If you want to find out what jobs are available in startups in India, then there are myriad resources to check:

Are there other resources that should be on this list? Please let me know in the comments.

There are other questions I’m wondering as well:

  • Which are the popular places followed by the startuppers who are looking to hire interns, freshers and experienced people?
  • For passionate students/freshers who want to work in startups, where do they start? Should they just apply via these sites or should they first do in-person networking at OpenCoffeeClub, Startup Saturday and similar meeting grounds first?

Update: Another tip is finding which startups got funding recently.

I read Outliers, The STORY of SUCCESS by Malcolm Gladwell last week and found it fascinating.

Here’s an excerpt:

Cultural legacies *matter*, and once we’ve seen the surprising effects of such things as power distance and numbers that can be said in a quarter as opposed to a third of a second, it’s hard not to wonder how many other cultural legacies have an impact on our twenty-first-century intellectual tasks.

What redeemed the life of a rice farmer, however, was the nature of the work. It was a lot like the garment work done by the Jewish immigrants to New York. It was *meaningful*.

First of all, there is a clear relationship in rice farming between effort and reward. The harder you work a rice field, the more it yields.

Second, it’s complex work. The rice farmer isn’t simply planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. He or she effectively runs a small business, juggling a family workforce, hedging uncertainty through seed selection, building and managing a sophisticated irrigation system, and coordinating the complicated process of harvesting the first crop while simultaneously preparing the second crop.

And, most of all, it’s autonomous. The peasants of Europe worked essentially as low-paid slaves of an aristocratic landlord, with little control over their own destinies. But China and Japan never developed that kind of oppressive feudal system, because feudalism simply can’t work in a rice economy. Growing rice is too complicated and intricate for a system that requires farmers to be coerced and bullied into going out into the fields each morning. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, landlords in central and Southern China had an almost completely hands-off relationship with their tenants: they would collect a fixed rent and let farmers go about their business.

Here’s a second excerpt:

Every four years, an international group of educators administers a comprehensive mathematics and science test to elementary and junior high students around the world called TIMMS. The point is to compare the educational achievement of one country with another’s.

When students sit down to take the TIMSS exam, they also have to fill out a questionnaire. It asks them all kinds of things, such as what their parents’ level of education is, and what their views about math are, and what their friendss are like. It’s not a trivial exercise. It’s about 120 questions long. In fact, it is so tedious and demanding that many students leave as many as ten or twenty questions blank.

Now, here’s the interesting part. As it turns out, the average number of items answered on that questionnaire varies from country to country. It is possible, in fact, to rank all the participating countries according to how many items their students answer on the questionnaire. Now, what do you think happens if you compare the questionnaire rankings with the math rankings on the TIMSS? **They are exactly the same.** In other words, countries whose students are willing to concentrate and sit still long enough and focus on answering every question in an endless questionnaire are the same countries whose students do the best job of solving math problems.

Think about this another way. Imagine that every year, there was a Math Olympics in some fabulous city in the world. And every country in the world sent its own team of one thousand eighth graders. Boe’s point is that we could predict precisely the order in which every country would finish in the Math Olympics *without asking a single math question*. All we would have to do is give them some task measuring how hard they are willing to work. In fact, we wouldn’t even have to give them a task. We should be able to predict which countries are best at math simply by looking at which national cultures place the highest emphasis on effort and hard work.

So, which places are at the top of both lists? The answer shouldn’t surprise you: Singapore, South Korea, China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, and Japan. What those five have in common, of course, is that they are all cultures shaped by the tradition of wet-rice agriculture and meaningful work. They are the kinds of places where, for hundreds of years, penniless peasants, slaving away in the rice paddies three thousand hours a year, said things to one another like “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”

See how the two excerpts are related? :) This explains how your cultural legacies matter (and don’t worry, maths is not the criterion for success, this is just one example in the book). Another example is how cultural legacies are related to plane crashes of the respective national airlines.

There’s a lot more in the book like the Matthew Effect, the 10,000-Hour Rule, why “practical intelligence” matters, why “concerted cultivation” matters, about the KIPP schools, and so on.

