Days of My Life

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

What I say today is what mohammad ali said once , "It is very hard to be humble when you are as great as me". Lest people may be mistaken I am not into boxing. and therefore I resist from praising myself :)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Of Careers & Goals

It is that time of a student's life (to be more precise an Indian Engineering student's life) that he/she decides upon a career. I always felt that there is only some extent to which you can plan what you wish to do later on in life. The rest of the stuff just comes along as we proceed living. At best we can decide for the next five years... beyond that God knows.

Now deciding on what to do next is not a very tough task as many people think it ought to be. At least not for a student from a good institute like mine. To put it plainly there is the choice of MS or a job or an MBA or continuing to study at the same place. Not much fun in the choices. But you have to choose one. Especially if you do not have ancestral property that would sustain you. There is a big paradox here. Coming from one of the best places that India has on offer we must be among the few to take a risk. But it is a fact Indians are among the most risk averse people in the world. So why should we be any different.Expect no start-ups or a wider departure from the choices given above from any of us. We are like this only.

But a big surprise (well not so big after all) is that how very few of us are going to be what our degrees would proudly proclaim - Bachelor of Technology
(Computer Science & Engineering) (btw can someone tell me why it is called a Bachelors degree, are married people barred from the programme). So many of us will be neither scientists nor engineers. And whether we are going to go into something more exciting is a question that is tough to answer.

Real excitement somehow seems to lie outside the engineering colleges. My friends in the so called lesser streams of regular degrees or even polytechnic are looking far and wide for options. This has thrown up some interesting results:

Venu (a classmate) did his polytechnic and then a course at an institute called ITI.The usual path for such a candidate would be to end up as an electrician or a small level mechanic for the rest of his life (unless he studies more). But this guy did a bit of reading up and wrote to the Indian Railways with the result that after a small process he now has a job as an engine driver. Not very exciting for most of us... but looking at it purely from his point of view the future is as follows:

Now for an Engine Driver (called Pilot) the work is for 6 hrs a day thrice a week and pays 20K a month with perks taking the salary to 35K. He works on cutting edge technology (yes in Indian Railways ... even though a certain Laloo Yadav is our minister) and will shortly be proceeding to Russia for some training.

Another classmate Chaitanya decided that there is no way he can do a job (or is there no way he can get a job :) some confusion there) and decided to turn entrepreneur. At 21. So he scouts the market for opportunities and ends up opening a used car store and is today a major player in suburban Hyderabad ... all in an year.He employs about 10 engineers and two CAs and is in the process of entering into the city which is fraught with politics.

A very shocking choice was also made by a girl who got into a very good college with a very good EAMCET rank. We expected something big from her.So when I asked her about her future plans... she said that she was looking forward to a career as a housewife !!! She was engaged to be married to some researcher at some American university. Well nothing wrong with that.

So where will we all end up after the next five years. Crystal Ball gazing is very exciting but fraught with risks.I make no predictions. Because as Albert Einstein said

I never think of the comes soon enough.