Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tri-Valley University Fiasco – Lessons to be Learnt

If I have an US visa stamped in my passport my dowry will surely double. Right now since I have an engineering degree, I will get at least 50 lakhs Indian rupees as dowry. Having a visa stamp, my dowry will shoot up by at least another 50 lakhs. I “somehow” have to get a US visa and land in US”. This is what a colleague of mine told me over 12 years back when I asked him why he is so desperate to go to USA. 
Why did I remember this story now? After I read the news that hundreds of Indian students who enrolled in Tri-Valley University face possible deportation I remembered about my colleague. Like my colleague I have met a lot of people who just want to land up in US by any hook or by crook and I am sure over 95% of the students studying in Tri-Valley University will fall under this category. You don’t even have a “common sense” to know that this Tri-Valley University is fake – just browse their website for 5 minutes and if you cannot make it that they are fake then you are good for nothing. 
Is there a single page in Tri-Valley University website that doesn’t have grammar mistakes. Even yahoo had an article on that the other day about the grammatical errors in the website. 
Now go to their home page and read this
Our mission is to make Christian scientists, engineers, business leaders and lawyers for the glory of God, with both solid academic professionalism and Christian faith, therefore to live out Christ-like characters, value and compassion in the world, to make an impact and shine as its light.
Christian scientists, engineers…. Phew… I never knew that… They were merely using a loophole in California law that give some privileges to schools based on Christian faith. 
Now go the Research tab of Tri-Valley University website and I am sure you cannot stop laughing after reading the first paragraph 
Tri-Valley University has computer lab including more than 13 laptops and 5 desktops. Most of the computers are equipped with both window and linux operation system to run many EDA tools, such as Synopsis EDA tool and Xilink webpack etc. Tri-Valley University has research programs in Analog IC, Digital IC, MEMS, Software Programming and Data Mining areas. 
Thirteen laptops and 5 desktops – these days in every home you may find more computers than that, right? What more proof than these do you need for a person to smell something fishy with this university? 
I have been following the Tri-Valley University for the past few years. I first came to know about this University when someone told me that if you join this University you can do full time (40 hours) Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) from the very first semester which I knew was against law. Lots of people who cannot get their company to sponsor their H1B visa or want to stay back in US somehow enrolled in hundreds to earn some quick bucks through the illegal program offered by Tri-Valley University. 
Do I have any sympathy for those students who join Tri-Valley University and now crying for help in various forums? NO. They all need to be deported and never allowed to enter US again. This will help hundreds of others in US who came there genuinely, to pursue their studies and who never took any short cut and are trying hard to settle there. Also deporting all those who played with the law will make all those back in India who “somehow” want to land in US think twice before they take these shortcuts. 
Now with the new rules of increasing the H1B fees and the necessity of end client letter having almost closed the H1B visa shops called “desi consultants” and with this cleaning of the education sector of bad worms, let us hope that only deserving people land up in US.
Lesson to be Learnt - "Shortcuts" to go the US are close to extinction.
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Saturday, January 08, 2011

IPL Auction - Live Blogging

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Gautam Gambhir is first to be auctioned....11.10 AM IST
Gautam Gambhir brought for 2.4 million USD by Kolkata Knight Riders
T Dilshan of Sri Lanka for $650,000 by Bangalore Royal Challengers
Zaheer Khan for $900,000 by Bangalore Royal Challengers
Ross Taylor of NZ for 1 million US dollars by Rajasthan Royals
Yusuf Pathan for 2.1 million by  Kolkata Knight Riders
Kevin Pietersen for $ 650,000 by Deccan Chargers
Mahela Jayawardane for 1.05 million USD by Kochi
Yuvraj Singh for 1.8 million USD by Pune Warriors
AB de Villiers for 1.1 million USD by Royal Challengers
15 minutes break 11.53 AM IST...
************
IPL Auction restarted 12:10 PM IST
Saurav Ganguly no takers...
