Saturday, March 9, 2013

Swimming with the sharks

This is in continuation to the previous post. Ask anyone in the Indian software industry - who are nowadays in middle or senior management about their entry in their first project ever or second. Or better still, ask them about their early success? They will all tell you that their success came with a great learning.

This was in the days before IT companies discovered training. Prior to organized IT, there was a term in vogue for many IT companies - Bodyshopping. In the early years, both bodyshoppers and IT companies had something in common - that was training - rather the lack of it. And this is also something some training companies cashed in on - but that is not the point of this post.

Most of these people were thrown into projects - when their knowledge was barely anything. Or they signed up to take up projects without knowing what they might run into. Most of these companies provided very little organized training - and most of the training they provided was rudimentary. After all, they had no way of saying what sort of complications the code or development might throw up in the course of the project. So, the took the risk of taking on a project and that risk was that, they would learn on the job. And how did they do that?

By putting in more effort than others. So, while the others went off home, these guys slogged on their machines, trying various permutations, combinations, testing, re-testing, simulating, re-purposing and satisfying their clients eventually. None of this was easy. But worth it, every minute of it.

Ask any software engineer of a few years ago (who is now, mostly a mananger somewhere) and they will tell you a tale of how they 'learnt by doing' while 'swimming with the sharks'.

This is how people learn.

Now, I am not saying do away with training. I feel what they had then was a sub-optimal model. And there are many gaps in this process that one discovers later on and which Indian IT companies are trying to sort out even today (yes, think, think). This process can be improved - far better than what it is today.

Germinating thought...hopefully, will expand...

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