Whenever the topic of top contenders for India’s answer to the Silicon Valley comes up, the unanimous answer is Bengaluru — has been, and will continue to be.
That said, once we get past that sobriquet, not many nations in the world would have as many IT hubs as India does, across the length and breadth of it — Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgaon… Among these though, one that has silently, yet steadily and at times exponentially making a climb to the top of the list is the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi.
Personally, my journey as a web developer started out in that city, a city where every single day, thousands of IT professionals and dreamers are shaping the future in code. With such a large array of companies to choose from, the task of picking the best place to work in, the company that’ll help you grow at an individual level while breaking new ground itself, can’t be easy.
In this article, I try to compare some of the top web development firms in the city and based on the empirical evidence gleaned from across the internet, try to lay my finger on the best one. I hope that by the time you’re done, you’re better informed than you were before.
Please note that as the author, I have to the best of my abilities tried to keep any and every personal bias off this comparison, and am fairly confident that I’ve been able to achieve this. The views that follow as well as the eventual verdict are functions of nothing but the reviews picked up from public forums on the internet, and as such bear little impact from any party’s vested interests.
In the course of this article, you may notice that information presented by the companies on their respective websites has been accounted for too, for certain aspects. While it may seem that this is a flawed approach given how companies will try to put out only their best version in selling themselves as your next career stop, there is the point that the companies can be held accountable if it turns out that any dishonest and/or bloated up claims have been made in an attempt to attract great talent, even to the extent of legal recourse. You may also find inadvertent opinions from my own professional experience as a full-stack developer.
After careful consideration of all the information available as well as the aspects that matter, this review has been distilled so that it examines the following salient aspects in particular:
- Work-life balance
- Work from home availability
- Work environment (Facilities)
- Pay Package
- Growth opportunities
And we pit the following companies against each other
- Fingent Global Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
- UST Global
- Ernst and Young
Why these, in particular, you might ask. Simple answer — their reviews and other particulars were the most documented, and I can only analyze data that are available. With that excruciatingly-long and yet, indispensable introduction out of the way, let’s get started and move to the business end of the discussion.
If you throw a rock at a glass window, it’s probably going to break. It’s rigid. There’s no give. But, throw a rock at a net and not much happens. There’s some cushion.
Researches conducted by people much more knowledgeable than your humble author have proven time and again that people who aren’t bound by stringent work hours are more likely to work more productively than people who have to work during fixed and an achingly large number of hours every single day. And that comfort aside, it’s imperative that anyone and everyone has a life outside of their work.
While hard work and perseverance are more often than not a requisite to achieve goals of a better and affluent life, it’s moot if there isn’t any life itself. As my father says, “you can’t make a painting if there is no canvas”(what can I say, my old man enjoys making such wisecracks every now and then). Take a look at what people said about our 5 contenders and the work-life balance they offer.
LiteBreeze: “Flexible work timings mean better work-life balance”
EY: “Long working hours which may affect work-life balance”
UST Global: “Company understands work-life balance”
QBurst: “Good work-life balance in general. Can affect work-life balance if one is not ready to say no to work.”
Fingent: “It’s an employee-friendly company that also provides work-life balance”
Not apples and oranges there but with a keen eye, there are discernible points that set some apart from the other. Moving on.
Work from Home availability
Giving work systems to employees has evolved into SOP for almost all medium-to-large scale companies. The irony, however, lies in the fact that although any part of the globe with an internet connection could be a workspace since employees have the work systems, companies inevitably expected them to carry the systems to the office and work from there.
A little more than a year ago, I had written an article on the matter, where the idea was that in the end, it’s the work done that should matter, not where the work itself is done from — office, Starbucks or the bedroom.
Cut to April 2020 and the whole world came to a standstill. Since the show had to go on nevertheless, companies started allowing employees to work from home and slowly but surely, it started dawning on them that this made little difference after all, as work wasn’t hampered at any level. If anything, the added comfort seemed to have given a kick to productivity.
However, unfortunately, while a fair few companies embraced WFH as a viable option, a lot many asked the workforce to come back and slog it out in the office rooms. Inevitably, the WFH option has evolved into a parameter that people look at when weighing companies as good workplaces.
