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The IT Market: Cyclical Downturn or New World Order?

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the giant-sucking-noise dept.

Technology 1119

An anonymous reader wrote: "CNN.com is running an interesting story on the heels of a Forrester Research report concerning the shift of high tech jobs from the U.S. to places like China, India, and Russia for cheaper labor and got me thinking about the nature of the current downtrend in programmer demand in the U.S (as opposed to the "morality" of such a shift). While I'm sure the causes for this downtrend are variable, the more important question in my mind is this -- Is software guru Bruce Eckel correct in saying that the current downturn represents a temporary blip in the business cycle as jobs are shifted from large and medium companies to smaller companies, or are Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas correct in recognizing this as a new reality. Personally I tend to agree with Hunt and Thomas's view (which is not completely opposed to Bruce's opinion, btw) and I also agree with their viewpoint that protectionist policies like H1B quotas and tariffs won't work to change anything for the better. So what do you think? Is this just another business cycle or is this a New World Order in IT?"

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The Economics of Empire (5, Interesting)

gokubi (413425) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444832)

We never thought it could happen to us: globalization was just supposed to make stuff cheaper to buy. But the race to the bottom can happen at all levels of employment, for all tasks that don't need to be performed on site. This includes us, the white collar IT workers.

This is not "the sound of inevitability", it's the sound of years of government/corporate policy to make the world our cheap labor playground. It can be reversed with rational policies that foster local investment at the expense of unchecked corporate profits. What happens when you have corporations that are invested in a locality? They don't ship the jobs overseas just to save a buck.

Read "The Economics of Empire" in the May Harper's. Excellent piece.

It happened to textile workers long ago. It's happening to us now.

Re:The Economics of Empire (4, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444937)

"But the race to the bottom can happen at all levels of employment..."

Oh really? So when did corporations start outsourcing their outrageously-paid executives to India?

Re:The Economics of Empire (3, Interesting)

scalis (594038) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444991)

I think you are right. Globalization is a rush to the bottom where production is moved to wherever it is cheapest at the moment. Nike for instance that once made sports equipment is now only a marketing company, they tend to see it as "selling an image" while the producion is long gone, not even kept within the company.
The thing is, this has happened before and will happen again. At first, asian companies didnt have the sophisticated state of the art machinery to produce large quantities of cheap shoes. But then they aquired it and we moved production there since it was cheaper. After that, they didnt have the equipment needed to produce computer components but then they aquired it and now it is "made in china" all over the computers.
The Q is, what are we going to come up with next? Biotech?

Gee (-1, Flamebait)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444999)

Look who's fucking talking.

First you yanks almost get us all killed in "nucular" armageddon, then you spread your venom all over the globe for decades with no end in sight. All in the crusade for free markets.

And now.. now that cheap labour in India and cheap steel from Europe is threatening you, then you start bitching and complaining. Raising toll barriers and all.

And for the record, I'm not against free markets, I'm just sick and tired of American hipocrisy.

Face it. What the USA do, you do because it benefits you. You're not shining white knights. You are cutthroat egomaniacs, willing to go to any length just to keep your average 3.5 SUVs per household.

Re:Gee (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445077)

yeah, but seriously, how do you feel about it?

Re:The Economics of Empire (5, Insightful)

ThePolemarch (653788) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445013)

And what exactly do you propose, huge tariffs and unconstitutional regulations on outsourcing that not only hurt the industry but increase prices for the end consumer? Not to mention the deprivation of a salary to these foreign employees, while not comparable in US terms, that beats any possible salary they can earn in their country with NO external influence.

The idea of protecting employees in the US is just as selfish to me as the RIAA monopolizing the music industry and charging unreasonable prices. In my opinion, the government cannot look at this at a micro level, but rather must account for the public good. The industry, the end consumer, and the global economy as a whole benefits from products that can be made as cheap as possible. I have little to no sympathy for the IT employees laid off, they must adapt to survive the changes, as we cannot continually look at these issues on a microeconomic scale.

Re:The Economics of Empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445044)

Yes, and we can help export our jobs by writing GPLed code! Then, we can (without the benefit of closed source) try and provide complementary "services" by competing with $1/hr non-first-world programmers!

Re:The Economics of Empire (2, Insightful)

Webtommy88 (515386) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445053)

Yup, such is the inevitability of globalization.

The thing that really gets to me is that by outsourcing, these companies are no longer investing in the markets that purchase from them and this short sighted quarter-by-quater view will eventually come back to hurt them.

