Monday, June 20, 2011

My brothers and sisters

After mentioning briefly about software engineers in my previous post; I thought why not write about me! :-) Me as in many like me - Software engineers.
Do I see a "Oh! no not again! ?". Well, well, yet read; you have no choice! :-P The term software engineer is by itself a delicious title and so far the most uncertain profile ever. We ourselves dont find a definitive answer for the SW Engineer tag that gets attached against our name. 

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!! 


  1. well well well :)

    ok now my side how i got into computers , the most beautiful girls in chandigarh went for computer courses so I also went :) wasted my grand-dad's 10000/- rs, for a one year PGDCA course learning Wordstar, dbase , Cobol :) BLAAAAAH and offcourse the girls toooo

    I loved the last paragraph, I still get it, fix the 8086 processor computer :) or the one with the 51/2 inch floppy disk :)

    made me smile the post and thank god I do what i do :)

  2. I need to forward this post to my mom who always complains about my brother - "din bhar computer pe baitha rehta hai ,pata nahi company enhe paise kis baat ke deti hai ."
    The post made me smile :)

  3. Aaahhh that's so true insignia, though m not in development but still have a similar life cycle. Had came to glamorous IT 3 years back thinking about hefty pay package,foreign trips , interaction with foreign clients , a US unlocked iPhone in hand and a sleek and geeky laptop in lap . Ahhhhh dreams......

  4. So, I guess my son saved me from all this! I was promoted to being mom within a year after my Engineering!

    But, then how do I have too have a thinning hairline and bulging belly! :O

    Life is not easy either way. I know, I have been on both sides! :D

    And thank you for reminding me about the scary parts of Engineering College Life! I thought it won't scare me anymore, but I am shivering. Yikes! What a waste!

  5. Very rightly said! I have post out there in my blog about "A Typical IT experience" written some time back and here is the link for those interested :

  6. Thank You for sharing our so-called envious lifestyle with the world.. now its for them to decide if it is worth the jealousy :-)

  7. Now i can guess i m an software engineerer too... :)

  8. Ah, you have inspired me to write about lawyers now..We don't have an easy life either..we have to go through many hurdles too..I will write about it all..

    I have a few friends in this line..not many though..Since I have been a commerce student, I have come across the cribbing about our line..but a few of my cousins went for engineering..and they still struggle as they did it for the sake of it, opted for not so good college as they weren't so very intelligent..but they wanted to do engineering! Anyway, you do talk about your work some time..shit is anything and you will have to face or not, work or not, engineering or not!

    OK, I posted a boring comment on this interesting post..actuall ythe lawyer self had taken over while posting this!

  9. Hey B,

    Oh yeah! not to forget the hair line getting thinner at the same rate your waists go fatter!
    I loved this statement :) i'm just praying I don't go bald till my marriage ;)

    Every word talks about the life of SE :)
    amazing post!

  10. If you meet my husband, you'd modify your last statement. He is someone who knows how to live his life and he slogs too :).

  11. aren't we the one to blame for..
    we expect and push ourself so hard at times that we forget what we are,what and why and where we are dragging ourselves..

    gr8 post,sight and sound of an engineer...


  12. Bik,

    Cobol, wordstar?? oh my!! Haha do you fix them up? You are great :)


    Aah pity your brother :)


    Need not be in development neha, it happens to everyone right? :)
    Hmmm hope you at least have an iphone! :)


    lol! Yeah engineering would be a nightmare for ever :)


    ;-) Brace yourself my boy!


    :-) Let me read it


    Yup! I wanted to end that pang of jealousy once and for all; thats why :)


    Haaa good


    Waiting to hear your story lady! It is hell everywhere. This post is for those who say IT is so lucrative :)


    :-) Thanks, I am glad (not really!) that you can relate to this


    Wow! He sure must balance the job and the life well :)


    Thanks, yeah it is us! To perform, to earn, to do something in life. But heck! what else better could we do?

