Indian IT programmers - where are thou hiding?

Disclaimer: I would be slaughtering a lot of sacred cows in this text. Please avoid reading if you cant stand negative opinions.

About 5 months ago, I got this wonderful idea that could have potentially changed the way we used the Internet. It was something really useful and it did not rely on advertising as its revenue option. I spoke to quite a few people about it and everyone was excited about it. In everyone's opinion it was bound to be a hit.

But there was a hitch. I could not find enough coders to help me create that application. I thought finding coders would be easy. Day in and day out we hear about the greatness of Indian techies. Media, Professionals and even politicians had no doubts on the coding prowess of us Indians. It was looking like a cake walk.

Confident of finding these coders fast, I tried everything from colleges to IT training institutes (NIITs, Aptechs of the world), mailing lists, online and offline networking events, referrals, outsourcing but I could not find enough people who could work with me. I was ready to pay any kind of salary or project fees or even stake in the business idea. And I did not want to develop a complex application like a new operating system. It was a really small application that would have taken a team of 3 coders about a month to complete in PHP.

Initially I thought I am unlucky that I cant find talent. When I spoke to other people trying to start their own IT companies, I was surprised to know that they also faced the same problem. They could not find enough quality programmers.

Coming to real issue, what happened to all those lakhs of students that passout from thousands of engineering colleges spread across hundreds of locations in our country? What about those uncountable number people working with giants like Infosys, TCS, Wirpo? Where do these companies find talent from? Do they go to a different planet to hire them? Or do they compromise on the quality of intake?

I distinctly remember that when I passed out from my college, every engineer was being recruited for software profiles irrespective of fact that his specialization was chemical engineering, metallurgical engineering, mechanical engineering or even biological engineering. They were sent to special training facilities generally located at Goa, Kerala and other holiday places. And in three months, they came back tanned and ready to take coding assignments of any kind.

We might argue that Indian IT companies have the intellectual capital to pull off anything. And we offer a cost advantage compared to rest of the world. Companies started outsourcing their things to hubs like Bangalore and Hyderabad (btw Bangalored is now officially a word) I have only one question. If we dint have the cost advantage, would we still remain competitive in the global market?

I am not saying that everything that we do in India is a waste. In my humble opinion bulk of work done in India is sub-standard. We do not innovate on anything. We just copy things done by others and make it cheap and hope for people to buy it. I keep on hearing interesting things happening in Indian IT space and how the new generation of Indians are reshaping the economy. How all the PE funds and VC firms are bullish on Indian IT. How every engineer and a management graduate wants to open his own firm. I am not doubting the intellect of Indians for a single second. What I am questioning is that we don't really hone the talent well in the country. Much of our talent goes for a toss ...

We take pride in saying that half the Microsoft staff is Indian, half the IBM staff is Indian but do e realize that all those people left our country to go settle in other countries and contribute to their economies?

Try thinking hard, can we come up with a list of 10 great software innovations in India? Is the future bright?

Related to this is my earlier post on Perils of Indian Education System.


shweta said...

I see ur bitterness in not being able to find coders but believe me there are lots of PHP coders. U havent found them doest mean they are hiding. Assuming, that it isn’t some rocket that u r trying to develop (PHP small app).

I agree that very few companies provide RnD work to india. Indian engineers (dont know abt IITians and other presitgious colleges - which is maybe 5% of indian working population) are not skilled in the RnD field. The edu system in India is all fuc*** up. Its a very impractical curriculum. Its all shallow theoretical knowledge. Its just passing exams and scoring high and getting into an MNC and earning a handsome salary. Colleges are ranked that way. But again, its not the education system alone, its students themselves too, the in depth learning is missing and more than that the "big picture" is overlooked all the time.

People who manage to think beyond, go places coz thats where their potential is realized, thats where they work with their kind. For ex, Sabeer Bhatia.

Very few stay back. Infosys is one of the best examples of innovations in india, it was a perfect combination of the right skills and the drive and someone who dared to think big. The very recent "babajobs" is another example. But yes, sadly there arent many, but am sure many are in the pipeline.

Coming back u not being able to find coders, for ur PHP app, I think it should not be difficult. Wonder why could not find them. Am sure that these are not the ones that have got drained from India. If they have and u have enough money, u cud probably outsource ur work, he he :) then there wud b another word in the dictionary "USAD" and wud make all bangalored deprived. :) Wish ya luck 

s4ur4bh said...


Its not about being able to find talent.

And I completely agree that even students dont look at the big picture and run after money.

However I disagree in Infosys. I know quite a friends working there and to be honest even the best among them would be average at best.

And thanks for your wishes and patient hearing.

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