A banter over lunch with colleagues turned into a serious discussion on the truth about the future of IT Jobs in India. The only point we all agreed on is we are amid a transformation. There is a huge change in the way Indian Software Services going recruitment. There is no addition to the list of IT companies with large pools of engineers in the last 5 years. There are more mid-size (anywhere between 50 to 200) companies than before. Well, these changes have impacted the lives of an average software engineer.
Organizations have been pushing technical rounds for senior positions like Program Manager & Technical Project Manager. They expect people getting into these roles to know how to code, not just the architecture. One of my colleagues remarked that this is a huge gap between the practice and the reality. He says there is staff with as less as 1 to 2 years experience who need to be 'managed'. According to him, these staffs are not capable of taking 'responsibility' for their work hence they need someone (manager) to stand by them and take responsibility for their work. There is truth in what he says. Most of the clients, that I know of, who use services of Indian IT companies to get their work done have refused to pay for a non-technical project manager. So, where did we go wrong?
A decade and a half back, things were different. Most of IT Services companies were in a virtual race to recruit freshers from campus which caused the count of engineering companies to go up. Most of these trained engineers joined teams as 'backups'. For projects or engagements with a 100 people billing, there were over 150 to 170 people working. Clients were happy as they were not paying for the extra heads while IT companies had 'ready engineers' for future projects. Engineers reported to Team Leads, Team Leads reported Project Manager, Project Manager reported to Program Manager, so on and so forth. Every time recession hit the industry, they will lay these 'backups' off. This resembled a manufacturing factory setup where a supervisor will show a worker how to do things and worker will gain more knowledge.
Now, things have changed. Companies looking outsource the IT projects & services will split their work and distribute it to different contractual partners. The reasons are many and the top reason being competitive pricing. They will take the risk of bringing on board new partners who can deliver with flexibility and at low cost. This has put the IT service companies under pressure. Now, the companies want to recruit staff capable of taking 'responsibility' for their work, without depending on a manager. Thanks to Agile Scrum, now there is a process to support this. Companies are forced to go 'lean' and get more people who can contribute (read 'hands-on') than just 'manage'.