Computer Science Graduate Course – Recommended Curriculum for 2018

During my professional career in India in the past five years, I have spent numerous hours looking for the ideal, well-rounded candidate with a Computer Science background, knowing very well that expecting perfection is meaningless and close to perfection is good enough. As this led to numerous hours of disappointment, I tried going to the root cause of the issue. We were looking for candidates coming out of colleges to be industry ready.

With over 90% of the candidates failing to meet even the basic requirements, I started wondering if we can help the educational institutions with details on what is expected by the industry from the students when they graduate. This blog post is a result of that effort.

If I was approached to define the course curriculum for a Computer Science graduate, here are about a dozen courses that I would recommend during the two year period. We have to keep in mind that in each of the courses, the part with examples (such as Watson, Siri, AWS etc) is bound to change within six months to a year due to the rapid advancements in technology, but the core fundamental concepts remain valid.

Will be happy to know about your views on this.

Business Fundamentals:

  • Why: Why You Exist? (Before explaining what or how)
  • What: What Business Problem Are You Trying To Solve?
  • How: How Do You Intend Solving It?
  • Soft Skills (Communication, Commitment, Delivery, GetItDone)
  • Platform Business (Netflix / Amazon / Apple / Facebook / Google)
  • Connection Economy
  • Accounting (CashFlow, P&L, Balance Sheet, ARR)

Programming Fundamentals:

  • Principles of Programming Languages
  • SDLC
  • Source Code Repository
  • Automated Deployment Process (Docker, Jenkins)

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Rajinikanth Keynote Address – Important Points

I am a big fan of Rajinikanth and hence have compiled the important points from his keynote address while announcing his political entry.

  1. Discipline and control are the key to win anything
  2. Focus on your efforts – do your duty – results will happen
  3. Time has come for change to happen – we have to change the system
  4. Time has come for Truthful, transparent, honest, caste-free, religion free politics (Spiritual Politics)
  5. God’s blessings along with people’s belief, love, respect and support – key to success
  6. Need soldiers who will make sure the benefits of the people reach them every time on time.
  7. Need soldiers who will not go and stand in front of MPs, MLAs, ministers for personal benefits
  8. Such soldiers should be available in every street in every village in every corner
  9. Do not talk politics, do not scold politicians, do not protest, do not make announcements – there are enough people to do that
  10. Think good, talk good, do good, good will happen.

I believe in the thought process and feel it will work – irrespective of who follows it.

The message is what matters – not who says it.

Masters of Scale – Podcasts by Reid Hoffman

Got a chance to hear a podcast called Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman, who was one of the founders of LinkedIn.

Reid interviews founders who have managed to scale their business in an amazing way. 

I heard a few of the podcasts and am quite impressed with the wealth of information that these founders provide based on their experience during their journey.

I would highly recommend this podcast to any one who is working hard to make a difference in this world and would like to learn the art of scaling up from leaders like Mark Zuckerberg (FB), Brian Chesky (AirBnB), Reid Hastings (Netflix) etc.

My personal favourite so far is the one with Brian Chesky from AirBnB where he explains the 11 star experience that he suggests handcrafting with the users. I also like the way Brian switches between focusing on one consumer and scaling it up in a large manner – and then again switching back and forth between the two based on the need of the hour.

I intend to write a separate blog post about each episode. Hope it is useful to budding entrepreneurs.

Technology Firms Disrupting Their Models?

In the past I used to always compare the business model used by the technology companies of yesteryears ie. before 1990 (IBM, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle etc) with those of the new entrants ie. after 1990 (Google, Amazon, Apple, Ebay, Yahoo etc) and notice these key differences:

  • Asset lite: The investments made were purely in technology
  • Ad lite: Very rarely we used to see sales people from these organisations advertising their products

Now I am beginning to compare these firms with the big ones that have emerged after 2000 (Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Uber etc)

The following incidents are very interesting to note:

  • Amazon bought the Whole Foods chain in the US. This concept of buying brick and mortar businesses to compliment the online business is a big deviation from their past strategy (though they have tried opening a few bookstores in the past.)
  • Uber has placed an order for 24,000 driverless cars from Volvo. This deviates from their previous statements that Uber does not own any car but just the technology behind the platform.

This makes me ponder about why the technology companies are disrupting themselves.