The book is a must-read IMHO, just for the thought-provocativeness, even if not how to learn to be “successful.”

As a small experiment, I had put up a skribit sidebar where anybody can suggest what I can write about. Little did I know that it would actually be used seriously. Someone posted the topic “On how fresh graduates can learn independently and grow. Instead of waiting for the Company to help” and today, there are 9 votes on it!

To be honest, I think I am not qualified enough to answer this question. I am certainly no role model. But since 9 people have voted on it, I feel obliged to write something useful. I have jotted down some thoughts on what ideas and habits have helped me, it may not necessarily be useful for everyone. I hope these fresh graduates who voted will pick the best ideas and habits suited for them.

Character and Lifestyle

Instead of focusing on building a career, why not focus on building a character? The career will take care of itself.

  • “Sow an act… reap a habit; Sow a habit… reap a character; Sow a character… reap a destiny.” – George Dana Boardman
  • As Cal Newport would say, “Fix the lifestyle you want. Then work backwards from there.” … Too often, we confuse the medium (lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc.) with the message (what is important to us, what we want to do). So it’s far more important to figure out what you want out of life, then figure out how to achieve that rather than the other way around. And only you can figure this out for yourself.
  • I would recommend reading First Things First by Stephen Covey to help you understand your priorities in life.
  • Most important of all, find your inner peace. Remember that “Satisfaction is within.”

Career Building

Basically, you need to take initiative in what you want to achieve, no one can tell you what you have to do, life is not that simple. I’m glad the original question poser said that he/she wanted to grow “Instead of waiting for the Company to help”, you’ve got that part right already.

I recommend reading:

Get Results

Ultimately, you need to take action and get results. It’s not enough to just plan and hope. As Morpheus would say, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Read

My personal slogan is “I read. Therefore I do. Therefore I am.” If I compare myself to my school days and today, there has been a major transformation in character and outlook, and I attribute that purely to reading.

A great part of my learning also comes from writing, hence the blog, wiki, books, and twitter. It might seem like a waste of time, but I learn more by communicating. But that’s just me.

If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest The Personal MBA Reading List.

Friends

Make valuable friends. This is the most important tip I can ever give you.

Equally important, make the right kind of friends. Yes, it’s tough to let go of friends who you intuitively know are not the right influence on you, but speaking from experience, it is worth it in the long run.

As a wise man once said, “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”

Learn Your Trade

For example, if we are talking about a software engineer:

  • Debugging is the most important skill, not coding. I wish I had known this when I was in college.
  • Reading is a great habit that has a side-effect that you will also have the ability to read a lot of code and build up the structure inside your head about how the code works, just like you have to imagine what is written in a book or novel.

I also recommend reading:

If you are looking for more in-depth knowledge, I would recommend taking a look at this Stack Overflow discussion.

Make A Difference

Consider this excerpt from a Business Week article:

One vocal camp even maintains that the repetitive nature of writing software code has corrupted Bangalore’s intellectual spirit. “These 20-year-olds are like coolies, doing the same job over and over,” says CNR Rao, a Bangalorean scientist who has been an adviser to the Indian government for decades. The software industry, he says, has turned the city into a glorified sweatshop. “Where is the innovation?” he asks. “How does this contribute to anything but greed and commerce?”

The joy of programming is the joy of building and creating something. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we can build and create something useful for other people? If yes, why aren’t we doing more of that? After all, there is no dearth of things that we can create.

Closing Statement

Hopefully, I have given some food for thought here.

If this article was useful, please feel free to post suggestions on what I can write about on my skribit page.

Update on 29-Oct-2011: Also read this great article by Patrick McKenzie (a.k.a. patio11) called “Don’t Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice”

Today is the first day of foss.in/2008, and on this occasion, I’m happy to announce the first public release of my Creative-Commons licensed book on the Vim 7 editor.

This book is meant for both beginners and advanced users.

For beginners, it walks you through the first steps to learning about modes, discusses about typing skills to be effective and moves on to the editing basics.

This book will definitely appeal more to people who are Vim users already because it helps add a huge number of tricks to their arsenal, whether it is more efficient editing, personal information management, coding your own plugins or making Vim a programmers’ editor.

