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Working with Infosys – my experience.

P1020375.JPGphoto © 2006 Mahendra M | more info

I have received some queries from a reader about my experiences in the corporate world, particularly, with Infosys. I am sure this will be of particular interest to a lot of people looking to join the IT bandwagon, and to others in general. So here it is.

During my corporate life, I worked for 3 different companies and 4 different clients. Most of my time was spent in the Infosys campus in Bangalore and in the New York offices of Goldman Sachs.

My time at Infosys gave me an experience like never before. I had no idea what was it like to be in a job, what was the corporate world like, and how to get what you want in a such a world. I got a lot of answers in Infy. I had had an awe of the big MNCs earlier, came as I did from a remote, North Eastern Engineering college where we had never seen anything remotely like Infosys. I finally got to see one from the inside and it was a big shift for me personally.


A chronology of events

I cleared the Infosys entrance test on December 26, 2004. I remember the date because this was the day when Tsunami stuck India and a lot of other countries. The offer letter came within a few days. Although the offer letter mentioned that I would be asked to join within 3 months, I was finally asked to join 5 months later. I later came to know that some people even had to wait for 7-8 months before joining.

I also remember that we did not get to do the 1.5 month training in Mysore. I remember this because I went to Mysore with the single minded purpose of getting myself a girlfriend during the training period. Infosys training was famous for finding romantic interests, apart from the fact that people get to learn a lot. :) We were also told that Infosys was raising the salary for entry level employees and we would get more than was mentioned in our Offer letter. It was raised from Rs 14,000 to Rs 18,000. This cheered me up a bit!

The infrastructure in Mysore is beautiful and the best I have ever seen.

I was told that I was to report in Bangalore DC(Development Center). Couldn’t help feeling it was related to Washington DC in some way! I landed in Bangalore and joined the project I was assigned to.

I did not feel very good at my first project. I had to work long hours, sometimes even weekends. I did not like the manager there because, even though I specifically asked for coding and development work, I was made to do testing. He kept telling me that I will get to do coding but, for the greater part of a year, every other fresher in the project seemed to have gotten into development, except me. I did get some interesting work towards the end of the year. About this time, I was moved into another project. I liked the manager here, and the team too. I had lots of fun, although, I was still working long hours.

After about 2 and a half years of employment, I was moved to the US, into another project. The project was in a bad shape and I had to work insane hours! I was asked to work in something I had never worked with and it was all very urgent. It did not go very well with the manager there. I was asked to leave the project after only a month, which I didn’t feel so sad about. The bad part was, they did not have any other project for me. They kept me there for a month but did not find a project with the same client. They asked me to come back to India immediately. I asked them to get me any other project, with another client, even in another business unit. I was told there was nothing. This I didn’t believe. I was told my ticket had been booked. I left Infosys and joined another consultancy firm there.

This new firm was based out of Virginia. They got me my first client, a Belgian Bank by the name of KBC Bank. I worked with them for 4 months and then moved to a new client, Goldman Sachs(GS). With GS, I stayed for 2 and a half years until I left the IT industry and moved into my current activity, blogging on personal development.

What I feel about Infosys

The infrastructure and facilities are very good in Bangalore campus, just like Mysore. The place seemed very crowded, especially as they kept recruiting more and more people.

The work they have is mostly maintenance, testing and production support. Some people were OK with these things but some, including me, did not feel satisfied. We had this urge to code and create something on our own, rather than maintain and fix what someone else had already created. It depends on personal preferences. I suppose there is nothing good or bad in this one.

I felt there was little freedom at Infosys for a fresher. We were not offered a choice of which Business Unit we wanted to join or which type of work we preferred. The interview process does not address this. This is something the Management decides for you.

Management. I had a mixed experience with my managers. While managers in my second project were mostly very supportive, respectful and understanding, the ones in the other projects were not so. Management hierarchy, after having been through GS, looks a little aristocratic. It had, what Indians will call, a Desi touch to it. Although it is still far removed from the aristocratic setup in Indian Govt offices. There was less regard for personal time and work preferences. I understand that I had a limited experience in just one business unit and with 3 projects. Infosys is a big company with many Units and hundreds of projects. There are many sub cultures and sub-sub cultures there. What I say is what I, and most of my friends experienced. Some one else might have a totally different experience.