Amazon might have to do this – as now they are competing directly with Walmart. Walmart is on an acquisition spree (they bought and have one more chance to conquer the ecommerce space. Meanwhile, another side benefit for Amazon could be the Amazon Locker. Each outlet of Whole Foods will now become home to Amazon Locker.

Shashi Tharoor @ Gartner Symposium in Goa

I got a chance to watch Dr.Shashi Tharoor speak for the first time at the Gartner IT Expo in Goa today. Was mesmerised by the speech.

While I have heard a lot about his oratorical skills, experiencing it first hand was amazing.

The topic of his speech was ‘Pursuing a Culture of Innovation and Quality’. Shashi Tharoor used simple examples to show how India has its own style of innovation, which like in any other scenario is driven out of a necessity, but the simplicity with which it is done is remarkable. One example he brought out was the missed call concept, which is a feature available in the telecom world, but was never intended to be used the way Indians had started using it (one ring to call back, two rings for urgent etc 🙂 ).

He also mentioned about the fact that innovations are happening all over the world, but reiterated the fact that innovations from India are not always the ‘Jugaad’ style but are also world class. The Mars Orbiter launch done successfully in the first attempt at 1/10th the cost of the same done by the US was another example that he brought out.

Shashi Tharoor ended his speech with words of encouragement to the leaders in IT industry in India to continue focusing on the path of innovation and excellence with continued focus on quality.

A few things that are remarkable in his speech are:

  1. Clean: While Shashi Tharoor is a politician and belongs to a certain party, he did not bring up the topic at any point in time during the speech. Similarly, while he was also signing his new book during the symposium, throughout his speech he stuck to the topic of the culture and innovation in India.
  2. Depth of knowledge: He had done his home work on the topic and spoke with clarity and depth on the topic
  3. Organised method of delivery: He had a bulleted list of points he wanted to address in the order of sequence and the meticulous planning behind it was obvious in the style and ease of delivery.

Overall, it was a remarkable speech and hence I made it a point to search for his famous Oxford speech and watched it for the first time – it is in line with the style of delivery I found during the session at the symposium.

Also got a chance to get his latest book which is now in my reading list. Will write about my views on it very soon.

If you get an opportunity to watch him speak, I highly recommend you do not miss it. It is worth every minute of it.


What is a computer? Latest iPad Pro Ad

Apple has now come up with a new approach to push iPad as the standard technology device that replaces the computer.

By doing so, they are directly competing with the mobile devices who have been pitted to replace computers for a long time. There have been many reasons used against the mobile devices such as:

  • The size is so small that we cannot do real designs using a mobile phone
  • Real multi tasking is not possible

Apple has capitalised on these and started projecting iPad Pro as the ideal device to replace the computer.

It is a classic positioning and if they have called the shots right, they will kill the computer market, but at the same time giving a big boost to other competitors like Microsoft Surface etc.

For those who are interested in knowing more about the product specifications etc, the video below should be quite useful.


Tamil Nadu Weatherman – Remarkable Pradeep John

Pradeep John is a weather blogger, who has become quite popular in the past two to three years.

Pradeep was always fascinated by weather and has been predicting weather by tracking facts and data that is publicly available.

Time and again, I have seen BBC and others predicts one way and Pradeep predict the other way – at the end the rain gods favouring Pradeep’s predictions.

While weather prediction is his passion, he holds an MBA degree, after completing his Bachelors in Engineering and is employed at Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited as a Deputy Manager.

Pradeep writes actively on his facebook page ( . People who know about his writing have started going only to his page to know about the weather anytime.

I got a chance to talk to him during the 2015 Chennai floods and it was during that time that I came to know about how humble and simple he was.

If you read Pradeep John’s facebook posts, you will realize that not only does he explain the current weather conditions, but he also helps to guide the readers on how to analyse and identify the patterns using the data themselves.

I have always wondered why Pradeep should not give up his day job and pick up weather related activities as his full time work 🙂

In fact, I have learnt a lot about tracking the weather by following some of his useful tips. Some of them are:

The video above is another link picked up from his facebook page. This video explains how to interpret the doppler radar readings to understand the data given on the Indian Government weather website.

Pradeep’s blogging style matches the key elements I always recommend to any blogger:

  • Focus: He focuses on the topic of weather predictions based on facts.
  • Consistency: His style is consistent – he explains using simple words to help people understand weather.
  • Frequency: He writes often based on the need. During monsoons, two or three times (or even more) in a day and during other times once or twice a week.

