Saturday, January 17, 2009

IT career : a suicide mission?

I just read a news paper article of an M.Tech IIT student committing suicide because he was yet to find a campus job. Immediately my thoughts went over to mid last year (2008). One day on return from office, I was treated to delicious Rasgullas (sweet from Bengal) because Roy aunty had successfully secured a Computer Science seat for her son with a leading college. The price a whopping Rs 25 lakhs. The Roy family had been camping at our home for over three weeks trying to get their son an engineering seat. The weekend after the success, I had to take Roys to see Infosys and Wipro offices. All conversations presumed that their son will join one of these companies in few years. My attempts to tell them that all things which go up come down too - with examples of textile mills of Mumbai came to a naught. Probably my attempts were too feeble or everyone just chose to think positive. Over next few days I tried telling them that their son was a wonderful singer and a music album should not cost more than Rs 5-6 lakhs. They could even save on that given the huge number of realty shows on TV. I did all this coz I was confident .... their son had no future in IT industry.

Over 75% of the people who started their career in IT in year 2007/08 will be unemployed in another 20 years. That time it will be more painful for them to bear it.

Let me explain why I say that. A conservative 2 lakh freshers started their career in IT industry in these two years (Infosys + TCS + Wipro alone accounted for nearly a lakh). A professional with 20 years experience will on average have 100 member teams. So in year 2028, these 2 lakh freshers of today should have 2 crore people under them cumulatively. Highly unlikely. A more reasonable figure would be 20 lakhs (assuming India does not loose out to other countries in outsourcing business). This means that only 10% of people at 20 yrs experience level will have jobs. Lets build an error margin of 150%. Yet only 25% will be employed.

Few people I have shared my theory with say they will not mind working at relatively junior levels to save their jobs. Hmmmm ... nice thought .... but as a business ... if I can have a 30 year old guy do the job of a 35 year old guy's job and that too at lower costs, I shall prefer 30 years young guy. The reasons are obvious - more energy, less liabilities (of children / parents falling ill etc). Unlike developed countries which have inverted demographics (less number of youngsters than older people), India has huge number of youngsters.

The other side to the story is talent erosion (similar to soil erosion) .... where in all fertile capability of a youngster is washed away by IT industry in first couple of years. When I meet these young professionals, I am amazed at the lack of their skills. I still do not know if anyone of us will entertain a carpenter who did not know how to use saw but was good at putting adhesives (fevicol etc) to furniture. Forget 1 yrs / 2 yr folks, even guys with 5 yrs experience do not seem to have fundamentals right. Very few seem to know fundamentals. Most of them cannot teach themselves new computer language. These folks are easily replaced ... by training a new set of youngsters. Even monkey can ape tricks . Why have expensive, aging and cribbing resources when you can have monkeys around by paying peanuts .... !!!!!!

Make a career in IT only if you have skills which will help you in long run ... high aptitude and reasoning (do not bother about verbal skills .... i know lot of companies like an idiot ask for it .... but it can be picked up pretty well on job and by reading newspapers). A good way to evaluate yourself will be CAT, XAT, eLitmus Test etc which have strong reasoning questions. Take the paper and sit with it. If the maximum time is X hours, in 2X hours you should be able to solve the papers completely with 90% accuracy. If you manage it ... there is no industry like IT industry, but if not ... just look for alternates.

If u don't have skills to succeed in IT ... be honest .... my advice to you is ... play to your strengths ... do not go with the crowd ..... your parents gave birth to you a few years too late .... IT industry boom is doomed .... in another decace or two .


  1. I'm an engineering student and i find this article quite interesting since it exposes the hard truth which might prove to be very hard to accept for a lot of people since they have already entered into the IT field. Definitely made me have have an introspection !

  2. The stats which mention that only 25 % people with 20 yrs experience will keep their jobs does not entirely convince me. I feel 25 % is too less a number for experienced corporate pro's. And preferring 30 yr olds instead of 35 is a debatable topic , i feel the latter provide a much better option due to the added experience.I actually feel this blog is stimulated by the ongoing recession, but considering the present situation the blog seems to be relevant.

  3. this blog is completely influenced by the ongoing recession !!!
    well it might highlight the truth but fact is that nothing happens according to wat v think !!!
    there will be some alternative which we dont know or havent cared to ponder over

  4. This blog is surely something I personally relate to. I'm 2 years into to my IT career and I'm realizing that I dont belong in this industry.i wish i had come across this article a couple of years back . Maybe would have made me pursue my passion.

  5. You really talk straight, STAIGHT TALK...!!
    Would like to add some points of mine.
    This article is definitely NOT influenced by ongoing recession, but the negativity associated with this topic acts a chain reaction and multiplies itself to heights of mountain due to this global slowdown.
    This will eventually happen, if NOT in 20 then 22 years from now.
    KEEP YOURSELF UPDATED if you are in IT sector.
    Few years from now, SKILLS would be the question rather than number of years spent, HAVE AN ANSWER THAT TIME or else you may have to face the unlikely....

    @ Seema: Dont get depress dear, but if you feel you dont belong to IT industry, then ask yourself what best you can do.
    The decision would be difficult, as by now you would be earning a handsome package and probably in a run for onsite opportunity in case you are working for those 10-12 self acclaimed software giants in India.
    But always remember, if you dont love the work you do, you will never have the hypothetical term "job satisfaction" which according to me is NOT hypothetical.

  6. very interesting.but i wana see what is happen in the future days i am studying BE,final year.i get a job in a softwar company.still 4 months is left to end my study but now i am start working for this companyas traniee.recent situation is very critical n u r views is very stright.i wish this condition will be good soon............

