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.


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