I have been having this feeling for quite a while now, that the Great Indian Software Industry is little more than wool over our bleary eyes. At first I thought it was just me. But of late, I have been meeting people who feel the same. And finally today, to confirm my suspicions, was an article published in the Times of India entitled 'A myth called the Indian Programmer'. The very industry we claimed was THE place to be, is now a monster. To put it a bit harshly, we are no more than slaves in a sweatshop. We are no more than robots with a $ per day tag stamped onto our foreheads. We are back in the dark ages where producing more and more lines of code in the shortest possible time, earning the maximum amount of money is the very cornerstone of our lives.
Who has time to think anymore? About how we do our work? Are we doing it the right way? Are we even thinking about doing it the right way? Of course not- the powers higher up do not pay you to think. Why would they- your thinking time has cost them money. The bottomline is- how much work can you pack into your day. And how much money can it earn. Not enough? Then work nights of course!!! Do whatever it takes.
We have increasingly become a crazier lot. Let's present the client with this impossible estimate and impossible schedule. And then do whatever it takes to meet it. At the cost of quality and our intelligence. The clients, poor suckers, are overjoyed. Little do they know that the bright Indian Programmers are toiling day and night to fulfil their every whim and fancy and that there is a limit as to how much ones brain can take before producing complete cr*p because they are too exhausted to do anything else. They'll either scrap the project sooner or later or spend a fortune maintaining it. Yeah!!!! More work outsourced to us.
You probably think I am a big cynic- and I don't deny it. I call it as I see it. And this is by no means a take on all the programmers out here in India. I personally know excellent ones who are simply boxed in by the industry. I know how it feels. I have been there. Some months back, I am ashamed to admit, I too stopped thinking. Completely. I rushed all over the place to complete work. Just do it. Don't think. And I knew I would regret that. I did. My failure to think was a a personal failure. A failure to my team by taking rash decisions and making poor choices, a failure to the work I loved, a failure to produce good quality software that I could be proud of. And so I quit. Till today, many are concerned about my future. Even bewildered at what I did. I had it all and threw it away. But I do not regret it. My mind is no longer enslaved. I can go back to doing the work I love and not insult it by churning out rubbish everyday.
I frankly do not see it getting better. Most (please note, I say most- there are most certainly exceptions) companies now work on this model. A pity.
To those who say well, this earns your bread and butter, I do not dispute it. To those to say this work enables you to have a grand lifestyle, again I do not dispute it. Everyone has different priorities. Everyone enjoys their work in different ways. But please, let us stop boasting about the great software industry. We don't do that much at all. To those excellent engineers out there- you know who you are- I know it is hard, and I know what conditions you face, but try never to give up on thinking...don't let our beloved field of work down...
PS: Do read this very long, but interesting blog here