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Summer Sorted (?) 2020-21

October 15, 2020

Roorkee is a nice place to be.

It has its ups and downs, much like any other place on this planet, but is overall a warm (figuratively speaking), amicable place to spend your college years. After 2-4 years of the rigorous monotony that is JEE, Roorkee comes with an opportunity to embrace your idiosyncrasies and explore your own individuality. There is no longer a uniform curriculum, no precise metric for progress, and no clear goals other than the ones you define for yourself.

Amidst this new found freedom and the plethora of possibilities that come with it, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters to oneself, and what path one wants their journey to take once the dreamy undergrad life comes to an end. Internships are important not only for the compulsory credits but also because they provide students with irreplaceable real world experience, essential networking and above all a chance to better understand their interests & inclinations and reconsider their successive career steps accordingly.

In 2020, the Covid tremors have affected a number of firms and policy changes around the world. In the following analysis, Watch Out! aims to highlight how this shift has affected internship opportunities for the batch of 2022, with some educated guesses about how some of these changes may or may not carry over into the upcoming placement season or subsequent internship drives.

Talking Numbers

The on-campus internship season starts around mid-august and is reserved exclusively for pre-final year students. This analysis considers data upto 8th October 2020. Companies continue to visit campus until around mid-february, but drawing from previous years’ data, a major chunk of the total hirings would have been wrapped up until this point. Thus this data can be extrapolated for fairly accurate insights into the overall internship scenario for the current academic session. Regardless, any projections made hereafter are little more than educated speculations made by Watch Out! based on data from previous years and should not be considered as concrete claims

Number of recruiters: 91 Compared to a total of 134 from 2019-20. But with 4 months remaining for more recruiters to show up, this number may very well catch up.

Hirings: 278 Based on channelI notices from 2019-20 (which cover most, though not all companies coming to campus), the period from August 1st to 22nd October accounted for approximately 70% of the total seats offered. Assuming similar trends, the total hirings for this session are projected to reach anywhere from 350-400 by the end of the session, as compared to 421 from 2019-20

Pre Internship Offers: 7, compared to 5 in 2019-20

Crunching Numbers

Contrary to initial speculations on what effects a global pandemic might have on employment opportunities around the world1, as well as survey statistics indicating a diminishing scope for prospective interns [2], the on-campus internships in IITR seem to be more or less unperturbed.

A closer look however, reveals a peculiar shift in hiring trends.

Out of the 68 (The remaining 23 have yet to come out with results) firms that have hired at Roorkee so far, only 49 (If different positions from the same company are to be considered separate) are recurring visitors from last year. But these 49 entities account for 222 of the 278 offers so far. Comparing only these to their previous visits, the number of hires has gone down from a total of 235 to 222. A lot of them have cut back on the number of interns hired, with some hiring upto 50% less interns than last time. Adobe also made a notable decrease in the number of direct offers to students excelling in academics, moving down from 16 to only 2 this year.

Note: Profiles for some companies have been clubbed together for the sake of visualization

So why does the big picture look undisturbed?

The reason for the relatively insignificant decrease (13) in the total number of offers amongst the recurring firms can actually be attributed to a handful of tech giants upping their intake by upto 100%

Revisiting companies opening up with more positions/profiles than before, leading to more diversity in profile distribution among the interns.

A number of new small-mid level firms decided to come to Roorkee (Zomato, Disney Hotstar, Codenation, Citrix to name a few).

While not much can be concluded from point 1, the latter two may very well contribute to positive trends in placements as well. Whether by God’s grace or due efforts by the Administration and TPO, IIT Roorkee seems to be doing just fine in this regard.

Similar trends have been observed in sister IITs as well[3][4]


To the chagrin of all R-esidents, the ‘on-campus’ internship season wasn’t really conducted on campus, as all of us are confined to our homes with no weekend outings or late night snack breaks to ease the deathless pain. As such, all tests and interviews were conducted virtually which called for robust infrastructure for evaluations, instantaneous updates and super secure proctoring solutions ;). For the most part, IIT Roorkee delivered well

However, this being a first for both IITR and the companies conducting their tests, some issues were bound to arise.

