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Only 36 Percent of Indian Engineers Can Write Compilable Code, Says Study ( 210

New submitter troublemaker_23 quotes a report from ITWire: Only 36% of software engineers in India can write compilable code based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world, the Indian skills assessment company Aspiring Minds says in a report. The report is based on a sample of 36,800 from more than 500 colleges across India. Aspiring Minds said it used the automated tool Automata which is a 60-minute test taken in a compiler integrated environment and rates candidates on programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. "We find that out of the two problems given per candidate, only 14% engineers are able to write compilable codes for both and only 22% write compilable code for exactly one problem," the study said. It further found that of the test subjects only 14.67% were employable by an IT services company. When it came to writing fully functional code using the best practices for efficiency and writing, only 2.21% of the engineers studied made the grade.
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Only 36 Percent of Indian Engineers Can Write Compilable Code, Says Study

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  • Sounds about right (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Looks like about what I see in the field.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @08:22PM (#54388717)

      It would be extremely useful to know how this compares to college students around the world. Without that but of information, this article is nothing but anti-Indian-IT propaganda.

      By the way, I did read the article but couldn't find this information. It's it available somewhere else on the interwebs?

      • I'd expect it to be a bit lower in India, because computing-related degrees are still hyped in the same way there that they were in the US and Europe just before the dot-com bubble burst. Want to make a lot of money? Be a programmer. There's going to be a much bigger long tail of incompetence, just as there was in all of the 'I've never used a computer before, but I want to become a billionaire so I'm doing computer science' students in '98 or so.
      • nothing but anti-Indian-IT propaganda.

        Well, no, not exactly - there's a massive preference for Indians in tech hiring; just being Indian gives you an automatic +20 in the hiring process. If that's based on faulty prejudice, it's worth at least exposing.

      • That's my take. Without knowing what the rate is for American (and Australian and Russian and Chinese) students in university classes, this is just a factoid. Maybe The Indian programmmers actually are better than other country's students. Without concomitant measurements, it's just a factoid.

        My son is a compsci major in an American state university and he's not impressed with the code of his classmates (and neither are the profs).
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's still cheaper to hire 3 Indian devs than one American. Far fewer arguments too, they just do what they are told without argument, even if they are incompetent.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        > they just do what they are told without argument, even if they are incompetent.

        a) Generalising here, but they're mostly one (or zero) trick ponies, so no they really don't. If their single ability doesn't happen to fit what you're asking them to do today, you might as well be talking to a brick wall.

        b) Your implication that non-indians argue when told what to do is frankly ridiculous, but even if it was true, its clearly better to have the work product of someone competent than polite but incompetent.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @10:10PM (#54389391)

          they just do what they're told without argument

          Not exactly. They tell you they understand even if they don't. They tell you they'll do something even if they have no idea how. They'll agree to any schedule without any clue how to meet it. Then they deliver code that's been written to look like it actually does something close to what was asked for.

          Some argue quite a lot actually. I've been on the other side of some forcefully defended wrongness.

          One gets the impression that the managers of these outsourcing companies get them to believe their own lies--that nobody in the US, the home of modern computing and inventor of (but not mass producer of, thanks free trade) just about everything useful involving it, understands anything about computing.

          Know what? They're kind of right. The IT industry, the whole of it everywhere, is absolutely full of people who have no idea what they're doing being managed by people who are even more clueless. This is human nature--most of us are idiots and a small number are more productive than 10 others and understand more than 20. Subjects of expertise vary of course. Computing is pretty rigid--do something stupid and bad things will happen. The feedback you get from technology is pretty immediate and on occasion devastating because despite attempts to dress it up, this isn't a soft skill field. The tech does not care what you feel or who likes you or anything like that. It'll react the same way to a pretty, very social female as it does to the nerdiest nerd dude. It only cares what they know and what they do. It's what so many of us find attractive and why we resent too much interference from people who don't understand this. Stupid people can cause a lot more trouble a lot faster in IT than they can in a lot of other industries.

