Among the pioneering institutions in the field of computer education, the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research (SICSR), Pune, is now in its 34th year and continues to be the top pick for students for its innovative programmes, faculty, placements and industry-specific training. The institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in information technology, including courses in business administration with IT.
Officiating director Prof. Harshad Gune says that bachelor students are sought after by employers who “are looking for young minds with fresh ideas”. He attributes the top rank of the institute to the course curriculum that keeps adapting to the changes in the industry. Keeping pace with the industry, the institute has added data science, networking and internet of things as specialisations in the curriculum of the upcoming batch of BCA. “In the field of information technology, it is imperative to keep moulding the course to keep up with industry requirements,” Gune says. As a result, he has introduced six-month industry internships in the last semester of the BCA programme. At the postgraduate level, SICSR has introduced a programme in systems security that will make students experts in cyber security. To build a strong conceptual base, there is an emphasis on practical learning credits throughout the course.
To enable students to keep up with the trends in the IT industry through co-curricular activities, SICSR has tied up with international professional bodies such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) for project-based competitions and social impact activities.
Further, with more girls joining the programme, SICSR has launched two women chapters of the ACM and IEEE Women in Engineering. Also, SICSR has more girls on a research scholarship programme to the Ritsumeikan University in Japan. “We urge our girl students to participate in international competitions and scholarships,” says Gune. In the past three years, seven girls have got awards for participating in the Grace Hopper Conference (Women in Computing).
Besides engagements with various professional bodies such as ACM, IEEE and ISACA, the college is also engaged with various technical communities in Pune like the Coffee Club, Java Club, Python Club, Data Science Club to help students get industry-related exposure. Last year, the institute conducted three hackathons.
In order to build a strong industry-institute interaction, SICSR conducted a novel experiment with 10XOfy, a company that outsources programme designing work to students. More than 50 students of SICSR have successfully completed the designing project. “It is a win-win situation for us because our students get an experience of working with a US company while pursuing their degree at the institute,” says Gune.
Rs 4,88,650 is the tuition fee for the BCA course; Rs 1,15,000 is the hostel fee for the entire duration
2002 students applied for BCA at SICS R in 2018, 104 were admitted
The new initiatives are aimed at making SICSR more student-oriented and student-friendly. “We have an internal software development cell in which students develop various software for the institute. In addition, some of the students are working as teaching assistants, which helps them hone their skills. We are the early adopters of open source technology and most of our curriculum is based on that,” adds Gune.
In the past few years, SICSR has seen 100 per cent placements. The highest salary package offered to three undergraduate students of the BCA course this year was Rs 18 lakh.
The canteen has a large graffiti depicting life at the institute. It has been designed by a teacher from the Symbiosis Institute of Design
What sets SICSR apart?
In keeping with industry trends, we have added specialisation in networking and internet of the things and are gearing up to get early entry into IT companies in fields like data sciences and IOT. We are also constantly engaging with international institutions to get first-hand knowledge and experience.
Why did you choose SICSR?
The course structure interested me and it is the most up-to-date course in computer science that covers every relevant subject. The curriculum is in keeping with the requirements of the industry and gives students more employment opportunities.
The location is very convenient. It is in the heart of the city where everything is accessible. The environment is such that the director communicates with the students on a daily basis. At times, we even sit with him after classes and discuss projects. We have designed websites for our college under his guidance.
One thing I want to change
I would like to change the examination pattern. It is a computer studies course and so, we do not have textbooks. We only have research material and we get information online. But we have written exams for even practical subjects-this needs to be changed.