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Software Development Culture in India

Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I have heard that the typical environment/culture within a software development company is very different in India (as opposed to the US). I would like to hear from those who have worked only in India and those who have worked in both the US and India (please specify which you are), about what it's like.
--Mark
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

While I can't report from personal experience, I did note in a recent edition of the Times of India that the problem of job-hopping in Indian tech had reached a level such the major employers have banded together and declared that if you switch jobs more than 3 times in 2 years, you're blacklisted (which may not be legal in the U.S.).
Had to mention this, because one of the "reasons" often given for offshoring is that offshore employees are "more loyal" than American ones.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Priyanka Chopda
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2003
Posts: 112
one of the "reasons" often given for offshoring is that offshore employees are "more loyal" than American ones.
and also the main reason is that a s/w developer who earns in USA 70-90k (or may be more) in india same person can get 17k (or less) pay.
It doesn't surprise me that business-minded giants like oracle, MS are doing business by making jobs available offshore!
PC
Michael Bronshteyn
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 85
Let's not shift this topic to "offshore problem" again. There is probably a hundred of them already. I would appreciate to hear from guys in India on how the workplace, work relations look like there. If you think offshoring is great and want to express yourself, please use some other thread.
Thanks a lot,


Michael
SCJP2
Priyanka Chopda
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 22, 2003
Posts: 112
hello Michael,
I'm not favouring offshore problem. I'm just telling Mark & Tim about the conditions in India & US.
I personally don't like to be in arguments with some silly topic.
regards,
PC
Sudd Ghosh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2002
Posts: 187
I have worked in India for 8 yrs in a government SW development firm, and now working in the US for the past 6 yrs. My views regd India will NOT be very recent but 6 yrs old. I'll present only the facts and my humble opinion on this subject.
Education and society: Let me start from the basics. Education is relatively inexpensive in India so most of the SW developers are graduates/postgraduates in one of the engineering disciplines. They typically complete 16 to 18 yrs of (engineering) study. Not everyone is a comp science graduate (which has the highest demand) but they will be very likely an engineering graduate. Here I see people with all kinds of non-engineering disciplines coming into SW development. On the social front, kids stay with there parents and are fully supported by them until they are around 30/35 yrs old or may be more. Also they don't have so much of outside activities in there life that I see here. So the only work they need to do is study till around 25 yrs age and then go into their profession. Absolutely no chores, no cooking, no flipping burgers.
Interviews: Regarding job interviews, in India it is always the process of elimination because there are too many candidates for any kind of job. So I have found the interviews much harder in India than here. Typical interviews will always have a lot of codes to write, sitting in front of the interviewer. Even for a SW manager/director position, they are expected to know desiging/coding in detail. Almost everyone has to appear for a written exam, which in C/C++/Unix days used to be something like the SCJP exam. So all this elimination process brings in the best and smart guys in this field which results in a lot of mutual respect among team members.
Culture inside the organization: In India, British culture is prevalent. Addressing seniors/managers by "Sir" is very common. The downside of showing such respect is that one is not supposed to question the tech-lead much on the technical correctness of his/her decision. One needs to deliver whatever is asked, not what one thinks is right. However, most of the time the tech leads are absolute tech gurus and they will be correct in their decision. Personally, I find the open-ness in communication that exist in the US very helpful and productive in context of SW development.
Design and development: In India, the SW engineering process used to be very rigorously followed. The underlying concept is that money was always limited and we had to do the job perfectly well the first time. I used to spend a lot more time on designing that I do here. In US, I see companies spend some million dollars and try out something without even checking out the project's feasibility. The project fails and then they start all over again spending another couple of millions. In the dotcom boom days, money had little value here. People were impatient and always started to write code on the word go without doing any detailed study/design. I personally feel too much resources at ones disposal takes away the sense of responsibility.
Why in India so many people are after this field? Because of money. USD 20K per annum is a very big amount in Indian context. It is more than what any other profession can fetch (like doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc..). One can even afford housemaids, a cook, a chauffer, etc. (one for every specific chore) above all other things. Getting help with such chores, in turn, saves time for pursuing some advanced study resulting in career advancement and earn even more.
That's what I can remember. Hope this is useful.
Thanks, Sudd


