IT was a hot cake once. Everyone thought it was hot cake. The world was talking about it, Bill Gates was the richest man in the world. Programmers were thought to be vewwwy vewwwy well paid. All interviews on tv of brilliant deshi students who aced their board/naitonal exams wanted to be computer engineers or computer science fellows. I was one caught in the whirlwind.

With the options before me at the time, I chose the Faculty of Creative Multimedia as my destination. But abba, amma and none in my extended family would support me in such a decision - an 18 yr old at the time. I would classify families to be of two types regarding education. 'Business Study' likers and 'Engineer' likers. Thus the next logical step was the Faculty of IT (since I thought pure engineering would mean a lot of maths, which i would rather avoid! I didnt suck at it... but I just didn't like it much. One reason i get amazed by Dr. Frank!).

Having worked in the local industry here for over 2 years, I have got some insight on the industry. First stop was Grameen Software. I was happily employed at first, ending a three months long search for a job. The salary was actually good for starters, unlike the measly figures i saw being offered on - 5K? 6K?. bah! There were enigmatic, talkative, and experienced consultants there who promised golden days, and prophecized how the market would grow and develop. Their ideas still seem to me to be ones on track. Bangladesh was a nation really deviod of IT... in any sector! Schools did not have automation, offices did not. The post office at that time rejected a system built by this man. And the solutions to the IT dilemmas at these places were already available out there, in the form of open source applications. All you had to do was take it down, generalize or customize, and market it to them.

Still, however the problem i guess was the number of companies willing to budget a consultant to go over their situation and point out the oppurtunities to apply IT to better operations. And those who did, were not ready to pay a good price for it! As our then manager would say "they want to buy a ship at the price of a boat (- Noukar daamey jahaj kintey chay!!!)". :) there goes the high salary for the IT man!

As I soon found out, the "want"s of local companies were really not well defined. They would not be properly assessed for the prospect for using IT there. A rookie at the time, most of the older employees were not IT graduates. They were the products of the wave of NIIT and APTEC and the like. Most came from non engineering backgrounds, and that didn't help them in any way. Made things worse I think. So there weren't really experienced, knowledgeable people at the higher positions. Bangladesh has a lot of programmers, but really not that many software engineers or architects, or even analysts. This is going to change with time, as the industry ages. It already is from my observations now.

Another problem with the IT companies here are Management. Smart managers are needed to run these companies. Managers who appreciate the workers, who understand the work he is to do - manage... and not do poddari (act out) over the developers. He should know to keep his workforce satisfied and happy. To maintain a work environment is also neccessary, and would probably marginally make the lesser pay (compared to his fellow graduate in the multinational's IT dept.) seem easier to swallow. These managers need to keep themselves abreast of the IT world too. His workers will definitely appreciate a boss who knows what is going on. Be discrete however please, don't go out giving lectures to the developers after reading one article! Who knows... maybe one of them wrote it (especially since articles may b on blogs these days!). Also they need to understand how to maintain the size of the company. Many overstaff themselves and things go out of control. As for looking from a higher point, the managers of different companies really need to friendly with each other, to whatever extent possible. This will strengthen the industry with better informed and collaborating members. Arrange seminars, meetings, exchange the use of new and better technologies, argue over management methodologies, play NFS... no?

The rich and famous, as I see from the scene now are the ones working for companies with outsourced work! Though I am no longer in Grameen Software, I know they are doing well due to some jackpots that opened up from the west. Their CTO is ecstatic now with the possibilities of the new and improved (downsized) company. My present place of work is doing well too except for the fact that its a start-up and business has not started yet. But still, the budget a company abroad has is greatly helped when they send out the work to india, bangladesh, sri-lanka ... eastwards basically (Though their local workers get vewwy vewwwy angry, and who knows... many countries may close their doors for outsourcing). They save a lot of money, and us locals compared to other locals make a more decent wage. I think working for an outsourced project should be on everyone's agenda for starters. This way people get better experience with the 'in' technology. The experience earned there should then also be applied to local work, when appropriate.

The heroes however should be the ones who start their own venture. If you are successful then bravo and congratulations, and if you at least tried, kudos nonetheless! My memory is failing to retreive some names of these heroes... but they do exist. 'Mind Shares' i know was one such venture! Then there is the Dhaka/Chittagong Racing games. If you are making your own products, what else could give you a better feeling? U are IT!

(Anyway, my IT fingers are getting tired. Hopefully, i will work up a good typing speed writing these long winding boring pieces and qualify for some Data Entry job if all else fails)