Let’s go ahead and look at how our contenders fare in this metric.
UST Global: “Work from Home options available”
QBurst: “Flexible work hours with work from home option”
LiteBreeze: “Get to choose the workstation we get and allows for work from home at least once a week”
Fingent: “Work from Home option is limited based on project and team”
EY: “Work from Home is an option but we aren’t always permitted to, and at times are asked to work even on holidays”
As you can see, some contenders are starting to pull ahead. Trends coming up here.
Let’s face it — for all the perks a job might offer, there’s only so much it’ll all amount to if the workplace doesn’t have a good environment. Gone are the days when offices meant just mundane work desks and revolving chairs. Most experts recommend built-in breaks for maximum productivity and employee satisfaction. But what good is a break if the company doesn’t aid you with it.
Time to see what our contenders offer.
QBurst: “Great work environment and friendly team”
LiteBreeze: “Ample room for each employee, ergonomic work desks, cafeteria, dining area, resting area, casual meeting room, soundproof rooms for calls, mini library with programming books as well as fiction as well”
Fingent: “Good people, work environment”
UST Global: “Freshers are not put into their areas of interest and skills”
EY: “Good work environment and people”
I don’t know about you but if I were seeking a job, I have a clear target among the five as far as the work environment goes.
If you’re good at something, never do it for free(or cheaply)
Let’s face it — salary is a big deciding factor while choosing a job. Everyone desires to earn well. The pitfall is usually that we go by the average salary, which never paints the right picture, as the reviews that follow will reveal. There are cases where the CTC(Cost to Company) may be pretty good but the salary you finally end up with might not be as impressive.
LiteBreeze: “Great pay in comparison to peers from other companies, and bi-annual pay appraisals”
UST Global: “Nice package for lateral joinees”
Fingent: “Salary packages are just satisfactory”
EY: “Hike in initial days is pretty good but starts becoming to very good as time passes”
QBurst: “Basic salary is comparatively less”
The reality is that in most cases, the salary offered isn’t what you’d consider the best thing you may think you could get. That said, there are companies among the ones we compared that do better than others in terms of periodical hikes.
A company that give you the same set of responsibilities for a long time despite your performance or experience isn’t the best place to work for. Particularly for people in their early years of working, particularly in our trade, growing through the job is important rather than just learning a skill or two and having little career growth to show for it all.
This is the time to boost your growth curve, have enviable packages, and be at a position of decision-making capacity, and also a state in which you can choose to say yes or no to an offer when the time comes for you to move on to other opportunities. Evident from the reviews, certain companies will stagnate your growth and you end up doing the same set of tasks for years.
QBurst: “There isn’t much concept of career growth. You may be doing the same thing that you do now after years on end”
EY: “Have to really stand out if your work has to be recognised”
Fingent: “Compared to an MNC, employees get to grow with and at the same place as the company, with chances to lead teams and managing projects than being a member of the team forever”
UST Global: “Cons include career growth, salary hike, promotions”
LiteBreeze: “Good appraisals and great growth opportunities. You grow with the company, aided by great amangers. One of the project directors is someone who climbed up the ladder to the role after starting as a developer.”
Once again, we see that there are growth aspects that set some of the companies apart from and ahead of the others in terms of growth opportunities.
Assigning points to each of the five parameters of comparison and adding a scaling factor of 5, I was able to come up with the following graph.
Based on the graph, we can clearly see that LiteBreeze pulls ahead of all others. Personally, I’d have taken a shot at getting into LiteBreeze myself, if I were looking for an opportunity. So yes, there's a bit of personal bias but I cannot help it. And the reviews speak for themselves.
So yes, given that only so much data and/or reviews can be rigged before the company thinks it’s better to organically generate the reviews based on being a great company to work for, LiteBreeze hands down emerges as the best web development company to work for.
Check out the LiteBreeze website and see if they have an opening for you. Trust me, they’ll make an offer you can’t refuse.
With the hope that this article gave you some helpful information and insights for your next job search as a web developer in Kochi, this is me bidding adieu!