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 ...


UX-admin said...

You're spot on.

This is very likely the last job I took working in the industry. Even with all the extra hours (I've managed to evade that so far), working 42 hours per week is just too much.

And I'm so sick of political games and struggling, sick and tired of computer incompetent lawyers or economists (the management) making strategic technology decisions.

What did I go to university for? So that some economist which partied and got drunk the whole time while I studied can now decide for me how to do my job?

Enough is enough. I'm going into starting my own company, and being my own boss. I wouldn't tell a cardiologist how to operate on my heart, and I'm certainly not going to take some computer-incompetent manager tell me how to do my job.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a huge gap in the salary between an IT Prof and a teacher.

The starting salary of an Software Engineer at an MNC can be 50K whereeas this is not so for a teacher.

So I think this isn't a fair comparison atleast in India.

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt say the gap between the salary of an IT pro and a computer science lecturer is "huge" anymore. Sixth pay commission has narrowed it down even more. A competent person who is postgraduate in computer science working as a lecturer in an "OK" institute/college will be getting between 30k to 50k for 0-5 yrs experience. While an IT pro with similar experience would get anywhere between 20k to 60k real "in-hand" salary. There are few MNC or start-up companies that pay beyond this range, but many other companies pay even less.
On average, the difference between salaries is about 10k. that is offset by the work hours and stress factors as the OP rightly pointed out.

shopping cart said...

About this i think both professions are suitable for an IT educated person,but more than half people prefer to join an IT company.

Fakhruddin40 said...

Pros and Cons of the two careers are really realistic.

Plastic Card

Anonymous said...

I am in a confused state to take up my career.. Can u suggest me.. My choices are as project engineer at wipro or as asst professor.. I have completed my post graduation

Anonymous said...

Very Bad Comparison, 6th pay commision given only in govt. institutes, and in only three engg., colleges in andhra pradesh especially, when they are giving 40k(no employee benefits), they simply recruiting 5yr experience guy. In IT, 5yr exp. guy will get atleast 70k(with attractive employee benefits).
In IT industry, employee will undergo design before development and testing after development wher all the work considered.
In teaching, preperation before 18 hrs work and evaluating after 18 hrs atleast not mentioned!!!
Extra Nights have to be spent by employee in IT industry is counted, but extra hours a teacher spents in preperation?????..
Simple no deadlines for a teacher to complete work, but negative ratings will effect same like an IT employee..(But what about positive rating of an IT employee and a teacher).
Finally each profession will have their own pros and cons.
But IT people will add more value with their work so getting more salary.

Note: A daily wage labour will work atleast 8 hrs/day in 365 days getting less than 20kp.m.# of hours doesnt tell you salary but the value added....

Anonymous said...

I had done M-Tech in Mech with close to 9 yrs in IT field.

Now I am planning to shift to Teaching(Mechanical).

Salary Would be in the range of 40K in a Non Metro.

Presently I am getting 95K, but 10K goes for Taxes. Rest goes for PF.

Ultimate take home is 70K. But living in capital city is too costly.

No Job security. I daily see TCS employing BSC Grads for 12K. I also know that the GM/VP etc will save their job but will remove us one day for cost cutting in the name of performance.

Today every company fires employees in the name of performance TCS{Comparitivly less}, Infosys, Wipro, CTS the list goes on. Actually some % is performance rest is Bench or people with high salary.

I want to have a simple and decent life, dont want to earn more to give to the Landlord or to the International schools etc.

Can any one suggest me the path to follow.

Anonymous said...

True ultimately what matters is Mind satisfaction and the way you lead Your life. If You earn a crore per month and are disaster in Your personal life having no peace at mind then this kind of life is of no use.


Hi.. i am not from IT background but i am working as a teacher and i am loving it. they pay me 20 n i feel there will be no growth. if u become HOD then max is 1lac.. s if money is constraint go for an IT job.. for me my huby is IT n he gets 1lac.. s n problem :P

for IT the said...

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