It’s the revenge of the Nerds…I always knew that the Geek would inherit the Earth. The cliché’s of yesteryear about the geek as being a socially awkward, badly dressed weirdo who’s always stuck in the house with his books, computers, and allergies, is…well…neither entirely untrue nor so very different today except that geeks get out more these days (traveling “abraaad”) and are getting paid more and more. Another big difference is that Geeks are getting the girls…(although I’m not sure that Geeky girls are getting the guys…no fair)…More Desi mummys and daddys are hunting down IT Geeks for their little girls. Apparently it doesn’t matter so much if you are tall, fair, athletic, or have good eye sight anymore…and no one wonders whether or not its unhealthy that you spend so much time with your computer…or that you call “her” your “girlfriend” or that you talk to her sometimes when no one is looking…hey, if that’s what brings the bucks then your inlaws give you their blessing…
image from cinemablend
Mrs Khatoon knows exactly what type of man she wants for her daughter. “I want an IT professional,” she says, “preferably someone based in London, or someone who has the opportunity to work overseas in the future.”
Different profession, same priorities. It may seem an unusual request for a traditional Indian mother to make. Up to a decade ago, government employees and accountants were at the top of the most-wanted list for marriage proposals in India – because they were guaranteed a stable and steady income and a lifetime of work. But all this has changed now, thanks to the technology boom in India.
“You know, in my generation, people weren’t so educated,” says Mrs Khatoon, as her daughter Rakshi looks through a list of prospective techie grooms. “We didn’t have so much exposure, so we as Indian parents thought that government employees or doctors and accountants were the best choices for our daughters. We had never even heard of technology professionals!”
Now, though, things have changed.
Murugavel Janakiraman, the chief executive of bharatmatrimony.com, insists that Mrs Khatoon and her daughter are now fast becoming the norm, and not the exception. In the past few years India’s technology services sector has grown rapidly, adding millions of jobs to the Indian economy. Young Indian engineering and computer science graduates, in hot demand to fill vacancies in offices around the country, have benefited the most from this boom. And because there are just not enough of them to fill all the jobs being created – India’s software trade body, Nasscom, says that there could be a shortfall of half a million IT professionals by 2010 – salaries are on the rise.
image from nada.com
“Not only are they most sought after in the professional world,” says Mr Janakiraman, “IT men are also the hottest in the marriage market. “IT workers can draw salaries of around $800 a month [about twice those available in comparable jobs] and that’s just at the beginning of their careers. “They are likely to see their salaries jump more than any other professional in the country right now – with salaries rising about 20% a year on average.”
For the IT professionals who have spent years labouring under nicknames such as nerd, geek or computer whiz – and those are the nicer ones – this attention can come as a pleasant surprise. They’ve hardly ever been seen as the most glamorous of types. Often stereotyped as hard working and intelligent – and well, just a little bit boring – they’re not often seen as the ideal mate.
“I wish this had happened when I was younger,” says Frank Raman, a technology manager at Datamatics in Mumbai. “I would have been able to benefit from it at that time – now I’m married, so girls looking to marry me I’m afraid are out of luck!”
His friend, Anup Gandhi, agrees. “I think it’s fabulous that we’re now in such hot demand, ” he says. “Why not? If the Indian woman wants me, I think that’s a very good thing!”
image from georgecohill
The latest economic forecasts are looking good for the IT world’s prospective bridegrooms. They show that the Indian economy has expanded by more than 9% – with services making up a fifth of that growth. By 2010, analysts say that technology will contribute close to a tenth of India’s overall GDP. So even if Frank is off the market, Anup and his colleagues may be able to keep looking forward to both higher salaries – and domestic bliss.
story from the bbc June 14, 2007