Opportunities to learn. There were opportunities to learn technical stuff, once I was in my second project. I added to my own value by taking up 2 Sun certifications. The company paid for those. There was also some client exposure.

Salaries. Compared to the rest of the market, the salaries they offer are on the lower end, both in India and abroad. They are still enough to maintain a decent life style. They somewhat compensate for it with better facilities at their campus. I, for one, would prefer a higher salary than a better campus.

The ‘Infosys is best’ idea. While managers never ceased to impress how good Infosys was, I found that most employees I knew were not very satisfied with their stay in the company. People felt they were paid low and were constantly looking for an opportunity to go onsite. If that didn’t seem possible, they would start thinking about leaving. Technical competency, as compared to what I saw in GS, was low. I still wonder how they showed up as the company with the ‘Highest Employee Satisfaction’ in a lot of magazines. Probably I never met the satisfied employees, or probably…

The ‘Client is God’ culture. There was a phrase that the managers used often, ‘Client is God’. We were asked to be very careful with the clients. I felt that there was a collective tendency to over appease the clients. This feeling was more pronounced, and, in a way, cultivated and encouraged among the junior employees. I did not realize this as much until I moved out and worked elsewhere.

One thing I particularly disliked was, our managers over stated our experience to the client. The client asked for people with 4-5 years of experience. They would put us up with 1-2 years experience, and say we had been working for 5 years. We were supposed to keep our stated age in mind for the rest of our tenure with that client. I have a feeling that the client probably knew all this, they knew that people with less experience were being used to do the job of senior people. They don’t do it themselves, as I saw in the US, but they let our managers do it, by feigning ignorance, probably because they were getting their work done for cheap. This did put a lot of pressure on the employees, who had to do the work of a much senior person. The clients were happy, managers was happy, the employees.. well, you know…

Client Exposure and Onsite opportunities. The client exposure, and the subsequent onsite tenure can be a good learning experience, provided you don’t stay chicken for ever, doing just what your manager asks. You have to make the effort to learn. They won’t ask you to learn more than what is required for the project. If you want to learn and grow further, you will have to make the effort, and create some space yourself. Onsite is where you make a lot more money and can lead a much better life style.

Don’t count on client exposure and onsite opportunities though. Some Business Units don’t have onsite opportunities at all. And, as I mentioned earlier, you don’t have a choice in selecting your Unit. So you may not get to go onsite at all. While some Business Units and clients had generally better gradations, a lot of the others had very strict and low gradations, which meant lower salary than those in other Units.

How was my experience with Goldman Sachs? How did it compare with the Infy experience? What do I make of all this experience now? What would I suggest to people who are looking to join the IT bandwagon? I will continue the discussion in the following posts.

To be continued…

19 Responses

  1. GratefulReader
    GratefulReader February 4, 2011 at 10:02 am | | Reply

    Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.
    This couldn’t have come at a better time!

  2. Rochak Wadhwa
    Rochak Wadhwa March 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm | | Reply

    Appreciable content written sir..

    Good luck for life ahead !!

  3. Sangeetha
    Sangeetha April 7, 2011 at 7:14 am | | Reply

    It was useful and I think the same is happening in all IT MNC’s.
    I worked with TCS for years and faced more or less the same :)
    I have to join infi next week. yet to decide on it.

    good luck,
    Sangeetha

  4. harsh
    harsh May 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm | | Reply

    Well,I’ve been placed in both Infosys and Cognizant…I’m very confused as to which company to join… I’m from non-IT background and so I’m a little apprehensive whether I’ll be able to cope up with the infosys training or not.I’ve heard dreadful stories about training given at infosys mysore… Which company would be a better choice. Please advice!

    1. Himanshu
      Himanshu October 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm | | Reply

      Training at infosys is not that tough.Yeah it’s a little bit of extra hard-work for non-CS students as a lot of things will be taught in a very small interval of time.

