the increased demand of IT talents in India and China, these talents with lower skill level is also put to work.  Many of these talents are getting trained and over period of time these skill gaps will be filled with job based training.  It is interesting to see how these talents will fill the global demand of skilled workers as world is turning out to be more and more one single open society.


Author: Joseph Vargheese  




About Joseph Vargheese

2 Responses to India and China IT Resource Challenges, 2012 Contemplation

  1. Pingback: Countries and Rates for off-shore software development | josephvargheese

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