Sunday, October 31, 2010

I am in US, thank you Mr. Gibbs

Couple of posts back, I wrote on the 10th anniversary of completing engineering. Last month was 10th of starting my career. A career in IT was not thought about till about sixth semester or so. Being an Electrical and Electronics Engineering student, my wish and aim was to be a "good" Electrical engineer.  "Engineers make the world" used to be the proud phrase for engineering students at that time (Most probably it still is) and I had the belief that only core engineers make the world and not software engineers. Stories of middle class millionaires and news of some seniors or someone known getting to IT companies and their salaries created desire to join software industry, but only temporarily. Loyalty to EEE was unshakeable.  Most of my classmates thought in similar lines and probably the fact that my brother was also EEE and he continued on same field further helped to build the loyalty.

When we were into seventh semester and started attending interviews, reality crept in; jobs  are available only in software and there were many there. However an average percentage of marks, below average English and communication skills and not so high level of confidence made sure that I don't get through any of the interviews attended.

I had joined the CSI (Computer Society of India) college chapter because some of my seniors thought it is a good idea.  We did not do anything for 11 months a year, but once in a year we conducted a computer exhibition in Kannur.  In 1999, our exhibition was just a month before the cricket world cup and one of the participating computer education center had a world cup prediction contest offering two winners 50% discount in one course. I predicted Australia, I don't know why and forgot about the whole thing.

Almost a month after the world cup, I got a post card saying only two people predicted it right (!!) and without any lottery, I got the 50% discount on a course.  After consulting with many people who knew about software or about whom I thought so, I joined for a Visual Basic 5.0 course.  The course of course  was very basic and I tried many times to stop it for many reasons like study leave, project, semester exams etc but the Principal at the institute kept calling my home after every break.  Finally taking almost a year I finished the course and got a certificate as well.

After the final semester exams,  on an infrequent visit to college, one of our lecturers told me that a friend of his is in town and his company is hiring a few visual basic programmers.  I had a telephonic interview next day and a week after that I landed in Mumbai to join my first job.  After 3 years I got my lucky break and joined Infosys. Right now I am in US working in one of the most respected companies of the world. And thinking about it, it is all due to Herschelle Gibbs dropping that catch of Steve Waugh. Thank you Gibbs, you never  knew that the catch you dropped helped someone far outside of cricket world. I don't know if knowing that will make you feel any better about that.