Zoho Corporation is running an unconventional but successful Zoho University (ZU) initiative where it trains high school graduates in India to be software programmers at its company. Conceived 12 years ago with just six students, ZU now has 350 students at its location within Zoho’s offices in Chennai and Tenkasi. For students, ZU’s appeal lies in the promise of a job at the end of its 24-month program. This is a huge incentive for graduates as India’s IT giants are laying off hundreds as the industry becomes automated. Anirudh R, who joined ZU after finishing school, said, “Nowadays people don’t get jobs easily… I would like to enter the industry as soon as possible rather than wait four years.” ZU recruits its students by going to Indian high schools and conducting tests on math and aptitude, along with interviews and training programs to see how they respond in real-world situations.

Those who succeed then join ZU where they learn English, mathematics, software engineering skills, and programming languages. The two-year training course is split equally between university study and “hands-on experience”. ZU is becoming a better option than the usual college route as students are provided a curriculum that is constantly updated with industry changes. This offers graduates a greater earning potential than new employees at Zoho. The program is gaining more traction as so many students speak very highly of the unique program.