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Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Expectations from a freshman Software Engineer Tathagat Varma Engineering Manager, Huawei Technologies India.

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Presentation on theme: "Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Expectations from a freshman Software Engineer Tathagat Varma Engineering Manager, Huawei Technologies India."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Expectations from a freshman Software Engineer Tathagat Varma Engineering Manager, Huawei Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore, India

2 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Disclaimer The views represented in this presentation are author’s own personal views and do not necessarily represent the views of his employers All facts, data, research material referenced from the Internet web sites is gratefully acknowledged to their respective site addresses to highlight their ownership

3 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 The last Decade : Business Growth

4 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 The last Decade : Manpower Growth

5 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Business Distribution

6 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Indian Software Industry - Process Maturity Status

7 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 This Decade A NASSCOM survey on industry employment indicated a growth of 24.4% in , to touch 650,000 IT professionals from previous year’s headcount of 522,250. Of these 205,000 are working in the IT software exports industry, 160,000 are employed in IT Enabled Services, 25,000 in the domestic software market and over 260,000 in user organizations. The survey also highlighted the potential shortfall of 235,000 people by 2008 if current trends of intake of technical talent into the IT workforce continue. The demand for software professionals is expected to be approximately 1.1 million people by 2008, however the supply of software professionals, based on current trends, is projected to be 885,000 by 2008.

8 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Reality Check #1 “…Students who have recently completed their courses are facing a reality crash. Riding a wave of optimism, they have just completed their education. But the fat salary packets of a year or two ago and international assignments have disappeared. Let alone jobs, they do not even get interview calls. The sought- afters have become seekers. Companies are swamped with "bench strength" and thousands of resumes on their websites—waiting to be processed. Shyam Malhotra (http://www.dqindia.com/content/guest/ asp)

9 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Reality Check #2 Tata Consultancy Services CEO S Ramadorai says, "Looking at this against the backdrop of Nasscom’s $87-billion target for the IT industry by 2008, we would need a ten-fold increase in management and leadership talent. Hypothetically, if an individual is able to earn $40,000 for the industry in , we need 25 people for each million dollars, 25,000 for each billion dollars and close to two-and-a-half million for an $87-billion industry. The challenge lies in our ability to find, train and meet the aspirations of such a large set of talented people."

10 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Reality Check #3 “The level of professionalism in the software engineering field has suffered greatly over the past 5 to 8 years and today appears to be reaching a new low. The consequences of this dive are larger project cost overruns, more missed deadlines, lost revenue and greater opportunity costs, lower staff morale, and poorer quality software in general. Unfortunately, little is being done to change the status quo except to continue to hire more young and underqualified programmers with low salaries while the experienced 'mentors' continue to leave the industry in frustration.” - 10 Attributes of a Professional Software Engineer - Alan Partis

11 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Reality Check #4 Amidst the global economic slowdown and cuts in technology spending, NASSCOM and McKinsey revised the 2008 target figure from $87B to $ 77B.

12 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Moral of the story ? We are still in the middle of slowdown / downturn Not too many new jobs in software development But the future looks great ! Forecast 2008 is still very positive ! To achieve Forecast 2008, we must move up the value chain To move up the value chain, we need to build stronger professionals and stronger leaders / managers Tomorrow’s leaders are still in the colleges - waiting for their first job !

13 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 College Days Campus Recruitment –Most campus recruitment happen when the student has just entered the final year –Most of the ‘real’ subjects are covered in the final year –Unfortunately, many of them are ‘electives’ whereas they all should have been regular papers ! While joining the company –Difficult to get good internship experience –Not exposed to industrial work practices and work culture –Has inadequate ‘soft-skills’ to work in a team

14 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 In a project team Strengths –Knowledge of OS, Data Structure, programming languages and maybe, some relevant domain knowledge (networks, etc.) Improvement Areas –Process Management – expose to quality processes (process lifecycle, project management, etc.) –People Issues - often, there is no real preparation to deal with working in a team –Perception Corrections - to understand that there is indeed life before and after the coding phase !

