The Road Ahead – The Smart techie cover story

The month’s ‘The Smart Techie’ magazine has come up with a cover story titled ‘the road ahead’. The cover story about the career roadmap for techies and the problems they are facing. Since I know some of the folks in the magazine, they asked for my opinions and it published it as a part of their story. The complete cover story can be accessed from the link:

I am giving the questions they have asked for their cover story and my answers below:
  1. Can you explain in detail, how do you factor the big trends in technology into your career strategies? Along with your explanation kindly give us a specific instance of how you have done it.
To be very honest I feel the big trends in technology don’t have much impact on individual career. Even though technologies change very fast, the fundamental learning process remains the same. So as long as I have the learning mentality it only had positive impact on career.
  1. Has your position today enabled you to integrate globally? If so how? If not, how do you intend to gain that ability?
The answer is yes and no. Even though we call the ‘world-is-flat’ because of the global outsourcing and off-shoring, there is still lot of limitations to position me globally. This is mainly because of the following reasons:
* The type of technology work we get to do in India is not really cutting edge. Even though we tend to proclaim India is the real hot-spot for product development we sill have a long way to go. There is more media hype than reality.
* We are away from customers and the products we develop are not getting deployed in countries like India. Except for very few exceptions in the mobile domain we don’t have customer centric knowledge.
* The work we get to do in India is more of ‘engineering’ work and other aspects like marketing, sales are not there. Since engineering contributes only 15% of the product life cycle its hard to get an overall product development experience.

  1. Which fields do you think are experiencing the fastest growth?
Any technologies related to consumer and retail segment are witnessing the fastest growth. In the consumer devices domain I can say the consumer electronic and embedded devices, RFID, Supply chain areas are experiencing very good growth.

  1. Which fields do you think are seeing biggest growth in terms of new jobs openings?
Embedded systems, SAP and ERP
  1. Are you dissatisfied with opportunities in your present field? If so, how are you planning to go about it? If not, how do you plan to leverage the emerging opportunities?
No. I am completely satisfied with the opportunities in my present field. I am planning to leverage the opportunities by:
* Keeping a learning mindset and learning the complete product life cycle.
* Achieving excellence in engineering delivery
* Promoting innovation with 100% passion
* Seeking out new product development opportunities.
  1. Which specific segments of the field you are in is growing? Are there job openings in these segments?
I don’t have any specific data for this.
  1. What is that one thing you want to do in 2007 in order to accelerate your career growth? (Kindly explain in detail and why you think so it is necessary?)
I would passionately take the path of ‘innovation’ in the year 2007. Because by innovating new things, will give ‘beyond-cost’ advantage for organization as well as to customers for getting work done out of India. This innovation can be in the form of:
* Coming up with new methods for productivity increase (Say some tools, better processes, automation).
* Suggesting new solutions for existing products and influencing product roadmaps.
* Innovating multiple solutions and marching towards end-to-end product.
  1. If you are a manager, what have you been thinking to communicate to your team members about their careers?
I would like to give the following points to my team members:
* There is a huge difference between job and a career and try to explain the difference.
* Giving a clear vision for the group and how an individual can align his career aspiration with the vision.
* Last but not the least. Leading by example.
  1. How do you relate changes in the economy, changes in the lifestyle of people and changes in technologies to your career path?
There is a huge change because of these changes. The changes in economy and people have really changed the world upside down and definitely have impact on my career. These changes brought in huge change in the way I think about career.
  1. Leaving aside the technology trends, what have you been thinking about your current compensation and what strategies will enable you to monetize on the current trends (maximize your earning potential)?
I think compensation is a ‘relative’ term. As long as I am able to consistently demonstrate my capabilities to my current organization I don’t see any problem happening over there.
  1. Is going to the U.S. still a fascination for most techies you work with? How do you see U.S. experience adding value to your career? If your current employer does not have an opportunity for you to go to the U.S. , then what are you doing about it?
No. Going to US is no more a ‘fad’ among my techie circle. As I mentioned before the US experience might help in understanding customer and connecting with VCs and senior folks. Most of the organizations (Including mine) will at least make sure that we get to travel to the US on business. So I don’t see any problem over there.
  1. In terms of location, which city in India do you think offers more job openings and why do you think so?
Of course Bangalore! It is mainly because of its ‘early mover’ advantage. Many big companies are moving out of Bangalore but for niche areas Bangalore continue to be the hot spot because of the talent pool.
  1. Which city offers you more compensation and why do you think so?
Bangalore. The answer is same as #12


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