I also can't see how its changing, I've become rather cynical from having to deal with it constantly. I sure hope you're right, though.
We, also got burned by someone who accepted another offer and quit, a week after beginning work with us. Obviously, that guy--and whoever recommended him--are on our shitlist now. Word does get around hopefully.
> It's hard to argue they're wrong.
Except for the fact that in this very thread there seems to be quite a backlash against them. Seems to be very short-term and selfish thinking.
Eugenics. Thalidomide. Radium paint. Lead paint. Leaded gasoline. The list goes on.
It's quite easy to argue against taking shortcuts and eschewing rigor in favor of "results" if you know some history and have some perspective.
There is a huge amount of friction that eliminates if counterparty can be trusted vast majority of the time.
Our HR Department now calls new-hires every couple of days to keep them engaged so they don't take a job elsewhere. It sucks when you hire someone, plan things three months in advance, and.... they don't show up to the job without ever telling you they took a job somewhere else.
And yet nobody ever agrees to lower the 3 month notice period rule.
The industry wants 3 months, so their benches are warm, and they can handle the buffer better.
How thoroughly one side has won indicates how thoroughly the power is held. One could call it legal enslavement.
> The workers want no notice period.
Im my anecdotal experience nobody wants "no notice period"
If you don't take a job seriously at one company, why would I expect you to take a job seriously at my company?
If I offer you a job, how can I be sure you'll show up for it, and not just take the next offer that comes along? I can't. So you're no longer in consideration as soon as you tell me you're disloyal to your other company.
In some industries in America (especially media companies, but it's also common in high-end retail), if your boss hears that you're looking for another job, you're immediately fired. Sometimes it's even written into the contract, if you have one.
A job is a business. The loyalty is goes only as far what the company or the employee can offer.
Likewise a company can fire employee anytime as soon as that employee is not needed anymore or better employee come along.
Doesn't this go both ways? In this day and age in America, there's no loyalty going in either direction, employer or employee.
I think it's hard for most jobs, at least in my space (mobile software) to do much effective work when staying only for -let's say- 3 months at some company.
But mismanagement happens. The example you mention of being let go after just 3 months should be the exception, not the rule. I certainly never experienced something like that. Then again I like to work for big clients, feels to me more guaranteed they will still be in business tomorrow and me getting paid.
"Make game of that which makes as much of thee."
Some people steal; some might have even stole something from you. Doesn't mean you have to too, and I doubt most people are held back only by law/punishment.
Of course, once the candidate joins the company, regular interpersonal concepts between employees that involve loyalty and commitment can be pursued.
To all the people mentioning ethics - a company can and will fire people without any reason. I know a couple of people personally who can't sleep not knowing why they were fired. In 30 mins, they were walked out. That's incredibly unethical but for some reason, not giving advanced notice to your employer is considered unethical? Hypocrisy!
In a little over 25 years of experience, I've observed that the most competent developers I've worked with have been Indian. The most incompetent developers I've worked with have also been Indian. That doesn't say anything about Indians as a population, it's just that 90% of my coworkers, for the past two and a half decades, have been Indian.
There are some great developers here and plenty of crappy ones. And some of the worst developers I've worked with are Americans in America.
I'll also add here that a many of the best developers I've worked with are American as well.
Yes, and it's called selection bias. A given engineer leaving their country gets no better, but the selection bias that applies to engineers who do leave their country means they are better on average. The good engineers who don't leave for some reason (family or such) are just as good as if they had left, but the average engineer is weighed down by those who don't have the skill to leave.
>And some of the worst developers I've worked with are Americans in America.
I've encountered some horrible American developers as well. The difference, in my experience, is that they tend to cost the same as a good American developer and thus get replaced a lot faster.
There are a lot of extremely talented devs working in India; at Google, Microsoft and all the start ups in Banglore and Hyderabad, but unfortunately there are more people working in those IT industries and thus skews the perception.
A lot of my colleagues and ex colleagues either work or have worked in Infosys/Wipro/TCS at some point in their careers. And again, they didn't "magically" get worse or better when they left or joined my company (I'm in a product development company).
Wipro, Infy etc aren't able to hold quality senior technical talent because they cannot pay as much. The better senior developers leave to product development firms that pay better and have better quality work and work life balance, leaving behind newly joined junior developers who know less, but will accept what Infy/Wipro pays and work ungodly hours.
I've read that every 5 years the number of active developers doubles. That means that every 5 years 50% of the development workforce has little to no experience. In India, that 50% starter workforce is concentrated, sitting in the big consulting firms, developing their skills and getting better, and when and if they get better, they leave.
The real problem is that if you pay peanuts, you get... people willing to work for peanuts, until they can get a better job.
And that right there is the issue. Happens in Sri Lanka as well although to a lesser extent (smaller population). The companies that have been most prolific in outsourcing are the ones who are responsible for the current stereotyping of India's IT industry.
Those same companies are also the ones bidding with lowest costs in order to win more contracts. I submit virtusa as exhibit A where India and Sri Lanka are battling each other for contracts and India generally being able to offer lower rates.
Which then feeds back into how those projects actually get completed, and as per the quote and the article, it involves 18 hour workdays 6-7 days a week with poor compensation against 8 hour work days. And this ends up churning out humans who know their worth and know what jobs they can get now that they've got that first job on the CV, aka the foot through the door.
This then restarts the cycle where companies have to complete projects and keep bidding on new projects to maintain the hired workforce and on and on and lower and lower it goes.
