Seven Years in IT and Seven things I learnt

Recently I completed seven years in IT industry. My career started with Siemens and as of now I am working with Infy. Along with Infy and Siemens, my professional life has been greatly influenced by people whom I met at various events, online and open source communities. This is a small note where I want to share what I learnt in this seven years. There are many things to write about, I just wanted to use number seven.

  1. You can't learn programming in 7 years
    Yes, Plain and simple. Read Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years by Peter Norvig
  2. Care about people than process
    Most of you would have heard "People are the center of every problem" quoted mainly by managers, HRs etc. But for me, People are the center of every solution. None of the **greatest** process can solve any problem with out right people. In fact all great projects/events in the history of the world are remembered, by remembering the people who were involved rather than process they followed. So give importance to people, break the process but don't break a human.
  3. Be the worst team member
    At the risk of sounding very controversial, Yes, you should be the worst team member in your team. I believe in learning from team members. You have better chance to learn when everybody is better than you. Where you can learn from every contact, every conversation and every minute. Its good to lead a team. You might get promoted if you lead a team. But you should realize that you are losing on learning. Its very important to be lead by a leader/thinker early in your career and also to work with a great team. Remember: Its good to lead but its best to be lead by a good leader. They also make you better future leaders.
  4. Have personal projects
    Many would have written about it. If your employer supports your personal project then nothing like it. If not make sure to have some personal project. You can start from writing simple tools/scripting. Once you feel better try to contribute to a open source project. Later you can have your own big project. There is nothing like self learning, your personal projects will give you a chance to learn what you want. It also gives a chance to escape from **ordinary regular work**. Updated: You should read Scott Berkun's post on 20% time.
  5. Use tools or use Unix
    Few days back, my friend was wanted to know why I am not interested in solving sudoku. According to him, its the most famous games amongst geeks just like rubik's cube. For me I want to solve the problem for ever (I know how stupid I sound). I would probably write a program to solve the sudoku/cube than solving it manual. Now coming back to the point, use tools at work. Even if it is a very boring manual work. Try to automate it, make it a programming problem. Learn different tools. (I met this guy who was working on excel sheet to make some reports. Now it sounded like a very boring stuff. But actually he could have programmed in vb script to completely automate the reporting. Now it sounds better right?) While learning tools..Learn the mother of all tools: Unix commands.
  6. Attend conferences and meet people
    I cant stress enough on this. Every time I talk to somebody at office who comes for advice, this is what I give them. None of the communities in the world is as disjoint as Indian IT (developers) community. Please do go out, attend meets, conferences. You will learn as well as your professional circle gets bigger. Even volunteering at conferences like or barcamp will give you a great opportunity to learn.
  7. You don't have to learn to knot a tie
    You know what I mean. Sometimes you need to follow the rules but programmers have their own way of satisfying their own ego! No. I don't know how to knot a tie and I am not willing to learn in near future.

I hope it helps to somebody at least.

Picture Credit: Wikipedia and

26 Responses

  1. Lavanya says:

    Couldn’t agree more with points 2 and 5.
    Process is good when u want to get average work done by average people. If you want good work, invest in good people.
    About tools – I used to advise my team to be lazy.. yes, you got it right.. if you are lazy, you are forced to use tools or automate stuff to get things done.. after all, weren’t computers invented to reduce manual stuff?

  2. Vinay says:

    A surprising fact, esp for the freshers and new guys in the industry…
    Majority of the Indian IT jobs are no brainer maintenance types. So if you are a geek and wanna get paid for it appling your skills better look outside the country. Otherwise like Theja says, work on personal projects. The later is the only way to get the geek inside you out.