People higher up that make these decisions don't care, because they're in charge of the company and won't get out sourced. By the time that foreign entities have the purchasing power to buy and remove these people (and this WILL happend), all the higher up's are already gone anyway, what do they care.

It makes me sick sometimes how a company's entire future can be directed by one person with no regard to all the labour that makes the company possible. I have no respect for CEO's.

My econ prof taught us that north american white collar IT types will never be able to compete against India's and Russia on a salary level, so we must instead, compete on a productivity level. But I just can't help but to think management are too ignorant to compare productivity instead of price.

Re:The Economics of Empire (1, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445054)

The plus side is that certain IT skills are difficult or impossible to move overseas. For instance, the ability to build a network, hardware and sofware, is something that must physically be done in the office. Sysadmins will always be needed in some capacity, since servers (or mainframes) for many businesses, especially large ones with secure data, are on-site and must be maintained there. Tech support by phone can often be outsourced, but tech support for a corporation's employees requires someone who can physically reach the machine.

It's mainly coders that are relocatable and are therefore at risk. The best thing one can do, then, is keep learning and move up to one of those non-outsourcable positions. I myself have given a lot of thought to taking university courses in database administration -- this story was just about the last piece of motivation I needed.

Re:The Economics of Empire (5, Insightful)

enjo13 (444114) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445084)

Fine in theory, but what happens when you handcuff American corporations to American labor? One of two things, either companies in other countries with cheaper labor markets rise to fill the product gap left by their less efficient (in terms of money) and more bloated American counterparts... OR those American companies move their operations to those cheaper locales.

It's the concept of a competitive advantage. It's time that workers in IT (and I am one) recognize that workers in China and India have a fairly pronounced competitive advantage over the workers herein the United States. We're expensive, difficult to manage, and only slightly better programmers than those in other countries (as a whole). You can legislate this all you want, the fact remains however that you burying our heads in our the sand won't make the problem go away. We must find a way to compete as a workforce.. or turn to another economic system. Tariffs and taxes on foreign goods do nothing but destroy OUR wealth.. after all we only make up ~5% of the worlds population.

It's a tough pill to swallow, and our auto workers and manufacturers have had to swallow it in the past. What's insanely funny to me is that Americans in general have this view that in order for our economy to be strong, everyone elses must be weak. You don't have to watch CNN long to hear "We can't have free trade, that will make the Chinese economy stronger!!" Yes, this is the result. Basically the economies in India, China, etc.. are so weak that the cost of living is almost neglible. So a programmer in India doesn't have to make a whole lot to be comfortable by the standards of his society. $5,000 goes a long ways in those countries.

At the end of the day, protectionism doesn't help us.. it doesn't fix any problems. It simply plugs a small hole in the damn and HURTS the overall American economy in a major way. Sure it may keep you in a job for 6 months or a year.. but the fundemental problem remains. We simply can't compete with our foreign counterparts at the salaries we expect.

The Smurfs: Innocent Fun, or COMMUNISM? (-1, Troll)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444835)

I like most of my generation grew up watching the Smurfs. I loved them so much that I tuned in every Saturday morning to see what crazy hijinks those lovable little blue creatures would get up to.

It is just now that I have realized what I was really tuning into each and every Saturday morning was actuallty COMMUNIST PROPAGANDA!! Yes that is correct, Papa Smurf and all of his little Smurf minions are not the happy little characters Hanna Barbara would have us believe! The cartoon was really created by the Russian government in order to indoctrinate the youngest members of western society with communist beliefs and ideals thus destroying their resistance to the imminent Russian invasion that was to occur when this generation (my generation) grew up.

To prove my point I submit that 1.) They live in a communal village and are discouraged to leave the village without the company of their fellow Smurfs. 2.) Every Smurf has his own specific job and does not deviate from that job. The job even becomes part of their personality and even their name (Brainy Smurf, Handy Smurf, etc.) 3.) If ever a Smurf decides to strike out on his own he is cast into danger in some way of another, and it is up to the collective to save him. 4.) Papa Smurf looks an awful lot like Karl Marx plus, he wears all that red.

And let us not forget Smurfette, the lone female Smurf and the embodiment of community property.

In the face of such convincing evidence, it is easy to mark the Smurfs as the communists they are, not to mention the fact that their nemeses Gargamel (and his maladjusted cat Azrael, a not so subtle attack on ISRAEL) is the personification of capitalism; out for himself and profit trying to destroy the peaceful commune of Smurfs.

