Friday, 8 May 2009

Hail the Coder

Its the coder who has pulled India by its bootstraps and plonked it firmly on the world map. I know, she'll violently object to being called a coder - there are more politically correct, but boring terms available. With due apologies, let me sing an ode to the Indian coder.

The coder ranks right up there, as one of the hardest working classes in the world. She works her socks off. Day and night. Especially night ; which other person, who has a graduate degree would willingly work in the middle of the night, for years on end, because timezones dictate it that way. And she will do what it takes to get a job done or to meet a deadline, which others wouldn't even try.

She wasn't born into a privileged family. Her parents probably sacrificed a lot to get her educated. She studied hard and by her own efforts got a degree. And then post graduation. She let go of much of the fun in life to achieve this. She may be called a geek, but she can be proud of it.

At work, she has often travelled crazily. Never seen the inside of a plane before, and she's suddenly pitchforked into a 30 hour flight to the middle of nowhere in some country in the world. She copes with all the strangeness with grit and determination. Works even harder there. Sees snow for the first time and learns how to survive in minus 20 deg C. Endures abominable food (for she's a vegetarian), but does not complain. And delivers admirably. There is no other group, anywhere in the world, who's willing to travel like this for a job - literally to any country in the world, anywhere. And subsist on a measly daily allowance.

And slowly, but surely, she's proved herself as the best in the world. India's IT entrepreneurs have been rightly feted. But it is the humble coder who made all this possible.

The world, over the last 20 years has been transformed by IT. Many people, in many parts of the world had a lot to do with this, of course. But one of the most important components of this revolution, if not THE most important component, has been, and will be, the Indian coder.

Above all, I admire the coder for raising my stature as an Indian, in the world. How many times, have I been told by complete strangers in all sorts of countries that "I must be intelligent because I am an Indian". There is a new respect in the eyes of others when I meet them, that wasn't there 15 years ago. It was the coder who made this happen - not the political leaders, not the media, not Bollywood, not the businessman; but the coder.

Hail the Indian coder.


Hang said...

My knowledge about India is very limited. It's nice to get to know those who work so hard in the prosperous IT industry in India.

le embrouille blogueur said...

Ramesh ... not to forget - The client loves her so much that they keep her picture pinned to their walls, refer to her as the sweetest person and miss the swiftness in performance. I join you in this applaud.

rads said...

Awesome post....I could'nt help but LOL...this is sooo similar and I found a smile on my hubby's face after showing this to him...he's glad to see that someone cares for coders...he could relate very closely to every word you have written...and this is soo true not only with coders but everyone in the IT industry, though I do agree that it is the coders who play the core part. I'm in to hail them with you.

Ramesh said...

@Hang - Yes they are the equivalent, albeit in a completely different way, of the migrant worker here

@blogueur - yes of course. she charms every client; even one who starts by cursing, can't help love her.

@rads- thanks for the nice words.

Thomas said...

Quote: "There is a new respect in the eyes of others when I meet them, that wasn't there 15 years ago."

That's very true. And deservedly so.

lideting482 said...

Chinese migrant workers and Indian coders are making history, but in different ways.

Chinese migrant workers do help the country boost the economy, but on the other side, they could be the source of social problems if government can not deal with the migrant worker issues properly.

Deepa said...

Most of my friends are from that industry and so is my husband. Having seen them so closely, I know how close to reality your blog is. Especially the fact that all these 20 somethings come from humble backgrounds and contribute to businesses all over the globe. Kudos to there enterprising & persevering attitude.

And yes, my husband just tipped his hat to you!


Ramesh said...

@ Thomas - Thanks. very kind of you.

@ lideting - I think, both the Chinese government and the Chinese people have recognised the contributions of the migrant workers and their issues are being tackeld well. Same is not the case with other countries, for example, India.

@ Deepa- Thanks for the comments and I tip my hat too to your " xiansheng".

aparna said...

the post i like bestest till date a) because u refer to the coder as she and b) coz its reality (like ppl above mentioned). I have seen instances when clients gasp in surprise at the sheer accomodating nature of us indians. I have known my offshore counterparts to crib if they had to travel on work and try asking them around Nov- Dec time and all hell would break loose. But us, always the 'ever ready' kinds. Makes me proud and happy..

Ramesh said...

Yes Aparna, I am proud too to be a colleague of these marvellous workers.

Kiwibloke said...

Let me be the spoiler here. How many people are we talking about - 1 Mill? 2 Mill. Even if you assume each 'coder' generates 5 more jobs (cab drivers, security guards, construction workers, the retail shop assistants who help them splurge), we have an outer limit of 10M people. Assume a margin of error of 100%, 20M people pulled out of poverty. A drop in the ocean representing less than 2% of Indian population. This is where China scores over india. The migrant worker population impacts 200M people fueling growth. The Coder population impacts 20M people furthering the inequity in wealth distribution in India. No doubt these coders have managed to raise the profile of India but what have they done to raise large chunks of the Indian population out of the daily grind of poverty? A bit overrated lot. For that matter, the domestic help population is much larger than the coding lot and directly impacts women, giving them some kind of economic freedom, very often a liberation for wife beating drunkard husbands of theirs. (I'm touching a raw nerve) For that matter the Self Help Groups in some parts of rural India, especially the south has done more for women's emancipation then the consumption based coder population.

Adesh Sidhu said...

Wow! great post as usual. You have summed up journey of a young, hard working and intelligent coder from Indian class, effortlessly.

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

To Kiwibloke: You got to start somewhere. No one touts the "coder" as the panacea for all things wrong with India - but their contribution cannot be ignored especially when the IT industry generates upwards of $40b in revenues.

Ramesh - I used to be in this itinerant ranks of IT workers. I have spent months away from home in Zibo in Shandong, in the a fairly hostile environment in Pretoria, in Jakarta - you name it. I think we made a big difference to our country. And I thank you for recognising us.

Ramesh said...

@kiwi - Thanks for a challenging point of view. Sure, India is not anywhere in the league of China; in fact they both aren't even in the same race. And sure India has many other deserving constituencies as well. But the oder is unique in that she has made the world see India with great respect. For that she deserves our three cheers.

Ramesh said...

@Adesh - Thanks for your kindness, as always.

@Ravi - Xie Xie. Ni bu shi coder. Ni shi jingli. But still, you are a pioneering cat who deserves a few rounds of cheers.

Zoobie Sidhu said...

An amazing and interesting post. Coders and software professionals are major contributors to India's growth in global economic stature. I have worked closely with the fraternity and am amazed at the kind of breakthrough technologies and projects that the Indian coders are working on. All Indians definitely need to take a bow in front of this fraternity.

Hassan said...

Like all your other blogs which am a avid reader of, this is one more touching piece.

You have wonderfully painted how coders have made a difference to the image of India.

Feel this is the beginning. We can wait and see many of these guys moving up reaching greater heights across global corporations make India prouder beyond just being an intelligent coder generation machine..

Ramesh said...

Thanks Hassan. Yes they will go from strength to strength.

Ramesh said...

@Zoobie - Thanks for your comment.

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