Recession – Reflection – Re-skill
This is a guest piece by Gunasekaran Veerapillai.
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“Time to be different, not just productive” – these are the words of C K Prahalad, the management expert faced by current issues.
I was greatly inspired by these words and in my experience in the IT sector, the current recession is more challenging than the aftermath of 9/11, and this will persist for a few more years before the industry regains stability.
When I visited my family doctor last week, who has been my health guide for the last 15 years, he casually yet assertively stated that IT has created a different world for this younger generation, which is affecting everyday life in nations like India.
Some individuals are satisfied with this recession – job losses, reduction in IT hiring, dim outlook, etc., as it signifies that the IT sector is attaining ‘Normalization’.
This article is not aimed at those who are resenting IT but at those unfortunate ones who are already part of this intriguing world and are wondering how to achieve stability here.
According to Gartner’s analysis until 2011, the prospects are not bright for us. However, the fields of outsourcing and offshoring are not expected to suffer significantly in the forthcoming years. This gives us an opportunity to adapt ourselves to the new set-up in order to endure.
Top Three Strategies to Weather this Recession
#1) Refine Your Skills – Build a Robust Profile
In my youth, my educators emphasized specialized skillsets. Yes, previously, specialization gained a lot of prominences in our testing world, and my team could charge differential rates to clients for a performance architect or automation developer.
Lately, I have been receiving diverse demands. Clients need a Test Automation Architect, skilled in QTP, LoadRunner, Perl, Unix, SQL, Java, etc.; as circumstances evolve, you need to master all areas in the Testing Field.
Surviving in the forthcoming situation will be difficult unless you are multi-competent. Consider the time between projects as a golden period for skill enhancement.
Acquiring testing specific certifications like ISTQB, CSTE, CSQA, or tool-specific certifications like AIS, ASE, or sector-related certifications in Insurance, Banking, or telecom will enhance your profile.
#2) Acquire Stress Management Skills
Another crucial skill we need is Stress Management. Going forward, we will face increased work stress. I am well aware of several colleges of mine who never see daylight during project execution days and this can further “increase” due to cost-cutting and profit margin strains on IT companies.
We all are aware of a young lady who recently ended her life due to the unbearable work pressure. We need to learn to cope with such pressures in life. Yoga or meditation will help stabilize your mind.
#3) Be Prepared to Face Challenges
Every now and then, we hear news of IT firms reducing their workforce. This harsh reality prevails in countries like India where job security is synonymous with livelihood. The question is not about performance but about the available business and necessary resources.
One must not let these instances get them down or feel dejected. Job switching is a common feature in Western countries, but in India, we are yet to get acclimated to it. If you confront this, face it courageously and overcome the challenges.
Cross-functionality will be helpful during these times. An earlier delivery manager of mine in the insurance domain is now a successful CEO of a hospitality company. Life offers ample opportunities if you are willing to accept challenges and use every opportunity to upgrade your skills.
As time goes by, not only do our skills evolve, but certifications and memberships also enhance our profile. Additionally, our confidence to tackle challenges grows gradually.
Years ago, I had a manager who would get anxious if not faced with problems. We would grumble at him then but now I regard him as my mentor in navigating multidimensional issues and difficulties in life.
This is the perfect moment for us all to reflect on our current skills and advance further. Nothing is impossible if you are driven by the determination to WIN.
What has been your experience? How do Testers can withstand this Recession?
Note: This tutorial is labeled as “Part-1” as we are in the process of compiling a checklist to weather the Recession. The subsequent part with an in-depth analysis and strategies to mitigate the effect of Recession for Software Testers will be made available soon.