Thankfully our resistance was not destroyed, thanks to the determination of other cartoons such as G.I. Joe and Richie Rich who's goal it was to instill in the children of the western world the morals and values of capitalism.

Re:The Smurfs: Innocent Fun, or COMMUNISM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444885)

Ohhh Paaalllleeeease!

Re:The Smurfs: Innocent Fun, or COMMUNISM? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444914)

What's your take on South Park?

Req: 'Gayniggers from outer space' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444846)

Bytemonsoon.com is fucked.

7-11 (-1, Flamebait)

skidrowe (688747) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444856)

I knew this was going to happen when I saw Apu reading the Java in 21 Days book...better start checking out the classifieds...

Re:7-11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444908)

Actually, Apu has a college degree in Computer Science.

His thesis was a punch-card based tic-tac-toe program that could beat any human, even at the Grandmaster level.

fire up the plant.... (3, Funny)

pauly_thumbs (416028) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444860)

.. we'll start making widgets again!

Something is cyclical... (3, Funny)

dcypher_67 (674764) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444862)

but I believe that cycle has to do with posting stories over and over.

I'm going to say Dave Thomas is right (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444867)

You have to say this: the man certainly knew how to run a quality burger restaurant. And I can't imagine those skills aren't transferrable to IT.

"That's Dave's Way.."

Re:I'm going to say Dave Thomas is right (0)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444941)

Not to mention Doug McKenzie, Eh?

No Editor Comments (-1, Offtopic)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444871)

Personally I tend to agree with Hunt and Thomas's view (which is not completely opposed to Bruce's opinion, btw) and I also agree with their viewpoint that protectionist policies like H1B quotas and tariffs won't work to change anything for the better. So what do you think?

Who really cares what you think michael? The editor comments really need to stop. They are getting downright annoying.

Re:No Editor Comments (1)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444894)

Take a closer look. All of the text is in italics. That means it's the submitter's opinion, not the editor's.

Re:No Editor Comments (1)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444922)

Good point, it's still annoying though.

Re:No Editor Comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444952)

Who cares what you think?

Who cares what you think about what Michael thinks?

Who cares what you think about what Michael thinks about what some other people think?

You keep fighting the good fight though and maybe somebody you'll succeed in supressing all these dangerous opinions.

INDIAN PROGRAMMERS SMELL BAD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444874)

and they write shitty code.

P.S. Russians stink even worse!

Re:INDIAN PROGRAMMERS SMELL BAD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444923)

hello doggie!

Re:INDIAN PROGRAMMERS SMELL BAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444984)

As far as I know, webex does not contain smell-o-vision.

new world order ish (5, Insightful)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444875)

For all of the IT jobs that can be moved easily (read programming) it has come down to the lowest common denominator for most low quality projects . I say this from experience competing with people from third world countries for contracts , unless you can price your self down to there level you wont get the majority of contracts . That being said some of the better contracts (grand plus) are still staying relatively domestic (north american) because they want some one who they can phone up if something breaks . One majour thing preventing the shift is the lack of high quality english in those countries , right now (even with my english as you can no doubt tell is very 31337) allows me to win some contracts because I can accuractetly understand the proposal and people think I will do a better job. Once all of those countries with cheep labour get good english ... I dont know

Re:new world order ish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444961)

"Once all of those countries with cheep labour get good english"


Which you obviously have still failed to achieve.
How this crap above is insightful is anyone's guess.

Re:new world order ish (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444968)

"I say this from experience competing with people from third world countries for contracts , unless you can price your self down to there level you wont get the majority of contracts ." You are missing something here, people in third world countries such as India don't price themselves out, due to strong dollar policies cost of living is simply lower, so at 20% of your salary here, they can have a better life than you. Don't make it sound as if they degrade themselves to unfairly compete with you. This trend will continue till those currencies come to par with the US dollar which is slowly but surely happening. http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=2 3007 [expressindia.com] http://www.ciol.com/content/news/CorpResult/2003/1 03071501.asp [ciol.com] After that it would not make any sense to outsource jobs to those countries.