          Indians, being people too, also have this situation. A small number are brilliant, most are absolutely useless with technology and, like Americans, it doesn't stop them from charging headlong into crap they know nothing about.

          The difference is that in America we have a huge industry devoted to pushing the myth that Indians are somehow better than they are for the express purpose of using them to lower wages and nothing else.

          I want to stop H1-Bs. I want to send most of the ones here home even as I feel bad for the abuses they have to put up with here. That said, the sooner we all figure out who the real enemies are and do something about them--American and Indian tech companies who perpetuate this bullshit, the better off we'll all be.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Here in big international corporation's subsidiary in a huge EU country I am not allowed to comment on this subject by corporate ethics rules. It is in fact impossible to mention problems with our subsidiaries in foreign domains because racism. I therefore conclude that these problems actually do not exist.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @06:22AM (#54391003)

            Not exactly. They tell you they understand even if they don't. They tell you they'll do something even if they have no idea how. They'll agree to any schedule without any clue how to meet it. Then they deliver code that's been written to look like it actually does something close to what was asked for.

            Best example I've come across personally:

            Their proof-of-concept JSON used floating point numbers for dollar amounts. Floating point numbers for currency is a beginner mistake. I flagged it as an issue straight away and asked them to use cents in integers (which would be appropriate in our use-case). They agreed. Sure enough, the final product used floating point numbers for dollar amounts and started charging people incorrect amounts.

            As it turns out, they had a data store that was actually using decimals behind the scenes, so it was just a conversion issue. Dollars to cents - simple calculation, right? Just multiply by 100, right? Nope. They converted to a string, replaced the period with the empty string, then parsed the string as an integer. So the specific price in question went from $4.95 to "4.95" to "495" to 495. Which worked right up until the client reduced their price by five cents. Now it went from $4.90 to "4.9" to "49" to 49. They were now charging 49 cents for a product that was supposed to be almost five dollars.

            They literally couldn't understand multiplying by 100 to go from dollars to cents, but every step of the way agreed to do it and either didn't bother or completely fucked it up.

            • I used to work for Amazon, they store your gift card balance as a double. I don't recall it being an issue. It is good practice to avoid floating point when you care about accuracy, but unless your in banking it isn't a big deal.

              • Is that a [double] number of cents, or a [double] number of dollars? Anything that will retain integer precision is usually fine when using cents, but using a floating-point binary representation for dollars won't work. It's not necessarily any less accurate, but it will not get the same nearly accurate results as conventional processing.

            • by Durrik ( 80651 )
              Hey that's easy for them to fix. Just throw in an if statement that if the number of digits is two automatically put a 0 in there at the end. Problem solved that'll be 10 hours charged to your account.

              Then you'll test it against $9.00. Which will turn into 9 cents. Well that's easy to fix, if the number of digits equals to one then add two zeros. Problem solved this is a bit harder, that's 15 hours charged to your account.

              That covers all the problems, ship it.

              Well what about a $1000.00 item? That's go
          • You've summed it up nicely.
          • Your comment took way more time than I had available and I'm not sure I could have put it better even if I did. Upvote!
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Sounds like the goal of modern management practices all right.

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        And it takes double the amount of man-hours to lead them than it takes to have a developer that knows what to do.

      • It's still cheaper to hire 3 Indian devs than one American. Far fewer arguments too, they just do what they are told without argument, even if they are incompetent.

        I think what you're saying is true most of the time but somehow some companies (like mine, who shall not be named) get roped into these contracts where they charge $100-150/hr who bill out projects that take 600 hours when they really should only take 10-20 hours. It's amazing in every sense of the word. I also have no doubt those poor Indians only get pennies while their parent "consulting company" pockets the lion's share.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Looks too good to me, my feeling is that it's worse in reality and that the test only was done on the good ones with experience.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @08:12PM (#54388661)

    What percent of Slashdot Editors can spot a dupe?

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      The world is full of dupes. And triplets.