Cameron White of Australia for 1.1 million USD by Deccan Chargers
J Kallis of SA for 1.1 million USD by KKR
Rohit Sharma of India for 2 million USD by Mumbai Indians
Andrew Symonds of Australia for $ 850,000 by Mumbai Indians
Kumar Sangakkara of SL for $700,000 by Deccan Chargers
Adam Gilchrist of Aus for $900,000 by Kings IX Punjab
Rahul Dravid of India for $500,000 by Rajasthan Royals
Grame Smith of SA for $ 500,000 by Pune Warriors
Robin Uthappa of India  for 2.1 million by Pune Warriors
J Botha of SA  for $ 950,000 by Rajasthan Royals
VVS Laxman for $400,000 by Kochi
D Vettori of NZ for $550,000 by Royal Challengers Bangalore
B McCullum of NZ for $475,000 by Kochi
Sreesanth of India for $900,000 by Kochi
Chris Gayle of WI no takers for him
Irfan Pathan of India for 1.9 million USD by Delhi Daredevils
RP Singh of India for $500,000 by Kochi
LUNCH BREAK....Auction to restart by 2.30 PM
******************************************
Team owners back in the auction room.Auction restarts -2:30 pm IST
Jesse Ryder of NZ - Unsold
H Gibbs of SA - Unsold
M Hussey of Aus for $425,000 by Chennai Super Kings
S Marsh of Aus for $420,000 by Kings XI Punjab
JP Duminy of SA for $300,000 by Deccan Chargers
S Dhawan of India for $300,000 by Deccan Chargers
Bid for S Tiwary of India being held up due to the dispute between Punjab and Bangalore. Looks like bid ofr S Tiwary will be reopened. Keeping fingers crossed.
S Tiwary of India for million by Royal Challengers Bangalore
Break in broacast of Sony Set Max...2.55 PM IST
Sony Set Max back on...
D Hussey of Aus for 1.4 million by Kings IX Punjab
D Warner of Aus for $750,000 by Delhi Daredevils
Brain Lara of WI Unsold
Graham Monou Unsold
Parthiv Patil of India for $290,000 by Kochi
W Saha of India for $100,000 by Chennai Super Kings
Dinesh Karthik of Ind for $900,000 by Kings IX Punjab
N Ojha of India for $270,000 by Delhi Dare Devils 
Brad Haddin of Aus for $325,000 by Kolkata Knight Riders
Tim Paine of Aus for $270,000 by Pune Warriors
Matt Prior of Eng - Unsold
M Boucher - Unsold
David Jacobs of SA for $190,000 by Mumbai Indians
Two minute break....
Auction restarts...2:40 PM IST
J Hopes of Aus for $350,000 by Delhi Daredevils
R Jadeja of India for $950,000 by Kochi
Wright Unsold
Shakib Al Hasan of Ban for $425,000 by Kolkatta Knight Riders
S Broad of ENG for $400,000 by Kings IX Punjab
Abhishek Nayar of IND for $800,000 by Kings XI Punjab
Angelo Mathews of SLA for $950,000 by Pune Warriors
D Bravo of WI for $200,000 by Chennai Super Kings
Steven Smith of Aus for $200,000 by Kochi 
James Franklin of NZ for $100,000 by Mumbai Indians
Tea Break for 30 minutes 4:05 PM IST...
Will be back by 4:30 PM
************************
Welcome Back.....
D Fernando of SLA Unsold
J Anderson of ENG Unsold
Ishanth Sharma of IND for $450,000 by Deccan Chargers
Praveen Kumar of IND for $800,000 by Kings XI Punjab
Ashish Nehra of IND for $850,000 by Pune Warriors
Brett Lee of AUS for $400,000 by Kolkatta Knight Riders
M Morkel of SA for $450,000 by Delhi Daredevils
Dale Steyn of SA for 1.2 million USD by  Deccan Chargers
Ryan Harris of AUS for $325,000 by Kings IX Punjab
Nannes of AUS for $600,000 by Royal Challengers Bangalore
D Bollinger of AUS for 700,000 by Chennai Super Kings
Two minute break...5:05 PM
M Muralidharan of SLA for 1.1 Million USD by Kochi
G Swann of ENG Unsold
Piyush Chawla of IND for $900,000 by Kings XI Punjab
R Aswin of IND for $850,000 by Chennai Super Kings
Ajantha Mendis of SLA Unsold
P Ohja is being for $500,000 by Deccan Chargers
M Karthik of IND Unsold
A Mishra of IND for $300,000 by 
N McCullam of NZ for $100,000 by Pune Warriors
Ramesh Powar of IND for $180,000 by Kochi
Break....
Kapugedera of SLA Unsold
Aaron Flinch of AUS for $300,000 by Delhi Daredevils
Erin Morgan of ENG for $350,000 by Kolkata Knight Riders
Brad Hodge of AUS for $425,000 by Kochi
Tamim Iqbal of BAN Unsold
Callum Ferguson of AUS for $300,000 by Pune Warriors
Manoj Tiwary of IND for $475,000 by Kolkatta Knight Riders
C Pujara of IND for $700,000 by Royal Challengers Bangalore
Live Update in this blog concludes by 6 PM IST
************************
Teams so far
Mumbai Indians
Rohit Sharma - $2,00,000
Andrew Symonds - $850,000
David Jacobs - $190,000
James Franklin - $100,000
Kochi
Mahela Jayawardane - $1,05,000
VVS Laxman - $400,000
B McCullum - $475,000
Sreesanth - $900,000
RP Singh - $500,000
Parthiv Patil - $290,000
R Jadeja - $950,000
S Smith - $200,000
M Muralidharan - $1,000,000
Ramesh Pawar - $180,000
Brad Hodge - $425,000
Pune Warriors
Yuvaraj Singh -$1,80,000
Grame Smith - $500,000
Robin Uthappa - $2,10,000
Tim Paine - $270,000
Ashish Nehra - $850,000
Callum Ferguson - $300,000
Angelo Mathews - $950,000
Nathan McCullum - $100,000
Rajasthan Royals
Ross Taylor - $1,00,000
Rahul Dravid - $500,000
J Botha - $950,000
P Collingwood - $250,000
Kolkata Knight Riders
Gautam Gambhir - $ 2,400,000
Yusuf Pathan - $ 2,100,00
J Kallis - $1,100,000
Brad Haddin - $325,000
Shakib Al Hasan - $425,000
Brett Lee - 400,000
Erin Morgan - $350,000
Manoj Tiwary - $475,000
Kings XI Punjab
Adam Gilchrist - $900,000
S Marsh - $400,000
D Hussey - $425,000
Dinesh Karthik - $900,000
S Broad  - $400,000
Abhishek Nayar - $800,000
Praveen Kumar - $800,000
Ryan Harris - $325,000
Piyush Chawla - $900,000
Delhi Daredevils
Irfan Pathan - $1,90,000
D Warner - $750,000
N Ojha - $270,000
J Hopes - $350,000
M Morkel - $450,000
Aaron Flinch - $300,000
Chennai Super Kings
M Hussey - $425,000
W Saha - $100,000
D Bravo - $200,000
D Bollinger - $700,000
R Ashwin - $ 850,000
S Badrinath - $850,000
Deccan Chargers
Kevin Pietersen - $650,000
Cameron White - $1,100,000
Kumar Sangakkara - $700,000
S Dhawan - $300,000
JP Duminy  - $300,000
Ishanth Sharma - $450,000
Dale Steyn - $1,200,000
P Ohja - $500,000
Amit Sharma - $300,000
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Zaheer Khan - $900,000
T Dilshan - $650,000
AB de Villiers - $1,100,000
D Vettori - $550,000
S Tiwary - $1,600,000
Nannes - $600,000
C Pujara - $700,000
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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Work Hard and Work Smart – Formula for Success in IT Industry

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It is raining IT jobs in India. The software companies out there are in a recruiting spree that in most of the engineering colleges over 90% of the eligible candidates are already placed by campus recruitment, four to five months before they graduate. Getting a job is one thing but once you get into IT industry how is life there? To understand that I interviewed couple of my friends who have over 12 years working experience in IT industry. Here is the part I of the interview series. 