I hope that fellow Vimmers will find these notes useful. Even though it is in a book format, the writing style is more like a tutorial and is informal, which should be familiar to readers of my Python book.

Both books are under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, so you’re free to download it, email it, share it and improve it. In fact, the book is on a wiki, so you can just click on ‘Edit’ in the left sidebar of any chapter to improve the book in a matter of seconds. When in doubt, please use the ‘Discussion’ link to add your suggestions and comments.

For those who prefer reading books they can hold in their hand, please consider purchasing a printed copy of the book. This will also help support the continued development of the book.

For those PHP gurus familiar with GeSHi syntax highlighting, I would greatly appreciate any help in improving my vim syntax highlighting source, especially in handling Vim-style comments, etc. Please mail me if you can help.

This book has been in the works for several years, so I’m glad to see it finally in good enough shape for releasing it. Although I haven’t done as many rewrites as I would have been satisfied with, I decided it was better to <insert cliché of “Release Early, Release Often.”>

I dedicate this release to foss.in and GTD principles.

Ever since college days where I got hooked onto the Internet, I have been an avid reader of self-improvement websites and books. I used to prowl for content, before the advent of lifehacking and productivity websites. I eventually stumbled upon good websites like 43Folders.com, and my friend Pradeep cajoled me to read Steve Pavlina’s blog.

I was so glad he did. I ended up spending hours reading Pavlina’s articles. Reflecting upon the ideas in these articles was very beneficial. When I read that Steve was releasing a new book, I jumped at the chance to get it.

The book was different from most self-improvement books because it didn’t focus on productivity or time management. Steve claimed that he has discovered the essential principles of life!

According to Steve, there are just three core principles – truth, love and power. The secondary principles are:

  • Oneness = Truth + Love
  • Authority = Truth + Power
  • Courage = Love + Power
  • Intelligence = Truth + Love + Power
The Core 7 Principles

I found it incredulous to see someone make such a claim. So I started reading the book with a sense of disbelief.

While I started reading the book, I didn’t appreciate its brevity but the upside was that I got through the book more quickly. The basic concepts were things I understood but concepts like ‘oneness’ was something I couldn’t fathom.

Eventually, a friend called me up and was describing a personal problem, I started to test whether Pavlina’s principles were applicable, and voila, I was amazed to pinpoint to something which I was convinced was the root cause. It was at that moment that I started thinking that Steve might be on to something.

I had a hard time reading through the book, not because it was bad but because for every other page I would stop and reflect upon the concept being described and I would do some journaling to help me clarify my thoughts. In the process, I realized I was applying the ‘Truth’ principle and finally accepting some things that I “delayed thinking about” (read as “avoid”).

Eventually, I started reflecting upon the past ups and downs of life and see if the good things were as a result of cohesion of the three core principles. Well, it did. And at the same time, I could place a lot of my faults into the categories under “Blocks to Love” and “Blocks to Power” sections.

Strangely, I felt like I was reading one of those Linda Goodman books which claim to know every detail of the character of a person just based on the date on which they were born. The logical portion of my brain simply refuses to accept something like that is possible. Similarly, I have a hard time believing that someone can boil down the psychology and well-being of humans to such a simple list of things.

Nevertheless, the true impact of a self-improvement book is only felt months later, so I’m still in the process of applying some of the concepts and thinking to my daily habits. I find myself aligned with the principle of truth, but not with the principles of love and power. I hope some of the 30-day trials (as described in the book) in applying these concepts will pay off.

All in all, I would highly recommend Steve Pavlina’s book “Personal Development for Smart People”. It will make you think and hopefully make you grow as well.

There have been many times where I’ve been asked for “career advice”,
especially after a talk.
I usually suggest them to ‘build a repertoire of things you have done,
things you are capable of, things you like to do’. But I’ve never
really been sure of this advice nor do I feel I have the credibility
to answer such questions.

The good thing is that I have now found something to point them to – Garr
Reynolds

presentation on a career advice book. This presentation explain things
very well and is so beautifully done that it can capture the attention
of a young mind:

The other resource I have found useful is Aaron Swartz‘s “How to Get
a Job Like Mine”
.