    • by Verdatum ( 1257828 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @10:27AM (#54392251)
      Not just a dupe, but a dupe of a HELUVA shady report. 1: it tests ALL engineering students, including Mech-E and EE, not just software-engineers. As far as I can tell the test doesn't include Computer-Science students. 2: it's not peer reviewed or published in a 3rd party publication of any sort, 3: the information is released by a company that sells the test both to engineering schools and to perspective employers, and sells training material to teach their tests to aspiring employees and to schools to pass on to students. As a result, it is in their best interest to scare the entire industry with low scores like this, and everything I can find indicates no effort was made to circumvent this bias.
  • Does this mean I should be concerned with Dr Gupta's diploma from Cornercutt-, er, Calcutta Medical?
    • That always kind of bugs me whenever I read foreign resumes - I’m sure that my own resume has been tossed right in the trash because my undergrad was at Valdosta State University and not MIT. But nobody here knows the difference between the University of Moscow and the University of Leningrad, so it’s like everybody not from the United States is automatically on a level playing field.
  • I haven't written a single line of compilable code at my latest job. :)

    • Did these people have access to a compiler when writing this code? If not, then of course most code has trivial syntax errors.

      • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @09:40PM (#54389235) Homepage

        Exactly this! I think I've yet to go a single day where I have not missed something as simple as a semicolon or I used an arrow instead of 4-dots syntax, or brackets instead of curly braces for different array syntaxes while jumping between languages. The intended meaning was very blatantly there in the code, and a simple "F5" to compile+run (or refresh browser in case of web apps) would have caught the simple mistakes. If this were not an issue, keyboards would never have a backspace key. This is one of the oldest aspects of computers, period. There is a reason why 0x7F is "DELETE" in the ASCII table, because in the days of 7-bit punch cards, if a "typo" was made, punching down all 7 bits was the way to clear it!

        • by PatientZero ( 25929 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @09:53PM (#54389303)

          There is a reason why 0x7F is "DELETE" in the ASCII table, because in the days of 7-bit punch cards, if a "typo" was made, punching down all 7 bits was the way to clear it!

          That makes perfect sense, fits with how a programmer would think, and I've never heard any competing theories. Thus, it's most likely totally wrong.


          • Seven level teletype tape, not punched cards. For typos on cards, we just replaced the faulty card with a corrected card. (And, BTW, most everyone used a sequence number in cols 72-80 initially all ending in 00 so we could insert cards when we'd left a few lines of code out).

            • (And, BTW, most everyone used a sequence number in cols 72-80 initially all ending in 00 so we could insert cards when we'd left a few lines of code out).

              And get them back in order when you inevitably dropped the entire deck while moving it.

      • They had access to an IDE with a compiler, but according to what I've been able to find (as this is garbage press-release stuff, not a proper peer-reviewed paper) it's some sort of proprietary IDE designed specifically for this mysterious test. I could not find a download for it. Also, they tested Mech-E and EE students and all the other Engineering branches that shouldn't be expected to be able to write code by default. It's certainly good for all engineers to learn a little bit of code, but until they lan
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Still compiled. You may have heard of "bytecode"? Not compiled to machine-code, true, but for the purpose at hand it does not matter much.

  • On the first pass? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @08:21PM (#54388705) Homepage Journal

    My code rately compiles correctly on the first attempt.

    Sure, I could carefully inspect it before clicking "build," but it's faster to go through the build-fix-build cycle a few times than to scrutinize it for compile-time errors beforehand.

    As for the rest of the test, I would fail too, especially since it is a one-hour timed test.

    Now, show me a problem where the obvious/naive solution is something any decent programmer can get right in half a day but finding an ideal- or nearly-ideal solution will take a great programmer a few hours to find, a very good programmer a day to find, a mediocre one 2 days to find, and a lousy one a week to find if he could find it at all, and I will show you a problem that *might* be worth considering if you are trying to "rate" programmers on coding skill.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nor does mine so I skimmed the summary. Test was with a compiler, after an hour it still didn't work.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's absurd. You can always comment out erroneous code until the only operation left is a nop.