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD, SCBCD 1.3
dee pale
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 18, 2003
Posts: 3
Mark,
This is my story ( 3 yrs back)
As a fresher from a famous Engineering college in India, I was interviewd by an MNC. As opposed to what others say, They did not ask me to write code or such stuff. they are lot of logical questions ( programming and non-programming questions). the interview went for an hour and later I was given an offer.
After I joined the company, they gave me training for 3 weeks on the stuff I would be working and I was put in a project.

IMHO in US, especially right now , companies are looking for people who have experience for 9-11 years. they ask all the technical questions but no logical questions which I think is more important.For example, one member in my project has 11 yrs experience but he is having difficult time in understanding the project ( existing code ) and making enhancements to it. They hired him because he knows Java, J2EE stuff.

well thats my opinion...
dee
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

... And so we see an example of one of the biggest problems in trying to get an up-to-date and accurate picture. Actual in-the-trenches at-home-in-India responses are hard to come by here. I've been told that the downside of the wage differential is that owning one's own computer requires about the same level of decision-making as, say, buying a Mercedes SUV would in the U.S. Especially since outside the enclaves of the IT business campuses themselves, the reliability of both electricity and telecommunications services isn't reputed to be very good. And, even in the U.S., use of company resources to hang around forums such as this one requires a certain amount of justification. So while not discounting the input of Indians in Europe, Australia or the Americas, it would be helpful if people with connections could assist us with some up-to-date info from the old homeland (that is, reports from friends and relatives back in India).
We're not looking for incriminating evidence here. Real names need not be given, though it would be helpful to know what city the data is coming from.


One thing I'd like to know. Up until recently, I'd been hearing that Indian IT salaries for non-management employees were topping out at about $10-12KUSD. Lately I've been hearing more like $17K or even 20 (8 or 9 lakhs). While I do know there's been some upward pressure lately, I've also been hearing that there's concurrently a pretty severe downward squeeze from the MNCs and from cartel action by the Indian firms.
So are these higher salaries a recent emergence, or was I just misinformed about times past?. Or is anything over Rs. 6 lahks still a rare exception?
Arjun Shastry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 1874
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
...
One thing I'd like to know. Up until recently, I'd been hearing that Indian IT salaries for non-management employees were topping out at about $10-12KUSD. Lately I've been hearing more like $17K or even 20 (8 or 9 lakhs). While I do know there's been some upward pressure lately, I've also been hearing that there's concurrently a pretty severe downward squeeze from the MNCs and from cartel action by the Indian firms.
So are these higher salaries a recent emergence, or was I just misinformed about times past?. Or is anything over Rs. 6 lahks still a rare exception?

Thats true,people are getting these kind of salaries since mid 90s when software boom was at peak.
Salarywise I will divide the companies into four categories.
a)The American/International consulting firms who have set up the shops.
b)Indian firms who have been in international market for quite sometime doing offshore development.
c)American+ Indian midsize firms doing offshore development with headoffice in USA
d)Indian companies doing product development for international+Indian market.
Salarywise ,those working for 'a' generally get highest(Rs 6 lakh is common there) while those working in 'd' recieve lowest(possily 2.4 lakh too for experienced one ).In my opinion, there has not been specific trend about salary/perks etc.Mainly it depends on what kind of projects a company is doing and what are its objectives.


MH
Karthik Guru
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 1209
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
...
Lately I've been hearing more like $17K or even 20 (8 or 9 lakhs). While I do know there's been some upward pressure lately, I've also been hearing that there's concurrently a pretty severe downward squeeze from the MNCs and from cartel action by the Indian firms. So are these higher salaries a recent emergence, or was I just misinformed about times past?. Or is anything over Rs. 6 lahks still a rare exception?

