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Coming Home To IT


Andrew J Baltazar and Neha Mehta, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, November, 2007

Twelve years ago, Rajesh Mehta, an IIT Roorkee-trained electrical engineer, left India for the US, ready to ride on the dot-com bubble. After nine years in the land of opportunities, Mehta found himself riding yet another technology boom — this time back at home.

In 2004, Mehta came home to Noida to join Cadence Design Systems India, among the country’s top 20 IT employers, which develops electronic design automation software. What helped Mehta make the shift back to India was the presence of a buoyant IT ‘ecosystem’ — consisting of vendors, suppliers and consumers —which did not exist in India when he had left a decade earlier.

According to a survey conducted by The IndUS Entrepreneurs network of technology professionals based in India and the US, as many as 60,000 Indian IT professionals have moved back to India in the last few years.

In September, California-based software company Intelliswift began the Return to India (R2I) Program to place expatriates in IT jobs in metros like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. R2I has received more than 7,200 CVs – in just over two months.

Says a beaming Mehta, Cadence’s global head for product validation, “In the US, I was heading just one team, but I came back to lead three over here. I ended up doing much more here, and better, in completely different areas of the company.”

The country’s advancing IT sector is attracting successful Indian IT professionals working abroad by the droves – in the peak of their career. “We didn’t move back to retire but because of the growth opportunities here,” says Naresh Ramachandran, Cadence’s senior AE manager for verification, who joined the company’s Bangalore office in 2005 after spending 13 years abroad.

The Indian IT industry is helping professionals move back to achieve what matters most in their personal lives: that their children grow up the ‘Indian’ way — establishing close bonds with their relatives.

According to Saugat Sen, Cadence V-P and Noida site manager, the number of resumes Cadence receives from Indians abroad is going up every year. Many are seeking to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ – accomplishing both professional and personal goals by making the move.

“Employees from the U.S. bring with them new connections and networks, which facilitates our work in India,” says Sen.

“My children now have a good perspective of both the American and Indian cultures,” says Vishal Abrol, Cadence’s India head for technical field operations and services, who returned to India after 14 years in the U.S. “I feel that over time, this will make them emotionally stronger.”

Naresh and his wife’s demanding work schedules in the US meant that their four-year-old spent nearly 10 hours in day-care everyday. “The emotional aspect was missing from a family perspective,” he reminisces. But now, he says, his son “is in a much freer domain — spending time with his grandparents after school, and walking across to the neighbours’ place to play.”

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