Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of startups (like US-based Lambda School) which offer income sharing agreements to professionals in exchange for teaching them programming skills and helping them land well-paying jobs.
One such startup from India is Pesto Tech — which works with software engineers in India to help them break into international tech careers via full-time remote jobs. The startup screens tens of thousands of applicants and accept less than 1% into its intensive three-month program. According to Pesto, its graduates are earning a salary above ₹30 lakh per annum, many of whom have reportedly quintupled their income.
“We feel if you don’t get a job paying at least ₹15 lakh per annum, our training programme isn’t good enough and you shouldn’t have to pay for it. The salary across our alumni is currently ₹31 lakh per annum,” states the company’s website.
To understand how the startup is able to pull this off, Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Ayush Jaiswal who is the co-founder and CEO of Pesto Tech. Here are edited excerpts from the interaction.
AIM: How are students able to secure such high-paying jobs in a short span of training at Pesto?
Ayush: Think of us as a high-quality intensive 360-degree programme that gives engineers a bump not just in pay packages but in roles and gives them an opportunity to be part of a life-long community. In our current model at Pesto, we are accepting students who already have a base set of skills and experience in a certain language. Our country has some of the best engineering talents in the world, we at Pesto want to ensure that this talent gets the access, opportunity and skill set it deserves. We have had fantastic results so far with students being placed in roles that have resulted in salary increases ranging from 3x to 20x their previous salaries.
AIM: What are the problems you see in India’s education sector in terms of technology/programming education?
The current academic curriculum in school and colleges covers the theoretical aspects and can only be considered a starting point. Engineers form the foundation of a dynamic multi-billion dollar innovative market and hence need to be adept at global best practices. However, to gain practical knowledge, it is imperative that students work on live projects. Equal emphasis needs to be given to tech skills, soft skills, and skills that enable working with distributed teams. Upskilling is a constant in a field like engineering, being part of a live community is another great way to learn and re-share skills in real-time.
The future of work is evolving dramatically, from the advent of tech to access to borderless jobs, an engineer today operates in a completely different landscape from his/her predecessors.
AIM: What are the technology solutions which Pesto has deployed for its own operations?
Ayush: As a team of software engineers, we have our own custom developed applications for meeting our business needs. For better understanding, we can consider an example: We have received interest in Pesto from over 75,000 applications. We have a completely automated system to review and process those applications which involve an initial screening, a tech interview online, along with a video platform to profile for communications and psychometrics. This significantly reduces our need to manually process each application at the initial stage and allows us to operate more efficiently. So this way automation is helping us to make our work a little easier.
AIM: What are your data analytics and AI-specific solutions and projects?
Ayush: Analytics and AI will play a very key role in the future of work. We use data as a core for almost every process, decision within the company. Data-driven processes ensure productivity as a company and also helps us with monitoring each and every student’s progress. At Pesto, we have a high bar of acceptance but monitor all data in our funnel to better our platform.
We use analytics to track the progress of each student individually and monitor their progress and growth. We keep data and records of each student at Pesto, so that we can keep a check on their progress personally and then customise our training methods. It’s still very early days though and as the volume of data increases in our organisation, we foresee using Data Sciences quite extensively.
AIM: What is your advice to programmers aspiring to grab similar jobs for global companies?
Ayush: It is a golden age to be a programmer and it is ever-growing. The scope of programmers will increase rapidly in the coming years. The dire need for programmers is to stay agile and enhance technical skills. It is very important to stay updated with the technical advancements in the software industry and keep the learning process ongoing. It is not one time gain for graduates but a lifetime upskilling and polishing process.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.