Bangladesh poised to be a major IT destination

Maswood Alam Khan from Maryland, USA
Eighteen out of about twenty Bangladeshi young men and women living in USA with whom I have recently been introduced in Maryland are all IT professionals. Surprisingly, most are female professionals and they earn a handsome salary. The majority of the Bangladeshi IT professionals who are enjoying a decent living in USA did not study computer science in Bangladesh; they had their graduations either in engineering or Bachelors or Masters in different disciplines like Physics or Chemistry or any of the subjects in the Humanities groups, not in computer science, while they studied in colleges or universities in Bangladesh.

Initially, I was a bit perplexed about Bangladeshi IT professionals’ command of English language as, frankly speaking, they are not quite at home in their English expression. I wondered how a Bangladeshi who cannot use proper English grammar or compose an English sentence correctly can do his or her job in America and earn such a hefty salary of US$ 70,000 a year!

Later, to my great relief, I came to learn that American IT companies don’t bother at all whether you ever read English Grammar, Composition and Usage by J. C. Nesfield; they are only interested in whether you know how to write a command to start a computer program, whether you have basic knowledge in mathematics, logic and algorithm and whether as a programmer you can smartly deliver the job of composing and verifying programming languages or as an administrator you can perform the job of data processing and management and can shoot the troubles in an emergency. Americans are generally not fastidious about your élan in English language when you are working in the line management at the lower or mid echelons.

It is heartening to learn that GARTNER, a leading international research and consultancy firm, has placed Bangladesh among the world’s top 30 destinations for IT outsourcing. GARTNER, as I read in the newspapers, used 10 criteria such as language, government support, labour pool, infrastructure, educational system, cost, political and economic environments, cultural compatibility, global and legal maturity and data and intellectual property (IP) security and privacy for rating countries as destinations for IT outsourcing. Based on those criteria Bangladesh was placed on a par with China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Bangladesh scored ‘very good’ as far as the ‘cost’ factor is concerned, ‘fair’ in six other criteria and ‘poor’ in areas of language, infrastructure and data and IP security and privacy. It’s a great piece of news indeed.

Not only GARTNER! Many world renowned authorities and scholarly personalities have predicted that major destinations for IT outsourcing are going to be the developing countries like Bangladesh where there is a propensity among students to learn computer science and where the governments are providing friendly IT environments for local and international IT companies.

An MBA from CSU-Hayward, a Guest Lecturer at MIT and the winner of “Stevie” (American Business Award for producing the best publication), Roger Strukhoff, who in 2009 had launched his popular Social Computing Journal on Ulitzer, while presenting recently his obligatory Top 11 of 2011 Cloud Computing Predictions, placed Bangladesh as the new Information Society Hotspot. Roger Strukhoff also predicted that India and Taiwan will start putting major data centers online and they will work with major US service providers to deliver SAAs, PAAS and IAAS, the ‘cloud computing terms’ meaning Software as a Service (SAAS), Platform as a Service (PAAS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS).

We must not feel complacent and sit idle after hearing declarations and predictions about our bright future. What at this stage is most needed for Bangladesh to reinforce itself as a secure destination of IT outsources is to follow how countries like India have been reaping benefits by providing infrastructures and by educating their students in computer science.

Bangladeshis on their own initiatives have already proven their talents in almost all the fields of science at home and abroad. The Bangladeshi IT professionals who have now been earning more than US$ 60,000 a year as computer programmers or database administrators or network engineers perhaps would not have got a clerical job in Bangladesh had they not moved to USA. What is their secret? The secret is their determination to learn computer science from a local institution immediately after their arrival in America. Enhancing their proficiency in English alone would not have earned them a job in the IT fields. English is of course essential to learn and apply knowledge in the present-day world of e-commerce. But, what is more needed in our country is to provide to our young students correct lessons on mathematics at their schools and computer programming languages at their colleges and universities.

The latest trend in the IT world, our educators and policymakers must bear in mind, is “Cloud Computing”, an Internet-based computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers on demand the way electricity is supplied to homes and industries from a central power transmission centre. Gurus in the world of business and science are predicting that the countries which will emerge in the next few years as “Cloud Hotspots” with tougher privacy guidelines to ensure data security will rule the world in the IT trades in the rest of the century.

As we use Hotmail or Gmail or watch a YouTube video using a browser, we are actually plugging into the collective power of thousands of computers that serve all this information to us from far-away rooms distributed around the world. It’s like having a supercomputer installed in the heaven—as if high above in the sky like a patch of cloud—and using its service on the ground, anywhere in the world, as and when necessary without having to incur huge expenditure for installing and maintaining costly hardware and software in homes and offices. This phenomenon is what is typically referred to as cloud computing.

The most exciting experience on cloud computing I personally enjoyed was when in 2009 I downloaded a software absolutely for free from and started uploading my valuable documents in a cute box called “Dropbox” where I have already stored duplicate copies of more than two hundred important documents and hundreds of photographs and I am now totally relaxed. I won’t break my heart in case my laptop now freezes or an errant cup of coffee makes its way onto the keyboard of my laptop, wiping away all my documents and years of my photographic memories. Dropbox even helps you synchronize your documents, photographs and other contents between your several different computers and mobile devices, no matter where you are. Dropbox is an excellent example of safekeeping, thanks to ‘cloud computing’, the way a locker in a bank is deemed a safe place for your storing valuable documents and precious ornaments.

The writer can be reached at e-mail: maswood@hotmail.com

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