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @02:16AM (#54390419)

      This is a problem I typically have with programming tests. To be perfectly honest, I test horribly. The problem for me is that the way one takes programming tests is always vastly different than the environment in which one normally codes. For me, the worst are whiteboard-type tests. I can't remember when I've ever written actual code on a whiteboard at work (diagrams plenty, code no). The point is, unless you're working in an environment you're accustomed to, the difficulty of the problem is artificially magnified.

      More to the point, I don't recall being in many "high stress" programming situations at work, perhaps aside from tracking down some maddening bugs, which requires more patience and doggedness than anything else. No one is going to die if some feature doesn't ship in the next 60 minutes. I do my best coding when I can take my time and calmly think about the problem, rather than giving snap answers. In the working world, if I don't know something technical, I just look it up and do my own research, or ask a colleague if that leads nowhere. And I'm terrible at coming up with the "clever programming tricks" that people seem to love to put on programming tests, but which typically have little value in actual production.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        When interviewing I usually just ask them up front on the phone what kind of tests, if any, they do at interviews. If they have written tests like this, I give them a miss. My code is on Github, my projects speak for themselves, I'm not wasting my time on your stupid test you ripped from some recruitment web site and which won't represent my actual skill level at all.

        Frankly, that kind of test is a warning sign that the interviewer doesn't know what they are talking about or what makes a good candidate, and

    • by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @03:03AM (#54390539) Journal

      My code rately compiles correctly on the first attempt.

      I believe you :-)

      (FWIW, neither does mine)

    • Crappy blog spam that does not list even bare minimum to understand what's happening on that test. Yet it produces stupid ethnic/racial implications.

      Burn this type of crap with fire, mods.

      "Nice job", beauHD

    • They were able to use a proprietary IDE and test-build their code as much as they like. But I couldn't find details about time-constraints, and I couldn't find details about test-taker's motivation going into the test. If it was "would you like to participate in an anonymous survey?" they don't have much incentive to actually bother to try. Also they tested all engineers, and possibly didn't include CS students. Also the company that did this research also sells the test the report is about, they sell to st
  • It's good enough for the bottom line. Bad for everyone else.
  • A little unclear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mhkohne ( 3854 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @08:24PM (#54388731) Homepage

    Am I to infer that these are newly minted software people fresh out of college?

    What's the comparison - how would a set of grads from US universities, or British, or Ukranian fare? Frankly, lots of people make it through educational systems without being able to do whatever their degree says - I'm not clear that the percentages here are any different than anywhere else in the world.

    I'm pretty clear that without more context this is useless. And there's no mention of the report containing that context.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I couldn't go much past "Hello World!" when I graduated college in the US. It took years to get where I am now. So I don't see how the study means anything.
      If outsourcing companies have been trying to replace productive senior developers with fresh college graduates they were in for trouble, no matter what country the graduates are from.

    • by doom ( 14564 )

      Yes: without a comparison to to other populations, we can't know what this number means. Depending on the test, maybe I can't reliably write "compilable code": mostly I let the compiler tell me if it's compilable, and if not I fix it.

    • I don't know either, but I recall that a few years ago fizz buzz was a popular interview question used for new graduates. I know that not every company has good hiring practices, but one would assume they wouldn't bother with such a question if it didn't screen out at least some candidates.
    • how would a set of grads from US universities...fare

      Well considering I could do this BEFORE my CS degree, and all of the people I know majoring in CS are the same way - I'd say pretty damn well???

      You have got to be joking that you seriously doubt someone can get any kind of CS degree or the like without knowing how to compile code! My program was extremely theoretical and I still was compiling real executables in many, many classes...

      • Take it from someone who regularly interviews on campus -- a lot of seniors in CS (and related fields) can't code their way out of a wet paper bag. I actually had one kid tell me, "Well, nobody codes without Google these days!" That may be true, but I do expect you to be able to write a basic 'for' loop in your preferred language without having to look it up. It's not a trick question or obscure trivia.

        A lot of students are very good. They're the reason we keep recruiting on campus. But the others...