This part of the industry has been a shit show for a while. I will be sad for the people who lose jobs. No one deserves that unless they were knowingly malicious. At the same time, the software industry has to mature, and I don't see how this business models will be sustained with such maturity.
Do you think the work in product development companies are any better? They just get paid more. Most of the US captives in India will never send their most important product line to India. It is just maintenance of a product line which will be phased out. Most of the big semiconductor companies, networking companies are like this. Most of these companies hire contractors from the companies that you mentioned. They would have some stupid 8-10 levels of interviews to show that they are doing some serious work. After joining it would be a miracle if you are working on some sensible code base.
In fact I have personally seen that some of the work which these service companies are genuinely good which the product companies will never get. Unfortunately it gets ruined by the horrible developers and management there.
This is unfortunate and, most of the time, true. I do wish we had better work coming here.
Still, in spite of some concerted efforts to change that...
For example, an Indian in India may not think twice before throwing their food wrapper on the road side, but would probably never do that when on holiday in London (if they did, society or police would reprimand them for it and correct their action).
Similarly in tech, certain things (esp. related to quality/code cleanliness etc) seem much more relaxed in India compared to elsewhere.
Is there a typo (or 2) in here somewhere?
Similar to saying "Look at them eyes" or "One of them developers will get to it eventually".
In your original sentence, you are trying to use "them" as an adjective to modify "incompetent developers," but "them" should only be used as a 3rd person plural pronoun. Using "them" as an adjective is not proper; your examples sound strange to native speakers, and is usually associated with vernacular English in general. Native speakers may assume this usage is due to poor knowledge of proper English, or possibly a regional (improper, but common) usage in the American South.
A couple of other examples:
There are plenty more examples on Google.
I want to say I take your point. I wouldn't use this in formal writing, but as far as I can tell this is an accepted western way to emphasise something.
No, it isn't. Using "them" in the way you did makes you sound like a hillbilly.
Just some advice: it's wise to avoid using any words or usage listed in the dictionary as "dialect" unless you're very familiar with the particular dialect it's from. Likewise, you should be very careful with "informal" terms unless you've actually been introduced to them informally by someone who knows how they're used. There's a lot of cultural context that needs to be mastered with those, and you won't learn that from a book, let alone a dictionary.
*edit - I will add that the 2 youtube videos are not good examples to be learning english from...
At the very least this usage would cause the listener/reader to assume that English is not the speakers first language, or assume a lower level of education.
Not meaning this to be a discouragement, but hopefully, a help
Obviously no. But NRIs have an incentive to portray that image. Once you go out of the country, you have to now worry about your own interests. If you keep singing praises about your ex-countrymen they will outsource more work to India, and you the newly minted US passport holder, who has a job in the US will suffer. Or worse you might be on the path to receive a GC and may have to restart the process if you lose your job due to outsourcing.
Please note, everyone protects their own interests.
I love my Indian brothers and sisters, and think that the real offender in creating bad experiences with Indian devs are Indian businesses, which IMO have exploitative practices and emphasize over specialization. Even worse is the practice of requiring a 3 months notice to quit as a rule. There are 1 billion people in India, and I want the innovative, hard working, and kind among them to be welcomed to the US with open arms. I am deeply proud to have helped two highly talented young men get H1B visas and eventually green cards. They became great friends of mine and my family.
Sincerely, a white American guy who can't wait to travel to Maharashtra one day to visit Pune and Mumbai, and meet my friend's families.
That is because you dont pay them well, the good engineers who are being paid well work in MS, Amazon etc in India.
I also saw some incredibly good devs there but you get both.
All the problems mentioned here do exist and are real, but they're not the whole story. The management culture over there s a bit different. Managers tend not to want to be involved in anything technical. There is a 'yes' culture of not challenging requests. However there are plenty of exceptions to the 'rule'.
Negotiations are for freshers whose father's have been paying college fees and bills. The remainder can't afford to turn down a job for these reasons.
If what you are saying is true then you should have a chat with the person who hired them to see what is going on.
The poor salaries which I am talking about is Rs 2 lakhs for freshers who join IT consultancy services.
So more than your average CS engineering grad?
>>Imagine a student who never wrote a line of code in his entire life suddenly has become a developer.
Everyone writes code these days. Most electronics people study at-least 3 - 4 programming languages. In fact things like C, 8085, 8086 and a PIC.
The "throw enough cheap coders" at the problem will work really well, until it doesn't, and at that point you have nothing but an expensive mess that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.
If you don't have a good foundation, you're screwing the project in the long run, and this is the result of every offshoring programming project I've witnessed.
The problem, I think, is that management draws conclusions about the quality of Indian engineers based on interactions with the ones working in the US, who by definition are the absolute best of the best. "Sanjay is one of our best engineers", the bean counter says, "and my God, there's _a billion_ of them back in India!"
I think that's probably true - the people who can claw their way through the H1B process are probably among the best India has to offer. I don't believe that that's entirely why management loves them, though. The fact that they work 12-15 hours a day, 7 days a week, in crowded, noisy open offices without ever complaining since they're under constant fear of being fired at a moment's notice and being unable to find new work, coupled with the fact that they're capable software engineers, is why management loves them.
Disclaimer: LinkedIn Employee. Our Banglore team isn't noticably different skill wise than our SV team.
For internal Enterprise apps, for testing, for some other things - you need just basic developers who can understand problems and solve them.
Also - there's a lot of basic IT work and basic dev-ops-ish stuff that can be done.
