Startups all set to engineer hiring rush at tech colleges

The upcoming placement season may be muted compared to last year’s recruitment drive, but engineering graduates still have reason to cheer. Startups across sectors are heading to the Indian Institutes of Technology and other engineering colleges to pick the best and brightest of talent.
Up for grabs are roles of data analyst, AI engineer, user-experience engineer, mobile software developer and augmented reality engineer, with annual pay of Rs 9-16 lakh.
Paytm, Exotel, Pepperfry, Voonik, Go-Jek and Razorpay are looking to cherry-pick talent from among 10,000-plus students graduating in 2018 from IITs and thousands more from other engineering colleges.
New-age companies are focussing on expanding their technology teams and roles in data science and machine learning are commanding premium salaries, said Rohit Chokhani, principal founder at Mumbaibased early-stage venture capital firm White Unicorn Ventures.
“In the last year, the 21companies in our portfolio hired more than 200 in technology roles and this year we’re expecting at least a 30% increase over that. Across the startup ecosystem, technology hiring may grow by at least 15 %.”
Go-Jek, the Indonesian hyperlocal transport, logistics and payments startup, plans to hire about 30 techies for its India development centre. Freshers will be put through a two-month boot camp on coding, DevOps, design and user experience, followed by 10 months of rigorous mentoring by senior developers, said Sidu Ponnappa, director of Go-Jek. They can expect packages upwards of Rs 16 lakh.
Paytm, an e-payment and ecommerce platform, has already made 25-30 offers across the National Institutes of Technology and other regional engineering colleges, said Manav Jain, associate vice-president of the Noida-based company.
“Those with strong coding skills irrespective of programming language, strength in data structures, algorithms and problem-solving skills will be preferred,” said Jain.
The company is looking to fill software development, machine learning and data science roles.
Paytm piloted an internship programme at five engineering campuses this year. These interns will complete part of their curriculum at the company by working on live projects and will be mentored by senior colleagues. They will be offered the option of coming on board on a full-time basis.


In the current scenario, mid-sized startups are the best option for a fresher, according to Siddharth Ramesh, chief technology officer at cloud telephony company Exotel.
“They have none of the elaborate processes of large corporates that sometimes hinder learning and none of the chaos of small startups where things are constantly changing,” Ramesh said. Big data is also an area in vogue, with not just Paytm but Razorpay also looking to ramp up this profile.
“We will hire 30-odd people to work not just on big data, artificial intelligence and mobile software development, but also front-end and back-end development,” said Anuradha Bharat, head of people operations at Razorpay. Salaries are expected to range from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 25 lakh, a 30% increase from last year.
Exotel plans to hire at least 10 graduates for its software engineering and site reliability engineering teams.
While skill sets are not paramount, what is more important is the ability to keep abreast of changing trends and the ability to use multiple technologies simultaneously, said Ramesh.
“Those with the capability to take complete ownership — from writing and monitoring code to deploying it into production systems — will be preferred,” he told ET.
At fashion technology startup Voonik, almost 25 posts in software development, DevOps and data analysis will be filled.
A new role that the company is introducing this year is that of a business analyst, meant for engineers who are good with numbers but not keen on coding, said Sameer Nandan, head of HR. Techies can expect salaries starting at Rs 9 lakh and going up to Rs 16 lakh.
Mumbai-based Pepperfry will be hunting for techies who can work on bolstering augmented and virtual reality offerings.
The Mumbai-based startup will also hire freshers to work in core Java, machine learning and big data, Deepak Sharma, head of product development, told ET. The 100-strong technology team will be ramped up with a few dozen new members.

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