Top Three Tips to Survive in this Recession – Economic Downtime [Part 1]

Recession – Retrospection – Re-skill

This is a guest article from Gunasekaran Veerapillai.

I was very much impressed by the wordings from C K Prahalad, the management guru on facing the current challenges – “Time to be different, not just efficient”. In my experience in this IT world, the current recession is worse than the 9/11 aftermath and this is going to last for some more years before this industry stabilizes. When I had been to my family doctor last week, (he is taking care of me for the past 15 years), he casually but emphatically mentioned that IT has created a different world to this younger generation, which is impacting the normal life in countries like India.

There are people who are happy of this recession – pink slips, reduction in IT recruitment, bleak prospects etc., make them happy with the fact the IT industry is coming to ‘normalization’. This paper is not for those who are fuming at IT but for those unfortunates who are already into this fascinating world and wondering how to get stabilized here.

Gartner analysis till 2011 is not encouraging for all of us. But the world of outsourcing and offshoring is not going to be affected very much during the coming years. It gives us an opportunity to adjust ourselves to the new environment to survive.

Here are my top three tips to survive in this recession:

1) Upgrade Your Skills – Make a Strong Profile

When I was young my teachers used to an emphasis on specialized skills. Yes even in our testing world, hitherto specialization was getting much attention and my organization was able to charge differential rates to the clients for a performance architect or automation developer. Oflate, my requirements are coming differently. Clients need a test automation architect, who is good in QTP, LoadRunner, Perl, Unix, SQL, Java etc., etc., but as things emerge, you should be a jack of all arts in all testing arena.

Unless you are multi-skilled, it is going to be difficult for us to survive in the emerging context. When you are out of a project, take that as a boon period to upgrade your skills. Be in testing released certifications like ISTQB, CSTE, CSQA or tools related certifications like AIS, ASE or domain related certifications in Insurance, Banking or telecom is going to help you to improve your profile.



2) Learn to Manage Stress

One more critical skill, which we need to learn, is stress management. As we move on, we will get more work-related pressure. I know already several of our colleagues never see the sunlight during the project execution days and this will “improve” further due to the cost-cutting and operating margin pressure on the IT companies.

All of us know that a young girl committed suicide recently due to the pressure from her managers. We need to learn to live with these pressures in life. A class on Yoga or meditation will help to stabilize your mind.

3) Be Always Ready to Face Challenges

Every other day, you can see news of IT firms downsizing employees. This is a hard reality in countries like India where job security is associated with the work life. It is not the question of you being a performer or non-performer, but the question of available business and required resources.

One should not get de-motivated or depressed by these events in life. In western countries, job hopping is a regular feature in life cycle but in India, we are yet to get accosted to this. If you happen to face this, take it bravely and face the challenges. Cross skill will help you during this time. One of my earlier delivery managers in insurance vertical is now CEO in a hospitality company. Life gives you enough opportunity if you are ready to take challenges and use every opportunity to upgrade your skills.

As we grow, not only our skills should grow with us, but also the certifications and membership which will give an enhanced look to your profile. Also, our confidence to face the challenges should also improve. Long back, I had a supervisor, who will become uneasy, if he did not have any problem to solve. We used to yell at him at that time and now I realize that he is my mentor in facing multi-dimensional issues and problems in life.

This is a right time for all of us to introspect ourselves on the current skills and move forward. Nothing is impossible if you have the determination to WIN.

What is your experience? How do you think testers can survive in this recession period?

Update from Vijay – I have named this article as “part-1” as I am also compiling a to-do list to survive the recession.  You will soon get the part-2 with in-depth analysis and steps on how software testers can minimize recession effect.