College Projects. Is it only for Marks? Can Career benefit from it?

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Not only for Engineering Students but for Management and other streams of the career also, the Projects done by College students is the most misused and abused concept. Most students view the project work as some extra marks and an unwanted necessity.

We are often asked, when will Indian colleges have Facebook, Google, etc. The answer lies in the way the college projects are done. – SkillXperience.org
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However, if we ask any employer, then they say that the first thing that they see in the candidate is the project handled and involvement in the project. Let us face this, what we teach in college is not exactly relevant to the real-life professional scenario. So the best benchmark for a future employer is the project done by the student in the college.

Since we have been working in the IT field for a long time, I am writing this article with perspective from the Software Industry. However, the ideas reflected and discussed in this article will be applicable for any kind of education.

College students see the project as few add-on marks and an unwanted necessity. – SkillXperience.org
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What’s wrong with the way Projects in College are handled

  • Insufficient reasons for doing Project
    • Projects are one of the most important points in any biodata or resume. But students just do projects for getting those extra marks. They are missing a very important thing. The purpose of doing project itself is refuted.
  • Unnecessary emphasis on hard work
    • Teachers/Policy insist on doing things in the old way. Instead of creating projects that are practically useful, Teachers insist on students to code and actually write code. Should we be focusing more on hard work or innovation?
  • Not always practical
    • The real-life environment is never considered. Most of times students are doing projects which they are not able to identify themselves with. They are not able to explain what is the benefit for the same. It’s just for marks.
  • Language or Solution
    • Creating project based on programing language rather than some Practical Solution to some practical problem. This is like saying that today I will cook something with say salt or banana. We first decide the recipe and then decide the ingredients.
  • Not using Latest tools
    • Companies when they make software (or for that matter, any kind of solution), always tend to use the latest equipment and tools. However, since students have been taught old tools, they are required to make projects in old tools. Here are a few examples:
      • Students write code in Notepad, instead of using some latest IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
      • If a student is doing the project in PHP, they never use the latest frameworks and libraries, instead write rudimentary code.
  • Copying previous years Projects.
    • Most students look up to Senior students for project files so that they can do find and replacement (few terms and names here and there) and then submit that as their own project. Now, this has been going on for Decades. This is the reason we don’t see innovation coming out of colleges.
  • Buying readymade Projects.
    • This has been a very big menace in recent times. There are lots of smaller software companies who provide completely ready-made projects to students and charge them money. Students See this as an easy alternative to hard work. One main reason is that students don’t know what is exactly expected out of them.
Projects done by students in college is one of the most important points in their Resume, but students and colleges completely ignore this. – SkillXperience.org
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Some Possible Best Practices for College Projects

  • Professors need to talk to Industry first.
    • Talking to Industry is a must because most of the time, professors are not aware of the latest tools, the latest technologies, the latest frameworks and latest solutions used and required by the Industry and the real world.
  • Make something that is complete and Practically usable.
    • Look around yourself for the problems. Don’t google it or ask previous year students. Look around. If students start seeing real issues and work on projects that give the solution to real problems, that will be more effective for them.
  • Use the latest tools and libraries as used in Industry.
    • Do proper research with real people and real companies. Even Google Search will work. Working with primitive tools to make a basic solution will not work.
  • Allow students to do the same project every Semester.
    • Allow students to work on the same problem every year. Let them come up with more and more comprehensive solutions to the same problem. It’s like an upgrade version of the software.
  • Ask the question, will anybody use this?
    • Make solutions that people will be ready to use. How do you know whether the solution is usable or not? Just ask people for whom it is meant.
  • Will somebody pay for this?
    • Take this idea one step forward. Check whether anyone will pay for this? Can you make a revenue model around this project?
  • Insist on how Requirement analysis is done
    • Generally, students don’t do enough research the problem. Insist on students doing proper research by meeting real people and discussing the issue with them. This can make sure that the College project becomes usable and saleable, both.
  • Thinking out of box starts with Project.
    • The habit of thinking out of the box needs to be started at the project level in the college. Maybe the professors will have to start thinking out of the box first. Innovation is not the same as invention. Many times creating an innovative solution to an old problem is also a big revolution.
  • Will an investor fund this project?
    • This is good to have an idea. Will some investor invest in this project. It starts with the student, are they ready to invest a few months or years into this project. Is this the problem that they want to solve?
  • Involvement of the Project Guide
    • In case any person other than professor is involved in the project as a Guide, then make sure that they are properly involved in the project. Generally, students do projects with the help of some companies. Make sure that the External Guide (the company) has time and plan for these projects.
A properly done College Project is the best kick start for a great career. – SkillXperience.org
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We have created a 60 Minutes Orientation Session on College Projects. This session is for Students and Professors. In case you are interested in doing this session in your college please write in the comment box below.

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