I find two aspects of Indian system that are very disturbing to me. I try to tell about it to everyone I come across here in India, but not everyone understands it or sees it the way I see it. Hear me out.
1. Bricks – The Educational system: Whenever I think of the Educational system and the IT training system in India, it reminds me of that song “another brick in the wall“. The system just churns out bricks after bricks. Same studies, curriculum and no creativity. I am more close to IT training system here, so I want to pick out an example from there.
Recently I happen to go to the IT training capital of Hyderabad – Ameerpet. I was there to checkout Adobe’s Flex training. I was shocked to see what has happened to the place. The place is filled with posters and banners – everywhere about all the technology training they are offering. The place is filled with pamphlets. Oh, let me correct myself – the place is ‘littered’ with pamphlets. All the time I was there, I was actually walking on them. People just randomly give out details of IT training in those pamphlets. When some guy offered me one, I said no thanks and you should look at his face. He was shocked to see some new response from people. No one there says no to the junk that gets handed over. They just take it and drop it right there on the street!
So, anyhow my point is not about the junk yard IT training. It’s about how all these million training institutes are giving the same training and churning out same damn bricks. A typical Indian guy comes out of college and heads straight to one of these institutes. This is the place where his American dreams are crafted and sharpened (Another blog post on American dreams later) He learns some course which is in hype and everyone else is learning. Putting in no love in what he does. Later enters the market where everyone else and their mom has the same skill set he has.
There is no differentiation. There is no creativity. The training institutes makes a lot of money. The trainers actually mint money. If the trainer is somewhat good, then there is a queue for his classes. I used to attend a class where there were 1000+ students in one class. We used to watch the trainer in a TV sitting in some 50th row. The trainer also can get weird with their hubris – once I attended a very popular class on EJB (don’t bother if you don’t know what it is – the world doesn’t care) where the trainer came to class drunk! He did a great job of lecturing though.
So, my point is – almost all the training institutes do the same old training and make a lot of money. The end result is we have a lot of Indian techie population who are trained in same things. There is a reason for these bricks and that’s my second point.
2. Sheep – The herd mentality of Indians: At my job I tend to mingle with everyone. I talk to almost everyone and check what they do and how they are doing whatever they are doing. I try to talk to young people who joined the company recently and ask them questions as to what they want to become. I don’t blame them for not knowing what they want, but I do feel uncomfortable by the way they are thinking.
These guys, most of them are in IT field because:
- Someone told them that there is more money in it.
- Their cousin did it.
- It’s cool to sit in front of a computer all day (You can browse!)
- Most frequent and important reason – Everyone else is doing it.
I feel so sorry for them. All these sheep that are coming in to IT world are just going to be some tech slaves to someone in some corner of the world. Not many of them are in Tech field because they actually love it. Very few and very rare to find a non-sheep in there. These guys just blindly follow what others are doing. They have some ideas about how they do “follow the often followed path”. Everyone thinks that they are doing it different, but frigging no. They just think that they do, but they are just following someone in the tech field.
When they ask me questions about my career and my life, I always tell them that I always tried to differentiate. That’s how I got so far. I always wanted to stand out in my field. So, I end up learning different language other than Java (gasp!). I try to read people, software management books even though I am not doing management actively (gasp!). I try to draw up my thoughts, ideas etc on white paper rather than typing the code first (gasp!, you should look at my school exam papers – they are filled with my creative art. Hehe)
I believe we are all unique. If God intended or made us same then we all would be carpenters – Hint: Jesus. But nope. He made us unique. It means that we as human beings, every one of us,has something in us which is so unique that there exists nothing else like that in this universe. It’s our job to find that out and just enhance it. Viola. The world would love you for just doing that. To follow some dumb, rotten well followed path means to ignore the uniqueness within us and disrespect the uniqueness that Universe has bestowed upon us.
My unique interests are Technology, Software, Economics, Spirituality, Cognitive Science – all mixed up together. I add a little of all of the above when I write code or pick out a language to learn.
So, coming back to sheep. This herd mentality actually hurts companies, teams, even our country. These sheep produce crappy software, crappy team management etc., because they are not in the business because they love it but someone else has led them there. I know a lot of guys, who actually, literally cried in front of me because they couldn’t work on Java! They were frigging working on far more advanced projects and technolgy than Java. But they were whining about not being able to work on Java. Why? Because their friends we able to go to US of A because they knew Java. Phew! It’s like their hands are in India and heads are in US.
So, I conclude:
Sheep Mentality + Brick Training == One nation of followers
If you think seriously, so far India hasn’t done anything pioneering in Software/Technology even after having so many tech aware people. We are all good followers, but never make good leaders. I think it has something to do with those 400 years British ruled us. The imperialistic mind tend to follow instructions a lot than making it’s own rules. We lost it so much that now we have to learn Ayurveda from Westerners. We are a very good nation for BPO work. And if you come across any great leader in India, just look back and see where the person did his/her education or work in the past – I bet it’s some western country. Don’t believe me? Checkout Gandhi’s history!
So I end this with one last thing, if we ever do a evolution chart for Indian Tech people it would be something like this: