Before getting into the headline topic, I have a confession to make. My passion is not to remain the same for my life time, instead it gets changed over time. Am I feeling guilty or do I regret this? Nope. Living as natural as possible – is important. Time and again, I come across this – ‘you should never end up regretting what you have not done, because that opportunity cost is not going to be compensated in your life time’. So if there is a new found passion – just go for it! I know people who switched career from computer graphics to earn Ph.D. in economics and finance. And there are full time journalists who were engineers before. All this is happening because of internet and the length and breadth of information availability.
So, what are the fields that you can choose for making a career these days? In a broader sense, software and hardware engineering, medical science, economics and finance, arts and craftsmanship, education, supply chain and operations, etc. are the avenues (not a precise list, I understand). If you observe closely, each one of the above is influenced by technology. With due respect to what it is meant for, let us start with an example of accounting and finance. How much do they change over a period of past five to ten years? Not so much. Do they change at all? Yes. Probably new financial products get designed while evolving ever so slowly. However, we still have the same accounting conventions and concepts that haven’t been modified or added with, for decades (not that it should be changed for the sake of it though). Taxation gets refined but its impact for citizens remains same. Quantitative finance has grown leaps and bounds for the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, more sophisticated products have not helped the stakeholders. Subprime crisis appears to be one of biggest self inflicted pain in our time.
In India, there are lots of people moving from villages to towns to metro cities (probably so in many other countries too) to make a living. Are they really improving their lifestyle? I don’t know. If you are well qualified graduate (and above) it makes sense, because white collar opportunities at country-side are way too limited. However, what is the fun at doing a same blue collar job at even more stressful conditions at (most cases) equal or less than the standard of living that they had in countryside life? Movement itself is the issue. For example, what is a jail? It is a place where you get food and shelter but have no movement from one place to another or to do different things! That is the basic form of punishment we have in judiciary. Something that does not move is a pain to bear. The excitement and fast changing environment makes cities more attractive. Why people change companies to work for or switch careers? Because, movement is a necessity for human beings. Even the government employees who work at the same organisation for over 30 years are transferred to different places to avoid jail-like feeling. If water, which has no brain or feelings, doesn’t retain the quality without movement and ends up generating mosquitoes while destroying itself, imagine what would happen to humans without movement.
This is the exact reason why technology field is attractive. To begin with there is Moore’s law, which is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. Right out of the box your iPhone (and most mid-to-high smartphones) can replace 20 to 30 different objects you had to carry otherwise. Technology evolves, and it never stands still albeit carrying a risk of obsolescence for the greater good. The experiments of drones to Google Glass to self-driving cars to many others, all are in an effort to see how do we evolve for a better future. Not everything will become commercial success and hence we need to remember a few jargons. Lifestyle has changed a lot because of technology. There was/is meter taxi and then there is Uber. There was money-order via Post/Wire, and then there are NEFT, RTGS, SWIFT, IMPS. Recall the traditional agriculture system as against this one! There could be hundreds of such examples to illustrate the importance of technology.
Art and craftsmanship are the purest form of creation. Even copying an old song or a picture means you reproduce it by yourself. Humans are destined for creations. I don’t have an empirical evidence but have always observed most engineers at heart are also artists of some form. They are musicians, photographers of highest calibre or painters or writers. These engineers and artists helped us to shape our life better. Remember Steve Jobs’ take on technology, “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” How come we do have better medical facilities? Better supply chain management? Better education and information reach? Better and simpler mode of communication sitting in different continents on this planet? How do we understand the history of mankind better than a century ago? All have one word answer – technology.
The world of technology is also a change agent which happens to be the leader for everything else. People do not want to use feature phones anymore, or to buy TFT display TV even though LED TV shows same channels. Imagine the financial/data analysis without spreadsheets, SQL, Matlab or R Studio, etc. For every field, technology has contributed immensely. I am so happy to have my passion towards technology. It makes my brain strive to create new things, helps me to reduce effort on redundant tasks, can speak to my beloved wife and son even when I am not with them physically, and for many more reasons. Do we like perishing? Not necessarily. But death takes care of itself, and naturally there is something new born every moment – baby, idea, craft or whatever. Hence I chose to live with movement for my life over staying stale.