  13. That was enlightening!! Haven't see this species from close quarters!! Yeah, that's true!! :D :P :D

  14. baapre...scarry about the job..and yet as shilpa says enlightening...hey buddy y dont u write about the life of journalists...v hardly ever get to see the setting sun..spend nights my colleague used to say...v mostly saw 3Ps on roads at night: press, police and prostitutes..:)and worst is when world gets public/fest holidays or there is a disaster, v r at office workig...hey, did i grumble too much...???

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  16. Being from IT industry myself I can relate to this post..
    You should have also added about how most of the IT people working in MNC do live away from home for good rental home , always changing flat/room partners and their torture , compromise in lunch-dinner(Having just maggie for lunch) are soo common issues IT people do face..

    I still feel IT people are underpaid..If particular employee gets X salary, Company charges 10 times more to client as cost for that employee.. I have seen it.

    June 22, 2011 12:31 AM

  17. I was very scared of the computer, very scared.It took my son a few days to get me going. I am no match to any SW engineer, but I am OK with handling basiscs.

  18. Oh My God. This post is so hilarious. Disclaimer is the best....

    Then people bully...haha :)))

    Software Engineer don't have much clue about hardware yet people ask them to fix hardware software engineers turn off and on..problem solved..Software Engineers know that it is the memory leak that caused the crash...the memory leak that SE's left..hahaha

    Is it still parent's pride? I thought it is not lucrative anymore.

  19. Was away in a village about 35km from Kodaikanal for the last few days. Your post was enlightening to a rank outsider like me who has nephews and nieces and friends in IT. Hope all that justifies your pay pack which is what the rest of the world envies; and of course the foreign jaunts! ( Costa Rica!) :-D

  20. I'm glad I decided to study management after engineering.

  21. Ha ha ! Good one ! I am not in this field but my brother and several friends are in !

    And the transitions that you mentioned are stuff that I can relate to !

  22. Shilpa,

    Haha you better stay away from those will remain sane ;-P


    Lol! Dont be! We are humans too. Dont crib! Yes, your life is more adventurous than ours; but you have a responsible position...Each one his own right?


    Haa yeah! Thanks for adding them. Yes we are sophisticated coolies :)

    But who listens?

    Chowla sir,

    I can understand, I was damn scared of it when I started as well.


    Thank you, glad you liked the post.

    :-P Hahaha yeah we do know the trick; turning off and on and magic! It works!!

    It still is parent's pride - ticket to US :-P


    I envy you! Balan, the Costa Rica trip was due to my craziness entirely. I would do anything to travel...and this one...I just cooked up stories and took 7 days. Not every IT guy would dare do that.




    :-D The facts; yeah if you are not in control; thats how the transition is :)

  23. Insignia - i loved it..the sarcasm and the depth..:)

  24. ousu,

    :-) I am glad you identified the sarcasms here :)

  25. It is all fun when you look from outside. I have my son in the IT field who has been through all this.I have seen him coming home late nights,never having time to do some exercise,not having time to spend with his wife and child. He has been team leader and now to be consultant,but things havent changed much.Yes,it looks good.He has travelled to the US,Italy and Greece,ut he dislikes such trips.There is virtually no time to go around,it is all work.

    But then,at the end of the day, where is the perfect situation?

  26. Doc,

    Exactly, people dont realize that. Travel - its a pain..You have extra responsibility to fulfill tasks within that time line, acquire knowledge on new stuffs within short span of time and such.

    Yes, there is nothing like a perfect situation.

  27. Generally I don't like to do what everyone else is doing - Hence I joined Sales/Marketing as soon as I finished my Engineering! Let me tell you, things are no different there as well. If one thinks that they are going to negotiate deals and close them and do all that stuff, it will take a couple of years to get closer to that situation!

    But it has been a good experience working / being an important part of the business experience and I learned quite a bit from there. I switch my career once I am comfortable with it, and hence now I am switching it! I think software engineers should be more daring and innovative - what about doing something on your own after a few years of experience? I don't see many software engineers going that way - perhaps because of the pay package?

    Destination Infinity

  28. ES,

    Welcome to B Log :)
    Its very few people like you who can go off track. Most of us are scared and wouldnt take such risks.

    Yes, I do wish to do something I like after few years - pursuing music, traveling and such.


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!