I am not an Engineer, how can I join IT Industry?

I often get to hear this question from students, parents and even from working professionals of other sectors. To the audience I tell one simple thing that “Our IT Industry does not follow any caste system”. At first instance most don’t understand this phrase but later when I simplify it and say, “Even non-engineers can be a part of our IT Industry”, for a moment I see an initial glow on their face. But, the glow fades away very soon. I have to face series of questions just like bullets. Some of these bullets hit me hard. I overcome some of the bullets, while some take a reverse direction (credit goes to NASSCOM for teaching me the reality).

 Let me share with you some of points, which I usually advice them.  Someday you may even face such questions, so these points might help you (act as bullet proof jacket).

 Note: When I mean IT Industry, I am only considering the software segment.

Designing (User Interface Professionals): This is one area, which is of high demand and one need not have to be an engineer to become a designer. Currently there is a “war for talent” among IT Companies to hire world class UI Specialists from India. UI Design is an important and in-demand skill. UI Designers enable the development of complex user interface navigation and workflow process, which further enhances customer experience and increases product value.  There are designing schools where one can pursue designing as a career. Apart from that one can even learn designing from various institutes. At this juncture let me warn you, do not think Web Designing, Animation and Multimedia are the same. These areas are interlinked but not same.  I want to stress on one point – almost 80% of the IT-Software companies are web based companies and they need good web designers. On completion of web designing course – which usually takes a month (you can learn the tool in less than 15 days and rest depends on the level of passion and practice) one will get a job in IT SME/Start-up with starting salary ranging from Rs 8,000 – Rs 10,000 per month (for a fresher).

Content Writing: This is one more area where there is a huge requirement. But content writing is not like essay writing/paragraph writing. One needs to have knowledge about Search Engine Optimization to write good web based content. There are even requirements in areas like technical writing. As more products/services are becoming localized, there are huge requirements for vernacular (e.g. Bengali) content writers. There is a huge growth market in verticals such as Media (Printing & Publishing). As per NASSCOM report the total addressable market for year 2020 for Media (Printing & Publishing) is around USD 17-20 billion. Another business segment where content writers are required is in the field of e-learning.  There are very few institutes who are teaching content writing but the numbers will go up very soon. For a fresher who want to join an IT SME/Start-up can get a salary ranging from Rs 6,000 – Rs 8,000 per month.

 Note: Content Writing and Designing is interlinked, we are living in an age of “info graphics”

 The other areas where there is a huge requirement – Search Engine Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Search marketing. And to learn all these you do not have to be an Engineer.

 There are many students who cannot pursue engineering – may be they could not clear the join entrance examination, or may be some have cleared but due to certain family issues they could take it ahead or maybe there are many students who are not privileged enough to take up engineering.  So if you now have this question in mind “I am not an Engineer, how can I join IT Industry?” or if you come across this question from anybody, you have few points to answer.

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SocIeTy

I know the title looks odd but there is certainly an inner meaning to it. After few requests from my well wishers, I thought of sharing my views on the young “Indian IT Industry”.

The next immediate question in the mind will be why the title is written as “SocIeTy”.  To understand this you need to read through  this first post of my blog. Before I start, let me inform you that my views are based on the following:

  1. Daily interactions with industry (IT) people
  2. Spending some time with common people on the road
  3. Mixing with friends, relatives
  4. Reading books,newspapers and journals

If you see the meaning of society in Wikipedia it states: “A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.” You will also get to read lot of other definitions of ‘Society’ by various world renowned sociologists, philosophers and leaders.  Even there are diverse type of societies, but, I am not digging much into the details. So let us accept that we are currently living in the age of “information society” and this society is slowly evolving into a “knowledge society” but I am not sure how much time will it take for this transition to complete.

Our IT Industry is young and vibrant with an average age of employees working in this sector is approximately 27 years. We have some brightest engineers and entrepreneurs working in this industry (currently 2.5 million).  Now let me pause for a moment and ask you these questions (which I have encountered many times) “Does the Indian IT Industry” really understand Society? Does this Industry know the problem of our society?  Can technology really address the issues of the society? When will the Indian IT companies build “some solutions” for the Indian society?  What is stopping them or who is holding them back?

And before you try to find out the answers or encounter similar kind of questions take a deep breath and ask yourself “are we attached more to technology and detached from society?” When was the last time you have spent some time with the people on the road, travelled in buses and auto rickshaws, gone to the nearby market to observe the behaviour of the consumers and sellers, spoken with normal people in their language and tried to find out their problems, took some time to explain your parents and grandparents about IT, motivated some young students to join the IT Industry?