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Old 8th July 2012, 09:40   #256
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As has already been said,I think a lot of this comes down to the fact that the Indian education system doesn't require people to think for themselves much. It doesn't teach research skills or inter personal skills. All thats needed to do well is a big rote-learning capacity. In addition to that, questioning, critical thinking etc are not exactly encouraged in a society thats deeply religious and superstitious. Besides, from childhood, kids have their decisions made for them by their parents and therefore dont learn this skill much as well.

Having said that, several employers are too demanding as well. If you are looking for a person who is in the top 2% of the industry population, you should be remunerating in the top 2% by industry standards as well. This disparity seems to be lost on them.
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Old 8th July 2012, 14:14   #257
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Having said that, several employers are too demanding as well. If you are looking for a person who is in the top 2% of the industry population, you should be remunerating in the top 2% by industry standards as well. This disparity seems to be lost on them.
Absolutely true. The concept of most Indian subsidiary as a cost center is a major dampener to attract good talents. Our group can afford to pay well above the market rate but we can't because of staffing policy of the local administration.
I don't think most Indian companies understand the golden rule, "You pay peanuts and you will attract monkeys".
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Old 8th July 2012, 18:43   #258
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Absolutely true. The concept of most Indian subsidiary as a cost center is a major dampener to attract good talents. Our group can afford to pay well above the market rate but we can't because of staffing policy of the local administration.
I don't think most Indian companies understand the golden rule, "You pay peanuts and you will attract monkeys".
Well, that's looking at the problem one dimensionally.

If this so called golden rule was universally true, then it doesn't explain why many talented people work for less, which they often do. If you consider money as the only criteria, then you are missing the big picture. For lot of people job satisfaction, stability, work culture, self-actualization holds more value as long as money is adequate. In fact, soon after I started the company I realised I can never win the "pay more salary" pissing contest with larger companies. So I started focusing of intangible benefits that larger companies have not chance of providing.

Last year I found a youtube video that explained the concept I use:
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Old 8th July 2012, 20:30   #259
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If this so called golden rule was universally true, then it doesn't explain why many talented people work for less, which they often do. If you consider money as the only criteria, then you are missing the big picture.
Samurai, I am not saying money is the only criteria for attracting talents. We do quite interesting work with good team dynamics etc. But end of the money matters. I cannot hire a good Ph.D from a good US/European university by paying him/her on par with people who have worked in the industry for that many years. It is one of the deal breakers for good candidates. For our work we cannot afford to have on the job training. One should be sufficiently expert in their domain and it comes through rigorous graduate work. The intangibles comes next when the person has to choose between two competitive offers.
On a personal anecdote, I was approached by the largest social networking company couple of years back. The money was definitely good as well as the promise of future of windfall. The work was really poorly defined and obviously I didn't pursue it further. Monetarily I took a pay cut to come to India but the challenge of solving emerging market problems was too hard to ignore.
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Old 9th July 2012, 00:07   #260
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Samurai, I am not saying money is the only criteria for attracting talents. We do quite interesting work with good team dynamics etc. But end of the money matters. I cannot hire a good Ph.D from a good US/European university by paying him/her on par with people who have worked in the industry for that many years. It is one of the deal breakers for good candidates. For our work we cannot afford to have on the job training. One should be sufficiently expert in their domain and it comes through rigorous graduate work. The intangibles comes next when the person has to choose between two competitive offers.
OK, I got you. You are talking about a job profile very different than what we usually discuss in this thread. You are talking about Ph.D holder from US/Europe, unlike the one mentioned in the title of this thread. I was talking about regular freshies from Indian universities, who are not exactly showered with multiple competitive offers. In my case, a fresh candidate who focuses too much on pay raises a red flag. It means he will keep on fishing.

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Monetarily I took a pay cut to come to India but the challenge of solving emerging market problems was too hard to ignore.
Didn't we all? I moved from an Acura 3.2TL to a Santro AT when I came back in 2004.
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Old 9th July 2012, 14:53   #261
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... For our work we cannot afford to have on the job training. One should be sufficiently expert in their domain and it comes through rigorous graduate work. ...
That sounds like a typical recruitment prejudice that is there almost everywhere - expecting ready-made candidates! You will never get one, no matter with 0 or with 10 years experience. No, the education system here doesn't support that at all, nor any expectation that the rest of the industry would prepare them for one to apply them out of the box.

By and large, work done in India does NOT require original thinking - we would have had 200 Indian product companies churning out world-beating products by now, like China and Taiwan. Some places do, but the way they staff is *completely* different - driven by experienced individuals who know the difference. If the manager is a slave of numbers like the general work-for-hire organizations, they will never succeed in environments requiring original thinking.

The difference is 'nurturing' and 'faith'. Difficult, no? When one talks of PhD guys from Europe & US, one forgets they have been nurtured by a system that has faith in that process. Do we? In a European organization I used to work for earlier in my career, the PhD guys would come into their first job aged 27-32, and learn and apply themselves. In India, parents will throw a fit if their "children" don't get a job by 23, and keep interfering till they get married and their wives take them away. Self reliance? What is that?

All is not lost. In all those self-unreliant "children", there are always a few who actually have their heads screwed on the right way, and respond responsibly IF they are able to get into an environment that nurtures. Most are balked by lackadaisical / wrong selection procedures.

How much time do you spend provoking them to think and speak? How many unconventional questions do you ask? How much do you engage the candidate? Ask the right questions at the start, and you can separate the grain from chaff in the first 10 minutes. The ones who are worth it willingly participate.

Nurturing is an investment without first looking at immediate RoI. The Public Sector companies who have managed to keep their heads above water even after 50 years - they do that. Nurturing would necessarily tolerate failure on the job. If you want immediate results, it is better to outsource to an agency who will guarantee results even if there is no precedence. If you want to expand a group of people who are self-reliant, nurturing the best-fit-but-raw youngsters is the only way to go.
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Old 9th July 2012, 16:37   #262
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That sounds like a typical recruitment prejudice that is there almost everywhere - expecting ready-made candidates! You will never get one, no matter with 0 or with 10 years experience.
Unfortunately in R&D lab we need people who have some expertise and that comes with post-graduate level training. We don't look for purple squirrel but at least some on who has advanced training in the field.

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Do we? In a European organization I used to work for earlier in my career, the PhD guys would come into their first job aged 27-32, and learn and apply themselves.
So did all of us. Most of us started working at 27-28 after 5-6 years of graduate school. I guess we had supportive parents. I am looking for these candidates

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How much time do you spend provoking them to think and speak? How many unconventional questions do you ask? How much do you engage the candidate? Ask the right questions at the start, and you can separate the grain from chaff in the first 10 minutes. The ones who are worth it willingly participate.
Just to give you a perspective. We received 125+ resume, I called around 20 of them based on their resume, 8 were called for on-site 6 hour interview, 1 was offered who declined and went to do a post-doc at Harvard. The problem is even amongst these selected few, there is a problem of not knowing the basics well. Lot of them got stuck on problems which just needed little understanding and these are not trick questions (that I really hate). Our interview consists of a presentation on the candidate's work + six sessions (Aptitude, programming skill, core knowledge, problem solving etc.) Previously I have even taken them to our lab and shown them a problem and debugged with them to check their analytical skill.
See in our line of work, we don't have strict deadlines (we show our stuff every year in a research showcase inside the company), problems are open-ended and every one is expected to handle one major problem themselves and collaborate with other colleagues in their problems. We don't ask for status update every week. Typically people update their status quite enthusiastically when they have a breakthrough. I am not sure what else is a more nurturing work environment. I am sure we will find our person soon enough. Our fellow research group in the company has already hired two in 15 months !!

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Didn't we all? I moved from an Acura 3.2TL to a Santro AT when I came back in 2004.
You are forgetting the Innova/Fortuner riding, Adarsh Palm Meadows residents who get paid in USD or Euros and hardship allowance !! We have something in common, Acura TSX to hatchback (Toyota Liva) for me.
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Old 9th July 2012, 19:23   #263
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... problems are open-ended and every one is expected to handle one major problem themselves and collaborate with other colleagues in their problems. We don't ask for status update every week. Typically people update their status quite enthusiastically when they have a breakthrough. I am not sure what else is a more nurturing work environment. ...
Exactly how is that a 'nurturing' environment? You are still expecting them to be ready-made for the job, right? Were their abilities or thinking brought up in any way? Was anyone taken who would have good attitude but may be lacking in experience yet could have produced what was expected with his thinking and others' guidance?

I think the assumption here is that people who need 'guidance' are incapable of getting results in a research area. Alas, my experience in that European organization was different - it was tolerated that those Bachelor's, Masters' & PhD's didn't know much about the problems to start with, and they were nurtured till world-class technology came out of their research. They became experts in 3-5 years, but were not experts when they started!

