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Old 18th May 2018, 13:51   #76
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Default Re: The plight of IT professionals in their 40s

Truly an eye-opener thread.

Being in IT for little over a decade, I switched job when I spent eight-plus years in a product company to a service based company, but short-term contracts and unusually low job security is now forcing me to switch again in the short span of two-plus years and this time I was not looking for an organisation in ITES at all.

A good offer came my way from an engineering company but the hunt (my current role is management oriented) was unusually difficult through traditional means and it was the referral that opened the door of opportunities. Last decade has given me rich domain, technology, and management exposure but in next decade I intend to keep myself relevant by investing in domain and technology know-how and not aim for astronomical salaries that can potentially turn me into a liability than asset quickly.

While we discuss this topic let me also bring a couple of trends I noticed :
  • In IT service industry (may be in products too), I know that there is ample amount of hiring happening for skilled, experienced (read 15+) contractors who can bring value in terms of design, architecture, and implementation, these contractors are charging a high premium for short tenure assignments.
  • I am also aware of clients, who do not want any entry-level/ slightly experienced tech professionals part of their delivery team but seek only highly experienced folks (via through screening) who can develop/maintain their IP asset by derisking potential quality issues(in turn business impact) which could potentially creep in due to lack of experience.
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Old 18th May 2018, 14:22   #77
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Originally Posted by rajwheelz View Post
I'm from the 90's IT industry, and crossed 20 years now. So yes, I have weathered the y2k boom, the dotcom blast, the great recession, the start up dreams, the android boom and the "cloudy" environment.

Sir, given your massive experience - please guide me. I am a mid-30s Business Analyst by role, in a desi IT co, with just a new car EMI over my head. I am an expert in the North American Property & Casualty insurance domain.

Recent Agile transformations by most of our clients have gutted the need for BAs and perhaps I need to re-shape myself into an Agile Product Owner.

I have also been privy to an AI-powered Agile requirement tool which uses text-to-speech and other tech to create user stories and visio charts, based on direct inputs from a SME; making a BA redundant. Thankfully, this tool isn't seeing much traction (yet) in the market.

That's as far as my perspective goes, on threats to my trade and how to keep myself relevant.

What am I missing here? Please let me know what you foresee.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 19th May 2018 at 10:51. Reason: Trimmed quoted post
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Old 18th May 2018, 14:30   #78
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Default Re: The plight of IT professionals in their 40s

The thread is relevant for many other fields, not restricted to IT.
It is true that once you are on the other side of 40, you would have got used to certain privileges in life (Car, house, title, having a team do your work, foreign travel, 5 star hotel stay etc). But this is also what ends up making us complacent such that one fine day, recession hits and we are the first ones to be shown the door.

Re-skilling, being constantly updated on the latest technologies in one’s domain are the key.
One more very important thing is to network. Hang out with others in your field, attend forum meets, conclaves, get to know what is the latest and be in touch with others in the industry. You never know when you will need someone’s help/ guidance.

I think its unfair when someone blames HR for the fiasco or situation 40+ IT guys find themselves in. When the going was good, everything seems rosy. As someone pointed out, when it comes to the crunch, HR guys are the first ones who have to do the dirty job of firing and face the axe themselves. Targets, recruiting 1000 plus engineers, fringe benefits to employees are all dictated by business needs. HR executes. Even today as a function, I believe HR is well-networked and this has been driven due to their need to evolve and survive.

I think young professionals starting out in their career need to be mindful that the party will not last long and be updated on the latest at all times. On the personal front, they need to be more conservative in spending, take less loans, invest more and save more. Above all, take care of health and ensure there is adequate medical insurance to help in times of need.

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Old 18th May 2018, 14:30   #79
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Originally Posted by civic-sense View Post
To all the 40+ IT guys out there. Our generation was one of the luckiest ones. Somebody who had joined an IT company in the 90s earned one of the best salaries ever. Even a mediocre engineering graduate (case in point, yours truly) managed to draw a 6 digit salary. And we used to hop from one job to another asking for 50-100% rises.

If you thought that it would last forever and did not save some of it for this day, then it was your mistake. I intended to work only till 40, but still holding on to it just milk out that last bit of monthly pay. The day they let me go, I am gong to hang up my boots.
I was about to say the same thing.
I do not belong to this generation, but slightly late(30+) and of the belief that any year in this industry above 40 is a bonus.
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Old 18th May 2018, 14:44   #80
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Originally Posted by PVS View Post
What a knowledgeable thread, and must admit, a tad depressing too!...and considering myself lucky that I still have my job..
Reading through this thread, yes it can seem like quite a downer. But I don't think we should give the impression of all doom and gloom. I'd like to think of all the experiences shared here as a not-so-early alert to start making some professional changes and lifestyle/expectation changes.

