Provides a meaningful alternative to conventional college education proving there’s no real correlation between a college degree and work skills.
Zoho has successfully completed a decade of its in-house university — Zoho University (ZU). Started in 2005, with six students and two teachers, who taught three subjects, ZU has trained more than 300 students over the last decade. Most of the ZU graduates are now Zoho employees.
The university selects high school students from government schools in Chennai and neighbouring cities based on a series of aptitude tests and interviews. The selected candidates are trained for 18 months — this includes a six-month internship within the organisation — in Maths, Computer Science and English. The students are paid a monthly stipend while they undergo training. The curriculum is regularly revised to ensure that the course is up to date with the latest technological developments, and the students are taught to deal with real challenges faced by developers to prepare them for a career as a software engineer.
ZU follows a flipped-classroom model for teaching and has one campus in Chennai and another in Tenkasi. Over the next 10 years, Zoho expects to have about 35-50% of its workforce from ZU.
Commenting on the occasion, ZU Dean, Prof. B Rajendran said, “I’m proud to have been part of the Zoho University since its inception. After watching 300-odd students pass through its doors, I can say with confidence that nothing— whether it be lack of a formal degree or financial background— can stop you from achieving what you want.”
“Zoho University recognizes that the desire to learn is in every mind and gives opportunities to bring the best out in everybody. Many of the students had not even seen a computer before joining, and yet, within months, they were writing code. Several of our alumni have had a stellar growth in the company. This goes on to show that with proper guidance and training, coupled with the right environment, anyone can scale great heights.”