Trigger warning: Completely inappropriate background music for the subject matter being discussed
I ran into this very interesting video from Senthil‘s facebook feed. The part that I found most interesting was the sense of entitlement – that despite not knowing anything about what they are going to be hired for (aka Programming), and admitting it to everyone, they still expect to be given jobs when they want.
While this would make sense in someplace like the military, where you go in and then train, it makes no sense for graduates of an engineering program, where they spent 4 years of their life training. They claim that they spent four years studying programming but can not pass a simple written programming test, and do not want to even attempt writing it.
I don’t understand engineering students, and I’ve been surrounded by them for the last 5 years.
Earlier this month I spent a couple of days as a ‘guest’ at Infosys Mahindra City (district finals for Aspirations 2020 - a TopCoder style programming competition). Interesting experience.
No laptops allowed. No storage devices either. Cameras are okay, but “please don’t take pictures”. Phones are okay too. The usual complimentary grope as you enter. Random security guards ask “Where is your ID card?” at random times. Buses bringing in hordes of people. Couples being couply in food courts. Reasonably good food. Formal clothes, without regard to the weather. Everyone smiles when talking (unless they’re security guards). Respectful deference to hierarchical authority (with a big smile & explicit announcements of gratefulness). Unlocked cycles to travel around the campus.
A vague sense of order, but no sense of purpose.
This is what people are trying to (and mostly succeeding) in making Engineering ‘education’ resemble. If you’ve made peace with how engineering colleges are, you’ll feel completely at home at Infosys. Accident?
Note: I am just reformatting + putting this in one piece rather than have it split across multiple comments on reddit. Am not the original author
my state has 300+ engineering colleges and my parents decided that i am going to be an engineer. so, i wrote an exam and got into one institute (luckily i can make it into a good institute where there are campus interviews.. the luck being i might have gotten 2 multiple choice questions correct than an unfortunate guy who will be discarded by our society)
Here i am in college. Nothing big here, professors are very friendly and if you are good to them(i always made it a point never to refuse whatever they ask ,,, please do not think i am homo), they will give marks, or you can later request them and because your future is at stake they will give you some marks.
when the admin password for our oracle installation did not worked, my professor in DB class wondered if we could have tried it with some more s (***) instead of 6 *s(as in ***). This is one of the A+ rated institute in the country and the professor is a phD in CS. No, the password is not made of * characters.
In the examination we are supposed to write the code (yes, the code) on paper and submit it. Most of the guys did scored more than 80% by writing an universal program (includes, defines, main (), some function names related to the problem, the usual i j k and l, loops and finally adding fflush () and return at the end ) nobody can dare try to understand what is in between.
We had this big campus placement drive, when we got the usual aptitude (if ram worked for 4 days and shyam for 5 days, in how many days the work is completed) and tricky questions ( can you write a one line c code to find if a number is even) and the most complex of them (string reversal, tree traversal) questions, leaked one day before from the previous college the company went to recruit. we all prepared well and some got lucky. most of the times, even if fail to answer any of the questions, but smile pleasantly, you got in. sometimes, even the smiling part it not necessary, you just have to act how stupid they are to ask such questions to you..
when we joined this big company, we got trained in how to use the PC and every programming language and every operating system and every technology, each one not taking more than a couple of days. We worked hard and successfully completed the training. the test is on a PC, but the question bank is known (airtel friends ad).
Now, we are put into a project, we are given a contact number of the manager and office location and were told to meet him there. we, group of 3 people (we are friends by now) try to locate the manager hard for 2 days and finally get hold of him. we explain him that we are sent by Ms.knowallthingsbutactuallydumb to work in (t)his project.
He jovially introduces us to the technical lead. TL says he will give work after some time, but meanwhile asks us to 1) collect all the birthdays,contact number, mail id, designation details of all the team members, make an excel sheet and mail it to everyone. 2)sit with a senior engineer who is doing testing (pressing keys and entering some form data in a webpage and checking the output) and we enter the data all day and give him the screenshots at the end of day.3)attend team meetings (why we are the only ones to get there first and wait for everyone for 30 mts) make MoM and email it to every one and track the action items (yes, now we know these terms.. you cant put us in noob mode)
Then this goes on for 4 months, still no real IT work. we are wondering why we are not given any work (this is the 8th month we are in the company, drawing salary). we try to get some real IT work from the seniors, but they always seem not to notice us and not taking us serious. But, being new to the environment and in doubt of our capabilities, we let this go. we make merry of the free time, enjoying the cafeterias, making (cute) friends from other teams, roaming around the big campus and then one day, the manager calls us all in. this is not the typical meetings we are experienced with, because the manager talked to us into the meeting and scheduled it as high priority calendar invite, only to us, the freshers.
Wondering if any of us did anything wrong (it is a relief to find ourselves not doing anything at all, still) we walked into the meeting. The manager is very blunt. Higher-ups (client and Delivery manager) is questioning about the productivity and inquiring what the freshers are doing in the project. Manager tells us that we need to show output and contribute to the project work. One member replies him that we never got any work assigned. Manager becomes more serious. he questions our lack of initiative and tells us that we should deliver results. He calls the team leader into the meeting and tells him that we should be working on any pending issues and asks him to track our progress.
We are scared, confused, and do not know what to do. then the TL takes us to his desk and on a white paper strip (of size A8) draws a diagram (Euclid would know better shapes) explaining to us the product, process, standards, and every other thing (you should never touch the code, you should never email anyone without it being shown to me first …) and gives all of us guest permissions to a directory/machine.
We are all happy now, we got into real IT work somehow (may be the manager is angry, but we can impress him with our work later and change it). we also heard, if we perform better we will get sent to the USA and can stay there for 3-6 months. this really motivated us. we immediately logged into the machines, started reading the code.
We could understand nothing. The code is nothing like we wrote or tried to write during our college days, it is not even like whatever is taught in training. everyone of us scared now, we the freshers. now we talked among ourselves, first to know if other guy had any answers and then to know if they dont. to approach the seniors, who always seem to be busy, either at their workstation or at the printers (i do not know why such a rush at the printer area) and to disturb them with our silly questions seemed like bad to us. so we turned to GOOG.
everyday we gone through each source file (php, html, JS, shell) and googled the meaning of everything we do not know and that is everything. the TL never bothered us after the first meeting. we are also making notes of the things and looking back, i think we could have made a wikipedia then. such was our effort, but at the end of a couple of months it did not made any sense to us, except that we now know how to write a hello world alert page in IE (sorry, it is in HTML, JS).
So, we completed 1 year in the company. our reviews are coming up but we have not done anything yet. again we are in a panicky stage. Meetings are going on, but we are just continuing taking the MoM and distributing it. Now and then, we are hearing some terms (forms, tables, elements, script, position, width, validation, anchor, cursor, layout …) we learnt from exploring GOOG. it made us feel good, but we thought we are not IN yet.
Somehow we finished our annual reviews, all of us got mid-rating and manager explained to us later that we do not get much hike as our ratings are average. One of us who stayed late hours in office because he came late everyday(he lived in some faraway place) got 1% more hike than us.
This went on for 3 more months, we using GOOG to learn some terms, and doing some job works to other team mates. like one day, i stayed overtime, took printouts of the client webpages (pages and different instances) and stacked them neatly, so the senior engineer can go through them (i do not know the need for this yet), and like this another day, when i have prepared this big excel sheet and entered Pass/Fail from another automated report and this excel sheet generated some more sheets with nice charts. Another friend of mine tracked the billing hours similarly..
Then, one day the Manager again called us. Asked us what we are doing, and it is good to see that he is very satisfied with our work. The TL also gave a good feedback and told the manager that we worked independently and always helped the team. The manager nodded, and told the TL to send our resumes to client and put us into billing. Again, we are worried. Tension is on our faces, what to put into the resume, how to answer any questions from the client…
TL asked us for our resumes immediately, we prepared them and sent it to him, but prayed to god, there be no client interview. TL called us in and told us that he modified our resumes (what a relief, but wait) and added Web technologies (meanwhile clients also know our names as we are in CC list and in some group mail lists) experience and Enterprise Apps (Oh, its time for GOOG again, for us) so that it will seem relevant to the client. We wondered what will happen, if the client asked us questions on those and we do not get selected. TL told us not to worry, he will take care of it…(this time we are courageous enough to ask the TL, because we do not want to bow our heads before a white guy)
Then, after 5 weeks (client manager is busy or on vacation hence the delay) it is informed to us that we got selected into the team. As we are already there for the last 1.5 years and working in the project and familiar with web and enterprise technologies, the client had no objection for us to be in the project. we felt so happy, manager and TL both congratulated us, and it felt like a new job joining day for us..
Now, everything is set. forget the education, trainings, friends, politics in office,, Now all that is left on the highway is to cruise at whatever speed we allow ourselves. We are all so happy, and one of the friends is already planning to move to a better paying company after 1 more year of working in Web and enterprise technologies. I am already thinking about when to ask for onsite opportunity, whether i should wait for couple of months or make my wish known to the manager right now itself?…
So, the D Day has arrived. it is the day(remember, the speech in Independence day movie).Hence forth, i will no longer be known as just me, but as a techie (forward 1 year i can add Sr. before that).
My assignment and the Project?? Usability Project.. testing the clients web platform for its usability and generating metrics and reports in rich media formats.(now, you know why the rush at the printer)
Sounds very true, from second hand experience of people who are working there. Anyone with first-hand experience to corroborate this?
Source: Friend of mine who is sadly ‘training’ at a big ‘IT company’ now (He wishes to remain anonymous, and I could see why)
I’m just going to leave this here, and hope that when this boom does bust, it doesn’t leave too many dead bodies in its wake.