May be, as @samurai said, the environment is 'different'. 'Vive la difference', as the French say! Their default assumption is that the shortest distance between 2 points is *not* over a straight line!
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Old 9th July 2012, 19:44   #264
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http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/at-...-good-workers/

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Companies typically blame schools, for not providing the right training; the government, for not letting in enough skilled immigrants; and workers themselves, who all too often turn down good jobs at good wages.
The author of the article, an expert on employment and management issues, concluded that although employers are in almost complete agreement about the skills gap, there was no actual evidence of it. Instead, he said, “The real culprits are the employers themselves.”
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Old 9th July 2012, 21:50   #265
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Default re: IT Industry and Employability of Technical Graduates

I think the idea of domain expertise idea may be a myth. I remember as a PhD student at Reading in 1974 one of my colleagues was hired by Rowntree McIntosh. The department was wondering what will they do hiring a PhD in Physics who had worked in Internal Friction in Gold. The recruiter stated that they are looking at the PhD as just a specialized training in research methodology and has nothing to with the subject!

A different point of view if ever there was one.
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Old 9th July 2012, 22:13   #266
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Exactly how is that a 'nurturing' environment? You are still expecting them to be ready-made for the job, right? Were their abilities or thinking brought up in any way? Was anyone taken who would have good attitude but may be lacking in experience yet could have produced what was expected with his thinking and others' guidance?
Sorry, I think you misunderstood me. As I said we don't expect someone to be exact match for the job (purple squirrel) and I think this is impossible. But Ph.D level research teaches you how to find an answer when you don't know and people are expected to lead research. As I have said these are open ended problems and no body knows what is the right answer. Please note that all the people whom we have rejected so far are good researchers but lacked that special talent of creative thinking. It does not come with experience. Some how it is my controversial theory and it is shared by few others, that people have become over reliant on tools and it has hampered their thinking. This is not just for Indian graduates also for lot of other nationalities. It is very hard to explain the creative thinking and I guess Samurai in a post highlighted it quite nicely. I have mentored/advised quite a few M.S and Ph.D students and only handful have shown that kind of instinct. I know a person who scored 60% in board exams because he didn't perfect rote learning. He was the dept topper in IIT yet he didn't get a good job because of very poor communication skill. On the other hand his dissertation is a perfect example of technical writing. He took above average time to complete his Ph.D because he didn't find his solution elegant enough to publish. Give him a problem to solve and it is a sheer pleasure to watch him dissect it and come up with an answer. I know this is an extreme example but it is possible to hire people like that with patience and by looking beyond the usual parameters.
To answer your question whether we could have hired some of the rejected candidates and with guidance made them better, probably. I have referred couple of them to other research labs where they were a better match and I am sure they will do quite well. If our research group was bigger, I would have hired them as they might have done better with more guidance and "nurturing". It is hard to do when you get 1-2 reqs per year.

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The recruiter stated that they are looking at the PhD as just a specialized training in research methodology and has nothing to with the subject!
It is possible based on the job. One of my friend who is an astronomer and was responsible for recent discovery of extra-solar super earths joined an Investment bank. As he explained that for him these are all very large data sets and he has to fit a model. He does not care whether it is exotic derivatives or astronomical objects. But when I have to hire a person with Statistical Signal Processing background, I have to look for who is proficient in Maths AND Signal processing. Yes we can teach a Math/Statistics Ph.D advanced signal processing techniques but it is probably better to hire one who already knows and can use his knowledge to build better algorithms.

Last edited by acurafan : 9th July 2012 at 22:41.
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Old 9th July 2012, 22:26   #267
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For any medium to large scale IT firm today, how does it matter what is the fresher's technical knowledge? They after all need someone to sit in a chair 8-12 hours each day, get billed $25/day for atleast 3 quarters of a year, cut/copy/paste lines of code from the project repository, make changes, run through a debugger and send it out to the team leader for consolidation and final debugging.
As long as a fresh graduate is competent to do the above he/she is employable.


Yes the technical graduate requirement (minimum 4 years in engineering if not more) was a myth created by code shops (aka Infosys) to sell bodies to the US for onsite billing. Well now as the onsite/offshore ratio has decreased drastically and we have more and more Global delivery centers in India, we see that more and more Bsc and other graduates are getting employed.

The funny thing is the Bsc graduates are employed at a lower payscale, although I personally find a Bsc from Mumbai university is a far better/employable employee than a BE IT from say Jharasguda/Kakinada/Jallandar or Amravati institute of Engineering.
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Old 9th July 2012, 23:16   #268
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The funny thing is the Bsc graduates are employed at a lower payscale, although I personally find a Bsc from Mumbai university is a far better/employable employee than a BE IT from say Jharasguda/Kakinada/Jallandar or Amravati institute of Engineering.
You could have halved the number of enemies you created with this by mentioning only two places

BTW, this exactly is the problem with employability, when pay is dependent upon the degree, employers are going to get just what they asked for. Degrees!
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Old 10th July 2012, 00:49   #269
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Nurturing is an investment without first looking at immediate RoI. The Public Sector companies who have managed to keep their heads above water even after 50 years - they do that. Nurturing would necessarily tolerate failure on the job.
This the process I follow. I only hire freshies, I expect nothing in the first year, and little in the second year. By then they would have developed the ability to research as well as be productive. Doesn't always turn out that way, and with those we part ways gently. Those who leave are quite happy about the stress-free training they got. Those who stay become very good. The first two years of the company, the strain was too much for me since I was the only productive one in the company. It got better after that as I could start delegating.

