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Aligning Curriculum to Industry Requirements

Aligning Curriculum to Industry Requirements 1600 1600 Administrator

This blog is intended to share my thoughts and experience at University of Hyderabad (UOH) – that encompasses special meeting details; and interactions with great academicians across the country with a purpose in mind.

Today, businesses are putting in a lot of effort to train their employees. This is due to the mismatch between the industry expectations and the academia ideologies. Having been a part of the IT Services industry for 2 ½ decades, I share the Industry’s disillusionment about the job readiness of the students entering the workforce. However, the rapid pace of change in technology and customer expectations are compelling industries and academia to come together to address this issue.

Thanks to the University of Hyderabad (UOH) for breaking the boundaries. This year, UOH intends to take Industry feedback (experts’ opinion) to design their advanced MBA courses (including content, approach, and so on) that match the industry and market requirements.

We at RoundSqr have been invited by them to participate and give suggestions for fine-tuning this year’s curriculum for their executive MBA program (which is yet to be started).

I represented RoundSqr in the meeting. It has been a memorable experience for me to share the space with the most eminent professors from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), as well as stalwarts from the Industry (specifically TCS and Virtusa). We also had senior professors and other academicians from UoH in the meeting.

The team went through the current curriculum and did a detailed review. The meeting went on for three hours. After discussions related to topics at hand (like curriculum, subjects, schedule, credits, credit optimizations, course content etc.), we provided valuable suggestions to the University.

The enormous experience of academicians, deans and professors was clearly visible in terms of correlating the syllabus with that of practical considerations, student psychology, and industry relevance.

As industry representatives, we appreciated the academic aspects of the course, and their relevance in the industry scenario. However, we provided a few suggestions to walk the fine line between curriculum and industry requirements.

Some of the exploratory action items that were suggested by us to the University management for their consideration…

  • Course credits
    • Cut down the credits from 108 to 102 (as per ‘All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)’ stipulated norms)
    • Have 4 credits per course | 6 courses per semester
    • One course per semester may be given as independent study, or the student may be advised to take up open online courses (specifically Swayam or Moocs). However, the end test may be conducted by the University only
    • Rename course titles in a more non-conventional manner
    • Introduce flexibility in course completion process (to give an option for the student to complete the course within four years after registration). However, the student should pass 50% of the courses in each semester to become eligible for the next semester)
  • Projects and electives
    • At the end of first year, students should do a project internship (for 6 weeks) in any organization (the nature of the work should be beneficial / impactful to the organization)
    • Proposed dual elective structure (dual course specialization) in the second year. Each elective will have two papers per semester
    • By the end of the final semester, student should do a major project in chosen elective area (this includes report writing and submission; and viva-voice) | 6 credits for the completion of this course
  • Pedagogical practices
    • Include case studies, rigorous assignments, interface with industry personnel, and sharing of experiences, etc.
    • The evaluation pattern distribution would be 60:40 (where 60% weightage is for the end semester exam; and the remaining 40% may include quizzes, term paper presentations, and assignments)
    • Follow interactive classroom teaching methods or techniques

To sum up

The alignment of curriculum with that of industry requirements is no longer an option, but a necessity. So, academia and companies should come together to address and solve the real-world challenges in this fast-paced environment. If this happens, businesses can save a lot of money, time and efforts. We can bring about a tremendous change in education sector as well.

When IA meets AI!

When IA meets AI! 1080 1080 Administrator

Circa early 2000s: An Accounts Payable staff would come into the office every day, read his or her emails, open the attachments (MS Excel, PDFs or others) and manually copy relevant data from these attachments into an ERP system.

Circa 2017: An Accounts Payable staff would come into the office every day, read his or her emails, opens the attachments (MS Excel, PDFs or others) and manually collates the data into a single format. Then the bots take over, validate and insert the data into an ERP system.

Cut to today’s date: An AI-driven bot first collects and consolidates all the information from varied sources (different kinds of Excel files, PDFs, scanned images, etc.) and then also copies the relevant information into an ERP system. The Accounts Payable staff is reviewing the process regularly and making necessary corrections, if required.

Most of the data, approximately around 70-90%, is dark data (semi-structured and unstructured). Most companies are still dealing with PDFs – these could be contracts, invoices, purchase orders and so on. If you are a large manufacturer, chances are you will have thousands of suppliers, each with a unique invoice layout! This semi-structured data is hard to process by rule-based systems, but if you bring AI into play you can deal with this semi-structured data.

Today is the day and age of combinational Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation (fully supported by humungous computational power). The maturity of AI / ML and its ability to tackle a wide range of business problems, courtesy the advances made in Natural Language Processing, Object Recognition, Document Analysis and Classification, have made end-to-end automation possible. Just in the Document Analysis space, what OCR could do with at best 50-60% accuracy, an advanced AI-driven system could get to 90-95% precision, by using supervised and non-supervised machine learning.

