Monday, June 27, 2011

Growth Journey of software engineer.....

Compared to 15 years ago, today's software engineer is blessed with lots of opportunities right from his college. Firstly, he gets selected in the campus due to the IT boom in India. Secondly, if you are a good student, you can choose the company as well. Many tier 1 and tier 2 colleges have 100% placement.

There is also a demand angle to this. Many companies hiring in big numbers in 2011 due to the anticipated growth in 2011 and also due to the high attrition in these companies.

After two years into the industry, the enginner looks for good perks or next promotion. The general tendency is to get the first promotion within 2 to 2.5 years. Otherwise, they feel that they are not fairly treated by the company. Nowadays, many of the companies give the first promotion in first two years itself. They get the first promotion due to the following reasons.
  • The engineer gets easily differentiated with rookie. Otherwise, both belong to the same grade/level/band.
  • The employer would like to motivate the employee and make him feel that he/she is on the growth path.

Now, the next promotion is expected in the next 2 to 3 years. Otherwise, engineer starts getting frustrated and de-motivation creeps in. Unfortunately, many companies can only promote if you can show certain level of competencies. These are not just technical competencies but also soft skills. In addition to this, every company would like to maintain the inverted cone structure and would like to control the promotions. Even though this is company's view, why should enginner should buy this view? If the promotion didn't happen, they would like to move to the other companies. They can easily get the next promotion by jumping into the next company due to the demands of the other company.

The engineers are fairly successful in this approach at the early stages of their career. But beyond 8 to 10 years of experience, it get slowed down significantly. If you got fast promoted at the early stages of your career, you will feel to be staying long in one role. The promotions might not happen due to the following reasons.

  • The management is static and no one is moving. You can only grow if someone vacates.
  • Or you reached your threshold level of your competencies.

In the first reason, you should look at opportunities in other places or take extreeme step of moving out of the Business Unit or the company. If you don't do this, you will be hindering your growth. In the second case, it is time to scale up your competencies as the current competencies no longer fetch you the next level. If you don't do this, you are slowly becoming a excess baggage to the company.

The key message for the entry level engineers is to show patience instead of changing the companies quiet often in search of promotions or better pay scales. For the mid level managers, assess your competency levels and scale up your competencies if you reached upon threshold levels. Also, learn new competencies if you need to move to the next roles.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Self Development is the differentiator

From last one month, I had been interviewing many engineers with experience levels ranging from 3 years to 8 years. These engineers are from Tier 1 service and product companies in Bangalore. I would say that its been a wonderful insight and experience for me and my thoughts are as follows.

The need of the hour today in IT industry is to deliver the requirements faster, cheaper and with good quality. This lead the industry to use multiple third party tools, libraries to speed up the life cycle of the development. While this approach has been successful in meeting the project requirements, this has also lead the engineers to lost their thinking, analytical and innovative capabilities.

There is a clear differentiation between good and average engineers in the market today and this can be found easily if you speak to them for 15 minutes.

Average engineers are good when it comes to the knowledge of current project and knows most of the work they do in the project. However, they lack the the purpose of the certain components that are used in the project. They do not know how to proceed in the absence of such components. They are fully dependent on the libraries to make their code to work. They lack lateral thinking. They know very LESS outside of their project in terms of technologies and domain.

On the other hand, Good engineers found to be knowledgeable on the current project as well as the outside of the project. They always keep a watch on what is happening in either technology or domain or both. They spend extra time in their SELF DEVELOPMENT which they do with great discipline. This will help them to place right on the top in their current work place as well as in the industry. These engineers will grow in their career faster than industry standards.

Companies will greatly benefit from the SELF DEVELOPMENT of their employees. This will help the companies to place the resources quickly while they move from one project to the other project and it will save additional dollars on competency development. In addition to that, these employees are always on the learning mode which will enable them to adopt quickly the new technologies and productive faster than the average performers.