Information technology training institutes are diversifying and expanding operations as students show continued interest in the sector even as job prospects remain gloomy.
Key players in the IT training business like NIIT, Aptech and Appin Technology Lab (ATL) are diversifying and updating their courses to enhance employability in the sector. NIIT, which has currently around 600 centres, plans to increase it to 700 by 2015, NIIT vice-president E. Venkatesan told reporters recently.
The institute is now offering courses in banking, business process outsourcing, insurance and some other sectors.
NIIT has also added new courses in applied financial management and digital marketing. India's IT sector is anticipated to reduce its hiring plans by up to 22 percent to 150,000 in the current fiscal year. With global uncertainty, automation, and non-linear growth, one-third of students face the perils of unemployment.
To minimise the impact of these challenges, most of the institutes are focusing on innovation and diversification. Aptech has ventured into teaching English to students in Africa and Latin America as it seeks to stem five successive quarters of dipping sales.
The company believes such expansion into unexplored markets has the potential to generate rich dividends. Businesses are no longer operating on the traditional principles but are adopting "out of the box" strategy. Innovative philosophy, novel skills and specialties are the tools needed to flourish.
While some of the IT training institutes are trying to adjust by making inroads to different industries, others like Appin Technology Lab have stayed put in IT arena with their emphasis on the information-age security and solutions domain. With over 110 training institutes across the country, ATL has been a major feeder company to the IT sector over the last decade.
With its presence in 70 cities globally, ATL has launched products and services on parallel tracks to ensure a multi-fold franchise and company growth even in testing times. "We are essentially leveraging our strengths to keep our presence growing and our revenue will take care of itself," said ATL spokesperson Neha Kumar.
"This is an acid test but we are confident that we can not only adapt, but also create a wider impact. We are loyal towards our franchise and will not launch offerings via non-franchise or parallel franchise route. This diversification will ensure that both the company and franchise grow in this downturn," Kumar said.
Software development is one such field of innovation. Software and network products sold under the brand 'Fort Appin', like Malware Guard, File Encryption, Centralized surveillance, Hosted project management, Hosted CRM and UTM have already created quite a flutter.
ATL has also forayed into centralized surveillance, a software solution that integrates security systems and combines multiple security features such as CCTV, access control, intruder alarms, smoke cloak, smart water, gates and barriers and perimeter protection into one front end.
"These systems are bolted together with a vision," ATL said in a statement.