Call Centers and the Like (0, Flamebait)

UTaimSRC (689392) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444884)

Again, they are only outsourcing the call centers and other jobs for which no skill is required. I mean does it really matter that people will now call India for their first tier support. And if that is your job market them I'm sorry, but you should have learned more skills while you were back in college. just my $.02

Re:Call Centers and the Like (1)

PieEye (667629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444932)

That USED to be true. Unfortunately, they have enough experience and tie-in to corporate structures that they are now getting the actual programming and project management positions, where everything about a project is now not just off-site but also off-shore.

Nope... (1)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444982)

Living here in SiliValley I can attest first hand that companies are moving whole programming jobs overseas. For cost reasons, mostly.

Re:Call Centers and the Like (2, Informative)

mrlpz (605212) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445009)

Are you nuts ? Have you ever tried using tech support call centers outside the country for anything of useful purpose ? Consider that DELL does this now, and there is nothing but discontent among customers ( and I'm not just talking about US customers, so that dispels the "US consumer as whiner" myths ).

And it's not just level 1 support, either.

Mmm... (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445025)

Like IBM's Printing System's company, who does all their printer driver development in Romania. Which place you can get a damn good programmer with a Master's degree in IT for dirt cheap and don't have to worry about paying for nicities like health insurance. The trick being, of course, that instead of opening a branch of the company over there you sign a contract with a consulting firm and they worry about all the local regulations for you. Since software isn't a "product" like a printer or a cellphone is, it's not succiptable to the same taxes.

By the way, while I was over there, I met a guy from Siemens who was doing some manufacturing plant stuff in the area. He was complaining that they paid huge taxes on outgoing shipments, although most of that was refunded by the government a few months later. They were thinking of relocating their plant to Singapore or somewhere because of that.

It's quite obvious where this trend stops. Once we figure out how to outsource the entire command chain all the way up to the CEO, our shares of stock should be worth that much more because the company's cut their costs by a couple of orders of magnitude. I bet I could find a guy in Romania who'd be willing to be the company's CEO for one one-hundredth of what the current guy makes, with the same or better credentials. It's only a matter of time before shareholders realize this...

Re:Call Centers and the Like (2, Informative)

pvdl (621000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445058)

> they are only outsourcing the call centers and
> other jobs for which no skill is required.

That is just completely misinformed and inaccurate.
Much software development work has already gone overseas to India and Russia. They work at about 50% of the rate you have to pay a programmer in the US.

That work is never coming back to the US economy. New software development and QA jobs are going overseas faster than they are being developed here. The skills you learned in college don't help with this.

It is not unusual to see ads in the Silicon Valley paper (Mercury News) for software management jobs in Bangalore. They are trying to lure home Indian expats.

Things are ugly in the world right now.

Watch out for phonies (-1, Insightful)

Fux the Pengiun (686240) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444888)

The dot-com boom created a lot of "programmers" who weren't. For example, in the midst of the boom we would have people show up at seminars who said that they "programmed in HTML" (and sometimes a little Perl) and felt like they knew enough about "programming" that they were ready for the big time. Naturally, they were swamped when faced with real programming because we assume competence in some C-like language, but these poor people had been fooled into the hubris of thinking "I don't need those prerequisites, programming is easy and I'm smart". But the dot-boom created a demand for anyone who could type any kind of code, even HTML, with, I'm sure, the idea that these folks could eventually be trained into more complex jobs. But now, the out-of-work ranks are filled with people who say they are programmers (because they were told so when they had their jobs), and yet don't have the skills necessary to do serious programming. Thus at least some of the jobless numbers come from artificial inflation of those who claim to be a programmer but aren't.

Re:Watch out for phonies (5, Funny)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444969)

"The dot-com boom created a lot of "programmers" who weren't."

You must be referring to my MCSE...

Re:Watch out for phonies (1)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445014)

Eh ... to tell you the truth, most of those pseudo-programmers lost their jobs and skipped town in 2000, 2001. Plus when you have a whole company go under, they're not picking and choosing between the "real" programmers and the pseudo-programmers ... everyone's got the shaft and everyon'es looking for work. I don't deny theres a fair amount of pseudo-programmers unemployed, but take a look at some of the resumes out there in IT and you can't deny, there's some talented people who are just SOL. I'm sure you personally know a few of 'em.

Re:Watch out for phonies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445023)

Nice going, cut-and-paste the 8th (9th?) paragraph from the Eckel link without attribution, get a nice (5, Insightful) for your trouble.

Sweet. (I would've modded you down, but how can I go against a tide of clueless moderators?)

-1: Plagiarized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445075)

Please moderate accordingly!