I dont think it's going to be easy, getting to know the salary levels of Indians having > 8/10 years experience. Nobody has access to this information unless you are from the HR department of a IT company / you run a placement firm. Yeah, all this 2.4 - 6 lacs thingy that you get to hear are the ones made by people with 1-5 years of experience (people @ the level of say, senior developers) . @ that age, people tend to be more open about their salaries. I have been working here for about 3.5 years now, i dont think me / any of my colleagues w'd be able to get you information on how much money my manager makes. Moreover certain companies go to any extent to hire a guy with proven credentials! even that is not uncommon.
One of my cousins, for example, is VP-Engineering in one of the IT firms here, and he simply w'dnt tell me how much he makes! :-), he knows mine though bcos i dont mind sharing it with him :-). He has more than 15 years experience in IT.
I personally think that it w'd be totally futile to be looking for info on Indian salary levels in a place like Javaranch. Simply bcos , I dont think Indian guys @ that level even participate here and those who do (like me), do not have salary information of our seniors.
I might be wrong! but i w'd expect some of the "resident-Indian" developers
to comment on it in case i'm wrong.
Mumbai Joe
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 01, 2003
Posts: 1
Ive been working with a tier1 indian sw co for 4+ yrs, mainly in India and Europe.
What Karthik has said about salary levels is quite true. It is much more difficult to predict your salary than, say, 3-4 yrs back.
Also, since past one year or so, a lot of companies have adopted the variable pay model in a big way. The company performance linked component can be from 10-15% at developer level to 30% or more for senior project managers. Also, the differentiation between the pay to top & bottom performers is getting much more pronounced.


<b>In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.</b>
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

Actually, the amount of openness I've seen as far as publication of IT salaries I'd rate as roughly the same for India as the U.S. or U.K.
Meaning you don't go around telling everyone you meet what your paycheck is, but the general range does tend to leak out over time. Also, surveys help somewhat:
http://www.payscale.com/salary-survey/vid-18344/fid-11570
Another place to get interesting info is in the annual stakeholder reports of Indian corporations. In at least one recent arrival there was detailed salary information far in excess of what U.S. reporting requirements mandate (some of these people looked like low-level department heads). Of course, it does take a little detective work, since some work in offices in low-wage countries and some work in offices in high-wage countries.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

Actually, the amount of openness I've seen as far as publication of IT salaries I'd rate as roughly the same for India as the U.S. or U.K.
Meaning you don't go around telling everyone you meet what your paycheck is, but the general range does tend to leak out over time. Also, surveys help somewhat:
http://www.payscale.com/salary-survey/vid-18344/fid-11570
Another place to get interesting info is in the annual stakeholder reports of Indian corporations. In at least one recent arrival there was detailed salary information far in excess of what U.S. reporting requirements mandate (some of these people looked like low-level department heads). Of course, it does take a little detective work, since some work in offices in low-wage countries and some work in offices in high-wage countries.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

Actually, the amount of openness I've seen as far as publication of IT salaries I'd rate as roughly the same for India as the U.S. or U.K.
Meaning you don't go around telling everyone you meet what your paycheck is, but the general range does tend to leak out over time. Also, surveys help somewhat:
http://www.payscale.com/salary-survey/vid-18344/fid-11570
Another place to get interesting info is in the annual stakeholder reports of Indian corporations. In at least one recent arrival there was detailed salary information far in excess of what U.S. reporting requirements mandate (some of these people looked like low-level department heads). Of course, it does take a little detective work, since some work in offices in low-wage countries and some work in offices in high-wage countries.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