        • Hmm, that's kind of sad to hear. But even more worrying is - how could they even graduate in that major if they were that poor? It seems like generally schools are letting a lot of students through that probably should not be cleared for graduation, thus devaluing the college degree for all...

          • Computer science is about computers in the same way that astronomy is about telescopes. You don't have to be a decent programmer to be a good computer scientist. It does help, though.

    • Not even "software people" and not even minted. This was student seniors, and they tested students across all branches of engineering. I can't even find confirmation whether or not they included CS students, or if they even bothered to get a reasonable sampling. This isn't a peer-reviewed publication. This is self-promotion of a testing company. They're trying to scare students, employers, and schools into buying their crap.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't worry too much about programmers, nobody really cares that a webapp wont compile, be worried that the doctor/surgeon you see didn't go to med school and just bought his qualifications just like these programmers did, in India its not even seen as a bad thing, try getting an Indian who fucked up to admit it, even faced with direct evidence they will lie.

    its their culture []

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The following is a joke from Eastern Europe, roughly 20 years ago: Two recent college graduates are talking- "Knowing what kind of engineer I am, I'm afraid to go to a doctor."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where is the 36% stat based off of?
    14% can write both
    22% can write one of the problem ...
    don't tell me they took 14% & 22% and added them up to 36%.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, that's what they did, when the real percentage was 2.1 - the people that solved both problems. Which is what I was thinking when I read the headline- there is a off by 10 error there. 3.6% is about right based on experience, 2.1 is even lower than I would have expected. In a country with a billion people you will always have 2% competent. The numbers are so huge that statistics just demand that every once in a while an intelligent person is born.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The math is right, you fail. There is the little word "exactly" in "can solve exactly one problem" and with that it is just disjoint case-enumeration. I guess you do not make it into the 36%....

  • I could probably write better code — I don't even work professionally as a programmer.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

    Indian software engineers and their "executives" are all terrible. Anytime you have an Indian who finds himself in some sort of executive role, you will have a front row seat to watching half or more of your native country men become unemployed and the amount of "needfulls" working on your project grow exponentially.

    You can then look forward to sloppy, poorly written code coupled with craptastic documentation and more newly appointed Indian managers that think thei

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      I missed the obvious reason.

    • by muffen ( 321442 )

      Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

      no need to post anonymously just because you want to be a racist jerk, there are so many on /. these days that noone even lifts an eyebrow anymore...

      Indian software engineers and their "executives" are all terrible. Anytime you have an Indian who finds himself in some sort of executive role, you will have a front row seat to watching half or more of your native country men become unemployed and the amount of "needfulls" working on your project grow exponentially.


  • It's a timed test (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @08:41PM (#54388855)

    At the end of the 60 minutes if your program doesn't compile then you aren't part of the 36%. You could be finishing a statement or part way through a function or have just forgotten a semi-colon and you are part of the 64%.

    The title is very misleading by saying such a low number can write compilable code. Through any other group of students at it and I'm sure that you would get similar results.

  • Anecdotal, but still: "A significant percentage (20%+) are dead wood that literally do NOTHING for the firm. They will never type a line of code - and are there solely for marketing brochures and sales pitches. When you combine, 'We have 50 devs ready to work for your project,' with the lower prices for their services, that pitch sounds pretty good to naive managers looking for reasons to pick one company over another."

    When you have practices like that going on, you're going to have a LOT of rotten apple
    • > When you have practices like that going on, you're going to have a LOT of rotten apples in the Indian dev barrel.

      The Indian QA and systems personnel are even more fun to work with. I mastered a long-term very effective practice with low-bid off-shore contractors. I _train_ them, ideally in open source tools, to do a better job. They graduate to better work for their company or other companies, I make sure that both their boss and _my_ project supervisor knows I trained them, and after 3 or four rounds

    • I worked with a Bangalore based Indian development team in the late 90s, and they were a very competent bunch of developers. They were typically older than the equivalent UK team (early 30s was the average for them), but the only criticism I had was that they tended to take as read that what was suggested as a solution would work, which lead to lots of wasted time chasing down blind alleys. Once they got the hang of the software stack they were working with, and understood they had greater say and control o

  • Because the outcome would be worse if it did.
  • ... based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world ...

    coded by Indian engineers!

