Do I see a "Oh! no not again!
Ever since India got into the IT business, we have seen the demand of IT and related courses in college. Since sometime back, IT was a lucrative opportunity. A glamorous career right from the start in a reputed MNC, handsome pay package and awesome life. Here is a gist from a SW Engineer's life.
Disclaimer : Any reference to incident, person or anecdote is pure facts and definitely bears resemblance to all living SW Engineers
Potential SW Engineer : The IT/Comp-Science/E&C Engineering student. Parental and relatives pressure forces him to study hard during his matriculation years to get a medical seat. Tries his luck to grab an engineering seat as well. Low medical rank, engineering rank not good enough to find eligibility in a deemed/reputed university. Settles for a private college affiliated with a decent university; or if affordable; finds a payment seat in a reputed college. Clean state, all enthusiastic to start fresh. Gets bogged down the very first semester with innumerable internals, labs, theiry papers, compulsory attendance and blah..blah..blah.. Works his ass out the next 8 semesters - cheating in internals, seeking lab instructor's help, paying fine for lack of attendance, buying projects, getting caught by lab externals for buying projects......
4 years, 8 semesters, 50+ theories, 20+ labs, 6+ projects, 24 internals, 8 semester exams, 24 lab exams, 6 project demonstrations - soft skill trainings, written tests, placement interviews.....phew!! The D-Day arrives. A Fully Nurtured Software Engineer ready to solve the world's problems...Yieeppiieee!!!
Rookie : After all those hurdles, by hook or by crook; manage to grab a MNC offer. The company is known world-wide, has its footprints in major countries, life-changing technologies to work on., healthy work environment.....Fresher is all excited. His chest puffs and puffs with pride! He wears his ID badge on the collar(literally!), its all so overwhelming to be working for a dream company. Flexible work hours, free snacks, free beverages, outing, lunch, friendly colleagues, more friendly manager, an awesome pay packet....what else to ask for? Parents pride, neighbor's envy.
1+ Year : After all that initial hysteria and pride, truth sinks in - that the title of software engineer is too broad and shallow; there are heck a lot of profiles related to software and that not all are exciting and challenging. That initial sumptuous meals during the induction and new-hire training was a bribe to sit through the whole stuff ;-) and that humongous cost to the company did not necessarily mean CTC/12 - those were flexible benefits and not to forget the tax and your 'take home' is what matters :-) Still trying to figure out if you enjoy your 'work'; still trying to grab on to those fancy terminologies and the 'I am doing great' feeling.
3+ Year : The late night conference calls; trying to be as polite as possible while being belted black and blue by your 'client'. When your supervisor feels you are good for nothing and your juniors look up to you while you feel distress! Not to forget those 'extra responsibility', 'raising the bar' and 'you are capable of delivering more' sweet talks. Long working hours, conked up biological clock, irregular meal times. Well did you notice your growing belly and your receding hairline?
Senior Engineer : Ill-fitting T shirts, sloppy looking jeans, good to throw away slippers, unkempt hair, shabby!!. :-) The new age nerd - the techie. Scurrying away with laptop; always confused look on the face. The face! - pale, lifeless, dark circles, under eye bags....On the verge of being diagnosed with a repetitive strain injury; yet free internet, free phone, free gym(which you dont even know exist), free cola........who cares!
Team Lead : Neither here; nor there. Always paranoid of expectations - technical expertise and management ability. Do I prepare this status report? Or work on this new feature? If I do this, they ask me what happened to the status; and if I am working on the status; they want to know about the new feature implementation! At this level, you ARE expected to handle multiple tasks with ease! Yeah right! I drive my newly acquired hatchback(on EMI which eats up 30% of my salary for 5 years) while taking conference calls!! Is it not multi tasking?
So here is what it is - Pride of the family, darling of your spouse; inspiration to your kids, earning handsome money, holding a job to die for (yeah to DIE for), having a great work environment......................
But slogging day and night, no regular work hours, hoping your folks will understand 'tapping the keyboard is still lot of mental work' and that 'working from home' means you ARE putting in serious work and effort. It means you are entitled to pay tax religiously and your 'take home' has dramatic difference than your CTC.
Being a software engineer also means people have right to bully you because you are 'sophisticated' in other words - a dumb idiot. It means you CAN fix your neighbor's printer or offer career advices to budding engineers. Oh yeah! not to forget the hair line getting thinner at the same rate your waists go fatter!
We need to get a life my brothers and sisters! seriously!!