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September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature
Developers' Opportunity in India
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Bill Gates had visited India for the first time in March 1997 to analyze India’s potential as it relates to IT development. He visited several upcoming companies and spoke to some of the leading players in the Indian IT industry and also the top government leaders. What he witnessed left him speechless. Gates was astounded by the quality and quantity of human resource in India and the potential the Indian market had for the IT industry.

On his return, he told us about his experience and I was proud to know that though the IT industry had just picked up pace in India, a global company like Microsoft, that was doing most of its product development in one location in Redmond, Washington saw enough prospects to set up its R&D center in India.

Soon after Gates’ visit, I happened to visit India and got a chance to see the Infosys campus in Bangalore over a weekend. When I walked in to the campus I learned that Narayana Murthy had come and he wanted to meet me. What surprised me was the sight of many Infosys employees working over the weekend. Humbled by his gesture and awed by the dedication and passion of the employees towards their work, I had a heart-to-heart talk with Narayana Murthy. I learnt about his long term plans for Infosys and also for the Indian IT industry. How Infosys was thinking about getting the next generation personnel to be the leaders in the IT community resonated within me because many of Infosys’ philosophies were similar to that we had in Microsoft as well. To know that an Indian company is growing by leaps and bounds and has lot of values similar to that of Microsoft made me realize where India was heading to and this excited me a lot.

The excitement for me is still the same when I look back at the development my country has made ever since I left my hometown in 1986. A major change I have noticed over the years is ‘accessibility’. At the time I left India, the computer was way out of the reach of common man. However, now it is accessible to everyone, be it technical professionals or students in schools and colleges. This easy accessibility has led to the growth of a vibrant community of developers that builds technology, products, and custom solutions for customers across the world. The rate of innovation is far higher now than what it was 15 years ago.

As technology is reaching new heights, the demands placed on developers in today’s connected system world are far higher than ever before. When you think about connected systems, the one thing that comes to mind is that the world is becoming a smaller place every day. Take any application that a developer develops today; he has to think about applications that connect to any data source or applications that integrate with other platforms and applications that interoperate with many other systems and applications.

For businesses with mission critical needs, a developer has to develop and deliver mission critical applications that unlock the power of legacy assets. This brings about complexities in his daily development tasks. You really want a set of tools that enables developers to come together and work in a highly collaborative and effective environment so that they can deliver on the connected systems vision. Development tools like Visual Studio and .Net platform have made this possible. With such development tools in hand, developers all around the world now show an amazing amount of momentum, excitement, mind share, and ability to adopt to new technologies.

The result is that the sheer number of developers in India and elsewhere has increased many folds. Also new ideas and the rate of application development and its availability have seen a rise. For example, as the workforce gets more mobile we’ve seen an explosion in the kinds of mobile PC applications that are coming to the marketplace. If you look at last year particularly, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of people, the number of vendors or developers thinking about enabling the digital pen and ink enabling features in their mobile PC applications.

I’ve been at Microsoft for a little over 18 years and have seen how Microsoft has evolved in India. Microsoft works closely with over 650,000 developers in India with the aim of empowering them with the tools, technologies, and training required to develop high-end skills and compete in a global marketplace.

Our scope of work with the Indian technical community is spread across the academic community which includes the IITs, NITs, IIITs, and other educational institutions, System Integrators and ISV communities, and software professionals (developers, IT professionals, and software architects) who work independently or with an enterprise in India or overseas.

Further, all our initiatives for inclusive growth will aim not only at affordable access to computing and increased efficiency and competitiveness, but will also boost the growth of local software ecosystem.

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