Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sept 30 2012: A decade of commencing my professional carrier

Not long ago a boy – doing a little above average in his academic life during his growing up years was funnelled into the world of an “engineering degree” through family and societal pressure based on the northwards movement of marks on his school scorecard. Once he finished his engineering degree, the job market was not as welcoming – thanks to the dot com burst of the 2000`s which was still lingering till 2002. Out of college and literally jobless, the next 3-4 months post May 2002 were the most eventful in his life for multiple reasons. To cut a long story short, thanks to the prayers and blessings of the almighty, his parents and sister , he made it to Infosys and began his professional career working as a full time employee from 30th September 2002. Today, he completes 10 years of commencing his professional career. It is 10 years since he turned from a boy into a man earning his own “bread”, (or “rice” to be more precise!). Time flies, doesn’t it?

My first job at Infosys has taught me a lot. Upon introspection, it has taught me:

1. To Take Up Challenges and follow unconventional paths: Being an electronics engineer, software was not my cup of tea since i was more into networks, servers and protocols. The job at Infosys made me take up that challenge of learning coding (which was always my weak spot during my limited exposure in engineering) and how there is life beyond coding through other roles in SDLC etc. In fact it was the putty that has moulded my career today to different facets of this industry.

2. To Fend For Myself: Since i had stayed home and breezed past school, college and my undergraduate – engineering course, i had never got an exposure to staying in a hostel or with room-mates. The job with Infosys took me to the Mecca of Indian IT Industry – Bengaluru (then Bangalore). The exposure of staying outside of your house makes you value some of the things you take for granted, while at home. In a span of one year from 2002, i could easily negotiate with real estate agents/ house owner for rent, setup a house right from scratch and also stay in unison with people from different parts of India and backgrounds. I could steer around tricky situations without losing any confidence that i may not be able to handle it.

3. Overcome professional obstacles and your own inhibitions: A self admitted underachiever with low confidence, i always felt i could never code. However thanks to the training at Infosys, which took a heavy toll on my own free spirit and will to stay employed, i cleared it all finally and overcame my own mental obstacles in doing the required roles in a software industry. I shed my own inhibitions and in some gawky way, continued getting exposure to projects, front ends, back ends, customer deliverables. Having played a variety of roles (gosh..i sound like an actor from a movie who has played a hero, villain, comedian – all at the same time!) – developer, tester, production support, business analyst, associate project manager, onsite co-ordinator, i finally started getting the maturity of being in this IT industry – a little later than other “computer engineers” or other peers who had an aptitude for software development. Most of my peers can any day still do a better job than me in any of these, hands down – but i can roll up my sleeves and give a decent try. Thanks to my current role in the industry – thankfully i don’t need to mingle myself with the technical nitty gritty`s ! I have seen umpteen circumstances in my short professional life of 10 years since 2002 which almost threatened me to quit it all and try something else, but i have somehow learnt to survive. Yes – there is a god and he has been kind to me in making me mentally tougher and survive through rough times.

4. Global Outlook: Exposure to multiple cultures, people and places: Had it not been for my job in the IT industry and the opportunities to travel that come with it, i wouldn’t have had the cross cultural sensitivities and skills to survive abroad, that i have today. I still remember the first official trip to the US (which was also my first trip outside India) in 2004. I was sent because i had a valid H1B visa and not that i was anything out of the pack/ exceptional in what i did. But i think back then, i was over awed by Infosys for blindly believing in my credentials to face a customer and deliver projects for them on behalf of Infosys. I had nothing to lose and gave it all – in spite of my lack of skills in some areas, tough customer political situations. In a span of 3.5 years with the customer, i was able to survive all this, tide over the initial hiccups which we all undergo and left a lasting impression with a lot of my client managers once i moved back to India (which was also incidentally for pursuing higher studies – MBA rather than switching employers). Many wanted me back post MBA, and i am glad at the effort i put in and the recognition from them in the form of goodwill to have me back. The exposure to staying in the US and understanding the customer and demand side of the IT Industry has been very valuable. Even within India, i have had an exposure to working out of our Bangalore and Pune offices and though both are cities in their own right, the difference in culture was mind boggling.

5. Anything else, which i cannot bullet it further here, but has benefited my career and professional and personal well being today. A small ode to Infosys, to summarize all this:

“Thank you Infosys - for believing in me, when no other companies did, way back in 2002.”
“Thank you Infosys – for giving such a solid launch pad to my professional career.”
“Thank you Infosys – for all the learning`s that have helped me make choices and make it to different roles in different organizations successfully”.
Hope you do well for years to come, as you can turn “Boys” into “Men” in this professional jungle!

It is only a decade of beginning my professional career, but it sure is a significant milestone and transition over to the next decade. I hope i continue to remember some of the above learning’s from my first job and continue to apply it for the next decade and improvise further.

1 comment:

Vishius said...

Good one. Made me sentimental ... especially "Thank you Infosys - for believing in me, when no other companies did, way back in 2002."