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French hacker who found Aadhaar bugs says Indian developers can't code, can't think: 10 things you must know

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French hacker who found Aadhaar bugs says Indian developers can't code, can't think: 10 things you must know

On Monday night Robert Baptiste aka Elliot Alderson, a French security researcher, tweeted about what he thinks of most Indian developers. He got replies from both sides: some supporting him, some slamming him.

When it comes to patriotism, Indians don't back off without justifying the statement and coming up with supportive sentiments. That's why when French hacker Robert Baptiste, who also goes by the name of the Elliot Alderson on Twitter, gave out his opinion on what he felt about Indian developers as a whole, the Indian Twitter media responded mostly with mixed views. But why the tweets of Baptiste matter? Because he is the person who found bugs in India's massive Aadhaar project and challenged UIDAI. His views apparently do matter.

Alderson talked about the poor coding capabilities of Indian developers and stuck to his argument even when people started giving their own views on his tweet. This eventually became a thread where several kinds of views came up either in support for the Indian developers or for opposing AIderson's point of view.

Here is all that happened. Do you agree with Baptiste that Indian developers can't write proper code and are unimaginative? First see his tweet:

-- Elliot Alderson took to Twitter to express his displeasure for Indian developers and coders. "(angry)I use to work with Indian developers and sometimes it's very painful. Seriously, you are a << senior >> developer and you don't know how to use git? You are a << backend developer >> and you don't know how to do a curl request?(angry)," wrote Baptiste.

-- Baptiste didn't just stop there. He went on to mention that some developers are so disconnected from the world of coding that they have to Google basic stuff while appearing for an interview. "Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of good developers in India and it's ok to don't know something. But at least, if you don't know something be curious, try to learn it and understand. The lack of curiosity is really a blocker for me," he added in another tweet.

-- Elliot Alderson, whose real name is Robert Baptiste, is a French security researcher who often hunts for security flaws in various apps as well as tech services. Baptiste has substantial following on Twitter, but he came to limelight earlier this year when he found out about various security loopholes in the Indian government's Aadhaar app. He discovered that the Aadhaar app can easily be hacked even by a coder who know basic coding stuff. This came at a time when the news filled up with individual Aadhaar details selling for Rs 500.

-- In his tweet, Alderson mentioned about the lack of knowledge that Indian developers posses with regards to Git. For the uninformed, git is a distributed version control tool that can maintain a history of all the changes made to the code of a particular application. Git is maintained by the Linux foundation and runs on the user end. Developers often use Git to submit their project on the cloud-based GitHub, which is maintained by Microsoft.

-- After Baptiste made the tweet, several Twitter users came up with support for the French developer. "In my experience it's the outsourcing companies who seem to randomly allocate people to job roles without actually checking what skills and experience they have first," wrote one member by the name of Tautology0. "I once had a VMware admin who, when my testing VM wouldn't work, would open the VM properties, randomly alter a few tick boxes and then try again. (Root cause, after I eventually got him to Google it, was to do with VMware not being compatible with itself.)," he added.

Another Twitter user called @srj0408 said, "Git should added as a part in college curriculum. I ask every candidate in the interview if he/she know git. Working on a project in a team without git, I think is not possible."

-- However, there were several others on point to explain Baptiste cannot base his judgement on the basis of what he had to witness. "Don't generalize about Indians. How much are you paying per hour? That determines the quality you get," wrote @80s_boyz. Another user @mgchaunshuo said, "I am Indian but I agree with you, because there are lots of good Indian developers but they never get the chance to prove themselves, instead some idiot who claims to be senior developer get the job."

"I think those were Pakistani/Chinese developers pretending to be Indian or @fs0c131y might be offering very less," jokibgly wrote @saurav6767.

-- This isn't the first time such a debate has taken place. It is often said that Indian developers are good at copying code or at basic stuff but find it difficult to come up imaginative solutions to tricky problems.

-- Two years ago a study by Aspiring Minds with sample size of 36,000 engineering graduates found that over 60 per cent IT students in India couldn't write code that would successfully compile. A study that appeared on Quartz earlier this year also stated that one in three kids outside India typically begin learning to code before they turn 15, while only one in 10 did it in India.

-- While the reputation of developers in India may not be all too great, it is worth nothing that there are several good examples of Indian developers making it big in the Silicon Valley. In fact, some of the most recognised work in the field of information technology can be attributed to a significant number of Indian developers who look after products and services in companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others.

-- But the problem, it seems, is there with the desi developers. The problem that Baptiste pointed out can largely be attributed to the ineffective distribution of computer education in India. Schools in India primarily focus on a handful of programming languages such as C, C++ and Java. These languages are in high demand in India, but when it comes to solving problems in India, people end up learning something that doesn't apply to solving relevant problems.