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Pseudo Coder
Pseudo Coder

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An Indian Software Engineer...

"What do you do?"
"I am a software developer", I replied.
"Cool, so you write these code and algorithms and create these magical apps."
"Yeeyss.. Kind of", I murmured.

In India, our focus isn't on software development but rather on software maintenance. Our primary aim seems to be keeping our US executives satisfied, often through ego-stroking activities. Much of our time is spent crafting PowerPoint presentations and attending unnecessary all-hands meetings, where mediocrity is often rewarded. It's no wonder that India is primarily seen as a cost-effective destination for development by US-based multinational corporations.

Don't misunderstand me; I'm not criticizing my employer. These MNCs pay us significantly more than other industries in our country. We can earn upwards of ₹50 lakhs per year for tasks that often involve little actual development work but plenty of mundane tasks. It's ironic that the higher you climb in these companies, the less innovation is required to succeed. I've witnessed brilliant individuals getting trapped in stock schemes(RSUs/ESPP) and spending the rest of their careers doing menial tasks in the name of work-life balance. What's the point of attending prestigious institutions like the IITs and acquiring software development skills when all we end up doing is fixing comments and improving indentation in legacy code?

I recently came across the term "imposter syndrome," which many software engineers experience. But then I realized, how can one have imposter syndrome when they truly are imposters? The reality is that the vast majority of software developers here contribute little to the developer ecosystem and struggle to maintain outdated software dumped on us by these MNCs. Calling these centers "development centers" is misleading; they should be termed "scrap yards" where end-of-life products are laid to rest.

Thanks to advancements in AI, such as ChatGPT, Copilot, and other tools, it's becoming increasingly evident that many jobs in these "development centers" are at risk of redundancy. Even today, these roles fail to add significant value, but they do allow a few savvy MBAs in management to earn substantial sums by hiring more laborers (developers) in India and dubbing themselves leaders on LinkedIn. Managing 500 people might seem impressive, but not when the primary task is overseeing 5 obsolete products.


Top comments (4)

ajborla profile image
Anthony J. Borla

Thanks to advancements in AI, such as ChatGPT, Copilot, and other tools, it's becoming increasingly evident that many jobs in these "development centers" are at risk of redundancy.

Indeed, this is a very real concern, one with a substantial, economically-impactful downside. Moreover, many other white collar jobs (call center work springs prominently to mind) are also at risk of redundancy.

Much energy is expended in the media touting the benefits of AI, of how it will liberate workers (particularly software developers) of mundane tasks, and make them more productive. However, this is likely to only benefit a very small proportion of those workers, and, regrettably, it will do so at the expense of many of their colleagues.

I doubt, too, that those colleagues will be moving into other white collar roles,. This is the big difference between today's AI technologies, and past technological advancements: they seriously risk making jobs, right across the white collar sector, redundant.

So if one loses their software development role, it is doubtful they will find a similar software development role, or a call center role, or a data entry (or similar) role.

They will, instead, need to look to other sectors, perhaps such things as personal service roles (however, I am not not sure what the alternative opportunities are in India).

Not exactly the ideal application of a STEM degree, is it ?

Finally, while your focus is on India, white collar jobs in other countries are not immune to dislocation from AI-based technologies. We are all in the same boat.

I wonder how politicians will manage this likely dislocation ?

Perhaps they will (finally) be motivated to persuade those behind these changes to better understand, and act on, their social responsibilities.

adaptive-shield-matrix profile image
Adaptive Shield Matrix • Edited

Its called a golden leash or a "prison made out of gold".

Ultimately you have only few choices

  • keep the job as is, focus more on not-work related activities
  • switch job for a better employer, with more interesting work
  • start a company yourself
  • do freelance work

If you feel like your intelligence, skills, creativity is underused and you are not valued enough, have you tried creating a startup that does the same thing as the legacy software at a fraction of the cost, because you can skip all this dead weight?
It may be a very drastic change and you have to let go of your safe environment/pay, it may require a tremendous amount of courage, but I do not see how companies who are this inefficient can remain competitive and viable. Do you have coworkers who feel the same way? Do you have friends who have business that need technological solutions or other social connections?

mykezero profile image

This was a tough post to read and really take in. I often think about this, but since I've never worked through it (US based), I'm only a casual witness to the scenario. Thanks for sharing this perspective of DEV and am looking forward to part two.

efrenshou profile image
Efrén Vázquez Solís

Not everyday you get to read something like this on dev. Well said.