  3. Excellent post!!
    Nice that I got acquainted to you. I’ve started blogging only after getting inspired by your blogs [though some of my posts might be silly ;)]. Sad that many “so called techies” in the campus don’t know about you or do something like what you do. Wish you inspire many more guys like me. All the best for your career ahead! :)

  4. #2 interests me a lot…people not process and sometimes people and process together make a venture succeed against all odds!
    Good one though…

    (The 7 segment display is so symbolic of 7yrs..I too complete 7yrs soon in this industry and for some reason it reminds me of the Seven sins :P)

  5. Thejesh GN says:

    @Susheel Sandeep : May be I should also write about seven mistakes I did!
    @Krishna Chaitanya.T : Good to know you were inspired.

  6. Good list, but a nitpick on #5 – if you want to solve a sudoku or a rubik cube programatically, you need to know the game and play the game before you can solve it. You will recognize the patterns or tricks only by solving them manually first unless the problem is very trivial. And btw, these are also exercises for your mind like running or cycling is to the body.

  7. Pramod says:

    Translating 7 years into 7 simple points is tough job :)
    Totally agree with all points.
    * All problems are basically peoples’ problems not software ones.
    * Open and Be honest.
    * Always discuss before programming.
    * Have a part time habit( movies, blogging, bookmarking, photography etc)

  8. Supriya says:

    :) Congrats on completing Seven years :) and a belated Happy Birthday once again.

  9. Thejesh GN says:

    @Pramod : I know. But I had to limit myself to some number!
    @Supriya : Thanks buddy.

  10. Thejesh GN says:

    @Jayadeep Purushothaman : Yeah, But this is how I usually approach the problem. Long term, complete solution.

  11. Manoj says:

    Couldn’t agree more with #2.
    Keep going!!

  12. Dhanya says:

    Great tips there! Congrats on completing your 7th year in the IT industry!

  13. raghava says:

    /* strictly my personal opinions. */

    #1. abs(true);
    #2. But, depending on the situation.
    #3. IMHO, it’s a matter of luck to be lead by a true leader; lions for lambs or vice versa, it depends.
    #4. Yes. Helps a _lot_!
    #5. UNIX && Linux rock! :)
    #6. Helps to some extent.
    #7. Yes. As someone said, neckties strangle clear thought. Stay away as much as possible from them. :P

  14. Rajiv HR says:

    Congrats on completing 7 years.. You have got fascinating insight of your career. That’s important aspect I appreciate. Don’t you think its time for a break now.. A sabbatical ?? ;-) have you seen this TED video ?

  15. Thejesh GN says:

    @Rajiv HR : Do you know how to read mind? :)

  16. Kashi says:

    Liked 7th point! I think everyone at infy likes it… i completed 11yrs and i am in your club dont-know-how-to-knot-tie-and-dont-want-to-learn :)

  17. Hari says:

    Agree with you on leading team…The last one on tie was a perfect ending..gr8 going and wish u success in the coming years too.

  18. Chaitra says:

    It is very motivating to have a personal project…

    Lifts you above the daily drudgery…

  19. Raj says:

    @Thejesh GN

    congrats for completing 7 ers in IT…

    nice seeing ur 7 points.. :)
    my career is going to start nw.. may ur points be helpful to me.. :)
    thanks 4 sharing…

    r u seriously interested in IT?? or hav any idea of being entrepreneur??

    ALL THE BEST frnd… :)

  20. it jobs are very much in demand these days because of technology boom,”-

  21. Sanjay Nayak says:

    Thej, I believe I read this post for the first time and it is wonderful. The linked articles will take its own sweet time for me to consume. I would also like to add a few more things, if I may

    1. Be curious – nothing was accomplished without unselfish curiosity. The ability to question, to inquire is what fires the mind.
    2. Do not be afraid of failure – Success bloats our confidence but failure teaches
    3. There are always multiple solutions to a problem. There is no one single correct answer.
    4. A college professor told us this, I try to follow but not always successfully – if you are asked a question and know the answer, do not blabber out. Think for a moment and then answer. It makes your appear intelligent but also gives you time to validate the answer in your mind.

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