My friend A, who does not want his name to be revealed, speak to “Scaling New Heights” about his 13 years of life in IT industry. He got placed in one of the top companies by campus recruitment in 1997 and worked in the same company till 2008 and from then on he is working as Project Manager in another company based on Chennai. Here are the excerpts of the interview. 
You joined IT industry in late nineties even though you major was not in computer science. How did you cope with it? 
In late nineties being from non computer science background was very difficult. The nuances of handling a mouse, the different features in Power point, Word and Excel baffled me (now everyone knows the basics). I had friends who helped me understand. Also where others worked for 8 hours I had to put in 12 hours. The training and trainers were good. Once work started I was treated the same as others and could not afford to make mistakes at clients expense. But yes initially my work was reviewed and slowly the confidence was built. Hard work, ambition and zeal to perform helped me cope. 
You have been in the IT industry for so many years. Do you see a difference in the work culture in IT industry then and now? 
The resources who came into IT years ago were a lot more committed and hardworking. With there being more opportunities today resources are having an upper hand and ready to jump companies. Today you find a handful of good resources and the entire team runs on their efficiency. In the nineties the work culture was more open and inclusive but as the company grows this disappears. 
Lots of my friends working in IT industry tell me that it is boring/monotonous to work in IT industry after a few years. Any thoughts on that? 
No IT industry is quite challenging. You have to constantly reinvent yourself. If you stay   in the same project for a long time you get stagnant. One has to constantly be on the lookout for what is happening around. You can always do more than what your role demands .But it depends on the individual on how interesting he makes his work. Also this is an industry where 70% of the team is made of resources just out of college. Interacting with enthusiastic youngsters rejuvenates you. 
You may have to work extended hours most of the day especially when you are a Project Manager and the client is in US. How did you cope up with that especially once you have a family and has kids waiting to see you? 
This is extremely difficult once you are married and have kids. It is a very fine balance. You need to have the support of your extended family. Sometimes career does take a backseat. It is very difficult to see your counterparts who do not have such restrictions climbing the corporate ladder faster but one cannot have the cake and eat it too. You catch up with the kids on their studies and school over weekend.
Any advice to fresh graduates aspiring to make it big as software engineer? 
Be patient. Do not only work hard work smart also. Always keep your creative side active and do not hesitate to come out with new ways to do a routine task. 
Tell us about your typical day when you joined 13 years back as a developer and  now as a Project Manager. 
As a developer I was a bachelor and worked, ate and slept at the office. Responsibility was a lot lesser I was only responsible for my piece of work.
As a project manager I am responsible for the entire project. I have to tactfully handle my team which consists of people with different caliber. I also am responsible for helping my team members meet their career aspirations. The responsibility as PM is higher. 
What are your fond memories in this profession in the last 13 years? What are your worst memories? 
Fond memories are of appreciations accolades and awards I have received. Few close friends I have made. The knowledge I have gained. 
Worst memories are when someone else tried to take credit of the work I have done. When team members get angry for not giving them the rating they expected. 
Working with clients overseas is always a challenge. Is working with clients based on different geographical locations different? Who is more demanding? 
I think the experience varies from client to client. I have worked with US clients only. But yes my counterparts mentioned that Asian clients are more demanding. 
You have worked in US in the client side for a good number of days. President Obama and American public think that Indians are taking away the genuine jobs of Americans. What is your view on that considering the fact that you have worked in H1B and other visas in the client side? Also you may have worked with lot of American software engineers and project managers in the client side, right? How do you compare them to the Indian counterparts? 