Actually, the amount of openness I've seen as far as publication of IT salaries I'd rate as roughly the same for India as the U.S. or U.K.
Meaning you don't go around telling everyone you meet what your paycheck is, but the general range does tend to leak out over time. Also, surveys help somewhat:
http://www.payscale.com/salary-survey/vid-18344/fid-11570
Another place to get interesting info is in the annual stakeholder reports of Indian corporations. In at least one recent arrival there was detailed salary information far in excess of what U.S. reporting requirements mandate (some of these people looked like low-level department heads). Of course, it does take a little detective work, since some work in offices in low-wage countries and some work in offices in high-wage countries.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

Sorry for all the repeats. I'm afraid that the Ranch meltdown caused the posting to list as rejected and get stored anyway
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
Some details on working in India :
Forget sweatshops. U.S. companies are now shifting high-wage work overseas, especially to India
From
Time Magazine
Job Slipping Away
Little by little, Sab Maglione could feel his job slipping away. He worked for a large insurance firm in northern New Jersey, developing the software it uses to keep track of its agents. But in mid-2001, his employer introduced him to Tata Consultancy Services, India's largest software company. About 120 Tata employees were brought in to help on a platform-conversion project.
Maglione, 44, trained and managed a five-person Tata team. When one of them was named manager, he started to worry. By the end of last year, 70% of the project had been shifted to India and nearly all 20 U.S. workers, including Maglione, were laid off.
Since then, Maglione has been able to find only temporary work in his field, taking a pay cut of nearly 30% from his former salary of $77,000. For a family and mortgage, he says, "that doesn't pay the bills." Worried about utility costs, he runs after his two children, 11 and 7, to turn off the lights. And he has considered a new career as a house painter. "It doesn't require that much skill, and I don't have to go to school for it," Maglione says. And houses, at least, can't be painted from overseas.
Harder to Find
Jobs that stay put are becoming a lot harder to find these days. U.S. companies are expected to send 3.3 million jobs overseas in the next 12 years, primarily to India, according to a study by Forrester Research.
If you've ever called Dell about a sick PC or American Express about an error on your bill, you have already bumped the tip of this "offshore outsourcing" iceberg. The friendly voice that answered your questions was probably a customer-service rep in Bangalore or New Delhi. Those relatively low-skilled jobs were the first to go, starting in 1997.
But more and more of the jobs that are moving abroad today are highly skilled and highly paid � the type that U.S. workers assumed would always remain at home. Instead Maglione is one of thousands of Americans adjusting to the unsettling new reality of work. "If I can get another three years in this industry, I'll be fortunate," he says.
Offshore Outsourcing
Businesses are embracing offshore outsourcing in their drive to stay competitive, and almost any company, whether in manufacturing or services, can find some part of its work that can be done off site. By taking advantage of lower wages overseas, U.S. managers believe they can cut their overall costs 25% to 40% while building a more secure, more focused work force in the U.S. Labor leaders � and nonunion workers, who make up most of those being displaced � aren't buying that rationale.
"How can America be competitive in the long run sending over the very best jobs?" asks Marcus Courtney, president of the Seattle-based Washington Alliance of Technology Workers. "I don't see how that helps the middle class."
Sought After
On the other side of the world, though, educated Indian workers are quickly adjusting to their new status as the world's most sought-after employees. They have never been more confident and optimistic � as Americans usually like to think of themselves. For now, at least, in ways both tangible and emotional, educated Americans and Indians are trading places.
Uma Satheesh, 32, an employee of Wipro, one of India's leading outsourcing companies, is among her country's new elite. She manages 38 people who work for Hewlett-Packard's enterprise-servers group doing maintenance, fixing defects and enhancing the networking software developed by HP for its clients. Her unit includes more than 300 people who work for HP, about 90 of whom were added last November when HP went through a round of cost-cutting.
"We've been associated with HP for a long time, so it was an emotional thing," Satheesh says. "It was kind of a mixed feeling. But that is happening at all the companies, and it's going to continue." Satheesh says that five years ago, computer-science graduates had one career option in India: routine, mind-numbing computer programming.
Good Jobs
Anything more rewarding required emigrating. "Until three years ago, the first preference was to go overseas," she says. Nowadays her colleagues are interested only in business trips to the U.S. "People are pretty comfortable with the jobs here and the pay here"--not to mention the cars and houses that once seemed out of reach. Employees in her group earn from $5,200 a year to $36,000 for the most experienced managers.
And as American companies have grown more familiar with their Indian outsourcing partners, they have steadily increased the complexity of work they are willing to hand over. Rajeshwari Rangarajan, 28, leads a team of seven Wipro workers enhancing the intranet site on which Lehman Brothers employees manage personal benefits like their 401(k) accounts. "I see myself growing with every project that I do here," Rangarajan says. "I really don't have any doubts about the growth of my career."
More Jobs Going
Her experience with a leading brokerage will probably help. Financial-services companies in the U.S. are expected to move more than 500,000 jobs overseas in the next five years, according to a survey by management consultant A.T. Kearney, and India is by far the top destination. U.S. banks, insurance firms and mortgage companies have been using outsourcing to handle tech support for years.
Now these firms are using Indian workers to handle the business operations � say, assessing loan applications and credit checks � that the technology supports.
Kumar Mahadeva, CEO of the thriving outsourcing firm Cognizant, explains the appeal: "It becomes logical for them to say, 'Hey, you know everything about the way we do claims processing. Why not take a piece of it?'"
If you want to comment on this article, use our �Article Comments� facility below.

