Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hail the Coder

Its the coder who has pulled India by its bootstraps and plonked it firmly on the world map. I know, she'll violently object to being called a coder - there are more politically correct, but boring terms available. With due apologies, let me sing an ode to the Indian coder.

The coder ranks right up there, as one of the hardest working classes in the world. She works her socks off. Day and night. Especially night ; which other person, who has a graduate degree would willingly work in the middle of the night, for years on end, because timezones dictate it that way. And she will do what it takes to get a job done or to meet a deadline, which others wouldn't even try.

She wasn't born into a privileged family. Her parents probably sacrificed a lot to get her educated. She studied hard and by her own efforts got a degree. And then post graduation. She let go of much of the fun in life to achieve this. She may be called a geek, but she can be proud of it.

At work, she has often travelled crazily. Never seen the inside of a plane before, and she's suddenly pitchforked into a 30 hour flight to the middle of nowhere in some country in the world. She copes with all the strangeness with grit and determination. Works even harder there. Sees snow for the first time and learns how to survive in minus 20 deg C. Endures abominable food (for she's a vegetarian), but does not complain. And delivers admirably. There is no other group, anywhere in the world, who's willing to travel like this for a job - literally to any country in the world, anywhere. And subsist on a measly daily allowance.

And slowly, but surely, she's proved herself as the best in the world. India's IT entrepreneurs have been rightly feted. But it is the humble coder who made all this possible.

The world, over the last 20 years has been transformed by IT. Many people, in many parts of the world had a lot to do with this, of course. But one of the most important components of this revolution, if not THE most important component, has been, and will be, the Indian coder.

Above all, I admire the coder for raising my stature as an Indian, in the world. How many times, have I been told by complete strangers in all sorts of countries that "I must be intelligent because I am an Indian". There is a new respect in the eyes of others when I meet them, that wasn't there 15 years ago. It was the coder who made this happen - not the political leaders, not the media, not Bollywood, not the businessman; but the coder.

Hail the Indian coder.