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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

July - 2011 - issue > Technology

Can they spin an innovative web?

Prashanth Prahalad
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Prashanth Prahalad
‘What is wrong with the students of today? Why are our freshers not ready for the working world?’

A familiar sentiment, is it not? If you are an entrepreneur, HR professional or recruitment specialist, chances are that you’ve expressed this sentiment and lamented over it. With good reason too, I might add. Most of our universities teach outdated syllabi, and the problem is compounded by the fact that a majority of our faculty seem to have lost touch with our industries. This explains the recent proliferation of finishing schools where students are taught to think, act and behave like thoroughbred professionals. Well, that is the aim at any rate.

Having had the opportunity to work with educational institutions for the past four years, I have studied the campus ecosystem with considerable interest. My conclusion: there is no dearth of talent amongst our students. And I do not mean just the crème de la crème. No. Students from Tier-2 cities and Tier-3 towns who do not top their classes, too, hold promise for the industry. Shocking? Let me explain myself by tracing the effect web technologies have had on our students:

1. Close on the heels of the email revolution came a wonderful concept called chat software. Students took to it like a duck to water. Within no time, they were communicating with peers on other parts of the world who presumably had little in common with them. The chat window became an avenue to make connections of all kinds – the students used it to romance, find new friends and even seek help to shape their grades. In other words, chatting improved their world. At the same time, they improved chatting, although not in the puritanical sense. The students found acronyms, rewrote the grammatical rules and became self-proclaimed Neologists – they could coin new words with ease, a skill that even seasoned marketing and advertising professionals struggle with. Under the cloak of cacophony, the students improved their communication skills.

2. If the internet changed the way students typed, the mobile changed the way they thumbed. All of us felt the thrill of carrying the internet in our pockets. Niggling bandwidth and compatibility issues ebbed gradually. Communication became instant and new rules of etiquette came into being. Meanwhile, students honed the fine art of pretending to listen to the teacher while texting friends. SMS and MMS became the most used and abused modes of communication in the campus. Around this time, viral marketing – which is slowly making way to fractal marketing – came into being. Students again responded to the innovation by becoming the consumers and propagators of campaigns. They became barometers of society’s tastes; they never failed to spot and appreciate a great idea. In other words, they helped businesses fine tune their business models.

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