  • Neither can I with all the crazy layers our new stack has. I either have to ask for help or spend hours googling and fiddling.

    I suspect all these layers will byte the org in the ass 5 or 10 years down the road. Some layers will be outdated and stop working with others and/or new browsers, have newly-discovered security holes, and/or nobody will remember how they work and/or how to fix them.

    I'm sure in 5 to 10 years some newfangled stack/tool will be "the in thing" and everybody will have forgotten about thi

    • this is loosely valid in the company i work for as well (one of the bigger credit score companies, with 18 000+ employees)
  • Screw just compiling. Far more realistic criteria are that it has to actually work, be reasonably bug-free, well-designed and easily supportable by others.

    I've worked many years as a software developer, frequently alongside Indians, and after 35 years I've still never met one that is capable of producing code to even that basic minimum standard.

  • Just pointing that out.

  • by speedplane ( 552872 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @11:10PM (#54389721) Homepage
    The report says that [] it "is based on a sample of more than 36,800 students from 500+ colleges across India". It doesn't say what degree they're in, how much experience they have, or a variety of other factors to conclude the 36% of Indian engineers can't code. This is just a racist hit job piece.
    • And you can look at this report another way... 36% of students in India can write code that properly compiles. I'd be the average rate in the US would be far lower.
    • i was wondering why does the article even mention the term "Engineers" tbh
    • It comes off as racist, but it's an Indian company. But to be sure, it's still garbage. They're really just trying to use FUD to sell their testing materials to employers, students, and schools. Maybe it's exploiting racist notions to try and get companies to pay them ("if you buy our crap, you will be able to say, 'no, we're a GOOD Indian school/company/employee. We've got the passing grades on those tests to prove it!'") But not straight up racist. Now, it _spreads_ because of that goofy narrative that In
    • No it isn't a "racist hit piece". If you've ever had to work with these kinds of people, you would realize that reality backs up this study depressingly well.

      I have been involved in several projects that involved outsourced labour. Every single one was a nightmare. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I wouldn't trust these people to flip a hamburger correctly. The code they write is breathtakingly bad. Yes, there are some good developers. But the overwhelming majority of them are shockingly incompetent.

      The problem

  • by mandolin ( 7248 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @12:29AM (#54390075)

    I've worked (and work) with talented Indian developers, and ones who are frigging hackmasters, not in the good sense.

    When you hire a team of developers into a position where you treat, pay, and support them (in terms of infrastructure, equipment, etc.) like cheap drones, the devs you attract (or at least the ones who stick around) will tend to be ... the drones.

  • I'd like to see specific examples of what was considered compatible code, what was "best practices" and what failed.

    Because the moment I saw "Advanced AI grading" I was sure this doesn't really rate quality of code, but conformance to whatever contrived rules the authors thought of. Brace placement, variable naming convention, tabs vs spaces, choice in distribution of problem segments between classes, and all kinds of "flavor" decisions that don't affect quality of code, but will be picked out as "pattern m

  • ... only 36% of American/European product owners are able to produce consistent, implementable specifications?

  • by slew ( 2918 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @02:55AM (#54390513)

    Food for thought.

    Even if only 2.21% of Indian new college graduates made the highest grade, Indian universities graduate about 1 Million engineers every year. In contrast, in the USA, we get about 100k engineering graduates every year and 100% of them don't make the highest grade.

    On the other hand, this company Aspiring Minds has a specific agenda...

    However, the need of the hour is to find these pockets and scale them up to make an exponential impact on employability. This is crucial for India to continue its growth story and achieve the vision of India becoming the human resource provider for the whole world.

    Interesting to note that one of the sales pitches they use to sell this testing product seems to be bringing up the spectre of a shortage of Indian talent causing salaries for talent growing out of control decreasing the advantage India might have in this area.

