Over 36,000 engineering students form IT related branches of over 500 colleges took Automata -- a Machine Learning based assessment of software development skills -- and over 2/3 could not even write code that compiles.
The study further noted that while more than 60 per cent candidates cannot even write code that compiles, only 1.4 per cent can write functionally correct and efficient code.
"Lack of programming skills is adversely impacting the IT and data science ecosystem in India. The world is moving towards introducing programming to three-year-old! India needs to catch up," Aspiring Minds CTO and Co-Founder Varun Aggarwal said.
The employability gap can be attributed to rote learning based approaches rather than actually writing programmes on a computer for different problems. Also, there is a dearth of good teachers for programming, since most good programmers get jobs in industry at good salaries, the study said.
Moreover, programming skills are five times poorer for tier III colleges as compared to tier 1 colleges.
"Sixty nine per cent of candidates from top 100 colleges are able to write a compilable code versus rest of the colleges where only 31 per cent are able to write a compilable code," the report said.