So yes, if you try to build a hot new thing, for your hot new startup using Infosys, you're going to fail.
But if you have large company, and need some well-defined system for reviewing customer service inquiries ... well, if you manage the project correctly, Infosys might be a good choice. In fact, it may be your only choice because hiring devs in North America is very expensive.
I get this with people Accenture and the like too though. . .
E. Europe is considerably more expensive than India.
Basically, it's not (1) or (2), but instead (3): that these guys are master scammers, liars and confidence tricksters. They exaggerate without committing to anything and lull their customers into a false sense of security. They are THE slipperiest eels in the industry.
If you don't believe me, I encourage you to give them a try just once - it will probably convince you.
In that case any IT consultancy could fool those people. If a US consulting firm is chosen, how could anyone make the claim that they were chosen on merit?
I know quite a few "business-focused" people. It is not so easy to fool them even if IT is not their core competency. Businesses typically will include several protection clauses in the contract and set the legal jurisdiction to their own country. I don't believe it is easy to fool businesses for years on end. They would go out of business pretty quickly.
>They'll promise them the world at a fraction of the cost of competitors, and the business guys will present a healthy set of cost savings to their board. Once the customer is fully locked in, they will fail to deliver on a few of those promises. Then the excuses start. Then the timelines slip. Then, after many months of this charade, they might get fired. Then the customer might try another company. Then they go back to on-shoring their dev team.
Then data would show that those firms have no long term contracts or repeat business from previous clients. Does it?
It's a systemic problem, a problem of corporate structure and incentives, and exactly the ecosystem where these kinds of contractors thrive.
If it's a US firm, then there can be financial and legal repercussions. Good luck going after a firm in India.
This isn't just an India thing. This is how government contracts work in the US too. The government contracts out to Lockheed Martin for a big IT project (used to anyway, LM got out of the business on the civilian side at least), LM hires the cheapest 'talent' they can find, loading projects 80/20 management/engineering, drag their feet for a few years, and eventually someone on the government side decides they're going to make their career by being the person who brings this project across the finish line. So they ignore or lie about the requirements being fulfilled and drag the steaming mess in-house, while LM hosts a champagne-drenched celebration. Contracting has fundamentally perverse incentives.
>Except the person on the US side who fought for and won the ability to outsource the project to save money is personally invested in success. He has decided this will make his career. So when it comes to fulfilling those contractual obligations, he will sign off on it, then bring it in house and try to quietly put together a team to fix the system to make it actually function.
Its hard to imagine the owner(s) of the company not being good with numbers here. Surely, such frauds will be found out eventually? In any case if a company has indeed hired such a dishonest person, I would hope they improve their hiring process and do some due diligence on their previous record to weed out such people in the future.
If most of the firms that have outsourced have got really bad work from these big firms then why are they not suing for bad quality work? Why do they give bigger and bigger contracts? That shows the type of people in your management which you should take a hard look at before complaining about the quality of work of these big service companies.
Source: I have been on both sides. I have seen the internals of them doing business and it is a freaking mess.
On the other end of the market, there is a very talented workforce that commands a premium price that delivers world class products. You just need to know where to look. Most western tech decisions to use Offshoring/Outsourcing are based on the key belief that costs can be lowered. In a truly capitalist market, workers are also looking to extract their maximum worth (and upward mobility) and If you pay less, your workforce will bail at the first opportunity.
Additionally, no one wants to work for a project that is driven by a spec document that you authored and requires no design input from the local team
I can't count how many times I asked a rickshaw driver if he knew a certain place and he answered yes, and we just drove around for some time until I found out he has no idea. From what I heard that sometimes remains a problem, also in IT service.
That said, we all have our cultural qirks, and in most cases knowing them solves half the problem.
Don't ask "Did you finish task X". Ask "what did you do on task X?". What you see as finished and what the other person sees as finished might be separate things. Maybe you see 100% unit tested, reviewed and documented as finished, and the other person means feature complete, but untested, undocumented, not reviewed.
Open questions allow you to see what the other person understands. In some cases they might misunderstand your question entirely.
another is that strange indian head-shake that is so hard to reproduce - never figured it out completely, but it felt like when I eventually ask yes/no question and they say yes with that shake, it's actually more like no/don't know/maybe
So you are 100% wrong when you say "The answer to Y/N question is always yes in India".
Which makes me doubt/ blindly ignore any of your opinion ever.
What I find sad, is that there are a lot of people in positions of power that either have no idea (or don't care) that people from different parts of the world see things and respond differently than you'd expect and then get frustrated when the outcome is different than expected. I'd explain to them that it's a cultural thing, and they need to learn how to approach their questions/explanations differently. Most of the time I get this blank look like, "Why? Can't they just change?" and then go back to trying the same approach and calling their staff down, because they can't seem to understand why they are ineffective.
Fact is, you're the one choosing to be aware of and experience different cultures and travel, but they're not making that choice. And I had to conclude that they shouldn't need to make that choice if they don't want to. So I just sucked it up and would go along with the joke, "yeah us foreigners are such weirdos, ha!"
foreigner by nation or state or city or apartment or school.
I get your point, but the fact that Indians say "yes" to everything (i.e. the fact they lie constantly) is not something that managers should get used to, it's something Indians have to correct.
You ask me if it's going to rain, and I say yes, because I know with certainty it will rain tomorrow.
Is it fair for you to call me a liar because you carried around an umbrella today?
There's no 100% accuracy in weather forecasts so a mistake is understandable. Asking you if you finished your task and getting a "yes" when you haven't finished it is outright lying.
