If you are a techie lured by the great Bangalore IT rising — here are some points you should review before you decide to move to Bangalore from US or Europe and get the shock of your life.
1) Be ready for a salary cut. The news media loves hype. Ignore it. Despite the crazy hype — only a few companies pay near equivalents of a Dollar or Euro salary in Bangalore. Such salary packages are normally reserved for CXO level managers or totally super-duper mind bogglingly talented programmers or some crazily lucky individuals. If you fall in the rest of the gang — just talent, a good track record, international exposure — won’t get you your current dollar equivalent salary.
2) Avoid South Bangalore for your residence: The infamous Bannerghatta Road (BG Road) is “currently” in good condition. But it is so narrow that it cannot take the over load of traffic that seems to continue to grow. On a normal day expect a traffic-jam between 8:30 am and 9 pm. On a bad day — rains, accident, or a marriage procession — be ready to spend a few hours in agony and pain jammed on the road.
If your office is in South Bangalore and you decide to live somewhere on or near BG Road — forget about enjoying evenings and eating out in other parts of the city. The traffic will so badly frustrate you that somehow reaching home is all you will ever desire to do. Finally, around South Bangalore — Koramangala and Jayanagar have some nice localities but rents could be crazy due to demand and supply problems.
3 A) Commuting — Get a Car Insurance without fail: If you plan to drive your own car — spare yourself the agony of adjusting between the traffic rules followed normally in US. Some auto rickshaw or a bus or a truck will find your bumper and dent it badly at a certain point of time. You can’t prevent it. It is your ordained Karma if you decide to drive a car in Bangalore. Accept your unalterable fate and get car insurance asap; without fail.
3 B) Commuting — Hire an experienced car driver: Lane driving does not exist in Bangalore. This is the reality. period.
You will go crazy if you expect disciplined traffic. Let an experienced driver save you the headache and some extra car dents if you can afford it. There are no specific bus lanes in Bangalore. If they exist no bus driver follows them. Several buses and autorickshaws have non-working indicators. These two vehicle types can take a turn or stop whenever or where ever the driver likes. Also, be ready to accept some cows and dogs to share road space with your vehicle — besides traffic police sometimes cows and dogs like to check whether the traffic is behaving well.
4) Review your goals for moving to Bangalore: India is a colorful country. I love it. The varied food, culture, people — its amazing. If you are an Indian desparate to come back home — closer to your relatives and friends — plan to try Bangalore for 1 or 2 years — instead of taking a spot long term decision. Keep all options open.
If you wish to work as an ex-pat and plan to put experience in India/Bangalore on your CV — this is a good idea. But before you move your family to Bangalore — read some of my other posts. All tips I mentioned above apply. Bangalore is chaotic but a lot of fun. I love this city. You might decide that the fun is so good that you would stay here for a long time!
5) Be ready to discover work related disappointments: Once you start working in Bangalore you will discover many other issues related to quality of projects, time of conference calls etc.
For example from the techie community in Bangalore I keep hearing the complaint that several projects are not on the cutting edge. There are late night / early morning conference calls that will disrupt your family life. Be prepared for a big change if you decide to move to Bangalore from US or Europe.
What makes Bangalore as nice as US Silicon Valley?
Bangalore has excellent weather, lots of greenery, cosmopolitian citizens, and avenues for all kinds of activities. If you are a foodie, Bangalore has plenty of places for you to go. If you like to pub or shop you won’t get bored either. Bangalore overall is a very liveable city because its citizens & businesses have made the best of the weather and other natural resources to create a vibrant city.
So in case you are planning to shift to Bangalore for work, consider this: you will find a loveable city which has a sadly pathetic administration. The concentration of IT industry in the city would ensure that you will find jobs fairly easily if you are at the top end of the job-seeking competitive pool. IT salaries in India tend to be on the higer end in Bangalore.
Bangalore also has two of India’s elite academic institutions: Indian Institute of Management or IIMB for management programs and Indian Institute of Science or IISC for programs in science and technology. These two institutes would ensure that you have access to ample executive or part time programs to continue to update your skills.
On the practical side, the administration will tax you heavily. Petrol prices in Bangalore are amongst the higest in any Indian City. The government also levies some other taxes. Corruption ensures that public money ends up not for public good but for filling the pockets of the rightly connected. If you can ignore the administration and bad roads, you will love Bangalore.
How fair is the Bangalore & Silicon Valley comparison?