Re:Watch out for phonies (0)

matt_king (19018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445080)

The bullet is enoooormous! there is no escaping.

Re:Watch out for phonies (1)

scalis (594038) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445082)

Thats true. Alot of "programmers" that had no real experience also got fired in the early stages of the dot-boom and left many companies with only a few skilled programmers left. But many companies didnt just fire people, they went off the market, bankrupt, leaving both good and bad programmers out of a job.
Ofcourse being an unemployed skilled programmer is better than being an unemployed bad programmer, but both are still out of a job...

Degree (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444889)

Now 43, the veteran programmer is urging his 18-year-old nephew to stay in suburban Chicago and is discouraging him from pursuing degrees in computer science or engineering.

Glad to see that people besides me still attend Universities because of what they might learn, as opposed to who might hire them.

Education is the solution (0)

SirLanse (625210) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444897)

We have to have our education system reformed. It is now passing kids so they 'feel good about themselves'. They need to learn to compete in the world market. It is very tough out here. Some teacher suggested mandatory military service because 'they could force them to learn'. I say we make the school system part of the military. It is what will help us win or lose the next economic war. Or do you think we should just join the Kymer Rouge?

Protectionist Policies? (2, Redundant)

tommck (69750) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444904)

protectionist policies like H1B quotas


The fact that H1Bs _exist_ is certainly not protectionist! I don't think H1Bs should even exist at all!! There are plenty of developers having a hard time finding work nowadays without us bringing in third-world workers who think that driving a 1981 Civic is a wonderful privelege!

T

Re:Protectionist Policies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445016)

Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt this way. And you actually got modded Insightful instead of -1 Racist like usual.

Nice moves.

All the Indians I have ever worked with... (1, Flamebait)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444905)

..wrote crappy code.

An observation, but one that in my experience has been universally true.

The Russians aren't much better. On the other hand, I have met some first class Chinese coders.

Re:All the Indians I have ever worked with... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444989)

It is amazing where you can share your subjective experience and be modded as flamebait.

With the exception of two or so Indian H1B visa most of them I met and worked with produced average to poor quality code.

NOT THIS OVERSEAS IT JOBS SHIT AGAIN!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444909)

Why is this shit posted on Slashdot on a daily fucking basis? WE KNOW about our fucking jobs going overseas AND THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO SAY.

asshats

No Tip. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444912)

You know, I've been sitting at this table for over 30 minutes, waiting for my New World Order... I mean, I know its lunch hour and everything, and the chef can get busy, but c'mon? How long is this thing gonna take?

No tip, thats all I can say. I should complain to the manager!

Time to start learning Hindi (5, Interesting)

bpm140 (92250) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444913)

In the last 20 years we've gone from the idea of working at one company for your entire career, to working at several companies in your career, to having multiple careers. This just seems like another logical step.

It will certainly take some getting used to, and not everyone will compete, but I think that the average white collar American is finally learning what globalization means. Highly skilled folks in the rest of the world have been dealing with this for years -- they all learned English to compete. Now it's our turn.

Just like the Clothing Industry? (2, Insightful)

jj00 (599158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444919)

I wonder if we are going the way of the retail clothing industry. Companies that import clothing using cheap labor and selling it for higher prices. I can't see that business model as NOT being attractive for a business person.

I wonder if Microsoft will eventually ditch all the "die hard" believers they have working for them.

Re:Just like the Clothing Industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445024)

I wonder if Microsoft will eventually ditch all the "die hard" believers they have working for them.

I just read yesterday that Microsoft is going to double the number of programmers they have working in India.

globalization (0, Flamebait)

thorgil (455385) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444921)

Companies move to the country that humiliates itself the most...
Its called capitalism..

In corparate america companies move YOU!

A temporary thing (5, Insightful)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444926)

This problem can be fixed by exporting the Labor Unions, so that they encourage everyone everywhere to demand the same high pay. Even without unions, this will happen, only more slowly. Remember when Japanese cars were lots cheaper than American? The obvious reason was the lower cost of labor in Japan. Well, these days Japanese auto workers make about the same or even more than American auto workers. Any difference in cost of autos these days can be traced to greater usage of robotics in Japan. So, I'm convinced that globalization will eventually even out the cost of labor. But it sure is going to hurt until it happens!

Unions/Steel (1)

Tsali (594389) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444935)

... imagine what would happen if we unionized and tried to stave off the inevitable like the steel industry? Tarriffs slow the bleeding, but sometimes the limb has to just go.