Cultivating a good career is like creating the Mona Lisa. The right
tools and strategies will only get you partway there – the soul of
the artist is necessary to create something worthwhile.

Steve Pavlina

Two days before the BMS College Information Science Department Fest
called “Genesis 2007”, I received an email from a couple of students
asking me to talk about “introduction to open source”. Apparently,
they were frantically looking for a speaker. Since I’m not the right
person for this, I agreed to come only if they didn’t find someone
else… and I ended up going there on Friday.

The talk was supposed to be an introduction for a day-long session on
Open Source
Hacking
which was
organized by few enthu students trying to get other students
interested.

I started making the
presentation
on the midnight before Friday, so I didn’t have a very polished
presentation, but I had something reasonable. The title of the talk
was “How to make money from coding (or Why Open Source)”. That should
get their attention.

15 minutes before the talk, there were 2 students in the hall.
I wanted to start the talk on time and decided to start without
much crowd anyway. My sore throat was troubling me and I was
coughing every two minutes. Anyway, I started off with a funny
anecdote. It flopped. Oh boy.

Then, I decided they’re not warmed up yet, and recovered quickly. 15
minutes later, the 225 seater hall was full. Phew.

Genesis 2007 at BMSCE

An hour later, they were still all there, they were asking lots of
questions and they seemed genuinely interested. I hope the students do
take FOSS software seriously, if not for the freedom and open source
aspects, at least for their own career aspects which I detailed out in
the talk. (And I’m sure once they’re hooked, they will later “get” the
freedom and open source aspects.)

Why do I say that? Well, it comes down to the first question in the
Q&A session – “How to get into Yahoo!?”, and I replied “Well, do
you want to know how I got into Yahoo!?”. A unanimous yes. I told them
the MySQL story,
the Python story
and few other tidbits. Now, they’re really listening. I pointed out
that I didn’t have any special skills, just the knowledge of these two
open source software got me the job at Y!, and it saved me from
a service industry job (no offense meant, just a personal preference).

Next question: “Any regrets in college life?”. It caused a flashback
in my mind on Atul’s words
: “There are two times you innovate in your life – one is when you are
a student, the other is when you retire.” Back then, I didn’t believe
him. Now, I do. So, I told them “I haven’t yet regretted not scoring
well in college. This is the only ‘free time’ you have, so use it
well.” I got lot of smirks and “oh, please, we have so much to study”
looks. I said “Two years later, I’ll see how many of you come back and
tell me I’m wrong.”

Genesis 2007 at BMSCE
Genesis 2007 at BMSCE

Then, after the session ended, a few electrical students said they
wanted to get into the software industry and don’t know where to
start. I told them that some of the best programmers I’ve known are
from a mechanical background, so that’s okay. You should prove your
skills, that’s all, your background shouldn’t matter, although it
may be difficult to get your first job because you’re not a computer
science student. Then, a telecom student. I was happy about this guy
because he said he wanted to remain in the telecom domain but learn
coding really well, I said that’s a very good decision he’s taken and
told him to see open source projects such as Asterisk and OpenMoko. He
said “I’m in my final year, just 8 months to go, am I too late?”
I said “8 months is a really long time, you’re not late, you just have
to start now.” (8 months is a long time when you think about it, but
it seems to fly away so soon).

After that, students headed towards the computer lab where I gave
a crash course in using subversion. I had to get back to work, so
I didn’t stay for the rest of the day, but I heard there was a “good
response” from the students.

In the end, I don’t know if anyone was inspired about FOSS or not,
but I did see that few students absorbed the fact that knowledge and
projects are going to get them good jobs, not just marks (of course,
you do have to have a decent score), and working on FOSS projects is
one way to achieve that.

P.S. If you’ve read this far, and you’re interested in learning how to
contribute to open source software, then you’re in luck, because the
foss.in community event is coming up soon. You
can start right now by reading Atul’s latest post on
foss.in
.

Update : A related must-read article is “How to Get a Job Like Mine” by Aaron Swartz.