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Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Feb 24, 2017

Indian Techies - What's your reason to want to go to America?

By now, most of you might have read the news of an Indian techie getting murdered in Kansas city, USA. I've always wondered what's the top reason people actually want to leave their motherland and settle in foreign land. "Better opportunities", "Good life", "Better quality of living" - I've heard them all; but still not convinced.

Also, I wonder if the life's actually as 'rosy' as people think it is outside?

PS: I'm not against migration; but with changing times, I believe the reasons to migrate out of your country aren't just as strong anymore as they were few years ago.

Looking forward to your comments.
vivek sharma
vivek sharma • Feb 25, 2017
sir, i want to go but not permanent .just want to see how it feels to work there.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Mar 1, 2017
Sunayana, the wife of Late Srinivas Kuchibhotla wants to return to USA. While it's her personal decision and it none of our business; I'm curious to understand what lures people to go back to USA, that India doesn't offer. You earn in dollars and spend in dollars; and you get better roads.

PS: I recently came to know about someone who stays in the USA but comes down to India for medical treatment 😕
Shashank Moghe
Shashank Moghe • Mar 3, 2017
As a person who lives in the USA, I think I can add value to this discussion.

1) Most people do not come here because they want to get out of India (and yet some do). I came here in search for excellent higher education. India has no dearth of excellent education - I have heard some IITs and some NITs are at par - I have never been deemed worthy to be allowed to study there, so would not know any better. US universities consistently occupy a majority of the top 100 universities earth-wide, there must be something they are doing right. And having studied for my Masters here, I can attest that education here is pure joy!

Your contribution to your education is only limited by your imagination and dedication to work hard, the professors (by definition a Professor has to have a PhD + a post-doc + at least 7 years as an Associate+Assistant Professor to earn the title - the "professors" we had, had an M.Tech at best, the HOD of the Mechanical Engineering department was a "Professor" with a B.E - politics does not play as much of a part in Academia here) are extremely supportive of your decisions - if you are willing to do something extravagantly new and daring, the teachers will support you, the university will support you. The professors will go out of their way to help you with the technical challenges, the university HR will go out of the way to help you with your social/administrative challenges. Heck, each university here has a Patent/Law team to help students protect their IP rights in case they invent something and want to protect it. Professors are known to have started university accelerated companies with students. Academia here is not a place where the university gulps your tuition and gives you a certificate at the end of each semester, the university is a place where several academicians are literally spending their life on the advancement of knowledge, in the wake of which several bright students forge their careers.

2) Then there are the jobs, post the education. At this point, I have worked almost equal amounts (3 years) both in India and the USA. Absolutely discarding the pay disparity, here are my genuine observations:

a) The USA workplaces provide you much more freedom here. I can only attest from my own experience. Intellectual freedom is something that can mean a world of difference to an employee. The lack of which means that you feel frustrated in your job, identify your bosses as demons and in general, start cussing the work-culture. But when you have that freedom, you can pursue your own challenges (which of course have to be in the company's interests) and succeed at them. I would not make any claims devoid of tangible evidence:

I got my education in thermo-fluids and am extremely passionate about the field. I am the person developing a CFD tool using open-source codes. At the intersection of applied math and mechanical engineering, all of my advanced education came to help me (yes, all of it! even Digital Signal Processing). I publish my research and am provided the opportunity to travel internationally to discuss CFD with my peers. It is a dream job an advanced degree holder could ask for - it has a heavy research component, intellectual freedom and opportunities to develop my skill-sets extensively.

b) Coming to my job in India, I was doing fairly interesting work for about 1 year, but thats about it. Since I was constantly billable to client money, there was not much room to pursue personal intellectual goals, immaterial of whether or not they were in the interest of the company. So by the time I decided to fly for my Masters, it had already become a drag. Perhaps the work experience of people not working in the service industry might be totally different. I can only speak for myself. My bosses were very kind and supportive people, it was just the setting that made my personal development a "billable" activity - and that is where the buck stops. May be some organizations "invest" in the development of its employees, if that is the case - it might actually become irrelevant where one is working.

3) I would not comment on her personal decision, because it is personal and not subject for discussion on a forum.

People do come down to India for medical treatments, but I can cite even more examples of people who fly to the USA for medical treatments.

My bottom-line is: there is a valid counterpoint. I have seen too many people judge people working/studying outside India too soon. Why stop at the nations, why not extend the same reasoning to states, cities, Earth? When people migrate from smaller towns/villages to bigger cities in other states, do their state-people call them "deserters"? We applaud humanity's jump into outer space, eagerly await the manned MARS mission - why not extend the same logic here?

Personal conclusion: Reasons are varied, to each his/her own. There is no single answer here, nor can there ever be.

PS: I am not anti/pro migration either. I believe in individual decisions. Taking a stand on a personal choice makes no sense to me.
Arjun53 • Mar 4, 2017
Answering your question objectively is difficult. So let me just list my own subjective reasons. Please note none of this should be construed as anything derogatory to India. These are just facts as i see them.

Quality of life-related:
  • I worked in software in India for 10 years. During this entire time the most interesting work that i did was to write some extensions for already existing software. Moving to the US allowed me to work on projects that i could not have dreamed of while in India.
  • Even the so-called startups in India are more interested in copying an Idea from abroad and making it work in the Indian context. Not to say this is bad. It just is not intellectually challenging enough.
Its true that Indians get killed in the US. But its also true that Indians get killed in India. The question is more about what is more important for you as a person. Coming to the point about patriotism etc. My view is that this is a feudal mentality that fails to recognise humans as a single people. Even without going into the social issues, its no surprise that people prefer to move to the US.

Hope that gives some idea of the motivations that drive people. Ofcourse each person has his/her own reasons.

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