I want to be a Project Leader .. in 2 years ..

Guess what .. this was a response given to me by a non engineering fresher graduate in response to a question, “where do you want to see yourself in 2 years time if you join us?” !

Of course, the person was not selected. Moreover, this was not the first time I got such an answer from the fresher non-engineering graduate who is aspiring to be an IT professional.

Its such a shame and probably now has come in a highlight because of the wonderful movie 3 Idiots, that our education system promotes only competition of marks and not of knowledge.

I wrote an article last year about the lack of innovation in India (not Indians) and the root cause in education system and for some reason, it was evident that the education system also gives importance to role or status of a person rather than the knowledge he has got within.

Another thing that made me unhappy about the answers I received during the interviews was the fact that none of the candidates gave me an answer that In next 2-3 years I want to be more knowledgeable and seek expertise in a technology and domain. 

Every one wanted to be A project leader .. in 2 years !


Recommended reading

Lack of innovation in India – Root cause in education system?


  1. @swap space
    Well success is valued what designation one is on after spending few years in the industry…. it links to the moolah one earns …. to be fair to the interviewee I believe the question itself is farce as interviewer is not gonna judge him philosophically.
    poor fellas couldn’t read the answer that you have in mind 😉

  2. Good thought. The problem is not just with education system but also with out socio-cultural environment, though accentuated by education system. This is because of our history of colonial rule our need for social status is much higher than the developed world. Therefore even if you go places where the teaching is purely knowledge based and not rote this behaviour exists. I am talking about IITs, else why so many of IITians become investment bankers. But this trend is on decrease and may be we will see our kids doing what they really enjoy…

  3. I tend to think, a lot of interviewers actually look for an answer like the one given by this candidate. Thinking is, it shows ambition with regards to their career and I have seen that a lot of people actually look for exacly this. Success depends a lot on people skills of a person as one grows in his/her career. Having said that I agree that a lot of people are more eager to grow up the management ladder rather than the technical one. They do see gaps here or lack of direction given to them as to how they can grow “up the ladder” technically as well. Any thoughts on this ? Is there a well defined roadmap in the technical ladder ? I’m sure there is, lot of people are not aware though.

  4. Guys, remember the people who came out for interviews ! They were non engineering background with NO computer knowledge. Tell me, for a person such as this, what should be the priority? If I were him, my first priority would have been to get a job in IT and get knowledge that would establish me have my foothold in the industry.


    I agree that “after few years” the success is valued by one’s status and role that he plays. This applies in India for sure. However, I guess the primary factor to achieve the status has to be one’s knowledge !


    Agree with you and I too hope that our children will do what they really enjoy ..


    It depends on what kind of interview you are appearing for and what kind of person is taking the interview. There is a very thin line between showing ambition and showing overconfidence. The wordings and how fine you can balance depends on what kind of bucket you fall in !! Yes, there is a well defined path for technical career, but that also means you *may* have to relinquish your wish to become a CEO of a company (CTO would do 😉 ). May be I can pick this up in one of my next topics to blog on !!


  5. @Soumi …
    well at fresher level i believe there is not much clarity of thought about the ladders.. one has heard about the manager thing and are fascinated by the same acronym till they get into the job and starting cursing the same guy for all the bad from salary to leave 😀
    now growth entirely depends upon the project one gets to work in and most of the jobs are of coolies and here the individuality makes the difference and people tend to get into the same line.
    one of my earlier manager told me that interview is no contest we are not here to win or to loose the art is to make the individual comfortable to identify an inherent trait which can be utilized or exploited 😉
    and fresher’s come with all the zest and exuberance and somebody just needs to tap it.

  6. @Swap-nil

    bro the priorities are individualistic in nature and thus to judge a non technical person would be on the parameters of job on offer.

    You might get a lot of mailers from the recruiters who just look for that keyword in the resume and when you ask JD they are on mute as they don’t know it and even the project has not briefed it some times thus identification starts from the point where that keyword is matched 😀

    so to get the right people lined up is a major deal.

  7. @Sawan

    Agree with you completely. There has to be clarity on how one can grow in the technical ladder as well. I have seen a lot of people including some on my team I am coaching who do not have much of an idea on this. Yeah, the term “manager” definitely sounds fascinating till what you said happens (which does 70% of the times I would say).


