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EPAM’s Center of Excellence Program: Bridging the Gap between Academia and Industry for Tech Skill Development 

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EPAM’s Center of Excellence Program: Bridging the Gap between Academia and Industry for Tech Skill Development 

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Srinivas Reddy, Managing Director (India GDO Head) at EPAM Systems, Inc. 

Can you tell our readers more about your Centre of Excellence program? Elaborate on the vision and goal of such initiatives.

Considering the changing market dynamics and expected skill gaps in the future, a sustainable model for skilling and upskilling students is required. To make more IT graduates industry ready, EPAM established the Pre-Education Program (PEP) in collaboration with technical universities across the country a few years back. It was a systematic skilling and upskilling program for college students. The EPAM Center of Excellence (COE) program was launched in 2022 as an extension and evolved version of PEP.

We establish COEs at various engineering institutes, and Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were established with these institutes, following the guidelines set by EPAM. The program’s vision is to equip college students with the necessary skills and hands-on experience to be industry ready.

The objectives of the EPAM Center of Excellence are:

  • To meet the increase in demand for quality IT engineers.
  • To bridge the gap between industry and academics.
  • To quickly improve the technical skills of many students on par with the latest industrial standards.

We developed COE with the ‘Train the Trainer’ approach. It involved a 12-week extensive training program for the faculty members of engineering institutions across high-in-demand technology streams like Java, .NET, Front-end, Automation testing, Cloud & DevOps and JavaScript. These colleges could establish one or more COEs at their institutions. Each college nominated its faculty to be trained in the technology streams they opted for. They set a maximum of two faculty members per stream, and their training took place at EPAM Hyderabad. These faculty members then trained the students at their respective institutes for at least three months.

By engaging faculty members as the stakeholders of the program, we were able to fulfill three main goals:

  1. To effectively extend many students’ benefits of our upskilling and skilling program.
  2. To provide a system for students to gain subject-specific practical knowledge and career skills along with their academic curriculum. This equipped students with relevant skills to kick-start their careers and facilitated their smoother transition from college to corporate. ,
  3. To bridge the gap between enterprises and academia, which could effectively assist students in developing the necessary skills for their professional endeavors.

More than 80 EPAM trainers helped educate 175+ faculty members from 52 educational institutes under the COE program. After the training, several students who performed well in the assessment received impressive job offers from top IT companies, including EPAM.

To read the full article, click here.