15 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Indian Software Industry A World-class industry full of global opportunities, global exposure - and cutthroat competition ! Predominant work culture is based on US + European work methods. A rising trend is based on Oriental Work Culture (Japan, Korea, China) We are in Global Competition – not in a local race Growing emphasis is on ‘Smartness’, ‘Professionalism’, ‘Meritocracy’, ‘Growth Potential’, etc. To compete well in this environment, one has to be well-prepared and measure up to the expectations of the industry

16 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 So, what are we looking for ? Fundamental Technical Skills Software Engineering Skills Basic Exposure to ‘Technology’ as end-user Soft-Skills

17 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Fundamental Technical Skills Solid Technical Education –Discrete Maths, Boolean Algebra, Graph Theory –Statistics, Probability Theory, Queuing Theory –Data Structures, Compiler Theory, OS –Networks, Graphics, Databases, AI –Good hands-on work in the lab in C, C++, Unix / Linux, etc. Problem Solving Skills –Ability to abstract a problem and apply problem- solving steps to find the solution

18 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Software Engineering Skills You must understand the software lifecycle well enough to appreciate what you are supposed to do in each phase. You must know how to estimate accurately. You must know an accurate specification when you see one, how to fix a poor specification and how to write a specification. You must specify deliverables so there is no question when you are finished with one. You must know what constitutes adequate documentation for both users and maintenance people. You must know what constitutes adequate quality assurance. You must know how to design and write professional computer software.

19 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Basic Exposure to ‘Technology’ as end-user Problem: An average freshman software engineer has never really used the technology (= software-driven systems) himself – except for VCR / DVD, PC, etc. on limited scale. Impact: the fundamental capability to appreciate and understand the technology is low Good Trends: using Cell phones, CD Writers, ATM / Credit Cards, Internet Usage, Improvement Areas: expose to modern data and telecommunications systems (both wireline and wireless), railway reservation systems, newspaper / magazine’s data networks,

20 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Why are Soft-Skills so important ? An independent study conducted on CEOs, by Stanford Research Institute and Carnegie Mellon in the US, found that long-term job success depends 75% on people skills and only 25% on technical knowledge. Another study done by Harvard University had even more startling results – 85% of jobs & promotions happened because of the candidate’s attitude and only 15% due to the facts and figures he packed under his belt. (In fact, companies lose almost % of possible business due to their inability to meet the perceived level of services linked to soft skills.)

21 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Self Management ! Problem: An average 20-year old freshman has never really been exposed to the self-manage his time, his effort, his output, his deliverable quality, his commitment management, etc. Impact: The fundamental ability to be a team member who does not need to be ‘handheld’ is absent. This results in the manager having to spend a lot of time with the newcomer. Quite often, the newcomer does not realize why his performance ratings are low despite doing a good coding - the reason could be he is not self-managed Improvement Areas: Plan your daily tasks well, follow the plan and manage your commitments.

22 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Taking Initiative / Being Proactive Problem: Most of us wait for instructions from our seniors (having been molded in the thought that manager’s job is the assign work and my job is to do it) - whereas the expectation is that engineers are initiative-driven to learn new things, try out new (and risky) ideas, etc. Impact: The newcomer is not able to generate a good rapport with his manager and is not able to become more productive Improvement Areas: Explore new ideas. When you have free time, try out new things - install new OS, write some new program, try out a new tool, learn new language, take interest in your colleague’s work and learn it and help him, etc.

23 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Teamwork & Groupwork Problem: The problem stems from the fact that our traditional school curriculum focus on ‘individual excellence’ (in exams and also in getting jobs) whereas, once in the job, we must work together to achieve the common goals ! The only place where teamwork is emphasized is in sports Impact: Freshmen have no or limited appreciation or preparation for teamwork Improvement Areas: organize mock sessions / war-games on software project lifecycle problems, student projects could be designed as a team effort, organize group discussions, teambuilding sessions

24 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Time Management Problem: We suffer from the traditional mindset of Indian Standard time – we assume that being late is not only OK for the job / task, even others might not be expecting us to be on-time. Probably except for the Defense Officers, no one is either expected nor is actually punctual Impact: Globally, we are ridiculed and mistrusted for being the worst in this category. This also results in some workplace friction while dealing with foreigners Improvement Areas: Orient students to time management principles, set the standards high and follow them yourself !