The show is not ending soon and things will not suddenly come crashing down. Overall, the margins are still strong even for the low-end IT work model. The professional society that caters to professionals in my job role publishes an internal salary survey every year. One of the sections compares the median salary for a job in that role in India versus the US. It's been closing every year for the past 10 years that I've been tracking it, but it's still a good 3-4x times lower. And while there has always been talk of moving these jobs to a cheaper country like Mexico, China, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, etc etc, it hasn't happened. Being involved with the hiring process for some time, I know how difficult it is to hire in some of those regions and we still retain a distinct language, talent, and talent availability advantage.

But yeah, things (budgets) are getting tight, questions will be asked and things will slow down. However, there are still opportunities, still avenues to move into for those willing to make the adjustment. Freelance roles, temporary roles, career switches, back to school for retraining, who knows.

Originally Posted by car love View Post
Those with undying passion are seldom overcome no matter what field they are in.
Talk to any artist or playwright for their perspective on that! I'm kidding, but very, very few professions in the world are staffed only by people with 'passion'.

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Old 18th May 2018, 16:11   #81
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In my view, the main problem with entire technology/consulting/market research industry - both services and product is that we primarily cater to markets outside of India.

As a result, getting high quality domain/industry knowledge is challenging. Even in cases where it's present it's not really updated. This will change as we slowly start catering to the demands of the Indian market.

From Anecdotal evidence, companies that cater to the Indian market have retrograde HR and management practices. I have a close friend who worked for Reliance Jio's product function and it was no fun in spite of the decent pay that he was making. He left after a year and moved back to Bangalore.

For people who enjoy reskilling and have solved interesting problems in their prior roles, they should be able to bring some of that learning into their new domain/technical areas. The key is to not to do this as a last resort.

Having said all this, I still believe that with Automation/ML lots of jobs will be lost. Some new jobs will be created too but net-net many more jobs will be lost than created.

Of course many sectors like government, lobbying related to government, legal, B2B sales/client services where contacts/relationships are key will be relatively lesser impacted. India is one place where government servants - from top to bottom are severely overpaid ( as a comparison to per-capita income) and has no accountability. Sadly that sector will be untouched more or less.
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Old 18th May 2018, 16:41   #82
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Originally Posted by vishnurp99 View Post

From Anecdotal evidence, companies that cater to the Indian market have retrograde HR and management practices. I have a close friend who worked for Reliance Jio's product function and it was no fun in spite of the decent pay that he was making. He left after a year and moved back to Bangalore.
This is a great point. Actually, Indians are some of the worst managers in the world. Zero emotional intelligence, no sense of what a week-end is, the list can go on. Thankfully, since I spent considerable time in Europe, I don't carry any of that "genus".

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Old 19th May 2018, 07:07   #83
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IT has got its honeymoon period completed 5+ years back. Now its going through the realities of marriage. It is not bad, basically people have made lot of money already. Being Team BHP, we could compare it with the car miles. We buy a car, we drive 1 Lakh KMs, most of the car will start giving issues (have to retire), irrespective of how we maintain. Now we can drive that 1 Lakh KMs in 2 years or 10 years or 20 years. The effort we put / Money we make appears so much in IT that, the career will lose its charm for the individual much early than 50s/60s. This applies to any profession. The faster we grow up, faster we will retire (voluntary or involuntary). Just that, IT has really faster growth, hence many articles on depression/non-satisfaction there. It is nothing wrong, this is how market should work, otherwise money will become stagnate. It has to flow.
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Old 19th May 2018, 10:44   #84
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Very relevant thread. Some of my (personal) observations are:

1) Invest your money and time wisely

2) From reading this thread, I understand that most of the people recognize this as a genuine issue but nobody is clear of a plausible solution. This is India specific issue. I have seen people aged 60+, working as software developers in Germany, Sweden and other European countries. It is not frowned up there. It is possible because of the small population size in those countries.

In Indian context, one solution that could be to acquire new skills consistently so that when a new technology is hot in the market, there will be a surge in demand and some professionals may be able to make a switch and join the wave.

2) There are not many path breaking new product development happening in India. It is still feature enhancements and product maintenance jobs that are getting moved. So, moving into another product development company can prove to be daunting in 40s but I have noticed that people who are technically good are still able to find jobs in startups and other non-MNC companies.

