Published: 24th April 2017
Hyderabad may not be Silicon Valley, but it has a SAP Street: From quick classes to fake certificates, here's why Ameerpet is always on IT students' radar
Quick lessons before college? Check. Experience Certificate in any computer language for a consideration? Check. If it's IT you need, then Ameerpet is IT!
Walking through the lanes and bylanes of Ameerpet in downtown Hyderabad, an area which has over the years acquired the tag of being something of an education emporium, one is bombarded with hoarding and neon signboards vying for space and attention. Java, Oracle, DBA, Linux, SAP, android and web development, coding, computing are just some of the courses offered in the 500-plus institutes in this narrow, albeit mildly shady neighbourhood, making it a place that most techies visit quite often when they need a 'helping' hand.
Blame it on the IT crowd
Birju Kumar is a final year BTech student of a low-rung college at Patelguda in the city. From 6 am to 7:30 am, Birju attends a class to learn Python, at an institute here, after which he heads to his college. Hailing from Gopalgang in Bihar, Birju hopes the certification will add weight to his resume and help him land an IT job — often the pinnacle of their dreams and aspirations, second only to doing the same job in the US of A.
It's cost-effective, at least
He is one of over 1,00,000 students enticed by the '100 percent job placement' offered by institutes in Ameerpet. Interestingly, certification courses are offered for as low as Rs 4,000 per month spread over a period of two to six months, divided into batches ranging from 10 students to hundreds of them. If you were to pay an accredited institute to teach you how to work with these computer languages, it could end up costing you several lakhs.
Austerity is the norm in these minimalist classrooms
Taught in small, primitive classrooms filled with plastic chairs, institutes are able to regulate costs mostly because they use pirated software to cut down on the expensive license fee.
"People say that trainers here do not use original software. But that is not a concern for most students like me, as long as we get what we have been promised -- knowledge and a job," says Birju. The trick, he says is to check the credentials of the trainer before enrolling for any course. "If a trainer is not experienced, there is no point in paying even Rs 1,000 for a course," he adds.
Tech station: Ameerpet is a paradise for students looking to enter the IT industry
You may bump into a techie you know
Who are these well-qualified staff? You'd be surprised to find that they're your garden variety IT types, perhaps even those working with IT giants. Ameerpet attracts several experienced techies, who moonlight between their IT jobs. Students like Birju scout for institutes that have such faculty, because they get an inside track to the people they are hoping to work with when they graduate.
Need some fake 'IT' experience certificates in a hurry? Don't worry, they tell us
While Ameerpet may be a paradise for the students looking to pad up their resumes, often entry-level techies too take the Ameerpet way, when they feel they the need for additional experience for a better job. Procuring fake experience certificates from Ameerpet is only as difficult as getting yourself enrolled into one of these unregulated institutes.
On the third floor of a building, that's plastered with big bright hoardings, I enter an institute that offers training in Java, Core Java, data structures among others. The place was filled with students, all filling up forms — one of which I too was handed within a few minutes. A three-month course in Java, read the form, would cost Rs12,000. "It is inclusive of two hours of lab work along with course material which is free of cost," explained a salwar kameez-clad counsellor. (Yes, they have counsellors, go figure!)
When I huskily asked if I could get a job experience certificate to bolster my resume, the counsellor told me that they can put me in touch with the 'right' people. "But you will have to deal with the financial aspect separately with them," she added.
Hang on, HR guys ain't fooled easy
While Ameerpet tires to boost salary-boosting skill at warp speed, not all is rosy for those seeking to upgrade their skill set and employability from institutes here. A techie who moonlights over the weekends at an institute in Ameerpet says that though the training centres aim to bridge the gap between the IT sector's demand and the poor standard of BTech education in India, most IT firms are wary of candidates with Ameerpet certificates. "Background checking has become very stringent these days and given the reputation of Ameeerpet institutes that take money and give candidates on-the-job experience that never took place, such candidates are scrutinised even more minutely. A few of them are even blacklisted by some companies," he said.
Recently, AICTE came out with a report that stated that three-fifths of BTech graduates in the country were unemployable and more than half of the 3,300 engineering colleges were not up to the standard. Further, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), too forecast a low growth of 10 percent to 12 percent for the IT industry in the country as against the heady growth of over 30 percent in previous years.
Trump or not, life goes on
Those numbers might seem scary to some. Especially when coupled with Trump's new H1B visa regulations and Australia tightening the noose on IT influx. But in Ameerpet, it's business as usual, The place is crammed with students by 7:30 am who can be seen hugging their spiral bound course material as they talk to their friends or standing and sipping ‘one by two’ glasses of tea at one of the many tea shops, having meals at an Andhra or Udipi mess, living in rented sublets and through it all, nurturing a dream to earn an IT job.