I'll assume you're American (I am).
You know how in a healthy, well-led team, if your boss suggests a course of action that's wrong at a meeting and asks for feedback, you and I would pipe up and point out the issues with their approach?
In Asian cultures, my understanding is that would never happen. Instead, everyone would agree at the meeting, then feedback would be given privately to the boss if it were a major issue, and decision changed.
Which one's right? Eh, if they both result in an eventual good choice, does it matter?
If you feel strongly about "yes" being a lie, then bully to you and run with that. But that's kind of like boxing a glacier and expecting to win...
Some people have worked in 16 diff teams in last 10 years and they have friends who have broader experience and they have super close conversation with managers, they don't go to agile rooms and draw something on the white board all the time and come out with no insights or progress after a hour or only have a skilled person come and give a direction in 5 minutes and nullify the whole one hour white board drawing.
I can tell for sure since i have been part of many such teams where we precisely point out any steps in the negative directions and offer tons of suggestions to improvize on the approach and most of the time come up with a way to gently impart some sense into the overseas managers who have no idea how to get what they want.
Your reasoning is so flawed because u didn't know when to use the word never, that doesn't mean your continents reasoning is flawed but i wish in hacker news there is a option to filter out certain people's comment globally forever.
That's incompetent management. The question should be reworded to avoid yes / no answers. "How much has been done?" would be a better question.
The problem is that it's considered rude to say no when asked to complete a task by a senior. So when you'd ask an Indian developer if he can complete a project in a week, he might say yes even though he's not sure if he can do it. What he would do is say yes, and then give his best try to complete it in a week. Only when he has failed to do so, he'd report his failure.
Basically, saying no is considered as insubordination/cowardice.
I call poe.
Thus the Windows dialogues which let you choose between "Yes" and "Yes" when localised to English-India.
I'm yet to discover a culture that doesn't do this, and the people from that culture are so inured to it they don't call it lying but "being polite".
As an example that would be widely understood by HN, Americans lie constantly when they ask "How are you doing?" - they really don't want to know how you are doing, and worse, you're expected to lie back with enthusiasm "I'm great!", even when you're not.
It's reasonable to drop some phrases/mannerisms when you know some phrases are going to be taken literally or misinterpreted (while they shouldn't be). I can't remember of any examples about western norms right now, but I think asking "How are you?" as a greeting is not acceptable in some places, as it implies actually caring on how the person is doing or knowing them well.
I’ll add that this isn’t unique to India and there are lots of bullshitters in the world and in tech. I think the difference I’ve witnessed is that with more Indians than non-Indians I’ve worked with is that the acceptance is not deceptive or manipulative, it’s just neutral. Hard to describe, but I had one programmer who claimed to be great back during the Java days, not sure his cultural background, but he looked like a white guy from somewhere in America. He was lying to get the job and had fabulouser and fabulouser reasons for not being able to do it, until the lie crashed and we fired him.
This is very different from “Can you do tensorflow?” “Yes” ...check in for a week of “Yes” during daily huddles and then at the end nothing and still a “Yes, I can do it” with a perplexity of why I’m confused. Or also common the “I’ll check it in and say it works even though all tests fail and it doesn’t meet spec.”
The former is deception, the latter is sort of a disconnect with reality.
The Java days are in the past for you? Must be nice...
[edit: change "one said" to "one that said"]
- I was very, very sick (Traveler's diarrhea) and we were about to embark for a 5 hours minivan trip with a guy without a driving license.
- 5 minutes before departure, I ask the organizer "do you have a vomit bag?"
- I wait around a bit, but he carries on with his work and just ignore me
- "Sorry, did you have a bag, any bag? maybe a plastic bag, as I'm sick"
- Now it's 30s before departure and I get pretty stressed as I have nothing should I need to throw up. So I ask him again, and he actually get pretty mad (with that asian "must not lose face" style though) and ignore me because I insisted and didn't just drop the issue (I didn't know what was going on at the time ...)
You have to adjust your questions. Always start the question with a W, and never with a Has or Is.
In a country like India where opportunities are scarce, saying no in many cases can mean permanently losing the opportunity to do something big.
Saying 'yes' and failing is a lot more better than saying 'no' and not trying at all.
If I'm not wrong this isn't just limited to India. I think it was Richard Branson who said something to the order of never saying no to an opportunity. Always learn and do it.
Not for the person whose money you've spent on the failure.
In fact in almost all cases, letting people fail is how let them learn.
If I hire your firm and you tell me you can achieve an objective, then I spend money and come to find out you can't and you knew you couldn't, you've defrauded me. If I ask if you can perform a task and you tell me you know how, then I find out you have no idea, you've lied to me.
I'll take a "No, but I can figure it out" any day of the week, but lying is a cardinal sin in any relationship.
In fact I'm a tad little surprised that I'm having to sell the virtues of incremental failure in a forum that idolizes "Move fast and break things"
The thread is about working with Indian contractors who frequently lie, pretending they know what is going on. We are very much talking about this kind of problem.
> In fact I'm a tad little surprised that I'm having to sell the virtues of incremental failure in a forum that idolizes "Move fast and break things"
What I'm talking about is orthogonal to this. You can move fast and break things, but be straight forward to your manager about the risk involved.
The point is that pretending to know does not open up the conversation of risk and reward, whereas "No, but I can figure it out" can and typically will. If, at that point, the manager drops the ball by not making sure the risk / reward profile is correct then it is no longer on the engineer.