The work gets outsourced because the overall cost of the project comes down if it is outsourced so it is good for the company which is outsourcing. 
When work is outsourced it also comes with many contractual agreements and penalties. If you miss deadlines, cause more than permissible defects, if defective code results in loss of business   the company to which the work is outsourced have to pay penalties Again it is a win-win situation for the outsourcing company 
One cannot make a generic comparison between an American and Indian software Engineer. The skills vary from individual to individual irrespective of nationality. When work is outsourced the skilled (performers) from client side are mostly retained as architects, technical leads and managers. 
Outsourcing has become a part of the corporate culture. Even big Indian companies outsource some of their routine recruiting/administrative/testing work to other smaller companies. Here also all the reasons for outsourcing applies. 
In the Indian software companies also every year after the performance appraisal cycle few of the resources who are under performers are laid off. So it is a global phenomena. 
While working in the client side, have you ever subjected to racial discrimination or any discrimination of any kind?
Never. 
A fresher who is just about to finish engineering gets recruited from the campus to a software company. Little use of common sense will tell you that all those cannot be writing codes and most of them will be doing stuffs other than coding. Can you throw light into the kind of jobs the new graduate will be doing in a software company? 
The recruits are provided training for 2-3 months. You will be surprised they do start coding after training. The code is always reviewed and corrected by experienced resources in the team. When a project starts the PM with the help of technical lead divides the work   based on the capability of the team. The experienced resources get the toughest code and freshers easiest ones and their code is always reviewed. Also there are a few freshers who produce much better code than the experienced resource. The graduates, fresh out of college, are always known for thinking out of the box. 
If you get a chance to start again will you become a software engineer? I mean assume you have recently graduated and you know how the software industry works, will you still go for a software job or try for some other job? 
This is a difficult question. I would love to join the Software industry because of the opportunities and challenges it provides. Thinking on personal front the extended hours it demands may prevent me though. 
Every one who joins a software company cannot become a Project Manager. Throw some light into the typical growth ladder for the majority in IT industry? 
There are different paths which a software industry has. One is the management path where you mature from a developer to leader to manager and senior manager. Other,   the technical path, where you mature from a developer to technical lead to an architect. The resources are given an opportunity to select the path they would like after they finish their role as a developer. 
Now about salary…lot of my friends use to jump companies and they tell me that one of the main reason for doing that – joining a new company you can negotiate a better pay. What is your experience? 
Yes the lateral hires always get a better pay.
How satisfied were you with your pay at the start of your career as a software engineer, after 3 years, after six years, after 10 years and after 12 years? 
At the start of my career I could not comprehend what I would do with so much salary. After 3 years I was satisfied. After 6 years comparing my salary with others in industry I was not satisfied. 
Anything more to add? 
Software industry is very challenging industry. If you have the skill and the zeal you can climb the corporate ladder very fast here. This is one industry where the work culture is very open. But it is also a very demanding industry. 
Thanks A for the interview. Hoping this interview is useful for those who have just joined and those who will be joining in the near future as software engineers.
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Tharoor issues legal notice to Kairali TV and Deshabhimani


Dr Shashi Tharoor has decided to issue legal notice to Kairali TV and Deshabhimani that carried the news that he was a brand ambassador to a liquor company.  Here are the photo of Shabana Azmi and other Teacher's award winners.Below is the press release from his office. 
Tharoor issues legal notice to Kairali TV and Deshabhimani over misrepresentation of Ad on Award photo
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP has demanded an unconditional and public apology by Kairali TV and Deshabhimani newspaper for carrying reports deliberately misrepresenting facts about an advertisement which appeared in a newsmagazine in connection with an achievement award bestowed on him.
