Recent months had been hectic. I had been on a hiring spree for another startup which I cofounded. The focus areas of were multi-core high-end processors, BIOS and advanced device drivers. Obviously, there is a skill shortage. Like many other companies, we also hire fresh graduates and train for specific technologies. We cover huge ground from all kinds of peripherals, bus architectures and many advanced topics.
We hit the ground to hire. Then I spot the problem. While some of the candidates practiced well, many are sluggish. In the current skill market, it is very hard to expect high skills. We just need good basics and evidence of good attitude.
“What kind of programming practices have you done?”
The response comes quickly. “I have practiced C language basics. Beyond that, it was difficult due to pandemic.”
The question of basics is always debatable. Moving on further, we check about the extent of hands-on practice done.
“How much of embedded software practice did you do?” The roles require embedded software basics. This was required to train further to work on advanced processors and complex systems. For fresh graduates, large project experience doesn’t exist. However, there is no constraint on practicing examples and standard problems.
“I wanted to. But the lab was not open due to COVID19 lockdowns. ”. This is another response I frequently encountered.
Then I ask – “But, you still could have bought a microcontroller kit.”
There is silence.
These days we can get a decent microcontroller kit at an affordable price. It can be bought online and be shipped to even remote regions.
There is palpable inertia in the air. After COVID19, many students are still in the mood for lockdowns. Many candidates think that the vigour and sense of urgency that existed prior to COVID has changed. They think it changed for all and changed forever.
If you look at media, it is still all gloom and doom. If you are someone who just watches too much news, you are likely to believe that nothing much is going on. You are likely to feel that irrespective of your efforts, there is no chance of getting a job.
When we sit to evaluate candidates, we get very frustrated as the interviewer. We can feel a lack of energy during the conversation.
If you are one among those, please note. But you might be consuming media stories and feeling that everything is down.
However, some industries have gathered very good pace. There is a huge rush for talented and hardworking people. Lockdowns and remote work have caused a huge surge in demand for devices. Consequently, all the associated sectors are booming. They are rushing to fill the open positions.
When we see candidates who still say that they could not do hands-on practice due to lockdowns, it is not okay anymore.
If you are among those who think that COVID19 is still a reason to be slow, wake up. We understand that COVID19 chaos caused a lot of harm. It derailed many lives. I know there is a risk of yet another wave. The risk is going to be around for a long time. It may do so again in specific seasons, who knows? From an industry perspective, shrug it off and move on.
REPEAT AFTER ME. “COVID19 is past. It is over. Move on”
Start moving faster. Put the best possible effort into the chosen field. You will do well.