The financial crisis, however, is bound to change things in the IT industry. Greater focus will be on quality, say senior IT pros

With global stock markets groaning under the financial crisis, these are uncertain times. Newspapers blaze with headlines of retrenchment and recession. The campus recruitment figures in the IT industry paint a gloomy picture. What does this scenario mean to a student aspiring for a career in the IT industry? The Hindu EducationPlus spoke to those in the industry to find out.

“In the long-term perspective, the outlook for the IT industry is very much positive. We as an industry are very much matured,” assures Viswanathan Venkatasubramanian, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition from Wipro Technologies. “It is a temporary phenomenon,” he says.

But the slowdown will change things in the industry. Customers of the IT industry will expect more, which means, employees will need to perform better. “Those who can make a difference, those who come out with more innovative solutions developed at low cost will provide the customer more value. So, we need to be more productive and provide more value,” he says.

Weeding out

Srinivas Kandula, Global Head-HR, iGATE, concurs. “Given the current slowdown scenario, organisations will take bold steps to weed out inefficient people. However, there is no need to worry or panic. There is an assured long-term career in the IT industry as long as they [students] are sharpening their skills and are in touch with emerging technologies,” he says. What this implies is that the industry will focus sharply on quality, instead of quantity. So, good software engineers are assured of a seat in the industry. But what makes a good software engineer?

Real problem

“The real problem in the industry is the general apathy or inability of the people to upgrade their skills,” says Mr. Kandula. “A large percentage of people in the IT industry do not take proactive interest in their own learning and growth. Given that the software tools get revised and change every year, it is important for them to focus on improving their skills, on an ongoing basis,” he says. This translates to a lifelong commitment to learning. Mr. Kandula says, “Employees should plan their work and career not just for the present but also for the future and that they should have a long-term career perspective. It is important for them to understand the kind of skills they need to acquire and the ways in which they can acquire those relevant skills in their area of expertise.”

Go that extra mile

One mantra that always works during tough times is hard work. Karthikeyan Vijaya Kumar, a young entrepreneur who started his own firm, Excedos Market Services, says that companies will definitely work with someone who is willing to go that extra mile. He adds, “Not getting a job in a big company is definitely not the end of the road. You can join a smaller firm. But, make sure that the company has enough revenue to sustain the downturn.”

He says, “In a small firm, you get a lot of freedom. If you put in a lot of time and effort, then at the end of two years, you would have built the skills to negotiate a higher salary. And, working in a smaller firm means you get to interact with people at the top closely, who have more experience. So, you learn more. But, you need to be passionate about what you do.”

So, a deep-seated interest in what you do will hold you in good stead, which makes it important to ensure that your choice of career coincides with the area of your interest.

“There is always a mass phenomenon,” says Mr. Viswanathan. “Everyone takes up engineering, so others take it up too. You should understand whether you have the attitude and the aptitude. So, what it means is you should have interest, instead of just following everyone else. This is because, only those who have the attitude and the aptitude will survive.”