Didn’t score enough to get into SRCC: Google CEO Sundar Pichai on education and career

Google CEO Sundar Pichai during a programme at Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) in New Delhi, on Dec 17, 2015

Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked how much did he score in class 12?

His reply “not enough to get into Sri Ram College of Commerce” echoed in the hall, amidst laughter. Sundar Pichai, who is on his maiden trip to India after becoming the CEO of Google, was interacting with students during #AskSundar session at SRCC.

Pichai also talked about education and start-ups while answering students and teachers. When a student asked that why there were lesser number of non-computer science students working for Google, he replied by saying, “Follow your dreams and work where you want. We do hire non -computer science graduates from languages majors, history, commerce and engineering. Developing softwares is just a part of it .”

Pichai also announced that Google is planning to train 2 million developers over the next three years and will be collaborating with around 30 universities in India.
What is the future plan of Google, especially for developers who are students?

“Developers are hunting the blood-line of the software. The more developers you have, you will have more ideas and more problems getting solved. We are coming up with a programme to train two million developers.”

“Even when we worked on simple things like Google books, our approach was, what if we could scan all the books in the world and bring them online.”

What skills can make Indian education system future ready?

“Creativity is an important attribute to solve next generation problem. Encouraging creativity through education is important. Our educational system values rigorous academic values and creativity… Another thing that I have seen in US schools is that they learn to do things by doing them and not just by learning about them. I love the education system where there is more project based learning. This is what Indian education system needs to adopt.”

“Encourage students to take risks and they are not penalized for taking risks. Creative skills are the future.”

How does one choose a career?

“There are various paths that people take. What is important is that you need to follow your dreams and follow your heart. It is worthwhile trying to take risks, it may not work out the first time around, but it will work out in the long run.”

“At some point of your life, you have to work with people you feel insecure. It’s an integral part of learning.”

What is the future of start-ups in India?

“It was only last year when I realised that the Start-up culture has really taken a hold here. It’s incredible to see. For scale of India over time, it does need entrepreneurs to tackle and build for India and globally. Every element of start-up is here and this is an unique opportunity for India… When ever I used to walk around to some remote corner and find a tea stall, I always felt that there is an entrepreneur there. That streak has always been there in India.”

“I think this generation is less afraid to take risks and follow a non-conformist path, which is good.”

If not Google CEO, then what?

“I would still have been building software products, that’s what I love to do. I was always fascinated by the fact that if you have an idea in your head you could make it happen.”

During the session, there where some light-hearted conversations too, in which Pichai spoke his heart out and said that like every Indian he also dreamt of becoming a cricketer, and was a huge fan of Gavaskar. But, he quickly added why he chose his career in technology, “But, on a more serious note, I was always interested in technology. I read a story about semiconductors because that interested me.”

The interaction was moderated by Indian cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle who asked him how important class 12 grade was? Pichai humorously replied, “There are too many teachers in this room for me to answer this question.” Bhogle also asked him what he thought of girls beating boys in every field, he replied with modesty, “It is true. I was there too.”

Earlier, Pichai had announced that Google is opening its door to double recruitment exclusively in India.The company is expanding its headcount in India, especially in engineering operations. He also announced a huge campus in the tech-savvy city Hyderabad.

Excerpts from his interview in December 2015 at SRCC, New Delhi.

Source: India Today, http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/ask-sundar-session-at-srcc/1/549419

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