As you can see, I have become a big fan of Pradeep John, the Tamilnadu Weatherman. Pradeep’s story is remarkable because what he does as a passion actually is a service to mankind and a boon to millions of people. Rare to find such noble souls in this world and hence hats off to Pradeep for his service.

Remarkable Seth Godin

Seth Godin is considered to be a marketing guru but I look at him as a remarkable human being who sends out good messages to human beings via his daily blog. I have been reading Seth Godin’s daily posts for over fifteen years now.

He writes one blog post a day and each blog post contains a useful message that will help us become better in our life.

In his blogs, he writes about how each one of us is capable of doing remarkable things when we do good to others without expecting anything in return. He also explains very well how the world is switching from industrial economy to connection economy and each one of us has the reach to a vast amount of audience due to the power of technology.

What is remarkable about Seth Godin is the fact that he walks the talk when it comes to connection economy and my experience with Seth Godin is a classic example of connection economy.

For almost ten years, I had read his blogs and also most of his books that were available in the public library. In the past few years have purchased some his latest books directly from the book store or via Amazon or through Audible. It goes to show how his act of consistent guidance over a period of time, led me to be a part of his connection economy.

What is more interesting is that, in the past few years, the daily posts makes me feel as though he has been watching my actions in the past 24 hours and then is writing the post directly addressing me on the exact events that happened in my life in the past 24 hours. If he was in India, he could have become a God already and would have a billion followers by now 😉

Some of my favourites from his books are ‘The Meatball Sundae’, ‘Purple Cow’, ‘The Icarus Deception’ etc.

If you have not been reading his messages, I highly encourage you to give it a try at .

Will Reduction of GST Rates Help India?

Within six months of launching the Goods and Services Tax (GST) programme in India, the Government has reviewed the rates of many of the items.

The biggest impact is the fact that the tax slab in the top bracket (28%) now has only 50 items. Earlier, it has 200+ items. This means that it is going to bring in a positive effect to the economy as goods and services will be more affordable.

Some of the items whose rates are reduced from 28% to 18% include:

  • Electrical related items such as wires, cables etc
  • Furnitures, plywoods etc
  • Eating out in restaurants
  • Beauty/make-up items, shampoos etc
  • Sanitary ware, marble, granite etc
  • Construction equipment machinery such as fork lifts, buldozers, excavators etc

A full list of all the changes announced yesterday is available here

This change is perceived by a few as changes brought to keep the business people in Gujarat happy, as Gujarat is going to elections very soon.

The other way to look at it is that GST now creates an opportunity for businesses to perform better and hence is a step in the right direction.

Amazon Fire Stick Is Data Hungry

Amazon Fire TV Stick is one of the IOT (Internet of Things) enabled devices that have become quite popular in the recent times. I consider it a classic example of disruption using technology.

Got a chance to order an Amazon Fire TV Stick on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised to receive it ahead of time.

The installation of Amazon Fire TV Stick was quite smooth but the most interesting revelation came after the setup was completed.

Just to give a context, my typical video usage consumption before receiving the Amazon Fire TV Stick was from the following mediums:
– Netflix
– Amazon prime
– Cable tv
– Apple Tv
– TED talk videos
– YouTube videos
– WhatsApp videos
– Facebook videos
– LinkedIn videos

Amazon Fire TV Stick allows you to access almost all of these and many more.

Earlier I used to watch YouTube videos on the internet and that behaviour was known only to Google.  Now when I watch a YouTube video via the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon also knows my usage behaviour and the power of that will enable it to provide much more targeted information to match my taste.

The same applies to the Netflix programmes we watch at home. Amazon Fire TV stick has the data and it is just a matter of hours before which they will know exactly the age and tastes of each person in my household.

I doubt if I will need Apple TV at all as Amazon Fire TV Stick provides everything that comes in Apple TV.

Cable TV is also out of the window as Hotstar takes care of the live telecasts and my favorite programs such as Game of Thrones.

WhatsApp, Facebook and Linked in are the few  mediums not impacted by the Amazon Fire TV Stick coming into my life. Not sure how long that will last.

This kind of disruption is what is happening because of such IOT enabled devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick. If you are planning to disrupt any market, it would be a good exercise to study the way Amazon Fire TV Stick has been implemented.