200 CS graduates want to help you with your pet project

Hundreds of B.E. (Computer Science) students who graduated in 2009 are now idle for a few months because their job offers have been deferred by their future employers. What is a potentially nasty psychological and social problem can easily be converted into a win-win situation for everybody concerned if people in the industry come forward and provide projects for these graduates to work on in the intervening period. If you are an experienced industry person, by providing a few hours of guidance, you can get some useful work done, and and the same time help the graduates improve their skills, and become more employable.

Anand Deshpande, CEO of Persistent, who is the driving force behind this effort, points out that there are over 200 students in this situation right now, and the industry could help itself while at the same time helping the students by coming up with, say, 3-month projects that small teams of students could complete. He points to web-2.0, e-Governance, and the cloud as potential technologies that might be rather well suited for this purpose. As an example of something like this working well, and producing useful, real-world output, he points to the Stanford class where 80 students created 50+ facebook applications, with over 20 million installs, and 5 of them had 1 million+ installs. There is no reason something like that cannot work with our crop of students.

It must be pointed out that many of these students are the star students who got recruited straight from campus, but now find themselves in this situation because their job offers got defered of revoked.

So what should you do?

We have created a mailing list called TechStart.in that will be used to co-ordinate this effort.

  • If you can guide small student teams, and if you can commit to giving at least a couple of hours per week for the next three months, then join the techstart.in mailing list, and post a small mail introducing yourself.
  • In a few days, we will specify how and where to post information about your project and/or how to find the appropriate students for your project. This information will be posted on the mailing list.
  • If you don’t have any specific project in mind, but would generally like to help out with this effort, please join the mailing list and give a brief background of yourself. We can use all the help you can provide
  • If you can think of any other ideas that can help out in this situation, please suggest those on the mailing list. All proposals are welcome.
  • This program is only going to work if we are able to collect at least 30 to 50 mentors who can guide the students. We will start work seriously on this only after a reasonable number of people have shown an interest on the techstart.in mailing list. If there’s not enough interest shown on the list in the next few days, this program will die. So if you’re interested, please send a mail on techstart.in. If you know somebody else who might be interested, please forward this mail to them.


This is really a win-win situation

  • You get good CS graduates from good colleges working for you
  • If things work out and the team does a good job, you get a great, tested employee
  • The student learns valuable industry skills, gets guidance, and becomes more employable
  • There is no necessity to pay the students for this work. (However, you could give a stipend if you are possibly interested holding on to the student for a long-term job.)

Logistics and other details

Here are some details that I glossed over in the write-up above:

  • This program is targeted towards Computer Science graduates of the class of 2009.
  • Anand Despande has already contacted the colleges and they have all indicated a willingness to help out with this effort. Persistent is also willing to help with some resources. Other companies are expected to follow suit. So rooms, facilities, and other logistics help will be available if required.
  • If you can conduct 3-month Stanford-style course for one batch of students building a bunch of facebook apps, or Microsoft Azure apps, or Google android apps, or anything else, please come forward. As long as you’re willing to drive, appropriate resources can be made available to you.
  • If you have any other ideas, please suggest them on the mailing list.


This is a great opportunity to do something socially useful and get something in return. So join. And make others join. Right now, all you need to do is indicate your availability and willingness. More details will become available soon.

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11 thoughts on “200 CS graduates want to help you with your pet project

  1. It might not be a bad idea to gather as many willing companies as is possible and, have a set of speed interview rounds. I recall that there was a recent one held at SICSR. Since these are “freshers” it would be best to probably target attitude rather than aptitude and, get them to work on small iterations of projects.

    1. @sankarshan, agreed.

      That is definitely one of the things that is being planned.

      Others – Sankarshan is referring to this event, which was quite successful.

  2. It would help to allow students who have graduated in the last 1-2 years but haven’t had the chance to really get into mainstream careers for various reasons.

    I can think of my wife signing up for this, as she had to quit Syntel after 3-4 months of joining, because she got married to me.

    Unfortunately the recession hit right then, and fresher jobs [for those not sitting through campus recruiting] seem to have dried up!

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. @Hemanshu, while the program is designed for CS-2009 graduates, I don’t think anybody who is interested in availing of it will be discouraged. So anybody who finds themselves in a position similar to the CS-2009 graduates should feel free to participate.

      Also, I think that it would be best to have discussions on this topic no the techstart mailing list instead of here (to prevent fracturing of the discussion).

  3. Maybe try Google Summer of Code – some might already have heard about it ..


    There are also many open source projects to be worked on, if the students have access to some basic hardware. Its easy to start with some command line defects and new testcase writing etc. Would build a brand on any google search.


  4. This situation isn’t something new. Such job crunch was faced by the students during 2001-2003 as well. I agree with Tejas about participating in Open Source projects. I myself did that during 2001-2003, and even got to switch to a new career of technical writing.

    I’ll suggest the students to start freelancing (through websites such as guru.com), volunteer for Open Source projects, scout for small projects in their neighborhood, whatever they can do to add some work experience to their resume.

    In case any student, who are good at writing, and want to learn more about technical writing, can get in touch with me. Knowledge of computers, keen interest in emerging technology, and ability to write well is just the right mix for such jobs.

    1. Good points Mugdha.

      However, in general, I am encouraging people to post comments on the TechStart mailing list (http://techstart.in) rather than here, so that there is a single place where all the discussion on this topic can happen – don’t want to fragment the conversation.

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