regards
[ August 04, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
HS Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 3404
More fodder :

Indian companies are going on a hiring spree at the moment and are looking for even more people with the right skills.
From
economictimes.indiatimes
Hot Skills
So what are the hottest jobs going?
Software skillsets as well as domain expertise are undoubtedly the pick of the season. And here's what companies in the Big League in India's IT sector is looking for.
Says Laxman Badiga, chief executive, operations and staffing at Wipro Technologies:
"People needs are picking up across all areas. There's a big difference in availability of skills compared to the last couple of years, which also shows that the market is active. The need is for across the board skills like developers, leaders, quality analysts and project managers.
�We are recruiting at the implementation as well as the consultant and architect levels. For consultants, skills could either be domain or technology. Telecom software, package implementation like SAP and embedded system skills are hot.''
Big Hiring Boom
TCS targets to be among the top ten IT companies globally by 2010. "To achieve that, we need to reach headcount of 60,000-70,000. That would mean adding up to 5000 per year,'' says Mr Atul Takle, VP, corporate communications of TCS:"85% of our hiring is from the category 1 & 11 engineering colleges in the country.
�We also hired 148 MBAs last year," he adds. Says a spokesperson for Satyam: "The demand is for professionals with skills in packaged software like SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft.�
Turnaround Year
HR consultants and experts also agree that 2003 could well go down in history as the turnaround year for Indian IT hiring. Says a senior official at Mercer Consulting: "While 2001 was a bad year, things have started looking up in 2003. IT industry is currently on a hiring spree especially for skillsets like ERP implemantation. Companies are also focusing on consulting skills as they seek to move up the value chain. Hiring is also targeted at specialised skillsets,'' he adds.


Arjun Shastry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 1874
Difference in work culture: Important difference between the two work cultures is 'Discussion'.In many software companies,managers have some advacened degrees or MBA and are not familiar with lowest level of software engineering ,i.e. programming and analysis which is the core.So discussion of this rarely happens.This sometimes leads to unrealisatic deadlines leading to patches,superficial development.For big companies this problems doesn't happen as they hire more than one person for 1 person job.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16013
    
  19

Hey, look, let's keep to the topic. There's plenty of threads here whose topic is offshoring, and you'll find me mouthing off in most of them. But this thread was set up in the hopes of getting some understanding about life on the other side of the fence. Which is hard enough to do to begin with.
 
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