Early Career Options in India
India has been an agriculture-based economy since early days of civilization. Uniqueness of this can be understood from the fact that, while all other civilization did not mind killing and eating animals, Indians from early days insisted on ahimsa and vegetarianism (with exception of course). The reason such a choice was possible for Indians was an excellent climate and abundance of rivers which built one of the most fertile lands in the world. The harvests were bountiful, there was enough for everyone and people did not look much further.
The extraordinary products of agriculture were what attracted the Britisher and other European explorers. But over the 200 years that Britishers ruled and milked this land mercilessly, they managed to destroy what had attracted them in first place. Their preference for certain type of crops, insistence on ruthless taxation irrespective of crop yield disturbed the crop cycle and entire agriculture sector. The fallout of this was on allied domestic sectors as well. The Britishers eventually left the country, but not before ruining it the worst they could.
Post-Independence Career options
Post-independence, India was lucky to have visionary leadership who believed it was essential to build other sectors like manufacturing, engineering etc. They built education institutions like IITs, NITs, IIMs research/manufacturing institutions like NTPC, BARC, SAIL, DRDO, ISRO, ONGC. Accordingly, the career options started growing. People went for professional courses. Some joined these organizations, some joined private sectors, and things started growing.
One of the biggest gainers from the early investments of government was Engineering colleges and industries. India was left with virtually zero industry by Britishers, so there was lot to be done. The institutions provided opportunities and young students worked their bones to give best into these. No doubt Indian Engineers were regarded as one of the best in the world.
The early institutions were visionary and did great to pick up low hanging fruits. The success of the premier engineering colleges inspired many students to opt for engineering. But there was only so much talent that they could absorb. This created an unemployment problem in the country. Unfortunately, the government did not do much to create newer sectors or newer opportunities. The worse thing, in the long run, was that the problem got almost resolved without much efforts of Government.
In early 1990s, Government had to open up the Indian economy to allow foreign investors to explore Indian markets. The health services had improved by a lot since Independence and consequently, infant mortality rate was down, and life expectancy was up. This led to a population boom in India. The population had almost doubled in the 40 years of Independence. This made India a very attractive market for investors. The flung in like bees. This also brought many job opportunities.
While the government could take some credit for the first sequence of events. The second revolution was more on the side of technology. The computers evolved massively in 1990s and 2000s. This was followed by boom from mobile phones. These technical developments opened up new ventures and so many new job opportunities. Engineering was the dream again.
What lies ahead?
However, the IT sector, like any other can absorb only so much talent. The rising unemployment numbers are worrying for the government as well as academicians. While the government will take its time and thoughts to do bigger changes, we can here highlight the different options that are still not as overloaded as engineering. They promise jobs with stability, good salary and good growth.
In this series of articles, we will be discussing few such sectors- how are they doing now, how is their future and what it takes to be successful in these sectors. Stay Tuned.