With its growing technical community and large number of IEEE members, India holds many opportunities for IEEE. In particular, the country is a leader in software development, a field in which IEEE wants to get more involved. There are plenty of Indian members who could help. Last year, India had more than 25 000 IEEE members, second only to the United States, which has almost 210 000.
In return, IEEE could help India’s engineering and technology community in many ways. Accordingly, IEEE President John Vig has established a 2009 ad-hoc committee to study ways to expand IEEE’s presence in India. The committee follows the focus on India established last year by 2008 IEEE President Lewis Terman.
INDIAN MISSION In 2008, a small group of IEEE volunteers and staff went on a fact-finding mission, meeting with Indian members and representatives from industry and academia to better gauge the needs of India’s engineering, science, and technology community. The group was chaired by IEEE Fellow Rangachur Kasturi, a native of India, 2008 President of the IEEE Computer Society, and professor of computer science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The group issued a report at the end of 2008.
The 2009 ad-hoc committee, also chaired by Kasturi, will work with industry representatives to learn what types of certification and continuing education programs are in demand. It will also discuss with members of academia how to improve engineering curricula and get more schools accredited. In addition, the Kasturi group wants to get Indian companies more involved in standards development, an area dominated by European, Japanese, and U.S. companies. An important goal is to come up with humanitarian programs that IEEE members could develop for India’s societal needs. This includes bringing electricity and Internet access to remote villages.
ENTRY-LEVEL CERTIFICATE The initiative has already borne fruit in the target area of software. The IEEE Computer Society has developed a certification program for entry-level software professionals. Now available worldwide, it was first rolled out in India last September and leads to a certificate for a Certified Software Development Associate. The Computer Society counted on input from Indian software companies including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, and Wipro.
“Software, especially its application, is an important area that is rapidly growing,” Terman says. “India is very focused on software; it’s an area in which we could increase our presence. It’s a great opportunity for us.”