    Although I understand the Indian culture seems to worshiping testing, but if I were and engineer asked to sit for this, I think I would simply just be offended by such a company. Not just because of the fact that they are trying to create a test whose end goal is to keep salaries down, but also by the audacity of a company to think that a computerized test could substitute for employment screening and job aptitude.

    Then again maybe I have options. If I didn't I might just suck it in and take the test. After all, Einstein when his back was against the wall and no professorship was forthcoming, signed up to be a Patent clerk. Compared to him, in a pinch I probably should be happy with a job as a Walmart greeter, so taking this godforsaken test wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

    • On the other hand, this company Aspiring Minds has a specific agenda...

      However, the need of the hour is to find these pockets and scale them up to make an exponential impact on employability.

      Anyone who uses exponential without a differential equation backing it up can totally fuck off.

  • Out of context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2017 @03:51AM (#54390641)

    This summary does not mention how people from other nations fare in the same test, so it is impossible to tell whether the results are particularly bad - they could even be better than average, for all we know. Of course, the reason for bringing it up here is not to present a real, scientific result, but only to confirm people in their already well-established prejudices.

    So think about the scenario - you have 60 minutes to produce a program that compiles and runs, and the test tries to evaluate "programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage" - that certainly sets a minimum level for the complexity of the problem; this is well beyond the "hello world" type of programs. How long would it take a person to first understand a moderately complex problem, then decide how to design the code? This depends heavily on whether you have done something very similar before, but I know that I don't in general understand the complexities of any given problem straight away and then rattle off a good design - I prefer to think out the concepts, try to put it into a context and build a design that is open ended enough to be easy to extend etc. I would have spent 60 minutes before I even got ready to write a bit of code.

    Then there is the writing of code - which language are we talking about? Most compiled languages that I have worked with - and I have worked with a lot - require more than just the code; to take C as an example, there's all the includes, for one thing. How many people remember off the top of their head exactly which header file to include for every function they use? I certainly don't, and I don't need to - I look it up in the man pages. I have been presented with some of these automated tests from time to time, and I have walked out of the interview every time, because I simply don't work like that, and I refuse to work for a company where the level of understanding of what code development is as crude as that.

    So, all in all, is it right to judge the skills of any engineer based on this sort of test? I have lived on my skills for several decades, and I have proven over and over that I can produce compilable code - and very good code too - but I would certainly not do well in a test like that, and I doubt many American or European programmers would fare much better than the Indian ones in this sort of test. All it can test is whether you happen to have a ready cooked solution to the problem they present you with; if you don't, you fail. It is about as reliable as using a horoscope.

    • Yeah, I had to do digging to get answers. On the test in question, you get access to a proprietary IDE and are allowed to build your code before submitting it. But, this tests all engineering realms, it tests students, not degree-holders, we have no idea what incentive test-takers are given, and all indications are that they were informed that it's an anonymous test that won't effect their lives in any way. This report is effectively just a bias-riddled advertisment for a company that provides testing and t
  • To be fair, I am not a fan of outsourcing or H1B. But, as written, this article and study is grossly targeting Indian developers. There is no control group. And, the sample is limited to one group. It is not scientific in any way other than to say they used statistics.

    Let's see how those of other nationalities and the products of their education system fare in a similar test.

  • Very few people can write compilable code, right off the bat. All you need is to forget a single semi-colon, for example.

    However, this other statistics is *orders of magnitude* more damning:

    Getting something to compile is easy. Making it do the job it's supposed to do is significantly harder. Having to rewrite someone elses code because they mangled it so badly as to be unsalvageable potentially wastes the time of other people who should be doing something else entirely.

    Even worse than that, would be if the code the wrote just barely satisfies the requirements so people don't notice an issue... until the right circumstances causes the entire system to go nuts, corrupt data, etc. Browsing the website "Worse Than Failure" has more than plenty of examples of how bad this situation can be.

  • ...that if you had all software devs. from North America take the same test, you'd get comparable results.

    Failing to include ANY measure of how this compares to performance HERE - marks this as just so much xenophobic propaganda

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