A rant on IT

  • By Ashwin M
  • December 20, 2017 - 4 min read

The IT industry needs Bouncers

A doctor is supposed to invest time as a student, work as an apprentice and then gain a post-graduation to be able to get into an operation theatre and perform surgery on a human. To top it all, they’re required to swear by an Oath to protect human lives and act with compassion.

Why is it then that a an engineer is not required to undergo any of this jugglery? See the “jugglery” derogative there?

IT has an extremely low barrier to entry - so low that you can get in and learn on the job, make mistakes, forget, be forgiven and move on… Because software and data right! - they can always be corrected.

And us engineers are aplenty - one goes, another replaces the gap. And therein lies the problem. Absolute lack of respect! Absolutely no commitment to the task at hand! Almost absent ethics and value systems!

And somehow, we end up using swathes and swathes of software and drive the digital revolution forward. Its sad that most of us do not realise this is a problem.

Lets go out of the way and do some math: The formula for mathematical average:

Sum of all Entities / Number of Entities.

Now, given a mean value or average, as you add more entities that are lower than the mean value, the average goes down even further.

Eg: (5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1) / 5 = 3

(5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1.2 + 1.3 + 1.4 + 1) / 8 = 2.36

Magically! The converse works just as well - When numbers greater than the mean are introduced, the mean value goes up:

(5 + 4 + 3.2 + 3.3 + 3.4 + 3 + 2 + 1) / 8 = 3.1125

Okay, math class over.

Apply this to the IT industry - The more working pool you have below the mean, the harder it is to get good output from the industry. Snowball this and you suddenly understand why the IT slowdown and layoffs are affecting us.

Technical competence has never been the strong point of our industry. In fact, its our achilles heel. Our competence in the world has been on cost. Something that has been exploited to the point where even with the lowest cost in international business markets we’re losing business.

I like to present it as it really is - we’re heading straight up for armageddon in the Indian IT space.

This can be handled in one of two ways -

  1. Ensure people learn and learn really well.

This is definitely not possible since neither the employee nor the employer wants to spend time and most importantly money on actual learning.

We’re as a society flawed in our approach to education. Our emphasis has always been on the destination rather than on the journey. We have engineers who know the terms and have insanely high grades but are not employable because they never spent time understanding how something works under the hood!

What we’re behind is “certification” - a piece of paper which somehow adds “completely absent” value to the possessor with regards to a particular technology - and this is the biggest SCAM in the Indian IT industry today.

  1. Raise the barrier to entry. Bring on some bouncers here! Why does an engineer need to be in IT if its only for the money? The stock market makes more right? Ensure that your interviews are tightened down.

Companies of size no longer matter. Suddenly with all the SME’s playing hardball, the game is to play hard and play fast. Complacence and Authoritarian setups don’t work anymore.

Companies and employees both need to realise that engagement in IT is a two way street - Accountability from both sides. As an employee, You’re paid to add value! As an employer, you’re paid to consume that value the right way and expend it to the customers you serve as an organization.

For a lot amongst us, IT is a legal get-rich-quick scheme - Yearly hikes, foreign travel, possible immigration, you’re set for life!

But for a lot of other people, the genuine ones that drive the industry forward, this is blood and passion! This is their life’s work, this is their life’s dream! I think its bloody time we respected that!