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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Making engineering horses drink technology

Krishna Bhagavan
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Krishna Bhagavan
It is now an ad nauseam repeated cliché that India is moving up the value chain of technology services in IT, enterprise software, embedded firmware, ASIC VLSI design, and the likes. While that is a cheerful development, the flip side of it is equally perturbing.

For example, as a country, do we have a critical mass of high-tech professionals who can be solution architects in their respective domains? For a one billion population, do we have even 1000 engineers with more 10 patents each? Or for that matter, 500 engineers with at least two commercialized patents?

The point is that we are not yet where we ought to be, not progressing at a rate we should be either. We lack a horde of engineers who love to live technology, and that answers as to why we still do not have product organizations ready to take the world by storm. It would be wrong to say that engineers themselves alone are responsible for the crunch; it’s true that many of them divert towards managerial roles early on in their career, but the industry too has a hand in it. To get a better understanding of the scenario, let’s first take a look at a few interesting statistics I have gathered based on my experience.

If you undertake a survey of engineers who have started their professional careers around the 1998 to 2000 time frame, you will find that over 50 percent of them have changed three domains, around 60 percent have held three jobs, and over 80 percent feel that coding and programming are low-end works meant for juniors; project management and leading people is more like their forte. Almost nobody wants to be an expert in design related domains.

This is one of the reasons why we have many non-technical technical people as managers in the industry today. What I mean here is that these professionals claim to be engineers, but they understand technology as a black box, without being able to make head or tails of it.

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