Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some Good Side Effects of Recession in India

In early 2000, while I was working in Chennai I used to go to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Chennai. I made a lot of good friends there especially those who were doing Masters in various fields of Engineering. These were all students who scored very high marks in GATE exam (entrance exam for Masters). They used to work hours and hours in the lab working on their area of research. Most of them seem to have a fairly good idea of the subject they were working on.
But this interest in the subject ends when the campus interviews come. A mechanical engineer or a civil engineer or a aerospace engineer or from any engineering stream will be preparing to solve the puzzles, questions so that they can get a job in software companies like Infosys, CTS, TCS etc. Once they get a job in one of the software companies they join these companies never to come back to their area of specialization.
I always used to think what an utter waste of ability, when I see students from premier engineering institutes shift their job to software engineering after graduating in another field. If they wanted to become a software engineer why the hell did you come to IIT and do bachelors/masters in Aerospace engineering? One has to slog day in and out in a particular area before you get a degree. Now you are going to a field where you are not going to use any of what you learnt in your class.
The aura with software jobs in India will wane big time with this recession. The graduates from premier institutes like IIT and NIT graduating in core engineering subjects like civil, mechanical or electrical will think twice before accepting an offer from a software company. This recession has taught us a lesson that it may be better off in the long run to find a job in his/her field of study even if the salary is a little less initially.
Another side effect of recession is the bursting of the real estate bubble in India. Land prices were so inflated that it was almost impossible for a common man with a decent job to buy a home or a piece of land. My friend was telling me the other day that to buy a decent flat in Chennai you need a minimum of 50 lakhs of Indian rupees. Only a cream of the Indian society can afford to spend such an amount to buy something that huge. With global recession hitting India, the inflated prices have started the downward journey and hopefully it will go down so that more people can dream of owning a house.
Karthik in his blog has expressed almost similar views.
Now on a lighter note – below is an email forward I got a couple of days back. This was an advertisement that appeared in keralamatrimony.com website. How the recession has affected the “marriage market” of people holding certain jobs. A year back no one could imagine such a forward coming to our mail box. 

On the whole recession has hit every one of us very hard. Even during the hard times some good things happen and I believe the two I described above are the good things to happen during these hard times.

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10 Comments:

Blogger scorpiogenius said...

ouch...the software engineers always seem to get the rough end of the stick when something goes wrong. Now why is that??

February 19, 2009 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm...I think the recession has hit the Civil and the Mechanical field greater than the Software field this time. Sorry Brijesh, wrong time to point finger at IT. Better luck next recession...

February 19, 2009 4:00 PM  
Blogger Venkatakrishnan said...

Brijesh, I think your point is very valid. I would imagine at the least the students who study at IIT to pursue a career in their own field after all the hard work they put in to get into one of them..... But the point is, does the education that is provided in India really help you to do a job? When I was doing my EEE, students who came in and joined us after their diploma were more knowledgeable than any of us who came into EEE after our +2. Our engineering course does not take us anywhere.... The education system as a whole in India needs to change... In my opinion, Education (right from school) should train a student in the practical areas of a job that he/she would do after the completion of their studies...

February 19, 2009 9:28 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

scorpiogenius,
may be because they are more visible than others.

Anon @ 9:00 AM
My intention was not to point fingers at anyone.

Venkatakrishanan
I agree with you totally.

February 20, 2009 1:09 AM  
Anonymous JK said...

i know one guy who did ms in IIT...put patents...published papers...in mechanical engineering..tired for 2 years for decent paying job...finally he burnt his thesis !! and found a job in the area of IT. As fasr he is concerned the 2 years of thesis was utter waste of time!...

before making such generilazation understand human mentality!..for the quantity of engineers we produce there are no opp in civil and mech and all..!!...

u go tell this to civil and mech ppl..! theyll come raging at u with full rage!..salary is a little less initially? do u even know the salary progression for such jobs? and how mnay ppl vie for the few jobs...
sw industry saved our country from civil war..had india continued in the 3% hindu rate of growth that we had since 1950s ..u ll bo looking at headlines such as south asian civil war!

February 20, 2009 5:59 AM  
Blogger Karthikeyan said...

This is not as simple a subject and have been thinking about writing about it for sometime now. While i will put all my thoughts in my blog, i will mention that no one can find fault with the Mtech students. People flock to jobs where the returns are high. Just look at how many PhDs from engg and physics are working for wall st firms as Quant analysts.

But, i am much more interested at the way this IT phenomenon skewed the real estate market and also inflation of basic commodities and its effect on our larger society.

February 21, 2009 2:13 AM  
Blogger USB said...

Though I am also one of those who jumped ship to join the IT bandwagon, to me it was a no brainer:
After doing my Electrical Engineering I worked in a Steel Plant for 4 years. I was married and would have to work in shifts. The pay was OK, but pretty soon I was hearing about the salaries that the IT companies were paying, with the incentive to go abroad & best of all, to work in a fully AC environment.....believe me, after facing the 1200 deg heat of the rolling mill & working in dangerous conditions where people actually die or are severly disabled at one wrong step, this was the best incentive...But don't forget, despite all this hooplah, IT employs just about 2 million people (20 lakhs) or less in India, which is less than 2% of the work force....so things are not as black and white as they appear to be...other industries have also done well, and in order to attract and keep the talent, the manufacturing sector is also paying very well now. Classic case of supply and demand economics.

February 21, 2009 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Think IT is managing itself lot better than other sectors..

March 15, 2009 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True!Recession hasn't spared matrimony too!
Interesting read!Incidentally there is a website called www.angstcorner.com specifically for recession victims.There are a lot of features in this site to help recession victims.Worth a visit!

April 21, 2009 12:25 PM  
Blogger ashley alfred said...

During the last US recession in 2001-02, the effect on us was much more because we had a lot of clients who were in the Internet business. Most of those businesses just tanked. This time around he feels that it is a lot safer because we have a lot of enterprise clients. Actually recession in the US is good for India and for offshore outsourcing.
watch watchindia.tv
http://www.watchindia.tv/landingpage/1008/diwali_ft_box_ht.aspx

November 27, 2009 8:08 AM  

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