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.

Top Three Tips to Survive in this Recession - Economic Downtime

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 with 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.

Of late, 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 the Recession effect.

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89 thoughts on “Top Three Tips to Survive in this Recession – Economic Downtime [Part 1]”

  1. WOW,
    This site really rocks. It publishes article on day to day activities and its really a great analysis done by Gunasekaran.
    He is right that its time to enhance your skill and equipped yourself with varieties of arms(tools, certification,etc)


  2. “In western countries, job hoping is a regular feature in life cycle but in India we are yet to get accosted to this.”

    I strongly disagree with this statement. Being a professional working in Canada, I know that job hopping is not considered a good sign and the HR/Recruiters dont consider this as a good sign when interviewing candidates for open positions at their organizations. This shows that the candidate is unstable or isnt interested. Whereas in India, the attrition rate is high because people switch companies quite so often.

  3. Hi
    It is really an awesome and confidence giving article, i request every one to read very carefully and follow what is in the article, this is my promise i am going to follow this article.If you also wants success do it.

  4. I had been lucky to work with the company where i am working… they got a good backup of domestic market projects so that the recession is not a harm..but still i feel… and i will suggest all my Tester Friends “Knowledge is power”.. try to get ready for more domains and more kind of application this will help you a lot.. keep patience .. everything is gona bloom later…

    Thanks Gunasekaran for the great article

  5. Not Bad,
    These are wonderful tips to raise the ambitions of any person and he could get courage to learn more n more in a right way… so start taking jumps and certifications as well to enhance ur skills and knowledge…
    Awais khan
    SQA Engineer

  6. hello,
    i had MCA and presently working at esoft technologies ltd Lucknow as software test engineer.I don’t have any specialized certification in testing .Please confirm me that testing certification from ISTQB is necessaey for growth in testing .

  7. A very useful and good article , it is not only for testing professionals but also for all people ( in technical and Non – technical) in IT industry.

    thanks Gunasekaran Veerapillai

  8. This tips are realy useful
    Thank you very much sir..
    But still I want some help.
    I am science grad. done testing diploma from one pvt Intitu 6 months ago but still not getting job… for fresher like me….no one is ready to give the project/job…
    Help me…..(give suggetion)

  9. HI,

    Can anyone tell me out of ISTQB or CSTE which is more important.

    In my company there is no automation test tool used , but i am very much intersted in learing QTP. So if i learn the QPT tool by mysely will i get a job for QTP.

    thanks in advance

  10. Nice Article from Gunasekaran. However i have a question based on what he has written. He speaks of upgrading skills in the first place…no doubt its one of the best way to keep yourself on your toes, be it a recession or not. But with respect to a new job search, the prospective companies always look for a working experience in those skills (say, QTP). and if though you are pretty comfortable with the said skills/tools, you will be overlooked as you do not have a working experience. This really leads me to think that if a skill does not earns me what I look for then what the use of spending time in that??? I would certainly like to invite comments on what i said and if anybody thinks differently on what i say…

  11. Chandra,

    Even i feel the same, if we learn the tools like QTP we will not be considered for the job in QTP as we lack the experience.. i have seen the jobs offered for QTP it is mostly more than 1 year of experience in QTP…..

  12. I feel that there is something worng with the time of comments displayed on the top of the comments…

    Even though i logged it at 7:35 pm it is showing as 2:04 pm

  13. No doubt this is an excellent article which reveals the importance of upgrading one’s profile in order to go up with career ladder..its common for all the instances..not only the recession time…Statics are showing only 20% of the job cut downs are occurred in IT comparing to Commercial sector. Still we are in safe side..But still, its better to mind, upgrading our professional skills as well as the people skills.

  14. Hi,

    Its really motivating article for all IT field people. So this is the time to have vast knowledge on different things.
    The Analysis given by Gunasekahran is true as per the current scenario.

    Best regards,

    • i agree with you. I am in QA from last 4 years and my future is bleak.
      I really don’t know when my project will be ending as the management won’t say anything about budget.

      I am not sure how many years of experience you have, What other fields do you prefer someone to have?

  15. Hi,

    Anyone aware of “QTP certification”.

    Can you please provide me your experiences in facing this?

    I am residing in Hyderabad. Can you please provide the details of the institutes that provide this certification training?

    Thanks in Advance.


  16. Hi Vijay,

    Recently I had been to an interview and encounted to a new term hard error and soft error.

    They have asked me the difference between Hard and soft error.

    If u have the ans. pls reply for the thread.


  17. Really useful tips.
    In this situation, many many IT companies in the world have difficulties.
    Hope you will share many more useful articles.
    Ngoc Vu

  18. Hi Guna,

    I read your message and suggestion. Its a good advise during this down time of IT…and especially a Motivation & reminders as such where we are and what we are going to be..Etc…Once again. Thanks and Keep up the Good work. You will get good.

    Peter Benjamin

  19. Hi All,

    This is really a very helpful article in motivating a person. In this article it has been asked to upgrade your skills by taking certification exams like QTP Certfication , ISTQB Certfication etc.

    But Can anyone provide the names of good testing training institute which helps in preparing for these exams?

  20. I read the article “Top Three Tips to Survive in this Recession – Economic Downtime” by Gunasekaran. This is a motivational article for thousands of Software Testers. As he rightly said, “Unless you are multi skilled, it is going to be difficult for us to survive in the emerging context”, we must be multi-skilled so that we can cope up with the current downtime trends. Thanks, very good article.

  21. Multi skilling or enhancing your skills will help you to manage the current crisis. Companies are not in a position to hire different persons for manual testing, automation testing, performance testing etc., When there is a project which requires all these skills, you will be the first choice.

    Normally it is difficult to get a break only with trainings in tools and certifications as project experience in critical. If you get a chance to work in a manual testing project, proactively you can automate the applciations using the avaiable tools or freeware tools which will reduce the test execution timelines. We need to improve the productivity to sustain in this crisis

  22. We can feel that this recession would result in an increase in the client’s expectations from their IT vendors (companies) and in the companies ‘ expectations from their employees. Somehow, we should be able to manage and serve these increased expectations.

  23. Excellent article and very useful too. We need to improve the productivity inorder to survive in this industry in this down time. Also multi-skilled has always been a major factor for surviving in indutries.

  24. Hi,
    I am in a problem. If anyone can please help. I worked in a small company to start my career. Say for 8 mth. Then got an opportunity with MNC. I went for it. It was a contract position. But as the client asked to ram down we on contracts had to go through layoff. Not all. Some were mapped. We were told this is layoff and not because of performance. How true is it?
    I worked there only 3mth. And the total experience is 1yr now. Now I cant see any further. But I plan to do ISTQB and QTP certification. Is there a possibility to get another job sooner or later? Will I have to again start from a small company? Will my 3mth at MNC be questioned? I was told(personally talked to PM and HR) that whenever there is a requirement in future we will be given the opportunity 1st. Was this just for the sake of saying? I was told by my PM, TL to be in contact.
    I am depressed and don’t know whom and where to approach… Anyone can please help?

  25. No doubt this is an excellent article which reveals the importance of upgrading one’s profile in order to go up with career ladder..its common for all the instances..not only the recession time…Statics are showing only 20% of the job cut downs are occurred in IT comparing to Commercial sector. Still we are in safe side..But still, its better to mind, upgrading our professional skills as well as the people skills.


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