Saturday, July 24, 2010

Do you believe there is a glass ceiling for pure technical people in Indian companies?

A lot of IT people returning to India have rich technical experience because they have worked as developers/designers/architects while in the US. Is this technical expertise appreciated in India and can a pure technical person earn as much if not more than a manager?

The reason I pose this question is to start a healthy conversation in this area because I am hearing from quite a few bright experienced tech people interested in returning to India that they are being asked to take on roles in line with their years of experience rather than in areas of their strengths.

As you know, in many projects executed by Indian IT companies, the design and architecture is substandard (I have seen and talked to others who corroborate) and the word "executed" sometimes takes on a completely different meaning!

This is because, as soon as somebody has about 3+ years of experience in a tech role, they get bumped up to become module leaders and soon on to project leader/project manager/account manager etc. These guys end up being neither technically proficient nor capable of managing people/projects/customers. Those of us in the IT industry have seen this time and again over the last 20 years or so.

Today, many of the more proactive IT companies are realizing this and are wooing experienced, technically sound Indians from the US. But the question is will they then allow these tech proficient people to continue being techies and treat them well or will standard business practices and mindsets try and convert them or force them to become "managers" (in order to move up within the company), and thereby continue to relegate design/architecture to sub-three year experienced engineers?

Will the returning engineers have the courage to stand up and fight for the "tech" status so that their contribution to successful projects are duly recognized and rewarding appropriately?

Obviously, I am not saying managers are not required. All I am saying is that seasoned tech architects are also required.

What do you think?