    There are a few positions in IT that do not deal with hardcore technology. The answer to the question “where do you want to see yourself in 2 years time if you join us?” is obviously growth. Now, for a non IT candidate, he *may* not want to grow in a technology per se from a technical perspective. If the IT company has shortlisted him despite of his non IT background, they *may* be confused regarding if the company itself wants to have him work on a technology. Probably because there are loads of IT engineers who may not have been recruited by this company. I agree though that tech or non-tech knowledge is the key everywhere that has to be gained irrespective of what role the company offers.

  8. @Sawan, U are right in saying that the priorities are individualistic material. However, that worried me and was in the line you wrote earlier was the fact that most of the candidates were misguided or misinformed about the nature of the job offered with us. So, the choice that was left with us was to just take the attitude, language & communications aspect of the interview discussion and not to concentrate much on the technical side (which they obviously did not have).

    @Soumitra, You would not believe the answers I got from the candidates on what you wish to work when you join us. About 70% of them wanted to be a DBA, about 20% C++ programmers and rest of them into other activities. Also, another interesting aspect I came to know from their hiring vendor that most of these non-engineering background people do discuss these positions with their friends and seek answers on how they should answer in interviews. Obviously, the answer from an engineering background person should and would differ from a non-engineering background person. But I was least expecting them to carry themselves recognizing the fact of their background, which I did not find anywhere, unfortunately.

  9. @Swap-0
    yo i can truely identify the experience you had .. well we always want to be somebody which we are not and i have till date met only a handful people who are what they are..

    as they say makeup is temporary 😀

    it looks you are having a field day at work ..njoy it to the fullest and guide the disllusioned ones and get them on track.

  10. @Swapnil

    Hahaha!!! Good answers and experience for you i’m sure 🙂 True what we would like to see is giving an answer appropriate to their level of knowledge and background.


    Having said that, I know a few who know what they are and where they are going 🙂 Getting there soon, maybe have already 🙂

  11. @Sawan,
    wow .. u seem to have innovated 2-3 different ways in which you can write my name 🙂 pretty cool. Its been an interesting experience taking these kind of interviews for me. Something that being at UK I lacked, while in TechMahindra.

    Yes, we had some of them at TechM and they were brilliant. Its just matter of uncovering gems, but surely it takes long time to find one gem in the heap of garbage (no offense meant !) 🙂

  12. @Swap-NA
    from TM days i like to call you swap space 😀 but the others are just in the flow nil=0=NA .. please dont mind it and trust me you have a beautiful name.

  13. @Swapnil
    Rightly said – Uncovering the gems is the key. That is possible though when you have the right people to judge that 😀
    Btw, would be nice to see your thoughts on how people can grow technically in an IT org. Maybe you can write something up to share your point of view.

    And yes, Sawan has always been very innovative 🙂

  14. @Sawan, hey I would not mind at all 🙂

    @Soumitra & @Sawan lets see if we can jointly author such post. I might initiate something on my blog pretty soon and lets endeavor to complete it through our discussion 🙂

    I guess today’s discussion shows that we can have interesting discussions offline ! Why not try and write an article offline through collaboration on the blog 🙂

    Cheers both !

  15. Hi Swap
    There could be multiple reasons behind thisL
    1. Looking from one step back, I think ur HR’s targeting is wrong to select such profiles.
    2. May be the person is high achiever, other exceptional abilities. What was the context in which he was talking. Different companies have different acronyms associated to the designations. In many banks, fresher MBA will join as AVP.

    I thinking concluding from a single reason and blasting a poor chap is unfair in a world of huge diversity.

    1. Hey Amar, good to see you putting a comment. I hope you are doing well.

      Unfortunately the persons I had interviewed (don’t worry of profiles, there are jobs available for them 🙂 ) were neither a high achiever or with exceptional capabilities. The point I was making was the attitude shown by individuals was not towards “grabbing the chance” and showing keenness to learn, unfortunately all that came out was overconfidence. Bye the way as I said the interviewees were non engineering graduates and some of them had very low percentage, which does not tell me they were high achievers 🙂 !!

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