A few weeks ago, Snapdeal cheerfully declared that “right programmers are rare in India” and the tech world went abuzz about how right or wrong that statement was. Javed Anwar, in an article published on the India Today, a leading Indian magazine, came to certain arbitrary conclusions that many faculty members in India with great CVs did not know even the basics of what they were teaching and that they also lacked insight about the implications of plagiarizing research. The author concluded that Snapdeal had to look for people from outside and that “that is the only way for it to grow”. How much of these conclusions are valid and how many of these claims are without biases and prejudices?
If we scratched the surface, it is quite evident that a single company’s decision to recruit programmers from abroad does not say anything about the actual situation in hand. To begin with, some of the largest and most important companies of the world have recruited Indian programmers. For example, Zoho built its entire product team from the scratch in India. Whether in India or in the U.S. or just about any country in the world, what is truly important is nurturing talent where it is found, taking corporate culture seriously and shouldering industry responsibility. These factors can be religiously followed by companies who are in the game for long haul, as we do at Indus Net Technologies.
Existing problems and possible solutions
It is an often repeated attempt at humor that Indians first become engineers, and then proceed further toward planning their futures and careers. This is mostly because of affordable education because of which more people can access higher education even if they do not have passion for certain subjects. Moreover, software engineering has always been the surest ticket out of poverty, as The Atlantic magazine noted way back in October, 2013.
In an insightful article titled “Behind the ‘Bad Indian Coder'”, The Atlantic discussed what is now being discussed post-Snapdeal fiasco – that Indian education system has failed its citizens. It is not the Indian programmers that lack skills but the way they are taught that makes them think in slightly different ways than their western counterparts. This includes rote-learning, lack of researching and Gestalt skills & an inability to be innovative even while they possess the talent.
While overhauling Indian education system is going to take time, what really needs to be understood is that the responsibility of nurturing talent falls squarely upon Indian service providers. Indian IT companies that recruit these poorly paid programmers are often in a hurry to churn out codes rather than encourage real talent to grow from within organically. What really happens at the end of the day is, Indian programmers are fired by their Indian employers if they do not meet or achieve targets. Consequently, there is no real room for innovation or nurturing talent.
The companies that really excel in India are those that actually take time to nurture their employees and sort of provide a second education. Indian companies that realize the problems are focusing more on polishing and nurturing their existing employees, instead of forcing them to produce code, just as they were forced to produce homework in school. Thankfully, companies that nurture talent, speak for themselves and their employees are in demand internationally, whether they are Indian or not.
What do we do at Indus Net Technologies to nurture talent?
If companies feel there is a dearth of quality programmers, it is often their own responsibility to train their employees and nurture existing talents. At Indus Net, we nurture skilled resources and use that as a differentiator from the persistent noise in the industry. With more than 550 talented employees in two distinct units, we are able to focus on encouraging each individual to achieve a sort of self-actualization in their professional field.
Among the two groups, one focuses on SMBs and the other on the enterprise grade projects. We follow a protocol when it comes to quality bench-marking. This process involves training new recruits and allowing them to form internal teams & build something on their own, under the leadership and guidance of a seasoned project manager. The project manager ensures that skilled resources are individually trained and nurtured before they interact or start working on client projects. The process includes cross-cultural sensitization, technical skills, focus on innovation and creativity & honing one’s existing skills and talents.
Indus Net Labs is one of our unique ways to encourage our employees to spend 20% of their time creating something on their own. This is inspired by Google’s similar projects. Some of the products that resulted from Indus Net Labs initiative are SocialFire (a WhatsApp for businesses and organizations), Mobileafs (a digital publishing solution) and InfraFix (an eGovernance and maintenance solution).
Let us not be prejudiced and biased
To say that Indian programmers are not talented is a prejudiced and biased way of looking at things, to the point of sounding colonial. What really is ailing today’s programmers is lack of opportunities to innovate and nurture their own talent. This can be made possible by following our example of allowing individuality, creativity and ideas to be nurtured.
While there are certain cultural problems that seem to portray Indian programmers in an unfavorable light, the onus remains on companies to hire and nurture promising IT talent. With a keen sense of technology and already-existing English skills, Indian programmers can be groomed into world class professionals, just like we have been doing for several years at Indus Net Technologies.