Why isn’t there a minimum wages act in India for software engineers?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

Indian software engineers are still paid far higher than the general populace and the government would laugh it off if they ask for minimum wage. In India, the national minimum wage is about ₹15/hour [Here's How America's Minimum Wage Stacks Up Against Countries Like India, Russia, Greece, And France] and I'm sure software engineers are paid way more than that.

Imagine it this way. Reverse the roles and you play the employer. How big a check would you cut for the work you have done by the end of the day? Honestly value your work and that is how you can start thinking about how much value you can add to the company.

IT industry is a meritocracy and you are paid what you are worth. Most fresher engineers come completely useless to the company. Companies find it very hard to get productive work out of them as most cannot even do basic programming. There has been a significant dilution in quality since 2000 with the rapid addition of colleges. This means that the companies spend a lot of time and energy training and moulding the engineers the first couple of years. In essence, you are actually going to a college in the first 2 years of your work, just that you don't pay the fees, but get paid.

However, if you are really skilled at programming and communication, you have way more careers options than just IT service companies. Even in the IT service companies, you can show your strong programming skills to quickly climb the salary ladders.

If you want a good salary, stop thinking uselessly in terms of minimum wages and other government control and start thinking about how you can be more productive. Some skills you could master before you graduate:

  1. Professional writing skills. An engineer should be able to compose emails and other documentation really well. If you can impress your company that you can be trusted with writing a convincing email to a client or build a requirements document, you have a strong leg up.
  2. Programming skills. How good are you at programming? You should have spent 1000+ hours at the college writing code. It is an art – the more you practice the better you get at it. Be a stellar programmer, who can understand the requirement and build stuff. Companies would hunt for you.
  3. Software engineering skills. Software is built as a team. Have you worked in professional projects? Get familiar with working in teams through sites like Github. Learn about documentation, quality control and scoping by being involved in bigger projects.

Instead of being the troublesome lad talking about government control, stand out with your skills. Instead of thinking of companies as "looters", realize that it is a free market and how you can start getting better at their game.

Why isn't there a minimum wages act in India for software engineers?


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