      But I would suggest only one thing to all the freshers(non-CS)….join infosys only if you have keen interest in IT….then you will surely enjoy the training at Mysore…..it is a test of stress-handling…..that’s it….and don’t ever think training there is very very hard…..if you are interested,you won’t even know you’ve completed your training.

      By this time you might already have joined your company….but it’s an advice for everybody who is about to enter IT world in the near future……i have just completed training from Mysore….so it’s the updated information.

      All the very best to everybody!!!!

  5. Lakshman
    Lakshman December 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm | | Reply

    Thank you very much. I have read your blog and it is very interesting. I am joining infosys in this week. Hope this will help me succeed in my career…..

  6. Techvigil
    Techvigil January 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm | | Reply

    thnx rahul for sharing your corporate world experience.
    Techvigil recently posted..How Does Google Cloud Print Work?

  7. Gaurav
    Gaurav February 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm | | Reply

    Hi Rahul,
    Whatever you have said is 100% true. All Indian IT Major are companies where client’s a** licking is a phenomenon .It is much worse than a public sector . If you somehow cope up with their mind-boggling hierarchy , they shove countless policies down your throat .Work preference and work-life balance is a strict no-no. i have heard cases where people have been pushed into documentation and analysis even if there forte was Technology .
    Compensation and remunerations are the lowest in market and top of it ,these guys hire like crazy .As they have destabilize their infrastructure, they have come up with all types of curtailments like
    One can’t get more than 1 pen and notebook in a month! One cannot take xerox, send fax, take more than 40 print-outs a day.. the list goes on and on..

    All that infrastructure which you talked about is only a utopian dream now . you will find long ,never-ending queues for everything and anything whether it is gymnasium, Laundromat or Food courts etc.
    I have been a part of Such MNCs and believe you me ,These MNCs are far from the things which they preach
    In my opinion they are nothing but rust which corrodes one’s bright mind .Sometimes, even Now I get nightmares and sleepless nights about Infosys, TCS .
    I pray to almighty that one gets an accommodation in hell rather than getting an offer letter from Such Tech Giant(Giant with regard to number of people rather than innovation) or Body Shop

  8. Revathi
    Revathi June 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm | | Reply

    Hi Rahul,

    It was interesting to hear that you chose to move out of the IT industry while in the US and got into blogging. Is blogging a paying profession? Are you still in the US.
    I find your posts very practical and useful. Keep blogging!

  9. Jawahar m
    Jawahar m July 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm | | Reply

    Very Nice,Mr.Rahul.Thanks for your invaluable post which shows the IT culture to a fresher like me joining Infosys soon.

    1. swapna
      swapna August 20, 2012 at 9:25 am | | Reply

      when i joint infy had lots and lots of dream. but lost it
      I m a MBA(Finance and marketing) Had 1 year exp in online marketing. even then joint infy for my career growth.

      One month in Mysore it was hell and how ever i completed my online exams and joint Bangalore office again i had 6months of training for a BPO thats to For a BT process. i was out of mind and finally i decided to live infy and training are so childish and left infy now i m working a Hospitality company i so happy now. 60% hike in my salary from infy cool enjoying:)

      i m out of infy:)

  10. shreyas yaduvanshi
    shreyas yaduvanshi August 21, 2012 at 5:25 am | | Reply

    Hi Rahul Sir, I love to read and listen d story of Infy and IT companies.
    Its really very intersting d way u telll d nooks and corners about Infy , infact i don’t realise anddd i read it all just like a story .
    Thanx alot for sharing this.
    Sharing is awesome job :)
    All d very Bst for Ur futuRe :)
    Byeee :)

  11. Viral
    Viral September 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm | | Reply

    hi Rahul sir,

    Thank you for writing your experience with infosys…i am viral thakkar from nirma university last year. Next month infosys is coming… i have heard lots of stories of employee for Giant companies.. after lots of reading stories i finally realized not to take placement.i will start my own.i think this type of companies are killing person creativity and imagination….

  12. Prashant
    Prashant September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm | | Reply

    That was astonishing and a superb writing skill, the article was really informative and very thoroughly constructed, I’ve been a part of Infosys myself few years back so i agree on most of your phrases.

    Once again congrats for such a sheer passion in mentioning all your experience.

    Regards
    Prashant

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