Why big IT companies are wrong for you?

Its 2012, startups are making big bucks. You are studying engineering and have dreams of someday coding the next Big thing and when placements happen you happily jump towards the big IT companies who usually come first. Well if being a “rockstar” or a “ninja” is what you crave, then you are going down the wrong path, my friend.

What happens when you join a big company is that they see you as a raw material, ready to be moulded as they desire but you obviously have other plans. Before you know it, you will be branched into streams and your “rockstar” career may just go up in smoke. There is no measurement of aptitude for the job just seemingly random distribution into the various streams. This is the easiest way of tackling with the ‘how to split these people’ problem. Academics play an important role in this filtering. So there you are , getting trained in a technology that is either boring or getting obsolete by the year and your passion for the profession is slowly being sucked out of you. Once you are done with the “training”, you get allotted to sections of the company and your IT career begins.  You normally start being a team member, answering to seniors and initiated into the project. Appraisals happen and your pay increases by a measly amount every year and you dream of going “onsite”. You are no longer a “ninja” and most probably are cozy in this simple life. If thats how you want to end, well my friend, all the best. But if you really want to be somebody step outside the mould, live life, take risks, code a side project, learn what you want, get enlightened, dream big, execute ideas and be honest to yourself. We are all unique, we are not assembled. Today’s freshers are more likely to revolt atleast that’s what i see around me. Attrition rates are quite growing. Consider this, for every 100 new freshers joining , approximately 60-70 experienced people are leaving IT companies. This results in a vacuum of middle leadership and thats why companies recruit all year long. Most people leave because they are unhappy at their current job. In a recent survey conducted by Karthik, the results seem to confirm what we already deduced. 25% every morning, don’t look forward to go to work. 34% feel their work is mundane, and not challenging. 20% feel that there is no clarity in the work and process. 45% are currently planning to change jobs and 75% are in their first jobs! Alarming statistics actually.

If you fall in the unhappy lot, then well i suggest its time you sat back and reflected on where you are headed and decide if thats the road that you want to take.

P.S. This was meant to be part of a bigger post which i abandoned because i got busy with work and the transition from work to college life again. I currently am studying ‘Information and Interface Design’ at the National Institute of Design, Bangalore. I wrote this post out of frustration and it was based on the real life situation around me at that time.

Being Social

Pair is the latest app/social network that is creating a buzz in the west and most people would be wondering why anyone didnt think of it first ?  Actually they have but none have been successful.

A social network targeted at couples and especially at those maintaining a long distance relationship is quite a well thought fork to the idea of social. The Y Combinator backing they have is also giving them the essential technology press so that they will need to sell an idea that has been thought of before but never well executed enough to survive.

Pair also has some unique features like the “thumbkiss” which will surely be the next “poke”. Monetizing this app also would be simple and easy.

However i wrote this post not to share this app with you but because i was pondering on the unique negative scenarios that this app would produce  if it became the next big thing.

  1. An app can be installed only once in a phone, therefore would this reduce cheating ?
  2. Could this app actually help people cheat ?
  3. In case of a breakup, would an option of deleting the app signify an end to the relationship ?
  4. How about a new relationship ? would that mean that you would have an option to start using Pair from scratch ?

Also you should have noticed by now that the idea of social is shifting from the “have more friends”(Facebook) to “share with close friends”(Path) and the emphasis being on your “friends” being a very close knit group. This is the future of Social networking. Privacy concerns are the reason for this shift and come on, you wouldn’t really want to share many of the parts of your life with your entire network. That is why when i realized that, i stopped updating this blog in a diary like manner and its become more of a article like blog. Because you never know who’s watching.

2012: The Year of Online Learning.

If you have been an avid reader of Hacker News these past few months, you would have noticed a host of startups launching around the idea of teaching learning to an everyday person. Codecademy was one of the first out of the stable. The people of Codecademy introduced many of us to the world of Javascript for the first time. I was overjoyed about Codecademy but eventually realised from their usability that it was intended at a reasonably computer literate user. Their problem was that the forgiveness that they employed when teaching the programming novices was not very intuitive. I dont consider myself to be the dumbest guy out there but i was befuddled by the fact that their UI was not responding to an answer that was right but not in the way they had instructed us to code. Still they are getting there slowly, CodeYear was a great way of pushing ahead[1].

At around the same time, the Stanford online classes started off. Prof. Thurn who started the  ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class’ gave up his tenure at Stanford and started a new online university called Udacity. I was not very interested in the first session but now i have enrolled for a class[2]. Lets see how that goes. MIT also decided to jump onto the bandwagon.

Then the trickle turned into a torrent which flooded the internet. Some of the websites i came across include

Ruby
RubymonkTeamTreehouse, tryBloc, tryRuby, RubyLearning
Clojure: tryClojure
Web Design/Development:Beginner’s Guide, TeamTreehouse, Codepupil.
Design: Method of Action

I also came across these two Reddit pages filled with resources. And last but not the least, I love the work Salman Khan is doing with his Khan Academy.

If you know of any interesting learning resources, do let me know in the comments below and i shall update this post.

Update: Another list of Learning resources includes Coursera.

Update 2: Knight Center is offering courses in journalism (They have courses on information visualization). Also adding Stanford’s Venture Lab.

Update 3: Now there’s uReddit, where anyone can set up a MOOC.

Footnotes:

  1.  Codecademy recently started out CodeYear to get more people to start learning. NYC Mayor Bloomberg is one among the many who has vouched to code this year.
  2. I have signed on for the ‘Human Computer Interaction‘ class which will start on 30th January 2012. Check out the entire Winter semester course list here.

Dont Give Up!

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to write bad songs. There’s a lot of people who don’t want to finish songs because they don’t think they’re any good. Well they’re not good enough. Write it!  I want you to write me the worst songs you could possible write me because you won’t write bad songs. You’re thinking they’re bad so you don’t have to finish it. That’s what I really think it is. Well it’s all right. Well, how do you know? It’s not done!”

– John Mayer

Sources: Berklee Blogs The Hacker News article and the page.