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.