The following is the presentation done by yours truly at Nudpam conference held in Jaffna. What I have here is the English version of it. On stage what I did was a Tamilish version of the same.
Then on the other hand, each one of us get eternal satisfaction by doing certain types of things, for some it might be by creating new things, discovering something new, helping others, making money, learning something new, teaching someone etc. These characteristics are unique to each person. So before I start my presentation I would like if we could take 10 seconds, close our eyes and try to think of things that give us eternal satisfaction and are thing which we enjoy doing.
Alight, for each one of us we would have got things which would have come to the top of our minds. Lets mark it on paper and have it in place, so you could revisit it when we end the presentation.
(The lady seated in one of the front rows said, "They all have a lot of money", some one else quipped "They are good in their selected fields".)
I continued, yes correct they are experts in their chosen fields. They are benchmarks that the rest of the world looks up to. There are lot of such people who are on this illustrious list including the likes of AR Rahman, Murali, Kamalhassan, Swami Vipulanandar, etc. There was this research which was done in the US, to find out whether there is a common factor in all of them which makes them stand out from the rest. Is it their IQ? or were they first in class? were they from wealthy parents? Is it the school they attended?
So to find out, the researchers went about analyzing the lives of these outliers. For example they analysed the lives of the likes of Bill gates.
At this time he creates an excuse by doing a project in programming as part of his school work and again make sure all his time is spent on computer programming. Then finally when he was around 20 he drops out of Harvard and starts Microsoft. Researchers observe that, he has spent around 40 hours per week programming during this period.
So, unless we pick something we enjoy doing and we get eternal satisfaction out of what we have chosen as our career, getting 10000 hours will be a tough or nearly impossible.
Given the above context if we are pursuing a career in IT we might as well want to know what are the roles available in IT. Then pick which suits "me".
Just before someone tells me that I am fond of only western ideologies and building a case ignoring the stuff that has been said even before that by Eastern scholars. Let me quote from Swami Vivekananda, although he doesn't say its 10000 hours he advises to take an idea and make it your life, which effectively means you spend all your time on it and as a result you would become successful! For me, it effectively implies the same thing!
I very often meet people who are developers or who wants to become developers and I ask them, why did you choose to become a developer. I hear answers like, "When I made the choice it was the top paying job for pass outs", "People with top marks did this, so did I", sometimes I have even heard "my neighbor did so I followed".
Do not get me wrong here, Software Engineer or Developer is an essential role in IT, but its not the only role available in IT. People who have the knack to create programs, who have brilliant mathematical minds, people who can solve algorithm kind of problems should definitely become programmers and take it up as a career. But its highly unlikely every ones 'calling' is to be the same and everyone out there doesn't have those as their strengths. When I was a student I didn't know what were the other options available in IT, so today I thought of speaking about the other options, hence my topic is - Industrial IT - There is life beyond coding to be precise, Software industry - There is life beyond coding ...
For me Steve Job's is an IT sculptor, his product design for apple are works of art. He created a wonderful experience for the users with his products. In an era where all computing stuff were in boring black color without any place for aesthetics, he got inspiration from the white marbled Italian architecture and other creative things and created IT devices which effectively changed the way in which people designed IT products. He was not a developer. On the other hand Bill Gates was an excellent developer and then became an Entrepreneur and changed the course of operating system business forever.
To be a good tester, the person need to have a destructive mind set, where they want to break the system and find faults on it. Effectively they make a huge contribution to the project by making sure that all these failures and breaking happens internally so that the product doesn't fail in front of the customer. In short its one of the most important roles in the Software field.
Then we have sales and marketing. Very seldom IT student's understand the importance of these roles. Statistically speaking globally they are some of the highest paid jobs in IT. The real IT sales and marketing people are a rare breed. Selling IT solutions is not like selling a cake of soap. It needs very good skills, including interpersonal skills, speaking and convincing capabilities. Its an art with a science behind it.
So these are some of the roles in IT. Each needs different skill sets and expects people to have different capabilities. None of these roles are superior or inferior to the other.
The trick for each one of us is to first find what our strengths are and what we like to do and then pick the right role in IT. To find what you like you might want to revisit those things that came up in your mind when you closed your eyes for 10 seconds when we started the presentation. So the idea is we could happily spend all our time and energy to collect up 10000 hours of practice and become an expert.