10 myths & facts about working in the Indian IT
October 27, 2005
India's booming information technology industry
already hires more than a million employees and the
numbers are set to grow manifold over the years.
Yet, the Indian IT sector, which has brought India on
the global map (far removed from the West's perception
of India being the land of diseases, poverty and snake
charmers), is still grappling with the issue of
high-end and low-end jobs and seeking out ways to go
up the value chain.
Here are the 10 myths and facts about IT industry that
you must know.
Myth #1: Company A has offered more salary than
Company B, so it is better than Company B.
Fact: A bigger salary does not always mean better
job-satisfaction. Big companies (with good cash flows)
can afford to give more salaries than other relatively
mid-sized or small companies or start-ups.
Also some companies outsource loss-making units or
less revenue-generating product and maintenance work
to India to cut costs, so job satisfaction for someone
more interested in work content than the money is
going to feel low.
For start-ups and small companies, salaries might not
be very good, but they might offer stock options or
bonus to compensate for this. Also work content in
these companies might be better than big companies.
Some venture capitalists in the United States, when
looking to fund start-ups, have begun to ask those
companies whether they have an India-specific plan.
Since these companies work on new/innovative products,
work content is likely to be good.
Myth #2: Let me join Company A. If I don't like it, I
will leave it and find a better job elsewhere.
Fact: Unless you are very clear about your goals and
ambition you will keep changing jobs time and again.
The best thing is to decide what you want to do quite
early on in your career.
However, this seems a daunting task. This is true for
someone with less than 3-4 years' experience and has
no idea about the industry and what one wants to do.
In addition, most of the companies hiring from
campuses do not decide in advance what project the
selected candidates will be working on. Later on, when
works get assigned it does not match one's ambitions.
Also, most institutes/colleges put restriction on the
number of job offers one can accept, so the selection
of companies is not by choice. However, if you have
joined a company that works on specific areas that are
not to your liking then it is best to look out for
It is quite difficult for the company to find
something that is specific to your interest, as it is
beyond its scope. However, for you next job search,
you should clearly indicate to your prospective
employer that you are looking to work in a specific
area (it is advisable to specialise in one domain/work
area) and whether the company does that kind of work
and you can be involved in that work.
Do not put off asking this after joining as it would
be too late by then. It is best to give multiple
interviews and decide on the one that best matches
your aspirations. Don't let salary be the lone
criterion when you make your decision.
Myth #3: Infotech work is more of 'a routine job.' No
high-end work gets done in India.
Fact:This might be true in many cases, but the
opportunities to work on challenging and complex
projects is increasing in India. Currently, very few
companies (rough estimate: 10-15%) in India are doing
this. If you are the brainy type, seek out such
companies. Using the best brain to do routine jobs can
lead to job-dissatisfaction soon.
Also, most companies that launch their operations in
India tend to give easy assignments in the beginning
and you might feel that the job content is quite
simple. But the important part is that is once you
finish the project to the satisfaction of all
stakeholders, the overseas management becomes
confident in offshoring more complex work.
If the management is not convinced, then you will
continue to do the daily chore. So, the bottomline is
that if your team delivers quality product on time,
you will get good work in the future.
Myth #4: Only product companies do exciting work.
Fact: The fact is that the typical work content in
product companies involves a mix of routine and
challenging tasks. In product companies, delivering a
quality product is of great importance and as a result
a typical product release involves multiple rigorous
testing and bug-fixing phase.
This is a typically mundane and repetitive task and
not always interesting. But it is important to
understand that this is a critical task from company's
perspective, as nobody would want to deliver a buggy
product in the market and lose customer confidence.
So you cannot just focus on design and coding, and
ignore testing and bug-fixing. Not only this, you
should be flexible enough to work in any area whether
you like it or not. You get both exciting and
non-exciting work in the long run.
Myth #5: The Indian IT industry cannot offer the kind
of job requirement I am looking for.
Fact: It requires a lot of effort to select the
company of your liking. With so many companies setting
up shop in India, this has made things even more
difficult. Don't follow the principle 'my friend is
working there, so I should follow him/her.' The
requirement of your friend might be different from
yours and you should seek companies that meet your
For experienced people, it is best to go through
recruiters and indicate your exact requirement to
them. If the recruiter is good, he will shortlist the
companies that meet your expectations. If you find
that the recruiter is not going by your interests,
look for another recruiter.
Myth #6: I received a mail from a placement service
saying that the job openings it has matches my
Fact: Most of the recruiters/placement services send
bulk mail to all and sundry. They do not scan resumes
properly and just match keyword(s). Personally, I have
received mails from recruiters, who say that my
profile matches the job they have on offer, but if I
look at the opening it does not match at all.
It is best to clear this with the recruiter before you
agree to appear for an interview. This saves you the
embarrassment of being on the ground that your
profile/experience does not match the job profile.
Most companies rely heavily on recruiters for
non-fresher openings and if they do not filter the
candidate correctly, then most likely HR will not
filter it either and call you for an interview!
Myth #7: Working abroad is better than working in
Fact: This might not be always true. If you are going
to work as a consultant in the US, you might land up a
worse job than what you were doing in India. With the
IT doom of 2000 there is a very small pool of highly
qualified professionals available in the US and they
normally get better jobs than Indian consultants do.
Typically, in product companies, consultants are hired
to do less critical work or work that can be done
easily. If your expectation is to do high-end work,
you will have to wait longer to do it. It is a much
better option to obtain a master's degree from
top-rated university in the US to bag better jobs.
Product companies usually hire the best brains from
these universities to do the challenging work for
them. Also the biggest advantage of working overseas
is that you get to work with the best brains and learn
a lot from them. It typically takes 4-5 years of
overseas experience to get a good understanding of the
overall execution of software products.
Myth #8: Management ladder is a much better option
than technical ladder.
Fact: If you are the kind who loves to be technical,
look for an organisation that encourages career growth
for core technical work and pays salary at par with
management salary for the same zone.
The demand for senior technical and senior architect
professionals will grow as more high-end, specialised
work gets done in India. Some companies have both
managers and architects in the same project.
The manager takes care of the people and project
execution, while the architect takes care of all
technical aspect of the project. For complex and large
projects, it is not possible for the manager to wear,
both, the technical and the managerial hats, and hence
the need to hire architects to take care of all
If you find the employer saying that you will be doing
20 per cent management and 80 per cent technical work,
treat the statement with caution. Most likely it might
turn out to be the other way around!
Myth #9: I am working abroad. If I relocate and work
in India I won't get the same job satisfaction.
Fact: This is no longer true. The nature of the jobs
done in India is as good as that in the US or other
countries. The only difference is that the products
that are futuristic in nature are not so prevalent in
the Indian IT industry. In addition, career growth in
India is much better -- and faster -- than overseas.
Myth #10: My satisfaction with the Indian IT industry
is not in my hands.
Fact: As stated in the facts to the above myths, you
yourself are solely responsible for job satisfaction.
You have to research well when making a career plan
and ensure you are at the right place.
The author is a software architect working for a
product company in Bangalore. He has more than 10
years of software experience working mostly in
product-based companies in India and the US. The views
expressed here are personal and should not be
construed as an industry view.