“When I met with Google employees in Tokyo a few weeks ago (before December 2019), I talked about how Google has changed every year,” recalls Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive (CEO) Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in one of the fragments “A Letter from Larry and Sergey. “
Pichai added: “Indeed, in fact, for more than 15 years working for Google, something has not changed for this company only one: change.”
After Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who on September 4, 1998 set up a search engine called “Google”, resigned from the company they founded, Google changed. The leadership chair is now occupied by Sundar Pichai, a man born on July 12, 1972 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu State, India.
The blacksmith graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur married the position of CEO of Google and CEO of Alphabet as well. If only Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not face international condemnation regarding anti-Muslim laws, he might repeat his words four years ago;
“Happy Sundar Pichai. Warm greetings for your new position at Google. “
The brilliance of Pichai’s career also contributed to positive sentiment between India and technology science. This sentiment is not limited to “0” or “zero” or “zero” which was converted into numbers or signs by Indians in about five centuries before the birth of Jesus the Son of Mary. Nor is it about Srinivasa Ramanujan, the figure who gave birth to a partition number for mankind. But related to the phenomenon of the emergence of Satya Nadella and Shantanu Narayen who served as CEO of Microsoft and Adobe, or Sabih Khan, Vice President of Apple. They appear together with the glory of Sundar Pichai.
For this phenomenon, Pichai had said: “Various technological products helped by IIT alumni and other educational institutions in India have successfully helped to revolutionize the world.”
However, referring to the Pichai expression, is it true that the Indian IT world skyrocketed because of the quality of the country’s education?
Quality of Education and IT Capital ‘also’
After Lion Air JT 610 and Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 fell and left 346 people dead, the Boeing 737 Max was banned from flying around the world.
In the investigation it was mentioned that one of the causes of the 737 Max was problematic because Boeing had outsourced the creation of Max software, to an Indian third-party company named HCL Technologies and Cyient who had no experience developing complex systems as Boeing planes.
Bloomberg writes: “A basic software error caused a pair of deadly Boeing accidents to occur.”
The transfer of workmanship in writing software code in cooperation with IT companies in India is not only done by Boeing. IBM, one of the companies that pioneered the birth of computers, also has around 130 thousand workers in India.
Gojek, a startup that Luhut Binsar Panjaitan is proud of for contributing Rp 44 trillion to the Indonesian economy, has employees in India through the C42 Engineering and CodeIgnition company, which specializes in programming lines of code in its various services.
Overall, The Economist reports, if China is the place to outsource the creation of hardware, India is the place for various world companies to outsource the creation of software. Of the ten cities where the most popular outsourcing programmers, six of them are in India.
Until 2018, India is estimated to have 5.2 million programming code writers. Superior compared to the United States which only has 4.5 million code writers. With this amount, India claims that 65 percent of the outsourcing of world software is done by them.
But does this mean that education in India is already very good? If you look at the imagination of Indian officials, where one of them claims that the Internet has existed since the time of the Mahabharata, education in India is actually classified as pathetic, not much different as happened in Indonesia.
Data released by the United Nations (UN) said, India has a Human Development Index of 0.647 (close to 1 better). With that index, India ranks 129th in terms of its human quality, including education.
If you see the actions of Pichai, Nadella, to Khan, the quality of India should be more qualified than Indonesia. However, still referring to related UN data, Indonesia’s status is better by obtaining an index of 0.707, and making the country +62 in 111th position about human quality.
While in general, education in India is also not too special, and, again not much different from Indonesia.
The Wall Street Journal report, citing Pratham’s research, said that after India made economic liberalization in 1991, it failed to save the world of education. As a result, Indian education is locked, struggling with complicated regulations that are difficult to reform.
As in Indonesia, education in India forces students to study many fields of study and memorization becomes the main weapon to move up the level of education. Still according to the WSJ report, out of 13,000 primary schools in rural India, a region that accommodates 70 percent of India’s population, it was found that half of the total grade 5 students could not read.
At a high level, India now has 1.5 million college tertiary seats in engineering. Ironically, 75 percent of graduates do not get a job. In fact, as Olga Khazan wrote in “Behind the ‘Bad Indian Coder'”, working in the IT sphere, specifically being a programming code writer, “is the easiest ticket for Indians to get out of poverty.”
There is another interesting fact (as well as ironic) behind the rise of the programmer profession in India. Tech in Asia reports, basically code writers in India “only” with “adad “: a culture that is attached to them to do something with limitations.
In English, as reported by the BBC, “jugaad” has no equivalent. While in the Indonesian vocabulary, “alsoad” seems to be related to the term “knee capital” or “trapped”.
Citing Glassdoor’s research, The New York Times explains, there is also a reason why the world’s IT companies choose India because of the low price of workers. Indian IT workers are only paid one fifth to one quarter compared to American workers.
In reality, education in India is indeed not special, and for this reason, programmers from there are often assumed to be whole-hired. In cyberspace, especially on the Reddit forum, Indian programmers are considered often careless to deal with security holes, which is actually dangerous for the companies that employ them.
Sri Rangan, a Delhi programmer who was interviewed by Khazan, stated that the poor quality of the code writers from his country was caused by poor Indian conditions (socio-cultural, economic, and of course, education).
He also compared with the US: if the US code writer goes to work with proper transportation, fast WiFi, and various other superior facilities, Indian programmers only get poor facilities.
However, the words of Chandan Chowdhury, former chairman of India’s National Institute of Industrial Engineering, are also noteworthy: “On many occasions, recruiting reliable code writers who have just graduated from college takes a long time to get them into rhythm.” While code writers from India, who often considered mediocre, said Chowdury has been trained to follow the fast rhythm of the IT industry.
A series of facts above as if to emphasize: the rise of Sundar Pichai to Satya Nadella should not be read as an educational success story, specifically in the Indian IT world, but rather be a sampling bias in an “abnormal” situation.