Friday, January 2, 2009

Software engineering vs teaching

I faced a reality check last week. I always wondered why anyone, competent and educated in the field of computers, would pursue a career in teaching and not join a company as software engineer. It was perhaps the inability of the person to cope up with the demanding environment in the software field. That could be the reason anyone leaves a better paying job and settles for lowly-paid teaching career - or so I thought.

Last week I sat down and tried to list the pros and cons of the two careers.
Here's what I got from my "findings".

Let's tackle the salary part first. Since a teaching career asks for a formal degree, preferably a post graduation, let's assume the person is a post graduate in Computers.

Now, if the person choses to join an IT career, he has to devote at least 40 hours a week for work; in reality it could be much more if one takes into account the unpaid "late-nights". Assuming a 30 days month, and a good INR 50,000 a month in salary, the person makes about INR 285/hr.

On the other hand, a teacher at an engineering institute has about 18 hrs a week of teaching load. For INR 40,000 a month, the teacher would be making about INR 500/hr on average - a full 215/hr more on average than his counterpart!

Other pros of a teaching job vs software engineering -

- no late-night unpaid overtime work that one is expected to do
- better quality of life, better family life as well; a teacher can spend much more time with family
- no continuous sitting-in-front-of-computer-screen until you visit your doc for back-pain; backache is known to be a common ailment with IT professionals
- less stress; no deadlines
- stability; none of those pink-slip days inspite of very good performance. It's not uncommon to find star-achievers, poster-boys being given a boot if the head honchos make company wide cost-cutting plans

Taking all the above into account, I wonder why anyone would prefer IT career over teaching if given a choice. Is it for that extra few thousands? Consider this! IT companies are located mostly in places where the extra salary of a software professional would be spent on rent and other costs. A teacher can take up consultancy work and could earn even more ...