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September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature
India today and tomorrow A reality check for young IT professionals
Rajesh Setty
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
People say that we have only scratched the surface of what’s possible in India’s IT sector. This may be true. The changes so far have been spectacular. Several Indian software companies have made their mark on the global map, and many more are eyeing to do the same.

What is being (conveniently) ignored is that a large majority of India’s knowledge workers have ‘stopped’ using their knowledge. They’ve put their minds and careers on auto-pilot.

Why? All large software projects need people who can perform intelligent but mechanical tasks. These people are well-paid and kept happy for their work. Don’t get me wrong. They are a very important part of the configuration, and they are required for this Information Technology boom to continue. However, people need to think about the future and not just today’s successes.

If you want to kill your career, you just have to engage yourself in ‘commodity’ work and be over-compensated. Think about it. Since it is ‘commodity’ work, you won’t need to use your brain. You’ll be happy with your pay check, and you will offer few complaints in the short-term. You will get stuck in a rut, but you probably won’t realize it until it is too late. Your lifestyle will have changed to fit your current compensation. Yet no other company will pay so much for your rote accomplishments and empty experiences.

Personal growth plans require investments for the future. If you are an IT professional, please try to answer these questions honestly for yourself. Then, determine if you need to make any changes in your life and career.

Reality check questions:
* Is it easier for someone else (in another country) to do what I am doing today?
* If I follow what everyone is doing, I will end up where everyone is going. Will I be happy with that destination?
* Why do I think that my current experience will be relevant in the future?
* Do I have the right balance between “flawless delivery today” and “investment for future capacity?”
* Am I really in-charge of my career?
* Am I proud of working for my company and is my company proud that I am working for them?
* Am I wearing golden handcuffs and get over-compensated for ‘commodity’ work?

Today’s young professionals are India’s future. Those who are part of the software boom must take a serious look at their careers now. A person’s career typically spans over 40 years, and young professionals sometimes forget that what they do early in their careers is the foundation for their future growth.

One thing is certain. You will pay the price. Either you invest in the future now, or pay a much higher price later.
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