3) Women have significant advantage in my opinion. Many MNCs are looking to recruit upto 30% of women as employees based on UN's diversity recommendations.This is not an eyewash or lip service (as far as I have seen).

4) Most people want to become Managers at an early stage in their careers in India. Now wonder we see so many people with little emotional intelligence, problem solving skills and even maturity to handle situations. I have come across many people managers who have blatantly announced to the team that nobody should come to them with problems

5) Both technology and business landscapes are changing so rapidly and radically that even the strategists at the top management too are left clueless, getting caught off-guard, making them and their business irrelevant.

See the case of missed buses: HP, Dell, Intel, Nokia, Cisco, Lucent, Qualcomm, Walmart, Citibank. Microsoft somehow escaped the irrelevance. Many of these companies are now moving work to India. Except in few cases, We don't have many strategic managers based in India. India centers are merely executing the orders from the HQ in most of the cases.

6) Usually, higher up one go, the sharper the fall when it happens. On the flip side, with elevated perks, in general, people will elevate their life styles increasing their outgoes. Upgrade to the next new German car, luxury villa, exotic vacation locations etc are always alluring and enticing.

It is not difficult to see that the money inflow is not permanent. Whatever comforts that people are used to today make them feel as if they are entitled for it. Until and unless you are not confident on securing a permanent source of alternate income, don't splurge today's money. Anyway, material things are never going to keep anybody permanently happy. All it gives is pleasure which lasts only until the novelty wanes.

My friend had started given away things which are not absolutely essential in his day to day life. He was surprised to notice the things he had bought unnecessarily and lying around without any use and occupying space. I think it is a common story in many households. I am sure some people will criticize me for writing this. But I still will have to write this piece because it is the excesses committed by our species the homo sapiens is what endangering the existence of the planet Earth itself!!

7) A lot of people don't know what do they want out of their life. They crave for recognition of others from their family and social circles.

Probably, it is not difficult to lead a very descent life. It is difficult only when you want to live as if to impress others.

8) Government also happily milks the IT industry professionals. After collecting income taxes in the highest bracket for so many years, the same Government cares a hoot if and when the person becomes unemployed. I don't think this will change until and unless the IT professionals come together and bargain with Government on this.

It is only the farmers who have their way -- pay zero taxes on any amount of earnings and can also secure loan waivers irrespective of whether they earn or not
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Old 19th May 2018, 13:12   #85
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I think IT guys with more experience without the skills mentioned in the infographic are outskilled. If you can't do cloud, analytics, graphics today and know only coding, what value can you add over a 3 year programmer? Also as back end service providers, you have little experience of selling or managing c-suite.

Analytics will also be replaced, so will other technologies. You need to identify the trend and keep jumping to the emerging ship.
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Old 19th May 2018, 13:31   #86
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Dear IT Professionals above 40, allow me to share the perspective of an entrepreneur - by definition a risk taker, employment generator and investor of capital. First all of you in the IT services arena have made India proud and are playing your part in making India a recognized centre for IT excellence. Don't feel bad about all that is being said about cheap outsourced work and not developing IP etc. It is a business model that has worked well for you, your employer and the country. Some parts of the model are, as we can now see, getting redundant.

After having built two businesses in my time (I am now retired) I can tell you even an Einstein cannot see more than 5 to 7 years ahead and when you are building a business you focus on what you can do in 3 years because the possibilities 7 years out are far too many - both opportunities and change related risks. What you are experiencing is a decided shift in the environment driven by technology and economics and now politics. While some may have become complacent with the over paid salaries as an employee it is reasonable to assume that the senior management is taking care of the macro issues. As a retired business man I can tell you there is only so much you can foresee and the rest you put into risk taking and being nimble and courageous when the unexpected jolt comes - the key words are nimble and courageous . After the event all of us are sages.

Like all oldies I cannot hold back the urge to preach. So do bear with me. About 12 years back, when I was in my forties, my family reached a certain standard of living. Let's call it the Opel Astra/ Skoda Superb standard. Having faced bankruptcy before I told my wife that now we will live at this burn rate only and can do so for the rest of our lives and will eschew the temptation to spend much beyond this. And it has worked very well for us so far. My erstwhile employees were driving the German three while we stayed with humbler cars. You get the drift. I see many employees in the IT and financial services sector consuming through debt on the assumption of assured incomes and income growth well into the future. That might be assuming more than you can see ahead.

