25th April 2019

How India’s 1980s IT revolution changed my life

The 80’s was a period when IT revolution was booming in India. This is partly credited to Indira Gandhi, the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India who approved the policy that allowed provision for software exports through satellite links in India. The policy that provided a head start in software interest among the Indians was then carried over to implementation by her son Rajiv Gandhi from 1984 and thus gave birth to a number of other policy initiatives including liberalisation of policies for computer and electronics sector, software technology parks and computerisation.

The outcome of these efforts was the rise of wide range of employment opportunities for young Indians and all of a sudden, every parent wanted their child to be an IT engineer. Parents doubled up as career counsellors and became obsessed with specifically software engineering because of their belief that it was the only profession that guaranteed a decent job and a good livelihood. In my high school days, the second term for Engineering was Information Technology and nothing else, these two topics were almost interchangeable.

When I finally started to learn Engineering I suddenly realised that it was a very vast subject and that IT was only a small part of it. There were actually many fields open for me to choose from. Knowingly or unknowingly, I was fascinated by electricity. Not only for its power but by the reality that upon it’s invention, electricity changed life as we know it. I can barely fathom, life without this simple source of energy. I acquired a Diploma in Electronics and Communication in Mangalore, Karnataka state of India and later on acquired a specialised degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering at VTU University. I went ahead and worked as a Network Engineer for 2 years.

It is common knowledge that understanding the theory of any subject does not make one a good tradesman, but rather through experience.

Chole Road Apartments, Tanzania

Writing codes for a software wasn’t my forte and I wasn’t quite interested to be honest hence when the opportunity to actually be out in the field doing what I was most fascinated by arose, I could not resist. In January 2012 I packed my bags and left my home country to join CEG all the way in Africa. I am sure some of my peers might have thought I was a little crazy.

7 years later I can say I couldn’t be happier. I have fond memories starting as a Project Coordinator for power projects in Tanzania that we did with various Japanese companies. Then I went head to join the maintenance team responsible for facility maintenance catering to embassies like the Canadian High Commission and Umoja House in Tanzania which houses diplomatic missions of the European Union, Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands etc. We also supported Tanzania’s oil & gas campaign servicing the likes of British Gas, Halliburton and Statoil.

Commercial Building at 429 Mahando Street, Masaki, Tanzania

With such exposure came growth. I now work as a Construction Manager for MEP projects and have had the pleasure of working for a wide range of clients who share the same passion as CEG – enabling success and improving the lives. At CEG, the only way is up, and this goes for all of us. As the business grows very rapidly in the sub-Saharan Africa region, changing more lives internally & externally one project at a time, I am very grateful to be a part of this.

South African High Commission Building

It’s hard for me to talk about my profession without making a full-length novel, however I will try and cut it short. Before I sign off it’s worth telling you a bit about an interesting project that has me set up in Burundi at the moment. We are building a surgical center focusing mainly on women and children health in Kigutu area in Burundi. The senseless deaths of mothers and children due to lack of safe surgery leave wounds that last for generations. That’s why Village Health Works has made the conscious decision to change that by constructing a Women’s Health Pavilion and Surgical Training Centre (WHP)to provide essential and emergency obstetrics and surgical care, with a special focus on maternal and child health. This 20,000 square ft pavilion will consist of 150 beds, full surgical suite, delivery rooms, in-patient facilities, outpatient facilities, nursery, a multipurpose educational library and administrative spaces. This project once again demonstrates our collaborative approach when it comes to project execution. My team and I are responsible for full MEP works (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) extending from design and engineering to material supply and installations while working closely the NGO and Kigali based contactor – Roko Construction.

Womens Health Pavilion, Kiguto, Burundi

I cannot wait for the day the first woman & child walks out of this pavilion.