People who started their career in Information Technology in the 90s had a roller-coaster ride. The industry boomed presenting a million opportunities for them. Taking them to distant lands Onsite Opportunity. Some of which they had seen only on screen. And throwing new technologies at them every few months. There were no precedents of how things have to be done both for employees and for employers. The markets were still evolving. The nature of the work i.e. projects could spread anywhere from 3 months to a year. So every few months you work with new people, new technologies, in new business domains. And at a new place. Life was always unpredictable but in a very positive way.
Mukul Kumar is one such software professional who has gone through this journey. Who has taken every onsite opportunity that came his way? Thankfully he went a little beyond the sheer lure of money. And did explore the lands he went to. Learned the cultural nuances of the place he was in. His career took him from India to Indonesia via Singapore, to UK and Australia. Like most early stage software engineers he also shared accommodation with many other colleagues. And there are always funny and tense situations when people from different background come together to share a space. There are people who go on extreme adventures when they find themselves in entirely new places like high-end hotels. And that leads to another set of memorable moments.
The story is absolutely autobiographical. The names may have been changed. But everything else is as real as it can get. Even to the point of mentioning the amount sanctioned by companies for project parties. The protagonist has a holier than thou aura. Making him an ideal hero, who knows how to handle every situation with colleagues, bosses, strangers. And who never got attracted to any woman until the end of the story. Even when he gets rejected by one he handles it as graciously as possible. He has written the book like a daily diary – plain, linear and simple. I like the small little insights that he shared when he found himself in new circumstances.
I am not sure how many people outside this industry would really appreciate this story. As it is a very typical story written by an insider that not many people outside the industry may relate to. Having said that the story did take me down the memory lane. I kind of re-lived all those ups and downs of my 12 years in the industry, all those funny and stupid moments. I could relate to some of the emotions, of adjusting to new people all the time, living in the uncertainty all the time. And not knowing what is happening but in the comfort that something is happening.
I would have wanted the author to delve a bit deeper into the psyche of an unexpected nomadic life, or being in the midst of constant change. And after few years what happens when you are used to changing and if change does not happen for some time.
A simple, neat and clean read. For those outside the industry, this can be your mirror to a software professional’s life and insiders would remember their own journeys.
You may buy this book – Onsite Opportunity: Tryst of an Indian Software Engineer with the World by Mukul Kumar at Amazon.