Friday, May 13, 2005

Campus(es) R us - Indian IT

A while back, I had this discussion with a "non software" professional about software jobs and campuses. She was of the opinion that software pros are spoilt because of the facilities
they get at work. We were talking about the architecture and campuses of software campuses and she, an architect, said that campuses, food courts, recreation facilities do not even figure in our (or some other) jobs. A very true statement.

Software jobs and campuses (Infosys, for instance) are the envy of one and all outside the IT industry. Most software companies have high profile campuses which have a set of food courts, recreation activities (gym, tennis, swimming pool), great space to work, the best machines and so on. Over time, software guys have got used to these facilities and now, any companies that do not offer these would find itself at a serious disadvantage when it comes to attracting people.

It wasnt always like this. Software, when it started off in India, was a little more than sweatshops. Small spaces, worse working hours and money to be made in bodyshopping. Along came a few companies (TI, Infosys come to mind) and started offering a campus, probably modelled on the ones by Oracle and Microsoft ( or modelled on a US University campus). At some "tipping point" if I may, every company had to have a good campus ( if not only for employees, even for visiting clients).

What started off small, is now universal, atleast in India. It must happen for other jobs too. Work places have to be more than just cubby holes and cubicles. Ideally, this is how competition should be. Firms/Individuals compete and it is a win win situation for everyone.

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