Until the global markets are completely level, the U.S. will bleed jobs. We wanted this, but we thought we would come out ahead. We might have been wrong, but ideologues sometimes are.

I think we'll always need developers and IT stuff here at home - there will be many Detroits instead of Silicon Valley.

Re:Unions/Steel (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445074)

Well you do come out ahead. Of course by "You" I mean US corporations, the ones who spend alot of money lobbying/paying off/etc political parties.

Market adjustment (4, Informative)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444938)

The cold, unpleasant truth here, is that 90% of IT isn't worth its salary.

Globalization is the great leveler (assuming free markets). It takes time, but eventually, everyone gets paid what they're actually worth as opposed to what they think they're worth.

The secret is to make yourself worth more. Probably a meaningless admonition to most slashdotters who think that the world owes them a living so they can spend all their time downloading files from Kazaa.

I am very cynical about this. (4, Interesting)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444939)

I think this outsourcing trend is the new face of technology in this country. We all have to adapt. We are not going to be able to change the system, because the system is run by the corporations that employ, which have the politicians in their pockets. Take a look at how systematically, the clothing industry, the manufacturing industry, the auto industry has all moved their jobs overseas, to asia, mexico, wherever. At each point, people who lost their jobs in the US made a stink, but nothing was done. I hate to say it but I don't see it any different today, even though our programming jobs are supposedly "white collar" ... BFD.


I think we are just going to have to get used to it. We are either going to have to learn to get by on way lower salaries, or get into another career. Technology just isn't the type of job that's going to last for a whole lifetime. I'm already planning an exit strategy.


remember back in the day of 1999 ... when people said the tech boom was going to change everything? Introduce a whole new way of doing business? Well, that promise is being fullfilled. It wasn't exactly the positive change we were hoping for. But one lesson should be kept from those days. Remember ... be adaptable? Get used to change? If you don't change from your old business ways you'll die? All those messages were being yelled at the management, when it should have been yelled at us netslaves, the ones who supposedly "get it". What we need to get is, be adaptable. Tech is simply too volatile to base your whole life's career on. And those who don't adapt and change, will die a slow, horrible death.

Re:I am very cynical about this. (4, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445065)


Tech is simply too volatile to base your whole life's career on. And those who don't adapt and change, will die a slow, horrible death.


People should focus on being able to do something that produces value for a company or society. Learn to make something. Software as a product has a value that is rapidly speeding towards zero. Other sectors, like the embedded market, industrial controls, specialized welding, manufacturing automation and more all have jobs available, but require more learning and experience than your average network installation does. These are also jobs that by their nature cannot be outsourced.

I think IT as it was is going to die hard. The future is in finding new applications of technology to improve the bottom line.

This isn't the end of the world. Everyone needs to eat, and the economy has a way of providing for that. If the economy crashes to the point where there are no jobs, then there's no market for those foriegn produced goods, is there?

Re:I am very cynical about this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445068)

Sure, but what job isn't shippable overseas to some cheaper location, especially if we're starting to ship skilled white-collar jobs overseas? Management? If all of the people are overseas, what do you need management for?

So a few CEOs will be left to run their hundreds of cheap off-shore locations. That's great for that 100 people. What about the rest of us? Are we all supposed to work in some service job? And if we're all working flipping burgers, and cutting hair, who will have the time and money to buy our services besides the 100 CEOs?

This doesn't bode well. :(

It's happened to manufacturing... (3, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444944)

... why shouldn't it happen to software?

The grunt jobs will be shipped off to the cheapest place, whereas there will always be a place for higher-end jobs. The goal posts will constantly be moving though.

Re:It's happened to manufacturing... (1)

feed_those_kitties (606289) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445071)

The grunt jobs will be shipped off to the cheapest place, whereas there will always be a place for higher-end jobs. The goal posts will constantly be moving though.

So, why shouldn't it happen to higher-end jobs, too?

If sending 90% of a companies lower level (programmer / developer / coder) positions overseas is a good thing, why don't they start sending the managerial and executive jobs overseas? After all, shouldn't managers be near the people they are managing?

Or, is there something so extra-special about management that there is no possible way that someone overseas can do the job you do? Oh wait, did that sound cynical?