If someone doesn't want to be reliable, that's their choice, but don't expect me to be willing to engage in business with them.
In Mexico, Belize, southeast Asia, and southern Europe, I found everything to be much less reliable than I was used to. Everyone spent a lot time more waiting around. But I felt happier and more relaxed, and the people around me seemed to as well.
I think it might be more cultural than you seem to think.
We so easily accede to someone who says "its policy" without considering that the person involved clearly outranks whatever policy is being dealt with. Perhaps we've not been burned by strict adherence to policy and expecting the world to be regular and predictable as recently as those other cultures. It might just be a temporary thing, but I don't know. We've got things like "personal space" which were a very American concept for a long time, but which has since spread, almost certainly with many negative consequences, widely. So maybe this desire for people to accommodate systems rather than for systems to accommodate people will spread too. We're screwed if that's the case.
Sure you could argue that these nations are culturally Christian, but Christian culture still doesn't imply an emphasis on reliability.
At most I might agree with this being a case of the protestant work ethic, which seems to have a high correlation here (northern and central Europe as well as America is very much protestant, southern Europe is more catholic and orthodox).
However first of all most historians agree it's false, and second you get places like Germany, where the economic powerhouse is the catholic south (Baden-Württemberg has Porsche, Daimler (Mercedes), Audi and Bosch, Bayern (Bavaria) has BMW, the protestant North and East are more poor).
However, just because it's lauded in Christian writings and by Christians doesn't mean that Christians are any better in this respect than others, "we are all sinners and fall short of God's glory" afterall.
I imagine Buddhism to have a similar focus on truth?
Its just that if you are working minimum wage, or you are a spoke in the gig economy it's different for you.
Based on my experience working in the US, my American friends weren't very different. Its just that when you have sufficient you tend to worry less about over optimizing for the rainy days.
US is a different country in so many ways. US citizens are lucky to be born in such a great country, which supports its citizens through social security. And later with food stamps should the need arise. There is also awesome infrastructure like freeways and cheap air fare to move around based on opportunities. The cities are so full of opportunity. You also get free public education(Something like that is quite expensive in India.). Every city I saw where I stayed or visited(Who Bay Area, Philadelphia and NY) had parks, playgrounds. Every city had a swimming pool. Roads were sparkling clean and people were so welcoming. Plus food in the US is cheaper than chicken feed. If you can cook, rice, veggies and lentils are just like walk in the park. Meat too, you can afford to eat twice or thrice in a week. In my 3 years stay, I only have good things to say about the US. The full story is impossible to write. But I just can't imagine how anyone born in US can ever complain about lack of opportunities or ability to make a good life.
When you live in heaven, you tend to worry a little less about putting food on the table.
India is different. You have none of this. And its on your shoulders. Ensure your hands work till you die, or you will die.
Saying no to opportunities is very very expensive in India.
It was same in any country of the world just century ago. I.e. Indians are doing that not because of economic situation (which is much better than century ago), but because of culture. And culture is result of moral principles, which are moderated through punishments and support.
Unfortunately lying about your skillset is very expensive in the long term as well.
It'd only be useful to be honest if you do have a skillset, and the company has a reasonable chance of reaching out to you fot the skillset in the (near?) future
That's only true locally. Globally, you've got a variety of reputations, for yourself, for your firm, and whether or not you like it or consider it fair, for your country. You're burning all of those things. This will eventually catch up to you, your firm, and your country if withdrawals exceed deposits. This is, of course, a global truth, not an India-specific truth.
Granted this is anecdotal from interviewing maybe a couple dozen people out of whatever giant number of IT people in India.
Just wondering if there is a cultural/societal push towards the management/boss level that diminishes value towards senior technical roles?
Often the challenging/interesting bits in those scenarios are done by the US/European/Australian office, and only the implementation details are left to the Indian workers. That isn't conducive to being valued as an engineer.
Management tracks also have higher salaries. If you want to continue in engineering and still make good money, you get a H1B or equivalent and move.
In many cases there have been people who lost jobs and didn't get a new job in over an year and had to move tech roles eventually. Some people had to change career tracks(get into marketing etc) permanently. So there is now a dedicated incentive to stay in the technical track.
Also in the current age, moving to a non-tech job is the long term equivalent of choosing a non-STEM career.
To an extent I felt similar working for average tech shops in Montreal, Canada. I moved to California to live and work in a culture where the IC track is real and highly valued (which is fantastic).
If someone asks me, "Can you do X?" I tend to say yes, even if I don't, because, really, I can learn almost anything related to what someone might be asking me to do.
You seem to have internet access, so clearly without asking him to choose the route you could have seen the maps and given the route yourself which many smart people do these days to save time and if you are not able to identify a route and are at the mercy of the rickshaw guy then may be you should have some patience and be thankful to the driver for figuring out the route and taking you to the destination.
Or may be they can be smart and ask for fees if they have to find the route and if u set the route then separate fees for that.
I guess one needs to learn the art of comparison since comparing random stuff will yield pointless opinions of no value.
And I'm certainly not thankful for the driver to have taken all this effort of solving the difficult problem of going somewhere that he doesn't know the road; I'm angry about the large unnecessary delay caused by them saying "yes" and then being unable to properly fulfil the promise they made, i.e. go to the goal as if they had known where it is, which they said (thus, promised) they do, and didn't. I wasn't asking "are you willing to take extra effort to deliver me to place X in some way" (which is a reasonable question that I might have asked in some circumstances, but I didn't in that particular case), I was asking "do you know the route to place X". I would be thankful if they had just said "no", as I would have had the chance to find someone who does know the proper answer themselves.
