Category — Outsourcing
Ques- What warning sign is written on the boundary walls of the TCS office in Madras?
Ans - ‘Beware Trespassers- If you are not careful, you will be recruited’
That was a common joke for us, way back in 1996, when I graduated out of my engineering college. At that time, TCS was the only Indian software company which used to hire by the truckloads. But now, it is getting stiff competition from the likes of Infosys, Wipro, IBM, Accenture etc, all of whom are hiring armies of engineers every year. Every fifteen days or so, you get to see headlines like these (I have become immune to these headlines now)
Rediff : Infosys will hire 25,000 people this year
Zdnet : 30,000 job vacancies at TCS over the next 12 months
Without being biased, I must say that such headlines are great news for a lot of people. For instance, it is great news for Infosys or TCS; it is great news for these companies’ investors; and it’s also great news for NASSCOM or the Indian Govt. But software engineers (specially those who are particular about the kind of work they want to do) should be a trifle careful before taking these headlines at face value. Here’s why-
- When a company has to hire 25000 engineers in a year, it’s impossible for it to hire 25000 quality people. It will hire just about anybody, who is acceptable, and who they can get their hands on; which means that if you, (a fresh engineer) are getting hired as one of those 25000, you are going to a place that has lowered its standards considerably. You are being hired by a body shop, which, when you leave that company, will simply replace your body with somebody else’s body. Infosys is in fact, experimenting with hiring BSc graduates in place of engineers. The feeling of being part of a herd will surely be a huge blow to your self esteem.
- Secondly, when you join a company along with thousands of others, this could have stunting consequences for your future career progression. You will have to compete with all those people for every promotion decision, every opportunity. Its a very scary thought.
- Thirdly, most of the companies that hire these huge army of engineers are not necessarily doing very challenging or rewarding work. They are simply encashing the business oppurtunity created by labour cost differentials in different parts of the world. Which usually means that they are doing low grade work. Next time you go to face an interview at Infosys or TCS, ask your interviewer this simple question- How much intellectual property does your company actually own? I bet, he will want to hide behind the curtains than answer your question.
- Fourthly, don’t get shocked if you are asked to work on 1980s software platforms like COBOL, Pascal etc. Many of the business applications that these companies service and maintain are of that vintage. I am aware of a few cases where employees left in sheer desperation because of these issues. Its a small chance but it could happen to you.
In all honesty, there are definitely lots of advantages in working for these large firms. But while deciding on these issues, don’t fall for these glitzy headlines, but take a informed decision.
August 24, 2006 18 Comments