Tech scene in my city (Chandigarh) is daunting. There is super heavy exploitation of new developers and nobody seem to have any problem with it. In this post I am plotting the situation from my view, and sharing the reasons behind my decision of accepting a job where I’ll obviously get exploited.
For a long time, I’ve been very afraid of doing a job in my locality. First of my concerns have been that it will hinder my growth. From people working in local companies, I’ve heard things like “they will suck all plasma out of your blood; you’ll hate to even look at a computer”. I don’t want this to happen with me. I love computers, and I want to keep loving computers. I don’t want to get stuck either. On job, I’ll most likely be doing PHP projects. I don’t want to do PHP for rest of my life. It was the second language I learned, and I hate it. Looking back at it after a year of Python, most of it look like mumble-jumble of hoola-boo.
I will be working 48 hours a week (excluding break; mon-sat 10 am to 7 pm) for less than $100 per month. Pick that jaw up, I know it’s exploitation. What they are going to do is get projects from oDesk and similar sites, and make developers do them, and pay like 0.01% to the devs. I can do it myself sitting at home, I’ve done a couple projects, but it was not fun. I got bored and left my third project halfway. I am so fucking undisciplined that it frustrates even me. Here’s the list of my reasons for diving into the situation which at the moment looks like a whirlpool to hell.
My reasons for doing this job
I am sick of my fickleness. I get bored like after 20 minutes of playing with anything. I’ve tried as many techniques as I could in 2 years to discipline myself. I am expecting my new job to discipline me more. I am expecting it to be one of the most suffocating environments I can imagine as a developer. I know the culture of most companies in my city. I’ll have to keep my phone outside the office before I enter, only the time I spend in my cube will be counted as my ‘in office’ time and similar. If nothing else, it will at least make me realize the significance of all the freedom I have in my room.
I want a team of coders to work with. I’ve always done coding alone, and I am sick of it. It’s no fun. I want to work in a team. I want to show off my work. And most importantly I want smart people around me to look upto and learn from. There will probably be senior developers on job from whom I can learn many things.
I’ve been living in the place I am staying at present for about 8 months, and my neighbor doesn’t know I live in this house. Actually I met my neighbor in the new company I joined when I went there for interview. He work there. He accidentally read the address on my resume and asked me. I wasn’t least bit surprised when he said “I didn’t know you live there, I thought there’s only an old couple in that house”. I have made literally 0 friends in the period of 8 months, and I hardly know more than 5 people in whole city (that old couple included). I am expecting to get to know more people from programming community. And may be I’ll make some friends.
I want these 9 months to change my life
I will be doing a bond of 9 months with them. If I leave them before 9 months, I will be paying them my 2 month salary before leaving. I want these 9 months to change my life. I don’t mind working heavily underpaid if I can grow myself in same proportions as the exploitation. I will be working in a technology I’ve always hated, more because of other’s opinions than my own experience. From this I am expecting to learn something I haven’t realized yet.
I want them to stand with a machine gun and shoot whatever they can at me. I am expecting to gain a lot of mental strength and sharpen my ability to quickly learn new things further. I’ve always felt proud of my quick-learning ability, I want to put it through the most intense test.
I know many things. I’ve developed things in Django, Flask, PyQt, CodeIgniter, SlimPHP, Wordpress, Angularjs, ReactJs, Backbone and similar tools. But still I could never collect enough nerve to bid for any such projects on freelancing sites. I know I can do them, I do them for my friends or for my experiments, but I get scared when it comes to work for someone I don’t know. On the job I’ll be forced to do things. May be by doing things this way I’ll get some confidence.
I want to study the environment
This is the last thing on my mind, actually at the moment it is not even on my mind. I am too scared thinking of what is about to come. But earlier it was one my reasons for my decision of jumping in.
Things are very bad in my city. There is no any kind of active community of computer enthusiasts; be it some Linux Users Group or something similar. For me thinking Hackathons in my city is similar to thinking a Lamborghini in my garage. Developers are heavily underpaid and over-exploited. I want to study the environment. I have ideas for a self-sustaining software company that would follow an open business model (another idea in my ideas.org). I want to foresee if it is practical.
Thing that triggered this decision
I have been at home for about 2 months, self-learning stuff. I thought of continuing like this for next 4 months. Couple days back I met Jayant on /r/machinelearning. (We’ve decided to pursue learning ml the way I discussed in this thread. If you are interested in joining the team pm me.) I talked to him and he turned out to be in a situation very similar to mine. He even called us identical twins. But he’s a year ahead of me. He spent a whole year self-learning without doing any job. He said the experience was good and he learned a lot. I had a different feeling from his words though. Assuming that we are identical, I want to know what would have happened if he made the other choice. So I have decided to go for “learning on the shitty job” approach, just to make a twist in the timeline. It’s looking like a risky decision to me, so I was postponing it for some time. But the thrill of doing this experiment is what triggered me doing it. Life is an experiment after all, and I like doing crazy things with it.