Today, its one year since i officially left Infosys.
Actually, i left Infosys on 3rd December 2008 but i was still on their pay till 3rd January 2009. I joined my current company on 5th January 2009. Hence, today i also complete one year at my current company.
I still remember the day i left Infosys. I had never felt so low in life before. That heartbreak, disappointment and sadness continue to be the lowest point in my life. All your other friends would be leaving for their posting while you would be leaving to go back home.
December 2008 was a bad time for a mechanical graduate to be laid off from an IT company and not knowing what to do next. But I decided to stick with IT and not go back to mech and to my surprise I got a new job as an iPhone Developer at my current company within 1 month of leaving Infosys and joined it the day after my bond with Infosys ended.
It was not all smooth sailing and i struggled to understand the basics of iPhone Development early on. But as time passed by, I became more fluent and today i can say that i know developing for iPhone really well after having delivered more than 5 projects to clients. I am now enjoying iPhone Development to the max and have dropped plans of preparing for MBA.
What i learnt in this one year:
1. Only knowledge matters:
I may be working at a company not as large as Infosys but the work these companies do is in no way technically inferior to what Infosys does. Hence, the Infosys tag or even Wipro tag or TCS tag does not matter. Even small companies have their own selection criteria and you will not be selected just for the brand name of your previous employer. So it also implies that large companies do not consider what company you worked for before when you apply to join them. Only your knowledge matters to them. They just want to know what YOU have with you, what YOU know and have learnt in the course of your career.
2. You can learn more at SMEs than MNCs.
At Infosys, your role would become limited to being a software engineer or a support staff. You will not get a chance to interact directly with the client until very late in your career. You get lost in the crowd and even worse, you may even feel that your work is under-appreciated and not valued.
But at SMEs, you get to interact with clients right from the first project you work on and get to negotiate with the client on aspects like change requests, billable hours, requirements understanding directly from the client and developing the application based on the requirements. At Infosys, the Business Analyst would understand the requirements and negotiate the billable hours, the Software Architect would design the application on paper and your role becomes limited to just converting his design into code. At SMEs, you also get to learn about other roles and responsibilities better than at MNCs. Here you can learn how the company bids for a project and how payments are made by the client. In general, you can learn the entire economics of an IT company and become good enough to start your own IT company. Two of my former colleagues at my current company have done just that and they employ 10 people each within 1 year of starting their own venture.
3. There is a difference in pay structure.
All MNCs go for campus recruitment and make offers to freshers which are only slightly less than what they pay an employee with 1-2 year experience. This is because they want to make sure they attract the best talent. Consequently, you end up earning more right at the start of your career. The increments given at MNCs are in the range of 10-20% depending on your performance.
SMEs do not have the funds to have such salaries to a fresher. The starting salary at SMEs is lower as compared to MNCs. Infact, it is mostly as low as half of what MNCs pay. Not having enough funds is only the partial reason but the main reason for it is that you have not yet added value to the company. Infosys has a higher package for freshers because they assume you will stick around for 3-4 years and add value later to the company and hence they pay you more and provide good facilities to even freshers and they are considered to be equal to experienced employees. At SMEs, they first want you to add value and generate revenue for the company and then they will increase your package. The starting salary might be low but SMEs have a far higher increment range for its employees. Their increment can range from 30-80%. And hence your salary will reach MNC levels in 2 years.
4. Role is important, brand name is not important.
When i ask my friends at Infosys about their job, not everyone says its going well. Some of them are too happy with their roles and some are not. Some are even frustrated and cant wait to leave the company. This is because the role they are in after training is not good enough and they feel their job is not challenging enough compared to their abilities. No wonder Infosys, Wipro, TCS did not participate in "Best Companies to Work for" surveys in 2009. It was because they figured out that employee morale was down and the rating will take a beating from it. So if you find yourself in a role or job profile which you think is not challenging enough for you then you should consider changing your job no matter in which company you are in because at the end of it all, when you ultimately decide to change your job even after 3,4 or 5 years, you will be quizzed upon what kind of job you did before and if your job profile in your previous company was not sufficiently challenging, you may lose a good job opportunity to others.
There is plenty much that I still have in my mind to post but i think this much is enough for one post. Also its 3:26 AM as i write this. Having worked in both SMEs and MNCs, I hope my perspective helps you people to take better informed decisions in your career. Your comments, feedback, criticism and suggestions are welcome.
Today, its one year since i officially left Infosys.