Wednesday, March 12, 2008

India's software crisis

As many of you might have figured out I work in what is called "India's Software Industry". I am based in India. I have always wondered "Is India's Software Industry akin to sweatshops in rest of the Asia for other Industries".

I believe that to be the case and hence I am not really very optimistic about future of India's software industry. It is not going to die one fine morning but very soon it will start looking more and more like "Medical Transcription" industry. The reason it is so fixated with US markets is because it never did anything to develop technical skills. Tell me one company which is developing cutting edge technology. What IT industry is investing is in things like "finishing schools" so that they can hire cheaper labor from class B and C towns and still maintain the wage arbitrage advantage.

I have two issues with that approach, first the belief that talent from class B and class C towns needs finishing and second wage arbitrage can sustain anything. If the whole advantage that you are bringing to the table is pricing, somebody else will do it cheaper, or god will step in and dollar will weaken.

Today I got a call from one of the placement consultants. Here is how the interaction went.
Caller: Hello, I am calling from "ABCD consulting" and are you interested in a change

Me: It would depend what the change would be

Caller: They why did you post your resume on monster

Me: So that I can find out what are the possible changes

Caller: I have an opening with a large American MNC for Senior Software Development Architect.

Me: I don't think I would be interested in anything like that

Caller: Why, you don't like development and stuff

Me: No, I like development and stuff but I am not interested in that opportunity

Caller: Then why are you not interested

Me: See, I have close to 18 years of professional experience, if you were calling a manager with that kind of experience then you would offer him a director or a general manager kind of position

Caller: Yes, that's true

Me: Then just because I am interested in development and stuff, why do want me to be a variant of Architect which in Indian industry is characterized as a role with 5 years to 25 years of experience. If a job description is that broad, I am sure there is nothing for me there

Caller: No but managers are different, they need to manage.

At this point I said thanks you and moved on with my life. But the fact is that I have seen that being repeated time and again in Indian software industry, it is an industry which is controlled by people who have moved away from core technology and are doing "people management". Not that anything is wrong with that, but these people are smart enough to get involved in critical project but only pick up pieces that are not really technically challenging That way they leverage on their competence of being a manager and that is a good thing. I only think that it is not sustainable as a software industry.

What further made me believe on this was another telephonic interview that I had with program manager of a large database manufacturer.
Caller: We need somebody who can put together end to end systems

Me: I have had experiences in putting together large end to end systems costing multi-million to billion dollars

Caller: So can you tell me how to use Log4J

Me: I can tell you, but can you explain to me how do you people use Log4J in putting together large end to end systems

Caller: We use it a lot, ok, never mind

Caller: Do you have any more questions

Me: No

So here is my rant about why I don't think Indian software industry has a bright future. I hope I am wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment