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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s decision to come down all the way to Delhi three years ago for a fast-track Certified Ethical Hacker module and a crash course in Core Java was by no means an isolated event. While IT training set the stage in the early days of India’s IT revolution, the IT Offshore Training business is a new growth area where India is claiming a clear lead over rivals, drawing in clients from the US, Europe and Africa for highly focused IT modules that are delivered in double quick time, with a distinct cost advantage to boot.
Being marketed to overseas students under the ‘education tourism’ banner, quite on the lines of medical tourism, India’s IT offshoring business is being pegged at upwards of Rs 1,000 crore, according to industry valuations.
Snowden reportedly zeroed in on Delhi-based Koenig Solutions for his seven-day super fast-track module in early September 2010 based on some favourable referrals. Koenig, which hosted Snowden at its main training centre in non-descript Moti Nagar in West Delhi, claims to be one of the biggest offshore IT training provider in the world and is unambiguous in its assertion that the Snowden link has certainly helped it get some extra mileage.
According to Rohit Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Koenig, the majority of the students coming in from places such as Europe or the US for certified IT packages are lured in not just by the cost advantage of doing the courses in India, airfare and accommodation overheads notwithstanding, but the quality of these certification courses offered by Indian firms. Offshore IT training is catching up particularly among companies, IT employees and students in countries of Europe, Africa, West Asia, South East Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, given the lack of cost optimised quality training resources and infrastructure facilities in some of these countries.
Aggarwal specifically attributes the advantage that Koenig has over competition, including global peers, to its 300-odd pool of trainers. The certification courses include those of Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, VMware, Novell, Adobe, EMC, Citrix and Linux and the company, which has opened centres in Bangalore, Goa, Shimla, Dehradun and a new offsite in Dubai, says it trains more than 5,000 foreign students annually in its centres in India and Dubai, along with about 2,000 Indian students per year.
There are others, including Delhi-based Knowledge Buffers Pvt Ltd, which claims to be focused