The FunctionUp Story: Who we are and What we Do

FunctionUp What we do? Why we do?

FunctionUp is a pay-after-placement coding boot camp that trains candidates in backend engineering skills.

Founded by Bharat Gupta and Pritesh Kumar, ISB and IIT alumni respectively, and backed by Y-Combinator, FunctionUp was started with a shared understanding regarding sustainable education, which should pay for itself. We have approximately 300 students graduating every month( around 3000 per year) from our boot camp with almost 300+ companies as hiring partners. 

To better understand what we do and why we do it, it would make sense to understand the current engineering education scenario in the country and then put into perspective the need for additional and alternative methods of education. 

FunctionUp What we do? Why we do?

The state of traditional engineering colleges in India

The AICTE Committee Report submitted by BVR Mohan Reddy titled, Engineering Education In India: Short & Medium Term Perspectives, states several facts which are eye-opening in gauging the current state of engineering education in the country. 

The top 10 engineering disciplines (comprising Electronics, Computer Science, Mechanical, and Civil) had 15,82,193 seats for approved in-take in 2017-18, which is 90% of the overall capacity in the country. Out of these 15.82 lakh seats, only 7,83,685 were taken. This implies that just about 50% of the seats were enrolled even in the top 10 disciplines. 

The 2016 National Employability Report for Engineers by Aspiring Minds, conducted a survey of more than 150,000 engineering students (who graduated in 2015) from 650+ engineering colleges across multiple Indian states. The report found that only 17.91% of engineers were employable in the software services sector, 3.67% for software products, and 40.57% for a non-functional role such as BPO, a marginal increase over the previous edition of the same report. 

Additionally, while the elite institutions have best practices and engagement with the industry, the tier II and tier II institutions find it hard to engage with the industry due to a lack of networking, resources, and capability.

According to a working paper, Paradoxes and Contradictions in the Growth of Engineering Education in India Challenges and Prospects written by Jandhyala B G Tilak and Pradeep Kumar Chaudhary, one considered a prestigious degree to pursue, engineering as a stream has lost its sheen. 

A lot can be blamed on the newly established self-financing engineering colleges that have contributed to the deteriorating standards of education. These colleges are facing low enrollments due to poor quality of pedagogy and placements. The quality of students with compromised admission criteria adds to the problem and it turns into an infinite loop. 

The same paper discusses inequality in education as a significant challenge for education in general and engineering colleges in particular. The majority of the engineering colleges are located in the southern states of the country. The U R Rao Committee (AICTE) had taken this fact into cognizance way back in 2003 and had recommended balance but no steps were taken to implement those changes. Over time the situation worsened with students from the rest of the country suffering due to the lack of access to engineering colleges. 

Another aspect to consider was the female participation in engineering streams. In the case of engineering education, women constitute nearly 30 percent of the enrollments in 2018-19. 

68 % of all students enrolled in engineering colleges belonged to the higher income bracket and between 17-20% were from the lower income groups. 

While the median salary for tier 1 college is 5.1, the tier II and III college graduates’ salary range is between 3.0-3.5lpa. 

To worsen the situation, most students approach engineering degrees with a fixed mindset. To score high in a familiar system with a proven methodology, do the bare minimum for the practical part of the training and secure placement.

However, the job market looks for skills that are relevant to their needs and most college curriculums fail to meet those requirements. 

The current job market is driven by key technology trends like AI, Big Data Analytics, IoT, and Cloud Computing. They require engineers to possess not just technical skills but higher-order cognitive skills as well. Ironically, most engineering college graduates come with little project work experience and a limited understanding of the practical application of theoretical skills. 

Suggestions

One of the suggestions mentioned in the AICTE states the need for MOOCs or (Massive Open Online Courses) to circumvent some of the constraints of faculty shortage and the quality of pedagogy that engineering colleges face. 

Another observation made was the need for a  closer partnership between industry-academia which goes beyond placement to ensure the curriculum stays relevant. 

To sum it up, an ecosystem needs to be created which will improve the job readiness of fresh engineering graduates.

FunctionUp and our Role

At FunctionUp our initiatives are aligned with most of the recommendations of this AICTE report.

Our boot camps train recent graduates in industry-relevant skills with a focus on backend engineering training. FunctionUp is committed to bringing quality and relevant education which is outcome-based, i.e. it will lead to a job on completion. With an education that can be accessed remotely and by everyone irrespective of their educational background and a pay-after-placement model; FunctionUp boot camps are making industry-relevant training equitable. 

Special scholarships for women candidates ensure that more women are encouraged to join the tech workforce.

FunctionUp What we do? Why we do?

Our boot camps cater to both students as well as corporate. We solve the tech talent identification and acquisition problem for businesses today. At the same time, we upskill students and make them employable and industry ready.

Our association with National Skill Development Corporation lends credibility to our efforts and our partnership with the industry both for mentorship and hiring makes our cohorts relevant and result oriented. 

FunctionUp trained students are placed with a minimum salary of 5.0 LPA which is way above the median salary paid to engineer graduates from tier II and III colleges. 

We are proud that our vision is now shared and driven by our extended team and mentors who are taking it forward by leaps and bounds every day.

Want to learn more about our boot camps? Join FunctionUp now. Visit our website.

FunctionUp
We help you break the glass ceiling which blocks entry to tech. We are a team of IIT / ISB alumni who are passionate about solving the key problem of starting a career in tech. A lot of smart and handworking graduates find it difficult to crack high paying tech jobs either because of their background and their college not being able to help them get interviews. Hence, we started this placement bootcamp that hand holds people from skilling till employment.

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