Note: This is a personal view, and does not represent Institute’s policy.

I have earlier written a note Is IT the right choice for you, with inputs from various academicians, which gives some views on who should chose IT and who should avoid IT for their BTech. But even in IT, the programs of various colleges and Institutes vary a lot. This note focuses on whether the BTech(IT) program in IIIT-Delhi is the right choice for you.

In a short time, IIIT-Delhi has clearly established itself as an Institute of repute both for education and research. It has a highly qualified faculty and has established some strong research groups. However, being an IT institute, it is rather narrowly focused with only the BTech(IT) program. As the aim of the program is to prepare the student for challenging careers in IT, the BTech program has a strong element of hands-on exercises and projects – in many semesters students do two to three (sometimes even more) projects, each requiring a substantial effort. Along with a focus on practice and projects, as the Institute believes that without sound theory, practice remains ad-hoc, the program also emphasizes theoretical aspects, with most theory and math courses requiring proper understanding and practice.

Overall the program is very rigorous with each course requiring a few hours per week of effort beyond the lectures. While this does prepare the students quite well for challenging careers, it also requires students to put in about 20 to 30 hours per week outside the class. Students who cannot put this level of effort consistently throughout the semester often find it hard to cope, as courses move at a fast pace and there is no scope for slackness during the semester.

What does this mean with respect to the title of this note? Essentially, the program is primarily for those who are looking to make IT as their main career and who are willing to work hard and long with technology as well as theory for building their competence. For such students this will be a good program – I can even say that for such students, IIIT-Delhi probably offers a better choice than doing some other discipline in an IIT, or even CS in some of the newer IITs who do not yet have sufficient faculty in CS.

On the other hand, the program is not a suitable choice for those who do not like the idea of programming or spending long hours dealing with systems and theory – such students may find the program too strenuous and frustrating. It is not a suitable choice for those students also who want a BTech degree for safety/backup, but actually want to pursue something else after graduation, e.g. MBA –  for such students it is easier (and possibly cheaper also) to chose a program which is less intense and requires less effort, allowing them the time needed for their preparation (and yet providing the backup they need).

When time comes for making a choice,  students should first seriously think if IT is the right long-term choice for them or not. If IT is what they want to pursue for their studies and their immediate career after the degree, then they should seriously try to get into an Institute like IIIT-Delhi. Others may find that other options may suit them better.