 The legal notice issued by Dr. Tharoor through Advocate Vanchiyoor Parameshwaran Nair, former ASGI, mentions that unless an unconditional apology was given within two weeks, further action to file a suit for damages amounting to Rs. 10 crores would be taken. The legal notice points out that both Kairali TV and Deshabhimani newspaper were aware that the advertisement was only about Dr. Tharoor receiving an achievement award instituted as far back as in 2001 to honor people who have excelled in various fields and that these awards were given with the sole purpose of recognizing individual excellence and exemplary achievements in the field of Sports, Entertainment, Communication, Business and Lifetime Achievement as part of their social responsibility.
Dr. Tharoor was nominated for the award in the ‘Communication’ category which this year was devoted to authors. Dr. Tharoor is a widely published author, critic, columnist and commentator and was awarded the prize for 2010 in this category. Several other eminent personalities like  Shabana Azmi (Actor), Aditya Puri (MD, HDFC Bank), Aiswarya Rai Bachan (Actor), Boman Irani (Actor) and Pankaj Advani (Billiards Player) were honored with Lifetime Achievement Award, Achievement Award for Business, the People Magazine Award, the Achiever of the Decade for Entertainment and the Achievement Award for Sports, respectively.
Dr. Tharoor had never consented to be a brand ambassador for any company’s liquor brand nor had he modeled for any advertisement. The photograph published in the ad only showed him receiving the award at the function held earlier for the purpose where other awardees in various fields had been similarly honored.  Dr. Tharoor has not received any monetary benefits in connection with the award or anything connected to the company which gave the awards.  To state that he had modeled as a brand ambassador for the company or its products was a deliberate misrepresentation of facts with the ulterior motive of defaming him and sullying his public image. He had never been approached for such a purpose, nor had he been offered or accepted any consideration from the company to endorse their products.
When the above attempt to create an unwarranted controversy over the matter came to light Dr. Tharoor immediately wrote to the organizers of the award asking them to make sure that his photo, which was taken in the context of conferring of the award,  was not used for any other purpose, even for the purpose of honoring him as an awardee. This was necessary to clear the air and prevent interested parties who have cared not to stop even short of defaming totally innocent persons for narrow and selfish political gains.
The current controversy raised by a few over Dr. Tharoor's receiving the Teacher's award, portraying it is as an endorsement of liquor, reveals either ignorance on the background of the award or cheap political cynicism. None of the previous winners, who range from eminent sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and poet Gulzar, to ONGC CMD Subir Raha and ICICI Bank Chairperson K.V. Kamath, and respected sports persons like  badminton champion Saina Nehwal, would ever be accused of endorsing a liquor brand.
It should also be noted that this year's Teacher's Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Shabana Azmi, noted actor, social activist and former Rajya Sabha MP. She was also featured in a similar advertisement published to honor her achievement.
Eminent Indians formerly associated with the Teacher's Awards include Shyam Benegal (Film Maker), Vinod Mehta (Journalist), Gulzar (Poet & Lyricist), Karan Thapar (Journalist), Pritish Nandy (Journalist), Anupam Kher (Actor), Virendra Singh (Boxer), Saina Nahwal (Badminton Champion), Dipika Pallikal (Squash Player), Abhinav Bhindra (Olympic Medalist), Anu Agha (Industrialist), Chandra Kochar (ICICI Bank), Raj Kumar Hirani (Film Maker), KV Kamath (Chairman, ICICI Bank), Prasoon Joshi (Ad Man), Karan Johar (Film Maker), Subir Raha (CMD, ONGC), Anjali Bhagwat (Common Wealth Gold Medalist), Yogesh Chandra Deveshwar (Chairman, ITC), Jug Suraiya (Associate Editor, Times of India),  Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy (Musicians), Major Rajwardhan Rathode (Olymic Medalist), Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (Musician), Naina Lal Kidwai (HSBC Bank), Mahesh Bhupathi (Tennis Player), Yash Chopra (Film Maker) and Jagjit Singh (Singer).
Hopefully sense will prevail and Kairali TV and Deshabhimani apologizes.
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