This is a significant cultural difference - in my country, answering yes when if you're not sure (and demonstrating the lie by being unable to fulfil the promise on their own) would result in that person's words not being respected anymore because that person isn't honest, and that person being shunned, not being trusted with anything serious ever again until they prove that they have changed significantly; a single incident being considered sufficient to mark the person as untrustworthy. Breaking a promise or telling a falsehood - even an implied one to a stranger - is considered a very serious issue. The problem with this when working with people in Asia is that within a few months a majority of Asian coworkers generally have had at least one incident similar to this (saying, i.e. promising something that wasn't so) marking them as untrustworthy. Of course, as with any difference, it's an open question which one of the cultures should adapt to the other, or meet in the middle, but that's a quite fundamental difference.
Overall, I see a pattern of degrading, second classing of non-whites by whites. This needs to stop.
However, what is here being discussed is not a second classing of non-whites by whites. First, how do you know that I or the persons from whom I heard about the problems with their Indian IT teams are white? You just assume that. Second, it seems that there really are issues working with some IT teams in India. Why is it wrong to attribute this to a certain work ethic? Or more prescisely: Why do I second class non-white people when I describe the work ethic I'm experiencing? Man, I lived in Germany, US and India (for a short time at least), and let me tell you, there are different work ethics in these countries. And there have nothing to do with the color of your skin. But true, mostly generalisations are unjust. But people here are describing what they experienced. And it doesn't feel for me like it is linked to skin color.
The parent comment that I reacted to did not sound as sincere as yours. I am not assuming you or the previous commenter as white. It's not about the individual but rather my point is about the larger society, it's cultural institutions that have historically "whitewashed" the whole world. All of our experiences are colored in that sense. This needs to change. In fact, it's vital when worlds are coming together.
The fault is the Indian education system, which silences creativity, encourages rote learning and focuses too much on numbers on report cards.
Its really sad and alarming here. (I am from India). There are whole generations of students, who, from their early schooling, right up to a Bachelor's degree in Engineering, are taught to memorize and spit out answers.
There are very few schools that actually teach creativity, problem solving skills, etc.
A few years back, when complaints were made against rote learning, schools have begun to give 'home projects' to kids, ostensibly to improve their creative skills. However, these projects devolved into internet searches, copy-pasting online articles and pictures and calling it a day.
Unless there is a revolution in the education system in India, it would be very difficult to have a large pool of talented problem solvers and creative thinkers.
Those Indians who are famous or are talented, are that way because they fought against the system or ignored it completely or have had good mentors.
You can absolutely say that about the Chinese education system as well, and they seem to be doing OK.
I agree it's a shame that creativity is undervalued, if not outright suppressed, by the education system, but at the same time I don't think entrepreneurial spirit arises from formal education in the first place.
Most Chinese companies that are on the radar now, like Xiaomi, have taken this path. They have learnt from western counterparts and built upon it.
The way the new mayor of Shenzhen ordered to bulldoze all factories in city center at around 2009-2010 shows how much esteem Chinese government has for entrepreneurship.
Can anybody imagine a governor of California ordering to bulldoze all silicon valley corporate campuses on a whim just because he wanted to have few hundreds more empty luxury shopping malls and 5 star hotels with blackjack and hookers?
Perhaps this is a bit like the schooling of Bolshevik Engineers versus American Engineers, the former had a much reduced curriculum that helped the USSR catch up in engineering talent on paper, meanwhile those engineers were missing key concepts that you need to understand to build planes, bridges and similar that won't spontaneously degrade.
Can absolutely confirm this saying for Romania of the late '80s and throughout all of the '90s (so, even after the Wall had fallen).
This is a big thing in India too. People become engineers and then decide what they want to do.
That's not really unique, many American school children do the same for their homework. It's a time-honored tradition (at least since the internet has existed).
Sometimes I wonder if the whole point of school isn't just to teach children how to game systems, which will be a useful skill in corporate jobs.
It's possible people who were older at the time just straight-up copied the text though. I wouldn't be surprised.
The exam and grading workload is unserviceable.
This is the crux of it.
And it’s the crux of MANY MANY other problems human beings face every day!
Recruitment ? How do you prove that this person is actually an expert in his field/as good as he says he is withiut tying up my entire tech team in test checking?
Online communication ? How do I know this information is correct? Who can provide proof of work for this comment?
Testing is onerous- And when incentives and resources are inverted/out of Sync, it’s not possible to test effectively.
This is the hidden factor.
If all Indian/Chinese teachers could turn around tomorrow and complete assessments accurately, rote learning would drop dramatically.
Failing that you must resort to large scale standardized testing. Which humans optimize for by just learning the test.
The standard testing in India, at-least for engineering, medicine, civil services and CA is unforgivingly fierce. Kids sacrifice everything, like everything to qualify for a seat at engineering colleges. Even in so called tier-2/3 colleges seats for Electronics/Electrical/CS go like hot cakes. I remember in my batch all students were the top most Math students in their individual pre-university colleges.
In many ways these exams are a giant filter to select people into STEM careers. The effects last way after. Even the most successful non-STEM desk job guy will tell you the immense difference STEM and non-STEM salaries, overall job perks and career quality in general. And kids watch their uncles and elder cousins in these situations all the time. And are forced to work hard.
Every year these tests get harder, and kids train even more harder.
