One who is considered ‘conventionally’ lazy but possess good analytical brain usually makes great programmer says Preeti Kalra, who works at Infosys

Preeti Kalra, Technology Assistant & programmer at Infosys

Insights into Programmer profession:

  1. The cost of education in programming field is moderately high. But, at the end of the day, it is worth it. Since, once you have a foot inside the industry, based on your performance and area of specialization, you are handsomely rewarded for your efforts.
  2. At the entry level, there are a variety of directions that fresher’s can choose from, but the options and level of responsibility do differ for graduates and masters students i.e., people who have done their masters gain an advantage over someone who is a graduate.
  3. This sector has specific requirements such as an aptitude for engineering sciences and good analytical and critical thinking skills since these are the requisite qualities that make for a good programmer/coder.
  4. Working in a big and well-established IT company does come with a competitive atmosphere in the office. However, there is an element of persistent subservience to your boss which you have to cope with.
  5. For novices, it is advisable to start their careers at a start-up and move to big corporations only after gaining some real coding experience. Additionally, it is better to shift companies or specializations in the beginning when you have the scope to do so because finding the right fit for yourself is pivotal for your career in the long-term.

Profile Details

Name – Preeti Kalra

Profession – Technology Assistant & programmer at Infosys

Age – 30

Gender – Female

City – Chandigarh

Industry – Information Technology

LinkedIn –

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in Khanna, Punjab. My father is an optician and my mother is a homemaker. I have a brother who works as an assistant accountant at a New Zealand accounting firm.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

There was no one who influenced me as such. At the time of my graduation, I was really confused with regards to my career. Then I went to a career counselor who told me that based on my aptitude I would do well in IT Engineering.

Please give us a summary of your career.

I did my B.Sc. in Physics, Chemistry, and Maths from A.S. College, Khanna following which I did my Masters in computer applications from Punjab University, Chandigarh.

I have been working at Infosys as a programmer for the last 6 years. I mostly did cloud virtualization for the first year, after which, I became a part of the Bank of America‘s account wherein we worked on migrating databases. Following this, I worked on another account for about 3 years, where we had a windows application called “mars”. It was a portfolio management accounting system. Right now I’m working for British Telecommunications and the name of the application is “partner for windows”. It maintains all the data and handling for the legal organizations.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

Thapar University of Engineering and Technology is one of the good ones and then, of course, we have IIT’s.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of a programmer?

It really depends on the type of course you choose. When I was doing my MCA (master in computer applications) for the morning batches, it was around INR 20,000/- per semester and for the evening batches, it was around INR 40,000/-. Now, it might be around INR 50,000/- per semester. There are six semesters in total, five theoretical and the last one being a practical semester wherein you go for internships.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in this profession?

If you’re a graduate in computer application, then you mostly go into operations. In my organization that would be job level 2. These are the people who take care of the hardware. But if you join as a B.Tech. or Masters then you join as a systems engineer which is job level 3, wherein you go either into testing or development.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?

5 years’ experience – 25,000 to 35,000 INR per month

10 years’ experience – 60,000 to 90,000 INR per month

15 years’ experience – 1,00,000 to 1,50,000 INR per month

20+ years’ experience – 1,50,000 to 2,50,000 INR per month

When you’re a novice, your salary depends upon a lot of factors such as the basic package on which you were hired, the campus from which you did your graduation and masters and your performance in the company.

Please describe your work.

I’m currently working on a windows application. We mostly do maintenance and not development. The maintenance is done whenever the clients tell us to add new modules or modify the functionality of existing ones.

I maintain the application in C++ and the database we’re using right now is SQL.

The average working hours to be logged into time-sheet is 9.15 hours per day. But it depends on my workload. If it’s high, then I’ll stay in the office from 9 to 8 or if it’s low I might just get to leave at 5 or 6. We work five days a week, with the weekend off.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

  1. Climbing the corporate ladder in a well-established company like Infosys might be hard as a fresher. But the brand name certainly helps out if and when you want to look for opportunities outside. Although, working in start-ups might teach more; it may not guarantee the same kind of stability or job security.
  2. In general, IT is a field which is fairly non-repetitive and provides you with intellectually stimulating challenges on a daily basis
  3. You are well-paid for your efforts depending on your area of specialization.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

  1. I’m not overly fond of the work culture here, because in most big companies you essentially have to be a “yes” man to your manager, which can understandably get very frustrating at times. But other than that, co-workers usually coordinate and help each other out.
  2. On the technical side of things, sometimes you are put into projects where they are using obsolete technology. So you have to be skillful enough to work on that tech i.e. keeping your skill set updated is crucial.
  3. Your work life balance usually gets disrupted as the workload increases.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

This sector has specific requirements such as an aptitude for engineering sciences and good analytical and critical thinking skills since these are the requisite qualities that make for a good programmer/coder.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

A lot of the time people who might be considered conventionally lazy but at the same time they possess good analytical and logical reasoning skills usually make for great programmers and coders and these are exactly the kind of people who thrive in the IT sector.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

Yes, this goes back to 11th grade, when I chose non-medical over medical although I really wanted to become a neurosurgeon.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

I would highly recommend joining a start-up, to begin with. Stay with that company for a year or two and only after gaining the requisite experience should you shift to a bigger more stable company. Then, make few switches, if necessary, in the early stages of your job because if you don’t do it in the beginning, later on, it might not be feasible to do so and you could stagnate professionally.

Contributing Writer – Shtakshi Gupta

You may like to check out our conversation with Mr. Mudit Gupta (Chartered Engineer at Google) here.