25 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Commitment Management Problem: the “chalta hai” culture – we wrongly assume that not honoring a commitment is not only perfectly OK, even the other person might be only half-expecting us to actually honor the commitment in the first place ! Impact: We carry these bad practices to the workplace and unknowingly use them at work, which results in unpleasant situations with Customer, or Boss or even other Co- workers Improvement Areas: Improve oneself in commitment management - it’s a question of self-discipline and one’s own character

26 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Communication Skills Problem: Most fresh college graduates have poor written and spoken communication skills, presentations skills Impact: It takes a lot of effort for the manager to train the newcomers to be effective communicators so that they can fit in the project well. Software projects involve a lot of communication and poor communicators reduce the overall team efficiency Improvement Areas: Organize weekly tech-talks, seminars, go to schools and teach them computers, write for college magazines / newspaper, etc.

27 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Attitude If there is only one skill you had to pick up, go for Attitude. Recruitment mantra – “Hire for Attitude, train for skills” Attitude impacts the –Flexibility to adapt to changing and adverse situations –Initiative drive, especially when things are not clear –Ability to continue even in the face of adversities, and motivate others to also keep moving Other things being equal, a person will professional attitude will grow much more faster compared to others

28 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Questioning & Interviewing Skills Problem: Is it our culture that discourages us to question our elder’s commands ? Globally, people always wonder why Indian engineers never ask questions and whether they have really understood the things or not Impact: We lack Interviewing skills to facilitate the acquisition of information during requirements elicitation / analysis. We never question our manager’s estimates - howsoever crazy that might be – this results in Death March project deadlines remaining unquestioned Improvement Areas: Learn how to say ‘NO’ when you have to, how to interview a customer for eliciting the requirements, develop listening skills, etc.

29 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 The Seven Super Smart Traits From Bill Gates in ‘The Microsoft Way’ –Capability of grasping new knowledge quickly –Generating acute questions on the spot –Perceiving connections between disparate domains of knowledge –Understanding code (or models, documents) at a glance –Thinking obsessively about the code –Concentrating with special intensity –Photographic recall of code (or models, documents) you have written

30 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Conclusions Success in corporate culture not only depends on just technical brilliance or coding knowledge alone One must change the mindset from just being a programmer to being a “Software Professional” For students, there is a long road ahead. To get that extra mileage, you must focus on some key skill-building activities from now itself The expectations from the industry are increasing every passing day – you must be proactive and well-prepared to meet them successfully Most of the expectations can be met by sustained efforts from individuals If you don’t focus on these areas now, you are not increasing chances of your success in the near- or long-term

31 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 References Managing Technical People – Watts S. Humphrey, Pearson Education Asia After the Gold Rush: Creating a True Professions of Software Engineering – Steve McConell, Microsoft Press

32 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Web References Preparing for Your First Job BEFORE You Graduate - Chen Ye (http://cf.acm.org/crc_chris/cri/articleview-cri27- crc.cfm?art_id=3&CFID= &CFTOKEN= ) To Intern or not to Intern, that is the question - Jagannathan Thinakaran (http://cf.acm.org/crc_chris/cri/articleview-cri27- crc.cfm?art_id=2&CFID= &CFTOKEN= ) A Professional Software Engineer - Alan Zeichick ( /)

33 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Web References... SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE - as recommended by the IEEE-CS/ACM Joint Task Force on Software Engineering Ethics and Professional Practices (http://www.computer.org/tab/seprof/code.htm) 10 Attributes of a Professional Software Engineer - Alan Partis (http://www.thundernet.com/alpartis/articles/engineer.shtm l) A List of Important Points of Software Development - Keiji Ikuta (http://www.iktsoft.com/study/se.html)

34 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Web References... Skills You Need: What Employers Want from You - Therese Droste (http://adminsupport.monster.com/articles/want/) Soft skills training becomes essential for India Software Inc - Rajneesh De (http://www.expressitpeople.com/ /cover.shtml)

35 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Questions ?

36 Tathagat VarmaMoTSE2003, March 10-12, 2003 Thank you !!!


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