Book cover
Debugging Indian Computer Programmers: Dude, did I steal your job?
By N. Sivakumar

I moved to the next gate. I saw a big crowd in one of the pubs next to the gate, watching a football game. We used to get American football back home on one of the satellite channels. I tried my best to follow the game but never got it. I always thought that some folks got together and formed a circle for no reason, and then afterwards they just ran chasing each other. Very few people watch this game in India.

But it is shown on sports channels very often. Some critics say that America is trying to push this game on other parts of the world. But they don't realize that those channels have nothing else to show.

Many Indians watch the WWE wrestling with more interest than football. It is easier to follow. A guy punches another and shouts like hell. He wins if the other almost dies. Then the winner comes closer to the camera and scares you. Now, I had no other option but to watch this football game and shout or at least pretend to do something if anything happened. I sat there for about an hour and the game was over. I didn't even know who won. But hey, I was finding ways to spend my time.

One of the first 'fandas' I heard from one of my colleagues was about Amway (American way -- the selling chain). "Don't get caught by those Amway guys!"

A fantastic warning! I didn't get it the first time. What is Amway? I wondered. Are they terrorists or extremists or even gays? What do they do? I was confused as a Florida voter when my colleague warned me about this 'Amway'. Then a 'fanda guru' told me that they would ask me to sell soaps and toothpaste. "Give me a break, I can't do that!" I made up my mind that I would never get caught by those guys, only to realize that I was trapped two days later.

Between 1990 and 1999, ethnic Chinese and Indian immigrants started nearly 25 percent of the high tech start-ups in the Valley, according to a study by Anna Lee Saxenian, a professor of regional development at the University of California, Berkeley. In Silicon Valley alone, there were around 3,000 companies that were started by immigrants by year 2000, and they employed nearly 100,000 people. Take some big ones now. Computer Associates was started and run by immigrants. Computer Associates alone employed 17,000 people in 2003. They used to employ around 30,000 before the recession in 2000.

Sun Microsystems, which was co-founded by an immigrant Indian, employs around 36,000 people. There are other big names like Hotmail (acquired by Microsoft); Yahoo (co-founded by a Taiwanese); Google (co-founded by a Russian immigrant); Exodus Communications, Juniper Networks, i2 technologies, Cirrus Logic, and Sycamore Networks (all founded by Indians); and there are many more. The market capitalization of companies founded or headed by immigrant Indians alone in the United States is more than $500 billion.

Currently the companies that are founded by immigrants employ millions of Americans. Immigrant talents have taken America to the next level in recent times. Those very immigrants that most of the shortsighted activists want to send back home have created millions of jobs, while the activists are complaining that they have lost jobs to them.

Excerpted with permission from the book "Debugging Indian Computer Programmers Dude, did I steal your job?"
by N. Sivakumar, published by DivineTree (;

Pages 189; $14.99

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