The Reality Of Academic Projects
Students who have completed all but the final semester are gearing up to do their project in the final semester.
The practice of doing a project is taking back seat now-a-days. However unfortunate it is, the fact remains that many students are resorting to buying a ready-made project. The question is who is benefited by this? I believe certainly NOT the students.
In this blog, I want to share my opinions about the entire academic projects issue.
Who is benefited by academic projects?
Many training institutes offer projects. Some software companies develop less software and sell more projects to students. I know financially it is very rewarding from sellers point of view. So they continue to do it. They can sell the same project to many. If required with different titles. They say
who will read the source code
How many guides/externals know the technology the project is using. My understanding is that many do not (cannot) read the code. Say if a project is in Struts then how many guides understand Struts. The same is true with many technologies. So project sellers are in safe zone.
I even heard about some training institutes having a kind of tie up with colleges in such a way students of the college are made to buy projects in that institute. Of course this rewards both the parties. It is weird, but weird things do happen on earth.
What does it do to students? It takes a golden opportunity of understanding what it takes to build an application from a to z, away from students. Some of them are given 6 months exclusively to develop an application. That's a lot of time. One can even learn the technology and build the application in 6 months. Some students spend 5 months out of 6 months on talking on cell phone and then buy a project in 6th month. Who is losing opportunity? Who pays the price for lost opportunity? The answers is straight - Student.
My sincere suggestion to students, who are career
, is to grab the opportunity to learn what is the life cylce of a project by doing a project completely on your own. Understand the domain, database design, user-interface design, coding etc. Do not forget, you are learning what you are set to do the rest of your career.
Myth of live project
Coming to the myth of Live projects. Some ignorant guides and colleges expect students to do live project. As many of you know, live project is the one that is used by a company or individual in real life. It is not a live requirement; it is being used by a company to run its business. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Are beginners equipped with the knowledge to handle a live project completely on their own (with or without help from guides)?”.
My frank answer with 17 years of experience with students is a big 'NO'. At least most of them do NOT have what it takes (either attitude or technical ability) to handle a complete project. Don’t guides know about their college products? I know they do. If they think all students can handle a project in the final year completely on their own, they must be living in a different world (at least from the one I live).
What’s the solution?
The solution is to encourage students to learn the technology first. I come across a lot of students who have no idea about .NET (not even that it is from Microsoft) planning to do a project in .NET. Some want to do project in Java, but have no idea about any developments in Java. For example, they have no idea about JSF, Struts, Hibernate etc. Academic project is an opportunity to understand how real-world development goes. Learn a technology that is being widely used and apply it to build application. The domain of the project may not be very attractive or complex, let technology NOT be outdated.
I am really sick of students who want to develop application without knowing anything about technology. I know many of them end up getting some terminology in XYZ training centre and buying a project with ABC title.
Some students travel as much as 700 km to buy a project, some save their parents hard-earned money.
Students must realize there is nothing like easy or difficult coding. Programming is always very demanding. You can’t complete a project without writing code. One must realize, you do the biggest favour to yourself, by learning to build an application.
I heard some students saying they have no time to learn until they get to final semester. You have enough summer breaks to do it. If you want to go to your grandmother's place for every vacation and spend entire time there, then only your grandmother can help you in this highly competitive world.
Success is not an accident. You have to plan for it and execute the plans.
There are Exceptions
Though I talk about majority of students, I know there are exceptions also. Some really want to utilize this opportunity and work hard to do something useful (if not to anyone else, at least to themselves).
I have personally assisted some students, who have really worked hard to do all on their own.
Most of them learnt the technology before they used it. You cannot cook and eat food at the same time. If common sense prevails you know you have to cook first then eat, not eat while you cook.
With thousands of students needing projects, one must understand, there are no thousands of requirements. Each student/group of students must plan for project NOT in final semester, but a little earlier than that. They should look at websites and other softwares that they use and see whether they can do a subset of it or do it differently.
Academic projects are only teaching tools and not industry products. The aim is to learn and not to produce world class software.