A career in IT: Identifying the right job for yourself

If we were to keep our hands on our heart and ask ourselves between the choice of the best paid job vs the job which can give us a lifelong career, most of us would secretly desire for the previous one and try to justify that the best paid jobs always gives us the best careers. I was always under the impression that it is a difficult choice as most job seekers do not have too many options, but all the jobseekers can have better clarity on where their jobs will take them.

B Schools in India were created to give students an overview and understanding on how to start their own business and eventually become job creators. While in a country like India where job seekers vastly outstrip job creators, B Schools should have been a great platform for those who would get into the job of job creation.
I have been to a few prestigious B Schools and almost in all cases have found that barring a few, students come to do their MBA, not for treading a tougher path of job creation but get into a better paying job which would not have been possible with their previous degree alone.

The heard mentality is not just seen in cattle that are not humans and go with their instincts and external environment; it is very common in intelligent students too.
In a particular B School, a professor lamented that students every year come out to enter into the field, which pays most, and have better overseas opportunities. Interests of the students or their flair have no meaning in such cases. If investment banking is the best paying sector, the entire B School tries for that job.
I have met such students who landed up in well-paid jobs but over the next few years regretted their decisions. In all cases, they did not enjoy their job and ended up become low performers. In one case, the person lost his job due to performance issues, while others kept on pushing just because they had little choice of yet another career shift.

In my own career, I took some bold and unusual decisions. Turning back, I see them as really bold decisions, but in the end they helped me more than anything else.

In my first job, I realized that although my job was in the mechanical domain, my first love was always with things of logic. I liked computers and the wonders we could do with them more than anything else. I transformed myself from a pure mechanical engineer to an automation engineer who also had a role in programming CNC machines. This was the first shift towards computer engineering. I had no previous education or exposure to computers or programming, but my passion took me on that path. Meanwhile, I had a great option to move abroad in a job, which was once again in manufacturing with a far better salary. I decided to drop that and kept on pursuing my passion in programming.
Over the next few years, my job transformed from a mechanical engineer to IT engineer. I became a CIO and eventually a CEO of an IT company even though I had no previous education of that trade. I not only grew rapidly but also loved every moment spent in my career doing that work.

Choosing a career may not always be done right after one’s education but it can happen mid way too. Keep looking out for your passion and interest for you to choose the right job.

Rest assured, your passion is far more powerful than the best salary any other job can offer.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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