Take a leaf out of an entrepreneurs book - cash flows, cash conservation, building contingency reserves. Your home budget is not very different from a business. Businesses and families that over borrow and mortgage their future run the same risks when the unexpected comes. Second, stop feeling sorry for yourself. The article in the-ken in post #1 has, in my view, a wimpy tone of entitlement blaming everyone but oneself. Destiny played you a card with incomes your parents could not dream of. Now the environment is shaking things up. Whining doesn't help you. When a businessman faces bankruptcy he has no HR Dept to blame, no headhunter to go meet, no senior management or boss to curse no journalist to feel sorry for him. All that may happen is that you might lose a job and some face. Which trust me is light years better than going bankrupt. Industrial workers lose their jobs more often with a far weaker security net. Think beyond simply looking for another job. Try self-employment. Once you get used to it, it is addictive. Best of luck. You have nothing to lose but your inhibitions.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 19th May 2018 at 13:39.
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Old 19th May 2018, 14:14   #87
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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Dear IT Professionals above 40, allow me to share the perspective of an entrepreneur - by definition a risk taker, employment generator and investor of capital.
Very nice words. Thank you sir. I don't know why but the 'Like' button is not to be seen in the thread!!

Last edited by Samurai : 19th May 2018 at 23:56. Reason: avoid long quotes
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Old 19th May 2018, 15:05   #88
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This issue wholly depends on your capabilities and areas of specialization. It depends on you!

My personal experience has been entirely different to what is being portrayed in this thread. In my 15 year old career so far, I've primarily been an IC with minor stints in managing people and projects primarily because I do not enjoy managing people or projects too much. I have a core specialization - Computer Graphics and I've been working in that area since my second year of B-Tech. I do not think there's any other field that has evolved so much in the last 20-30 years as this area. GPUs are being used everywhere - from your smart watch to the largest of data centers/super computers. New APIs and standards are part and parcel of life. It is definitely a challenge to keep oneself updated.

However I never ever chase the latest buzzwords, I just try to build on my fundamentals and when the need be, I end up picking a particular technology up just to solve the problem at hand. Learning something without a real reason doesn't float my boat simply because you never end up applying yourself hard enough. Yes I'm lazy! It is the same reason I avoid all these so called certifications and things like that as plague. The best way to learn is to figure things out myself. The place where I work at gives me the luxury of things that typically span a 4-6 month duration with clear goals and I enjoy building things from scratch.

With this in mind, I've never had issues finding a bucket load of jobs whenever I'm actively looking for one. Neither has a close friend who has ~20 years of experience and is in the same area of work. He started looking a month ago and already has two offers in hand. I'd definitely believe there's no dearth of jobs if you are the right person.

Maybe low end jobs or people manager jobs are at a premium. However if one is looking for real high end product development/research, there is a severe lack of people to be found in India. Our department has quite a few positions that haven't been filled in months!

Last edited by reignofchaos : 19th May 2018 at 15:07.
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Old 19th May 2018, 15:52   #89
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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Time to move out of the cities and embrace farming. More money there I tell you. And time. And fresh air. And great mornings. And exercise.

Wait, you can't? Oh Loans and EMI.
//a bit offtopic but

Somebody's taken your suggestion..

From writing code to working on a farm, Sameer Shisodia’s passion for the slow and sustainable life takes him places

Last edited by bugatti : 19th May 2018 at 15:55.
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Old 19th May 2018, 17:09   #90
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Though this thread is scary , I believe things are not that bad. If you are willing to get your hands dirty and don't bother too much about titles, you can always find decent work.

My short story-15 yrs in IT
Started my career assembling and selling PCs- this was during my grad. Thought I will start my own company.
Margins dropped and bigges started playing price war game, realised I needed a job that pays regularly.

Started in support role- found networking domain interesting. Changed jobs and started supporting networking gear. Became a senior team lead. Realized any further growth in that line would be into pure people management ( I felt it was too early in my career to move into people management)

Took pay cut and switched to a
engineering ( test automation) role in networking domain ( here my support experience really helped).

Moved to a product based company and been there ever since as IC ( my current role requires me to be IC and mentor other engrs to get job done). I know I fall under dispensable but hard to replace category within my company for now.

Only complaint- My peers from previous companies have much better sounding designation (senior manager/Director) than mine.I know that I won't be able to switch to people management and achieve their level of proficiency/desig.

Of late have started worrying about how things will pan out if I continue my current carrer path and if I should have moved into a management role sooner. In current scheme of things, feel boxed into a corner. Hopefully, will find a way forward soon.

Last edited by sathish81 : 19th May 2018 at 17:24.
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