  7. What will most likely happen in 20 years is...
    1) at present (I mean till a year ago) Indian IT sector was facing a talent crunch (by "talent" I mean warm bodies and not really the "talent"ed people :)).
    2) as straight talk has put it (and I kind of agree) many folks will be incapable of moving to higher roles in the years to come (poor leadership or what ever...).
    3) My theory is that overflow in (2) will fulfill shortage in (1).

  8. @ Straight Talk:

    You wrote - "A good way to evaluate yourself will be CAT, XAT, eLitmus Test etc which have strong reasoning questions. Take the paper and sit with it....."

    Just think on student's prospective and tell me if one can think of anything other than "getting a job" after graduation.

    After all they have --
    1)The pressure of their family saying "Mr. Gupta's son got a job in Infosys, why you cant get one............"
    2) When all his friends updates their orkut status as "Gaurav@cognizant_now" or "amit@ibm,bangalore" !!
    and so on............
    3) When he/she is the one of very few left in the hometown with the same mobile number as they used during college......!!

    Although ideally they should practice the 3 exam papers you mentioned to test themselves but then.....

  9. Hi, My friend ask me to read this blog today.
    Its good.
    I will pass out in 2009.
    How can i prepare for aptitude.
    Currently i follow R.S.Agarwal for both Verbal and Quant. Can you suggest me some good book so that i can crack apti of all companies ?

  10. Hey man........u hv given a few some percentage of job n all.....gv d references solid evidence.....a page from d news sites.....othrwise stop spreading these craps.........we had enuf of it.

  11. Horrifying stats but true ....difficult to assimilate!For the past 10 years it was a jolly ride for both the students and the colleges.Who will not like if software companies started picking up 100s of their students?good appraisals for the college and the placement officers for the no work done.Many students will prefer the college if the placements are good!so the management is also happy.But no one gave a thought why i am choosing IT as my career,why this company is hiring in so many big numbers...?

    This article is really an eyeopener for all those people ,for all those parents who cannot think beyond Infosys/TCS/wipro...

    But what is the future of IT Industry?

  12. As i m de victim of this recession, I can say u this article speaks 100% truth. I advice all aspiring engineering graduates to develop some knowledge other than engineering like finance, photography, enterpre, etc.... Besides develop your leadership, communication skills too. If you are good at above mentioned qualities, nobody can stop you. all the best for ur future.

  13. Nice article. Though I'm an IT passout of 2008, so you can imagine my situation. I was campus placed and lost my job within 3 months. Actually I was never interested in IT. I was interested but not in that type of work usually done by Indians, i.e slave work. I wanted to be a researcher and developer in IT. To invent or develop something new. What Indians (Companies and Individuals both) usually do is to get projects from USA and UK, and then work like a laborer on it and deliver it (on time if they want to get more projects). And also take pride in it. Neither any Indian IT company has ever done something innovative to Computer Science/IT world, nor any Indian individual. Innovative I mean to invent some programming language, to invent something advanced than the internet (though the Japanese are working on it), or to do something in the field of Artificial Intelligence (again the Japanese and Koreans are working).
    I also think the same for BPOs. BPO boom should also burst as soon as possible. Most talented Indians migrate to USA and UK, and those who are left behind simply work on American projects and answering queries of Americans.
    So in other words you can say that most of India's young talent goes into building better America for Americans. So how will India develop? I think its high time now that these youngsters must enrol into Science and Mathematics courses and help in building India a real knowledge superpower and ultimately a real superpower.
    I am also seriously considering career change. I want to go for MS or M. Tech, may be from IIS but MBA never.
    What all these IT workers, BPO workers and MBA degree holders do? To serve America and Britain and other English speaking world, and most unfortunately, take pride in it that because we have this number of English speaking people in this country, that's why we get projects from America. These fools don't think that ulimately they are doing what they have had been doing since the East India Comapny arrived in India, i.e. slave work (clerical work).

  14. Those who are really talented in IT/CS should stop working on slave work (working on American projects) and should go on for higher studies MS or M. Tech and go into the field of research work. But I hope neither bloody Indian govt. nor and Indian IT company is serious about it. Actually Americans know it, the Indian govt, know it, that every Indian wants to become rich overnight. And the best way for it is to learn English and some programming language (invented by Americans and Westerners) from some institute and then work in some BPO or IT company. What our biggest of IT companies like TCS, Ingosys, Wipro do? Get projects from American clients and then work on it and take pride in it that we are getting projects from America.
    None of the Indian IT giant has ever invent software(s) like MS Office, Adobe Reader, not even a web browser, just leave alone any Operating System.
    So instead of wasting Indian talent on American projects, Indians need to understand this reality that no nation becomes great by serving others. See how aggressively China is working on all these things. In few years time may be China will also dominate the Compter Science world too along with USA, and then Indians will be learning Chinese to get projects from China. And that will happen for sure. Take it as either forespeak or as my prediction for future through my observation.

  15. Though whatever mentioned above reflects the true factor,its not completely the truth.Now the IT field is down that does not mean that it will remain down forever."There is always sun rise after sun set".

    There are lot of things that can be learnt by working in IT industry.Both workwise and personality wise.I think the above group of people are those group of people who never like to think positive in life.They will not think positive and will not let others also think positive.
    Please stop creating such negative vibes thinking that you all are doing great activity.

    Definately the IT industry is going to bounce back and you all group of people are going to witness that very soon and will definately regret for posting all the above comments about the IT sectors.