Oct 31, 2007

IT in India

(My comments on the statement... "India's strength as a provider of skilled IT professionals is no longer an asset/ strength in the long run")

Ask any Indian teenager what he aspires to pursue as a career and the reply you get would be something to the effect of Information Technology। What makes this career choice the ‘perfect career’ choice is no longer a million dollar question.

The Information Technology (IT) sector in India has experienced significant highs in the recent years and the trend seems to be upward। The job market seems to be churning out a multitude of opportunities and money seems to be aplenty. People employed in the IT sector enjoy the experience of a lavish lifestyle together with the various technological challenges that keep young intellectuals craving for more.

In this context, India has grown steadily and has proven herself as a strong provider of skilled IT professionals। Many young minds have made it big, not just in India but all across the globe. The sheer number of Indians working in IT setups in the US would give the locals a run for their money.

However, in the recent past, India’s strength as a provider of skilled IT professionals seems to be challenged। Critics claim that the IT sector is growing in quantity at the cost of quality. With the kind of monetary and non-monetary benefits attached to it, almost everyone wants to plunge into the IT arena. Not all of us are cut to fit into an industry as challenging as the IT industry. However, with institutes of technology luring students with heavily endorsed advertising, the ‘number’ of IT qualified persons is steadily on the rise. All this has lead to reduced quality of technical skills making it difficult to differentiate between the ‘good’ and the ‘not good enough’.

Secondly, the youth today seem to take pride in job-hopping। This in the long run affects their dedication and respect towards the work they do. This, in more ways than one, contributes to the reduced quality of their contributions to the IT sector.

To summarize, we cannot ignore what the critics have to say about the state of India as a provider of IT skills। However, instead of lamenting over the issue we need to use it to do a reality check on ourselves. We need to identify and assess how we can emerge out of this potential problem that could bring a downfall in India’s booming economy.

Governing authorities should lay down, enforce and regulate stringent eligibility criteria and strict rules for the entrance examinations while accepting registrations to various technical streams of education। Proper counseling needs to be given to students at the right age to help them make mutually benefiting career choices.

The syllabi of courses offered by technical institutes must be redesigned to prepare young minds to face real life industry challenges। Various case studies and first-hand technical expertise needs to be shared with aspiring technologists. Essentially, India’s mantra to sustain herself as a super power would be to churn out technically strong minds that know when and how to use technology in such a way as to provide winning business solutions.

Another area that India could explore is that of the IT-enabled services sector। People wanting to take up a career in the services sector should be encouraged with the right blend of guidance and appreciation.

Yet another opinion that is commonly spoken of is that India should also try to focus on the hardware sector। IT is not all about C, Java and .Net. The hardware they run on need brighter minds to design and develop. With the right infrastructure, I am sure we can emerge as a hardware giant in the years to come.

Concentrating on building a strong workforce of young professionals in the ITES sector and exploring the possibility of making it big in the hardware sector will surely lead India to greater heights।

If India should ever be termed to have lost its asset value as a provider of skilled IT professionals, I think it is the responsibility of the techno-youth of the nation to stand up and project her as a leading nation that has emerged as an all round super power in the field of Information Technology।

There are a host of less trodden career paths in the field of IT that India can capitalize on and make the most of। Right from Biotechnology to Technical Writing to architecting and building homegrown software products and services… the list is simply endless.

What matters most is making the right set of choices and consciously making an effort to excel forever. India Shining could just about turn out to be a reality!!!

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