Over last two weeks I interacted with two individuals, one who had questions seeking guidance, second who has learned his lesson adapted and by luck or by decision avoided disaster.
First encounter was a rather simpler one, a student just finishing his studies has contacted for advice on career choices, he was a good student, I had helped him secure an internship and he did well. He said he had two job offers at hand, one in hot Mobile Gaming Side other not so fancy .Net programming side.
The conversation was simple, I just asked him following series of questions, I asked him do you at this point have a liking, he said yes he loves .Net, I asked whats the confusion then, he said the Gaming Industry looks inviting, pays are better, pay increases are better.
Then I gave him the advice once I got from my seniors and am till now indebted to them. I told him to follow what he liked, I told him that first couple of years will be very tough your batchmates will go ahead on salaries, your family will give examples of your friends earning more, but you will be easily able to keep them off by enjoying your work. After first couple of years because you like what you do, you will be good at it and because you are good at it you will pass or match whatever you friends are earning. The young man listened and made his decision to join the .Net firm, I will wait patiently and see how he does, but it worked for me and few others I know.
Second encounter was more surprising and encouraging for me, and it came after the first one, and kind of assured me that I had guided the young soul in the right direction. This one was with a student who I had known in my university days, he was junior to me and some times came to learn programming, I was TA for programming class, and because he lived near my home, he would some times drop by and try to catch up. He was not the brightest students, he always had trouble understanding algorithms and logic building, which is a must for a software programmer. I was a hostilite so did not mind his late sittings, because he genuinely wanted to pass, his parents had toiled hard to afford his fees and he wanted to at-least pass. He was a hard worker but could not put together pieces required for this type of study. Long story short I graduated lost contact, moved house got married, and forgot about him.
Last week we ran into each other, I sat down with him, we did a little catching up on university days, I out of curiosity asked him which software house he is working in, and it was the answer which took me by a pleasant shock. Here is what he told me.
He said after graduation he tried to get job at different software firms but was not given an opportunity. After trying every where he sat back and thought of re-inventing him self. He had great interest in sports, he went to Punjab University and enrolled in MS in Sports Sciences, loved the field Graduated with GOLD Medal, Bob Woolmer Interviewed and hired him to work for PCB, He has travelled the world (12 or more countries) with Pakistan Cricket Team for over 85 Matches and now currently is a Professor at Punjab University (placed at a higher rank than some of his Computer Science teachers from university who later joined Punjab University Faculty). Because he liked what he did now he could not stop talking about it I felt the energy he had about his work and the results were no slouch either, Imagine if he had stuck to CS, maybe had a job which he hated, could have toiled hard to make a decent living, but now in a field of his choice he was a superstar.
When I left him I was a more firm believer of fact that if you do what you like, you ca n create wonders, if you do what you don’t have the passion for you will stop some where down the path and curse your self and think how did you end there.