A career in IT: Shaping yourself for the future

The Future is full of uncertainties.
How can one be prepared if the future is uncertain?
While, this is true, the basic principles never change much. Except in rare cases where future brings a lottery win to the most unlikely of the individuals, the rest have to slog for every penny they earn and every day of their future they secure for themselves and their dependents.

The only word I have learned for getting ready for future is “Get SMART”.
Smartness as per English dictionary is …………., but in real life, smartness comes only when one gets out on their own to face this ruthless world and find their way out.

Like most families, my family was very protective and my caring parents did everything possible to see that I get into an engineering college. My father, who came from meagre means, ensured that we did not get that protection when we were not supposed to.

I was send to an engineering college that was more than two thousand kilometers away from my home and into a region where few knew my mother tongue neither my culture. I was put in a hostel room along with four more boys. While I was used to live in a crowded room, my roommates were not. They pushed me in a corner to get whenever they could to get more for themselves. Initially I accommodated, but eventually, I got used to my corner.

I made great friends with them and in no time, we loved our crowded room. We shared everything and studied together. Each of my roommates had few other friends from their state and my friendship grew leaps and bounds through such a network.

My seniors ragged me. Initially, I was repelled by the whole episode, but soon realized that it was all because I had created my own inhibitions, which needs breaking if I had to face the brutal ragging. I still remember those times with great fun and the bond I developed with my seniors just because I was a sport even in a bad thing like ragging.

While I had no choice, I tried to make the best of it, learning from such episodes.
I loved talking, playing sports which were played in teams, participated in extra curricular activities and had fun in whatever way possible. I however retained kept a few principles in life forever.

I never consumed alcohol, neither smoked. Unlike most of the students who hid their homework and never liked helping others in studies, because of the fear of competition, I did just the opposite. I volunteered in teaching tough subjects to my colleagues who needed help. In most cases, I was myself not very good at them, but the repetitive sharing of these subjects helped me master them.

“I tried to make the best of the unpleasant and challenging episodes in my life“

Some of my professors were very strict. In one such class taught by a strict professor, I was found sleeping. This happened the morning when I was ragged the previous night and had hardly slept. The professor however felt very offended and kept on pushing and pulling me in every class he took. His extra strictness towards me in the class resulted in me getting the highest marks in his subject.

I was well shaped for my future by the time I was ready to pass out of my college. My existence alone in an unknown place, far away from my home and protection of my parents, my friendships, my activities and my attitude to help others ensured that I got shaped up as one of the smartest boys of my class.

IT was probably not because of my good marks in my college, but my smartness that I was the first to get a good job in my college for that year.

I would love to know your experiences as well as a student and the challenges you faced.Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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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