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Unfortunately in R&D lab we need people who have some expertise and that comes with post-graduate level training.
Well, I don't hire at Ph.D level. When I say research skill, I mean the ability to solve problem by searching every possible avenue, often learning new things and apply them. It is more about discovering what's out there than invent new things. Generally takes 1-3 years for a typical B.E to pick up on this skill.

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You are forgetting the Innova/Fortuner riding, Adarsh Palm Meadows residents who get paid in USD or Euros and hardship allowance !! We have something in common, Acura TSX to hatchback (Toyota Liva) for me.
Oh, no. I don't consider them one of us. They live in a bubble isolated from all the risk and hardship of coming back to India and rebooting the life here all over again.

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But Ph.D level research teaches you how to find an answer when you don't know and people are expected to lead research.
Don't know about Ph.D level research, but I think this is true for product development too. Lot of unknowns at the beginning of every product.

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Please note that all the people whom we have rejected so far are good researchers but lacked that special talent of creative thinking. It does not come with experience.
I have a slightly different thought. The talent of creative thinking is often buried under the cob web of years of rote learning. I have often uncovered raw creativity after couple years of dusting & polishing. Then they are hungry for more and more complex work and get easily bored with routine work.

I often ask my engineers to get good at things other than work. I ask them to learn whatever they always wanted to learn, like music, dancing, sports, yoga, fitness, photography, etc. Whatever that can really engage them and where they can excel. Someone once told me back in 1992 that confidence you gain/earn in one activity where you are good, can flow into other activities you do. That is so true. If your work is all you are good at, bad time at work can really undermine your confidence. But if you can tap the confidence coming from achievements in other areas, you can survive and then get back on the horse. That kind of confidence can often unleash the hidden creativity within a person.

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It is very hard to explain the creative thinking and I guess Samurai in a post highlighted it quite nicely.
Thanks. Um, you are referring to which post of mine?

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I know a person who scored 60% in board exams because he didn't perfect rote learning.
Hey, I am like that. BTW, I hired guy in 2010 who had taken 6 years to do his BE. I saw something, a hunger to claw his way back to excellence. So I gave him a chance. Now he is one of my best researchers, working on a very tough research assignment that he demanded from me. He is yet to complete 2 years.

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One of my friend who is an astronomer and was responsible for recent discovery of extra-solar super earths joined an Investment bank. As he explained that for him these are all very large data sets and he has to fit a model. He does not care whether it is exotic derivatives or astronomical objects.
Sounds like Peter Sullivan from the movie Margin Call.

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Yes the technical graduate requirement (minimum 4 years in engineering if not more) was a myth created by code shops (aka Infosys) to sell bodies to the US for onsite billing. Well now as the onsite/offshore ratio has decreased drastically and we have more and more Global delivery centers in India, we see that more and more Bsc and other graduates are getting employed.
No, that is not correct. It was not a myth created by Infosys, which was a nobody when this started. It started with H1-B program in 1990 that stipulated a 4 year technical degree as the qualifier, to match the 4 year US degree.

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The funny thing is the Bsc graduates are employed at a lower payscale, although I personally find a Bsc from Mumbai university is a far better/employable employee than a BE IT from say Jharasguda/Kakinada/Jallandar or Amravati institute of Engineering.
I think you are actually referring to English speaking ability, and you are probably right.

Last edited by Samurai : 10th July 2012 at 11:44. Reason: wrong quote
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Old 10th July 2012, 11:25   #270
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Thanks. Um, you are referring to which post of mine?

Sounds like Peter Sullivan from the movie Margin Call.
Samurai, many posts in this forum. Your biography as well as how you encourage your employees etc.
BTW: There are many Peter Sullivans in investment banking. Actually most of the high frequency quants guys are Ph.Ds in Comp Sci, Experimental Physics, Maths etc. You will rarely find an Economics Ph.Ds in these departments.
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No, that is not correct. It was not a myth created by Infosys, which was a nobody when this started. It started with H1-B program in 1990 that stipulated a 4 year technical degree as the qualifier, to match the 4 year US degree.

I think you are actually referring to English speaking ability, and you are probably right.
You made me feel like a movie star by misquoting me in your last post.
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