I have younger cousins in US, and I jokingly tell them they won't last a few months in the fierce competition here in India.
But like everything, continuity is required. Once people arrive at jobs. They sort of lose all the momentum, coast around and eventually to settle to mediocrity. Or worse resort to politics and things like that.
Growing up in a poor Seattle suburb in the '80s, that was very close to the (public school) student-teacher ratio we had as well. The school my youngest two attend now is significantly improved in this regard, but I suspect 30+ to one is still not uncommon around the country.
The opposite in fact. The whole ecosystem is overflowing engineers. But what start ups want is people who can work for quite literally free, take no equity and work and make great sacrifices to make other people win(See Redbus, Foodpanda etc).
>>The fault is the Indian education system, which silences creativity, encourages rote learning and focuses too much on numbers on report cards.
So just like everywhere in the world?
Also the many start ups won't touch your resume if you don't have IIT education. So much for not caring about 'report cards'. Report cards have value because the same start ups care about these things. You can't flip flop on certain values based on what ever is your urgent need.
>>There are whole generations of students, who, from their early schooling, right up to a Bachelor's degree in Engineering, are taught to memorize and spit out answers.
When you go interview at Google, the white board questions are literally your ability to become a question-answer bank of algorithm question.
If you want to value pure ingenuity you need pay for it. You can't ask for one and complain you wanted the other.
>>A few years back, when complaints were made against rote learning, schools have begun to give 'home projects' to kids, ostensibly to improve their creative skills. However, these projects devolved into internet searches, copy-pasting online articles and pictures and calling it a day.
That is because there is a level how much of original creativity one can generate.
>>Unless there is a revolution in the education system in India, it would be very difficult to have a large pool of talented problem solvers and creative thinkers.
The revolution has been there for long. But companies interview for one set of skills and expect candidates to demonstrate a totally different set of skills at work.
This is the 3rd millennium. Learning how to ask questions and find answers is a core competency. Along side critical thinking and problem solving, of course.
I now keenly remember a 4th grade teacher who would drill the entire class with random trivia style questions. "Where is the capital of Botswana?" "What is the root word for 'homage'?" And us teams of kids would race to find the answers. Great fun.
If home work assignments are easily fulfilled by quick searches and copypasta, the teacher is being lazy, not the students.
In every education system I've ever participated in, that's how the majority of students deals with homework. I saw it in Germany from primary school to university. I saw it at a Chinese university. I saw PhD students get called out for copying from each other, with the TA writing "at least don't be so obvious about it" in the course chat. (Then he deleted the message for plausible deniability, of course.)
I'm convinced that it's like this everywhere in the world. Creative problem solving is hard, and most students are constantly struggling to keep up. If they have no motivation to learn, there is not much that educators can do to make them learn. That wouldn't be such a problem if there weren't the motivation to be able to claim that they learned about something, when in fact they didn't.
There are measures that can prevent cheating (today I got a warning that jammers would be in use around Chinese high schools to prevent cheating during the national exams), but you can't always enforce that students are actually studying instead of just pretending to. In the end the responsibility lies with the student to make an honest attempt before they resort to copying.
I agree that such an education system doesn't create a large pool of talented problem solvers, but no country has a system that achieves that. The system is for everyone else, those who wouldn't even pretend to learn if they weren't forced to do so.
That may be true, but I've always just assumed the talent leaves. It's a big-ass place, with smart people, and lots of people in IT -- I've always assumed that anyone I speak to at an outsourced firm is someone who wasn't smart enough to get a tech job abroad.
The point I'm making is, until manufacturing and industry take off, we won't offset exported IT Services with domestically focused tech of the "software" kind.
First, tech growth is not primarily about domestic per capita income or demand for software in the country. It is about exporting products while also catering to a rising domestic demand. i.e. use domestic demand to find product market fit and then expand globally. So global demand is more relevant than domestic per-capita income.
More importantly manufacturing itself is changing in ways that are lowering capital costs and the barriers to entry into manufacturing. The trend in IoT is an example of that. A lot of new products will primarily be driven by a combination of hardware and software capabilities. Skills that are reasonably widely available in India. (Although China has vastly more talent there.) That positions India in a reasonably good place. So I'm optimistic that domestic tech manufacturing will grow well, but not in the traditional way, such as building semiconductor fabs. It will mostly come from many small companies that make niche-products serving and possibly dominating a narrow global market, with high margins. That's were the employment will come from. An example of this is a company that makes automation kits to convert traditional backhoes into remotely operated machines. The technology requires a combination of software, electronics and mechanical components. And Indian companies (or for that matter companies anywhere) that integrate well into global supply chains for these will do well.
That is simply not true. You could grow anywhere, it's different shades of difficulty though.
> It is about exporting products while also catering to a rising domestic demand.
The revenue from exported domestically made software/tech products, compared to the size of the IT Services industry is miniscule. Almost nothing.
> So I'm optimistic that domestic tech manufacturing will grow well, but not in the traditional way, such as building semiconductor fabs.
As an economy, we should strive for depth - rather than just mate hardware imported from China with some software. Such work is easy to replicate, and is not very different from IT Services in how challenging it can be. Semiconductor fabs however is the kind of thing we should get into.
Basically, an industrial base which manufactures hardware (and other real physical things) is harder to grow than software.
This is a very interesting point. Only recently I had a discussion about this with a colleague.
The painful fact about big salaries in India is either US pays it or a VC pays it. Or you go the services way where some one does the work over the years and has build a company for you, then they pay you services salary(But that is again from the US.).
