Final Year Projects: Marks Vs Skill

I was the examiner for Final year Computer Science projects today @ MMEC, Belgaum. I must admit the students had come up with quite innovative and relevant topics. Out of my usually nagging curiosity, I asked the first batch a number of basic and detailed questions. To my surprise, students were not able to answer the basic questions. For instance, for a project on Biometric authentication when I asked, “Show me how you ve interfaced the biometric finger print reader?”, the students looked at each other and fell flat on their face with no answer. When I prodded them a little, pop came the answer – “Sir, my brother helped me with that part”.

Role of Family?

Knowingly or unknowingly our family members have always helped us with our problems in life. This time however I feel I differ with them a little. Our parents used to drop us to school everyday when we were kids. They worried about us if we came home late some days. Many a times, our Mom used to complete our home work. If not Mom, then our elder brother/sister would do it for us. We have grown up in such a world where our family has always been there for us.

Parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. are just a shout away. They are always there. True. They love us all the time and they can’t see us in pain. But at times you got to think – “Seriously! Are they really helping you?”. May be not. By doing your home work for you, by helping you with your project, they are making you more weaker than before. They are accepting the fact that you are incapable to doing anything by yourself and hence you need their help. You have made an weak impression of yourself.

You have become weak. You succumb to your weaknesses easily.

For any change in your life, or for anything new you do in life, there is always a initial hiccup or hurdle to cross. Its like learning how to swim. First time when you are put in waters, you get so scared that you say to yourself – “I would never get into water again”. Next time around, you somehow muster the courage and get in again. Soon again you take more such courageous dips and eventually, getting into waters becomes a routine activity which you don’t even think about.

Same is the case with learning anything new  in Life. You have to embrace it fearlessly. Don’t give up. Go at it. Welcome it. Learn it. You might fear for first time. Do it again, try again. Soon you will be the master of that skill.


What matters? Marks or Skill?

With recession looming around, there are thousands of people fresh out of college since July 2013 and are still jobless. India’s population of youth (people with less than 25 years of age) is ever growing. Thousands of students pass out of VTU alone each year. If all pass with similar marks (which they do in fact), how do recruiters differentiate between them?

As an interviewer what I see in the candidate is whether they have learnt some basic skills in their bachelors degree?  his/her ability to learn new things? whether they have actually done their final year project? Marks they have scored hardly matter as long as they have passed Bachelors with at least a first class. Some times if the candidate has exceptionally good programming skills, we ignore what his/her score is and we pick him/her up even if he/she has failed in some subjects in the past semesters.


In the end…

Marks definitely make a mark. They get you a call for interview. But ‘Skill’ is what matters to get the job finally. The decision is yours: get more Marks or acquire more skills?


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post, Amit !

    If we look at it closely – its not really a question of ; get more Marks or acquire more skills, its more about acquire the skills, marks will follow.


  2. Gururaj says:

    “Any fool can do something cool and look cool, but it takes skill to make something uncool cool again.”


  3. Rohit Kodagali says:

    I totally agree. Its not only for engineering. In all the undergrad and post grad subjects, acquiring skills is more important than acquiring Marks. Even now people are hell bent on copying some other thesis rather than doing their own original work. The amount you learn while doing your own thesis is unparalled to any kind of text book reading. Apart from that, many of us do not know the concept of plagiarism and ghost authorship even at post grad level.


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