Dialogue in Silicon Valley

At dinner with friends in Silicon Valley, my friend Vikash said: "Most of the tech startups here are made up of Indian engineers."

Forty years ago, when Indian migrants started coming to the United States, they never thought they could be as successful as their predecessors - China or Japan. But over the past twenty years, more Indians have worked and succeeded here than other groups of migrants. For example, Sundar Pichai - CEO of Google, Satya Nadella - CEO of Microsoft, Santana Narayen - CEO of Adobe, and many thousands of senior management positions. "We are even reaching out to other industries, you can see Indira Nooyi - CEO of Pepsi Cola, Vikram Pandit - CEO of Citi group, and many more," Vikash continued.

I was surprised: "That's interesting information, but I wonder what happened to other groups like Chinese and Japanese?". Vikash explained, that the majority of Chinese migrants focus on small businesses, such as commerce, imports, exports or restaurants; the majority of Japanese people are interested in government jobs, but few pay attention to the technology sector. Indians seized this opportunity and became the most successful among the tech industry's migrants.

Vikash further explained my why then question. One of the key successes of Indians is that they have a lot of information about the job market. For example, most Chinese migrants get information from family and relatives. Family tradition still influences their decisions. If parents own a restaurant, the children follow by opening the restaurant. And the Indians all followed the new carefully. They read a lot about the job market and social trends, and they shared information about technology and job opportunities widely with thousands of blogs, social networking accounts.

When the US technology market requires special skills, many Indians know it quickly to learn these skills. The dream of Indian youth is to escape poverty by working in America. And the lack of skills in America opens the door for them.

Ramesh, another friend, added: "One of the advantages is that we speak English very well when compared to other immigrants." Because of this advantage, Indian students do well in college as well as in the company for having good communication skills. If you look further, you will see that Indians have succeeded not only in the US but also in other countries such as Singapore, England, Germany, Australia, and Scandinavia.

I refused: "But today many Chinese and Japanese also speak English well. What prevents them from achieving the success that Indians have?" Vikash answered immediately: "It's a cultural aspect. For some reason, many people don't share information with others, but keep it to themselves. For example, when Google looks for certain skills, Within minutes, most blogs and Facebook pages in India are posting this news, but you don't see it in other countries. "

There are blogs that provide advice and skills support throughout India. Others capture and seek to respond. "We believe the best way to encourage young people to learn is to provide more information, more technology news about the job opportunities and industry needs - not just in the US but everywhere else," Vikash to speak.

As he said, today the internet is a powerful tool connecting Indians working abroad and living in their home countries. We can see that in any country with strong technology industry there will be Indian engineers there. He continued: "The more advanced the technology, the better it is for the Indians because we all know how to seize the opportunity to create living in the 21st century."

The Global Industry Report 2019 uses the word "hot" for the software engineering market in the US due to the shortage of skilled and competitive people in leading companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. Over the past five years, the number of students enrolled in Computer Science, Software Engineering has increased by over 30% but still not enough to meet the demand. What is expected is that this shortage will continue for at least another seven years.

What must be learned to have a successful career in a world where technology is driving everything? What happens if I cannot enter university? What is the best way to survive in this constantly changing market? Those are questions I have received every week from many people around the world since my blog has been translated into many languages. Many parents have asked me, "Will you advise my children to study computer science or information technology? Will you advise them to go to some university like you have already entered?" My answer is: "It depends on your child after they study the school and the subject they want."

Most parents want their children to go to college and get a degree. But college is not for everyone, some people will do well but others may not study well and waste time there. Today, degrees do not guarantee anything but many parents still want their children to go to college because it is the pride of the family and a part of the culture that has existed for centuries.

However, there are many other options such as online schools, massively open online courses (MOOCs) and training programs designed for a specific field but helping learners develop the skills they need. set them up for a good job. Most online courses at edX, Coursera, Udemy focus on results because they are short and realistic. And most online courses are open to anyone, no charge (if you need a certificate, you will have to pay 20 to 50 USD). But by going through these subjects, learners will have immediate results and understand what they want and may not want. I think it's worth spending a few months studying these subjects before deciding whether going to college could be better for you.

Learners today need to be more proactive because they learn to become independent and to determine the future, what they want to do with life, to identify themselves and the job market. Educated people are not people with specialized knowledge or qualifications but who know themselves and develop a strong mind so they can learn anything they want to learn. Educated people also often read many useful books to educate themselves because reading can affect their minds and attitudes in life. The problem is that today, many people do not read anything but let the media control them. Passively watching videos on YouTube, reading everything on Facebook, Twitter can be a waste of time.

The phenomenon of successful Indians in Silicon Valley shows that, in this fast-changing world, good skills are not enough. You must be proactive by continually sharing, learning and self-learning if you want to keep a good job.

Formal education (at school) ends and you have a degree. But it is just the beginning. You have to constantly learn by yourself when things change so fast, you need to keep yourself up to the world and be judged by what you know. While at school, you spend a few weeks studying before the exam and passing it, important for good grades and diplomas. But after graduation, you will discover that "real education" begins after formal education when you learn about jobs, responsibilities, interacting with others and soft skills you didn't learned in school. At that time, you start your own independent life. There are no scores, no degrees, no assessments, no passing or failing but you have to create your own rules, your own studies, and your own life.

How do you live, how do you work, how do you react, how do you support your family, society, and how you educate yourself to face the "real life" - that will position happiness and your success.

John Vu