The limitation that RPA had, all this while, was around decision making. The rule of thumb has been that for any rote or repetitive tasks, RPA is the way to go. But now, with the power of AI / ML, even decision-making and intelligence can be automated. This is more so in the case of unified tools that the likes of Automation Anywhere provide.

This is where things become enterprise ready – RPA task bots for rote tasks, IQ Bot for intelligent data extraction, and Control Room for monitoring / managing all the bots.

We can now truly say that RPA is ready to solve much bigger industry-grade problems, ushering us into the fourth industrial revolution – where software automation will be strategic, transformative and easily scalable!

Not convinced yet? Then the following forecasts should do the job – according to a Forrester report, the market for RPA will be valued at $2.9 billion by 2021 – a massive jump from the $250 million reported in 2016 (https://www.forrester.com/report/The+RPA+Market+Will+Reach+29+Billion+By+2021/-/E-RES137229)

At RoundSqr, we believe that the next big thing is convergence of Intelligent Automation and Artificial Intelligence. This will open up new frontiers, creating a state-of-the-art Digital workforce!

Let us take out the robot from the human:)

 

Getting Started with Computer Vision on Windows Laptop

Getting Started with Computer Vision on Windows Laptop 800 526 Administrator

Computer vision is the future and you can’t wait to get started off on your windows laptop. I will give you the fastest way to get started off with just a few steps.  Just stay with me for the next 20 minutes and you should be on your way with doing Computer Vision using Deep Learning.

So, without further ado, here it goes…

Step 1:

Install Anaconda 3 on your laptop.

Just go to https://www.anaconda.com/distribution/#windows and download the distribution for the required version.

Once downloaded, just double click on the installer and you are on your way.

Step 2:

Let us get started with installing Tensorflow GPU for the deep learning part. Now conventionally you would have to go ahead and install CUDA followed by CuDnn and only then get to tensorflow-gpu package. Now just because of al the dependencies between them there would be a less than 1% chance that you would get it right the first time around.

Not for us, here is the magical command to do all that in one simple step.

Conda create –name tf-gpu tensorflow-gpu.

This would create a new virtual conda environment with tensorflow-gpu and all it’s zillion dependencies in one go!!

Just say conda activate tf-gpu and you are all set to start your computer vision deep learning journey with tensorflow.

Step 3:

Install Open CV and Open CV contrib, which are very useful for various morphological operations on images before feeding them to deep neural nets.

Conda install -c conda-forge opencv.

That is it….the entire power of OpenCV for you to explore!!

Step 4:

Last but not least install dlib. It is one of the best computer vision packages that I have seen. It is especially useful if you are trying to work in the facial recognition space – it just is the best that is out there.

Definitely not easy to install on windows – what with compiling all those C binaries, but then, let us use a bit of magic.

python -m pip install https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/0e/ce/f8a3cff33ac03a8219768f0694c5d703c8e037e6aba2e865f9bae22ed63c/dlib-19.8.1-cp36-cp36m-win_amd64.whl#sha256=794994fa2c54e7776659fddb148363a5556468a6d5d46be8dad311722d54bfcf.

That is it folks!! You are all set now. Please let me know if this helped you, just to motivate me to put together other useful stuff to get you started faster. Ciao!!

Auto Rickshaw Drivers and Corporate Strategy

Auto Rickshaw Drivers and Corporate Strategy 1440 1018 Srinivas Atreya

I live and work in Hyderabad, India and commute everyday to an area called HITEC City, which is the hub for Tech companies in the city. The traffic is pretty bad both in the mornings and the evenings, and it takes me close to an hour each way.

On a particularly bad morning, I had already done an hour in traffic and it looked like another 15-20 minutes were still needed to reach office. As I was waiting patiently, behind a sea of cars, to turn right at the signal, I saw a couple of auto rickshaw (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_rickshaw) drivers zig-zagging through the traffic. I got interested and, with nothing better to do, started watching them. They just drove wherever they could find an inch of space and finally managed to take the right turn way before I could (I had to wait for another traffic signal before managing the turn). Now, please do not get me wrong, I am not condoning their driving styles or anything, but still it got me thinking.

As entrepreneurs we spend a lot of time and effort in trying to define the strategy of our organizations, and for good reasons. We want to be pretty clear about the general direction our organizations are moving in. But then, what about the tactical opportunities that come our way? Taking the auto rickshaw driver analogy again, even though the driver knew he had to turn right, he did not hesitate going left for some distance when he saw that there was an opportunity to move forward!

In the present times, change is everywhere and it’s pace is only accelerating. Business models are being rendered obsolete in years rather than decades. No one is really sure anymore. What if our strategy is only to take on opportunities as they arise? We may still have a general direction (for example, work in the healthcare IT space or Waste Management space), but the specifics will be dictated by the available opportunities.

What if the winning strategy of the future is to just keep your eyes and ears open, and react to market opportunities as they present themselves? What if all the strategy that we really need is to prepare ourselves internally so that we can grab an opportunity as it arises?

Just some thoughts that I had over the last few days. Please feel free to leave any comments / suggestions. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read.