For one, the privilege gap within the student populace widens as those without access to a stable internet connection were placed at a significant disadvantage, both during the internship season and in the context of the semester as a whole.

Secondly, a number of students reported technical issues during tests, such as the websites freezing, or compilers failing altogether. The public slack workspace did help, but these hiccups still led to a lot of unnecessary delays.

The usual problems with the lack of diversity in profiles, continue to persist. With the establishment of Design Studio, Finance Club, DSG and VLG, it’s clear that the student community is striving to expand into a number of different fields, but this enthusiasm is yet to be reflected in the profile distribution amongst recruiters.

Some change was however observed this year. While software and IT continue to dominate, a decent number of finance positions were seen. We also saw design offers on day 1 with a monthly stipend of 200k (Sprinklr Product design and Visual design)

The Free World

Most branches in IITR have a compulsory 2-3 credit course in their final year, which requires students to have completed an internship in their pre-final year. Yet, the on-campus hires for previous years constitute less than half of the total batch strength.

“But what of the remaining pilgrims”, you ask? The answer is, there’s a free world beyond the boundaries of our beloved campus. A free world full of opportunities for off-campus applicants, research internships and more. These off-the-book hires are what might get overlooked when people talk about the internship season, as these opportunities have been hit much worse than the stats on channelI would have you believe.

Although the number of companies hiring remote interns has gone up by about 24% during the pandemic[5] (with some like Facebook going completely virtual with their summer internship program), a number of firms still choose to go with either in-office interns or a mix of the two. This spells trouble for anyone with aspirations for a machax summer abroad.

Not so free anymore

With increased travel restrictions around the world, which may not be fully lifted even as infection rates begin to subside, a number of companies have either outright refused to hire international interns, or stated that citizens will be given preference. This means a severe disadvantage for anyone applying to foreign positions.

Perils of Research

Fortunately, major research programs for undergrads, such as DAAD, WISE, MITACS GRI, continue to function normally. But the situation is highly volatile for those in contact with advisors through individual mailing. This is based on anecdotal data and shall therefore be taken with a pinch of salt but a number of professors who don’t wish to hire remote interns have started to ignore or reject applications from international students under the current situation. A significant number of students from the batch of 2021 also had their offers revoked for similar reasons.


In the case of the U.S specifically, the problems run a lot deeper than a bunch of corporates deciding to hire traditional interns. A series of proposed changes to H1B visa regulations have recently been approved, making work visas much more restrictive[6]. H1B visa can only be used for staff in specialty occupations. Until now, foreigners with a bachelor’s degree were eligible for specialty occupations. However, now, they must specialize in their exact field. For instance, an electrical engineering major cannot fill a software engineering position. The open-for-all tech culture of IIT Roorkee is likely to take a major hit from this decision, as a significant chunk of opportunities is now permanently closed for students with non-core interests. The new regulations may be even more troublesome when it comes to niche engineering fields like Artificial intelligence or Cybersecurity[7] as not many universities offer dedicated courses in these disciplines and the positions are usually filled by professionals from loosely related fields.

The combined effects of these three factors, highlight an underlying issue with the idea of relying solely on the campus internship statistics to decide if the season was a success. Even if the numbers somehow manage to catch up with last year, it won’t be enough to make up for the drop in off-campus opportunities. With so many great options being lost to Covid, compromises are inevitable.

All that being said, Roorkee is undoubtedly doing well against all odds. We hope that internship season 2020-21 will serve as essential experience to be leveraged for a smoother placement experience for everyone. Things aren’t perfect and the ideal internship/placement season is still a ways to go but we believe we’re on the right path. Until then, best of luck to everyone that’s chasing the high of having your peers post on your timeline, the ultimate expression of approval there is. #SummerSorted









Picture Credits: Kritagya Nayyar