High school students are keen on knowing the prospects of IT/ITES careers in India. Here is my quick take
IT-ITES generates the largest number of jobs in India; currently there are 2.2 million employed in this category. 500,000 are in Karnataka alone; Government of Karnataka (GoK) employs a similar number! Considering the fact that many GoK jobs are in Class III / Class IV, IT/ITES sector is great for jobs.
The “slowdown” will impact everyone including IT/ITES; but it will eventually turn for the better; after all it is cyclical; by the time the High School graduates enter the job market (2-6 years from now), the position will indeed be good.
B Tech / MCA are the preferred qualifications. MSc / BCA / BSc too have openings. There is a confusion that IT/ITES careers are only for Math guys; while many engineers have taken to IT, it is open for others too. MP3 was inspired by music, iPod is a design innovation; so IT is for everyone.
IT-ITES offers a variety; you can pursue M Tech / PhD and even chase a Nobel Prize / Turing Award. You can join services, grow into a project manager, have a “cool” and “comfortable” job with an attractive salary. You can turn entrepreneurial either immediately or later, and create jobs and wealth; in IT/ITES what you need is a compelling idea and NOT huge initial investment.
You can work in services companies as well as product companies; India has product companies like Infosys Finacle, iFlex, Tally, Subex, Megasoft too. There are R & D outfits like Infosys SET Labs, TCS R & D, IBM Research, Microsoft Research, HP Labs, Intel Research, Motorola research, Nokia Research..
Also there are technology & IP licensing companies like Ittiam and Sasken. There are hardware companies too.
Do remember IT-ITES has a broadband. Not all ITES, is a low end BPO. There are KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) and LPO (legal Process Outsourcing) where you as an expert provide services over a wire at very high charges ($ 100 to 300 / hour!).
IT also has services that may not need a college degree; hardware servicing, support that too in remote areas can be sought even with SSLC / Diploma
In a nutshell, you have large number of jobs, well-paying jobs, opportunities for wealth creation and jobs for people with varying qualifications SSLC to PhD. You can earn money, win laurels or create wealth; IT /ITES offers all
Best of luck!
(Career Forum organized by Bangalore University and Eduquity at Central College Auditorium in Bangalore on December 6, 2008)