Disclaimer: This is my personal view based on my experiences and not connected with the organization I work or any other companies.
India’s IT industry laid off more than 56,000 employees last year. The news has sent ripples amongst the IT community within the country.
I have been in the IT industry for more than 12 years and it has changed drastically during these years. During these 12 years, I was part of multiple teams and worked with different team members. With my experience (Personal as well as feedbacks of others), I am trying to explore the reasons why companies are laying off their employees and how one can survive in this critical juncture.
First thing, as we know every year, every company removes a certain percentage of the employees on performance grounds – in other words – non-performing employees, but companies have started mass layoffs in recent times. This doesn’t mean that the companies are only removing the employee but soon they will start the recruitment process again to fill the gap.
People in the industry, from the last 10-15 years (including me) will be the ones who will be impacted due to these layoffs. That brings us to a question – WHY are companies are removing existing workforce and recruiting new? Who is responsible for this? It’s not just company or foreign policies, but some extend employees too. People with 10-15 years of experience are also the ones who prefer to work in a traditional IT environment whereas IT has changed drastically in the last 5 years. So, what we do now? Is it a dead-end for us? No, it’s not. Let’s analyze the mistakes we are making and identify solutions.
I attended two trainings last year, which were related to Cloud computing. In both the training, at a certain point of time, one or two attendees had asked the trainer why they should understand storage or network. i.e. as a System Admin, what is the relevance of them having to learn network or storage concepts? This completely shows the ignorance towards the new technologies. Traditional IT has different teams/towers or departments which take care of specific technology online like backup/storage/Wintel/Linux but with the cloud, one administrator will be playing all these roles.
Sometimes it happens that you are interested to learn a new technology but you wait for your company to organize training so that you can join & learn. I personally recommend if you want to learn anything don’t wait for the company to organize training; Do Self-Learning i.e. learn from YouTube, signup for online courses, etc. When you wait for the company to organize training, provide you resources to learn it usually is in groups – in that case, you will not be the only one who will be learning, directly or indirectly you are creating competition for yourself. Instead of this, learning yourself will put you one step ahead of others. Also just want to add, to learn something sometime you will have to spend something.
Automation is another area where companies are focusing on. Companies are trying to
switch from traditional manual activities to scripted or automated activities to save time and costs but this requires a lot of developers who need instructions to develop scripts or to automate but they don’t know the system and need System Admin to provide them instructions later these scripts reduce the need of System Admin. We can utilize this area by learning to script in Power shell or automation tool like puppet, chef etc. Stop thinking you are a system admin and why should you learn to script.
Sticking to one technology is another mistake we make; Technology has changed a lot and companies are now looking for people who can work with multiple technologies or can adapt to any new technology quickly. This is where an experienced person fails and a newcomer takes the lead. In the current scenario, along with a core technology you must have hands-on with a cross-skill technology, I would recommend try to select one which is hot in the market so that you can be up to date with current technologies. In the beginning, it will be difficult but you should concentrate on the final outcome. If you ever get an opportunity to Cross-Skill, never miss it. Along with this make sure you learn basics of Word/PowerPoint/excel as it will help you to showcase your work.
There is no place for Hard Work; Smart Work is trending now. The technical upgrade is not enough now but non-technical skills are also playing a very crucial role today. Earlier everyone has set of instructions to perform or follow (from start to end) but now we should be dynamic, there are no instructions; it is expected that one should able to make decisions or perform any activities with very minimal instructions. The more assistance (spoon-feeding) you require, the lesser will be the productivity of your team, as it requires double the effort to explain/assist someone and get it done.
IT industry is changing or upgrading very fast and we must be more competent, strong, accept changes with time and update ourselves to keep up with the pace with which technologies are growing; keep an eye on technological changes and read about them to keep you updated.