So its just US or VCs. If you build a company in India and pay you can't pay much.
Concentrating on only one aspect can give answers which we like. Different societies e.g. America, Japan, Russia, UK or China have developed in different ways. I think of 3 basic factors: sophisticated population, lot of land, powerful political system. At least one or combination of more than one is required for rapid development.
India has none of these so it will be painful, long and slow path to development.
But, I do hope that we shift our focus inward rather than towards US or somewhere. There must be enough demand as it is in India.
Many Indians who were legitimately good ended up in high paying jobs where they then used that money and skill to emigrate to countries with more comfortable standards of living. In my area, the Indian immigrant community has exploded, and almost entirely within the technology sector to start with, but now rapidly expanding to other areas as family members sponsor other family members and so on.
The wonderful halo effect is of course that family members who immigrated with the technical household head, but don't work in tech, are now employed at, opening and running all manner of businesses as well.
As a result I have a vast community of new, highly skilled and educated neighbors who are also ambitious and motivated.
The problem with the Indian outsourcers is that they’ve broadly failed to move up the technology value chain. These firms were quite good at the “just throw a bunch of people at it” solutions to brute force get work done but the tech sector has moved on.
Need a company to give you 1000 mechanical turks to perform some tasks you haven’t been able to automate yet? Go to an Indian outsourcing firm. Need some people to design technology to make the mechanical turks no longer required? That talent is generally not found within these Indian firms.
In that sense what McKinsey said in the article is probably true. Advances (largely built elsewhere) will probably make 80% of what these firms do irrelevant in the next few years.
10 to 15 years ago one would have thought India to be better in programming, largely due to English for Chinese are not as common. Turns out with a whole Ecosystem, China has been able to adopt and produce some very decent engineers.
There is nothing wrong with throwing people at the problem. You create jobs and employment, there are still industries and area in China continue to do this. But you must also acknowledge how this is a temporary solution and what needs to be done afterwards.
As a practioner; I cannot say that I miss working with projects outsourced to India. I really hope that you guys learn a less bureaucratic and hierarical way of working and you as a country become more focused on internal demand.
These generalizations make as much sense as me telling a random American HN user "I really hope that you guys stop indulging your blood lust by invading other countries and killing millions of innocents to make profits for your munitions industry and you as a country become less bloodthirsty"
Most Americans are not killers, though the subset someone from an invaded country has encountered maybe. All Indians don't have a "bureaucratic and heirarchical" way of working, though the subset encountered by someone seeking cheap outsourcing may be.
If you try outsourcing dev to China you'll encounter the same 'bureaucratic and hierarchical' ways of working, but they have massive product companies that are on par with anything in America. So the reason why India doesn't yet have dominant software product companies lie elsewhere.
Meanwhile these 'hopes' that "you guys learn to be less bureaucratic" are just sneers and stereotyping in disguise.
As a stereotype "bureaucratic ways of working" can be applied to Germany (for example) or Japan, or Korea, and while I'm sure there are bureaucratic Germans, they seem to doing fine economically.
But,carry on. This is the internet.
We should be careful with generalizations; and it is easy to go overboard in a short general sentence (like I did).
However there is such a thing as differences in work culture. And it is very reasonable to talk about differences amongst countries. And on the mentioned scales (bureaucracies and hierarchies) Denmark and India sit on each their extremes.
That India's IT-industry has been driven by external demand is just a fact as far as I know.
That's a sentiment a lot of us share about America though. You seem to think Americans are the only people criticizing other countries?
Stereotypes aren't born in a vacuum. Americans keep putting worse people in power, the latest of which being Trump. Indian outsourcing is troublesome to work with. And my country, France, has a problematic economy and we have a hard time keeping talent here instead of fleeing for better paying countries.
All places have their issues. You don't make issues disappear by acting like they don't exist or focusing on the minority that behaves differently.
I'm just pointing out lazy forms of argumentation, essentially generalizing from narrow experiences, or media propagated stereotypes about millions of people, which is why I explicitly created a sentence of the same form substituting a stereotype about the USA.
My constructed 'criticism' is just as much out of whack as the original, and has no 'truth' in it, when made as a general statement about all of "Americans" / or more condescendingly "you guys".
There doesn't seem much of a link between 'bureaucratic work cultures' and size of the economy (Germany, China, Korea, Japan)
If you didn't understand that point, I don't know what to say.
I'll just say YMMV, and leave it at that.
It acts a filter, when you have couple of hundred people for a job application, you cannot read each and every CV but you can easily narrow down your search by saying candidates having XYZ certification will be shortlisted.
Degrees have been used as a filter for many jobs internationally for a while now.
But in India, colleges simply don't fail kids. Some others inflate their grades just for bragging rights ("our students had an average score of 80%).
So every time I see an application from a college that I haven't heard of (which is pretty much every college apart from the top ones), I would be skeptical: can this kid actually work hard or am I just wasting my time?
That sounds sad to you because you are looking at it from a Western perspective, when you have couple of hundred people interested for a job you can use a certification to filter lot of the candidates.
It's much harder to game a system where evaluation of a candidate's skills is the filter, to game this you become a cheater.
Of course that it's also harder to scale but if India has such a huge problem in filtering candidates there must exist some companies doing good skill-based assessments and that should be the way forward.
Or just keep the status quo of needing to take certifications and competing with unqualified people that have the same papers you have, for me it's a race to the bottom.
Agree, which is why some Indian companies have started using skills based assessment websites now.