Changing Track. The Correct Decision? Or…

Allow me to be honest; I have always wanted one path for my life to take. That is “The High Life”, with all that comes along with it; first class air tickets, 5 star hotel suites in every city I visit, a luxury car, and so forth. But let’s be realistic, how can someone like me, a struggling computer science student at a regional Egyptian university- not just any regional, the most infamous of them all- whose family is NOT into major drug trafficking- or let’s just say rich, so that I don’t offend the big companies chairpersons who might be reading this to get a background check on me- achieve the so called “high life” without going into the illegal business myself?

The main reason why I decided to take computer science 4 years ago was my firm belief that working in the information technology industry would be the quickest way to get rich. Everyone back then was saying that computers are the future. Everyone was talking about the smart government, the smart village, and everything that can possibly have the word smart attached to it. Everyone who remotely knew me congratulated me on my wise decision to join the all mighty Faculty of Computers and Information.

I do not know when exactly, but at some point in my academic years, I made this… roadmap for my life. It begins right after my graduation with me enrolling at one of the major private sector software corporations in Egypt and then climbing up the career ladder until I retire while I am on top of the world, yet young and healthy enough to enjoy my hard earned money. After all, computers are the future, right? But perhaps I was overly ambitious.

A few weeks ago I was talking about this to a friend of mine who is NOT a computer science major, but rather a business major. This helps sometimes, we geeks tend to isolate ourselves in this crazy, unrealistic world of hopes and expectations, so getting a wake up call every once in a while is healthy. Unsurprisingly, he disagreed with me, strongly. He believed that this “roadmap” of mine will get me nowhere and the only solution to be on top of the world while you still have a breath left inside you is entrepreneurship. Of course, trying to be an entrepreneur nowadays in the IT industry prior to having years of experience in some big company is nothing but a complete waste of time. It is not the year 1999 anymore. Thus, the solution would be to just, put everything you spent years in learning aside and start some IT-unrelated enterprise, take a risk, be unique, and work hard enough and you will get what you want in a few years time. Coming to think about it, he has a point.

I bet you are thinking that I am crazy at the moment, but bear with me for a minute here. I am not going to talk about the economic stature in Egypt, but my friends, look around you, the most successful and influential- not to mention the richest- people we hear about in the news everyday are entrepreneurs, and I doubt that any of them is doing business in a field related to what they studied at university, that is if they had been into university at all.

So we are set, want to become one of the movers and shakers? Get through your college years quickly, ditch everything you learned there, look for a unique business idea, and you are good to go. But wait a second; everyone knows that new enterprises take four or five years to pay off, assume that you decided to take the risk and start an IT-unrelated business, and after some years you find that you are not doing as good as you expected or even on the verge of bankruptcy and there is no choice other than calling it quits. It happens more often than you think, according to the American Chronicle, 80% of new businesses fail, and that is in America! Eventually, you will be left with no job, no money, and an experience that is better left to be forgotten. What is even worse is that it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a job in a respectable software company. Which company do you think will prefer to hire you- an old person with nothing but failure- in an entry-level position over a fresh graduate with a fresh mind and new ideas? I say none.

Sorry for the long post, but this is something that I really wanted to share with you. Also, I would really appreciate it if you give me your opinions on this subject. Your comments are always welcomed.

Disclaimer: I do not by any means suggest that the rich people in Egypt are only so for working in illegal businesses. This is just my way of being sarcastic after the crazy rumors we hear everyday in the news about the Egyptian tycoons.


One Response to Changing Track. The Correct Decision? Or…

  1. Hi bro,

    Congrats for this awesome post and topic.

    I share you many of your thoughts, Entrepreneurship is the road to bring your day-dreams real, Power of Change is the key for the coming days, and Unique Ideas always wins for talented Individuals.

    But let me wear the enemy’s shirt for while, Isn’t IT-Related Business is the ideal path for us, geeks, think for a while before you answer, IT-Related Business is the least risky business you can do especially if you have new creative idea and need only for a website and for sure your high-quality implementation, make sense? I say Yeah make lots of sense.

    I think here the ingredients for the high-life recipe: creative idea, some investment & patience, lots of hard-working, and talent of motivated geek, We can decorate that plate by self-skills and the most important part, the Sales Skills.

    This was my vision to make your life as you always dreamed, and, for me, I must work for few years as developer for some SMART enterprise to grow till mature stage and when this time comes, I’ll spring for my ultimate goal, and nothing can make me give up even if I failed, I’ll make my failure a fuel for the journey to my goal.

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