If I sound bitter, it's because I am. I have over 20 years of data processing experience, fluent in several technologies, and learning even more. I can't even get an interview nowdays. My last company fired me after 9 years of good work, claiming I couldn't do my job (that I had been doing for 9 years!). Then, where did my job end up? Yup - overseas. My old company basically told me that I had no future there as a developer, but I could probably get a project management position. So they had no use for me as a software developer/engineer (something I'm quite good at), but they'd pay me more money do be a manager (something I would probably suck at...)

Loyalty to long-time skilled employees? Not anymore. Companies are only loyal to their short-term bottom line.

!sig

job bidding sites.. (2, Interesting)

joeldg (518249) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444948)

I run the site listbid.com [listbid.com] and can tell you with certainty that most of the people signing up and bidding on jobs are from eastern block countries. I don't have a huge Asian group, only around 30 or 40 but the majority are from Russia and the Ukraine. And these guys will do large jobs for cheap.

They actually, are the primary reason I added in a IP-To-Country part of the site, you can view where people "say" they come from VS. where their IP block is located geographically.

I will be adding some charts soon on the site to show the statistical breakdowns.

Quality (1)

Captain_Loser (601474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444950)

Will we see a jump in quality because of increased competition? It seems to me anymore that large companies concentrate on getting their product out to market before it is finished. The "release it now, patch it later" philosophy has caused a general downward turn in the quality of software. Perhaps a little healthy competition will help bring quality back into focus.

Just another industry lost (1)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444957)

I heard someone on radio say the other day that American IT was the new version of the textile industry of the last century. Suffer for years with long hours, low pay, part of faceless rows of automatons, then - poof! - your job is gone.

I couldn't agree more. I am glad my degree is not in CS, I can find something else now and quit hoping for American leadership to discover wisdom.

BUSH = ECONOMIC FAILURE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444962)

White House Says Deficit Will Reach $455 Billion This Year
By KENNETH N. GILPIN

The Federal budget deficit will be $455 billion, roughly 50 percent larger than the White House estimated in February, the President's Office of Management and Budget said this afternoon.

The sluggish economy, the cost of on-going operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the administration's tax cuts are the primary sources for the rising revenue shortfall.

Advertisement

The projected deficit announced today, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, is up sharply from the $304 billion deficit the budget office foresaw six months ago. Unless conditions change significantly over the next few months, private analysts said the number could be even bigger.

While drastically bigger than the original forecast, the numbers do not come as much of a surprise. When it offered its last estimates in February, the White House did not include costs related to the war in Iraq. And this year's $330 billion tax cut had not been enacted.

Last month the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said it expected the deficit for the current fiscal year to reach $400 billion.

The new deficit numbers from the Office of Management and Budget contain "about $80 billion due to the tax cuts, and another $45 billion to $50 billion in war-related costs," said David Wyss, chief economist at the Standard & Poor's Corporation.

The economy, which has not grown anywhere near as rapidly as the administration forecast back in February, has also contributed to the rising deficit, as tax revenues have declined.

However, most of the increase is due to "war and taxes," Mr. Wyss said.

The White House is projecting a strong recovery during the coming fiscal year, but even that will not prevent the deficit from widening further.

According to the statistics released this afternoon, the economy is projected to grow at a 3.6 percent rate for the twelve months beginning in October. Still, the deficit is forecast to widen to $475 billion. In February, the White House estimated the 2004 budget shortfall at $307 billion.

Democrats said the projected 2004 deficits may be even higher than current estimates, and they are certain to try to make the issue a political liablity for President Bush next year.

"The projected $475 billion deficit for next year does not count Iraq and Afghanistan, which together are costing $5 billion a month," said South Carolina Congressman John M. Spratt, Jr., the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

War-related costs "could easily push the 2004 budget deficit over half a trillion dollars," Mr. Spratt said.

Many economists and most Republicans argue that the more important measure is the deficit as a percentage of the overall economy. At about 4.2 percent of gross domestic product, the deficit remains less than it was in 1983, when it hit a post World War II peak of 6.0 percent.

Nonetheless, in nominal terms the deficit for the 2003 fiscal year will be a record, easily eclipsing the $290 billion deficit recorded in 1992, when President Bush's father was president.

Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman, told the Reuters news agency earlier today that "the deficit certainly remains a concern, but it is one that is manageable and it is one we are addressing . . . over the next few years we will cut this deficit in half."

Currently, the White House projects the budget deficit will begin to shrink in the 2005 fiscal year and move steadily lower for the following three years, to a shortfall of $226 billion in 2008.

The White House is counting on an expanding economy and a robust stock market to boost Federal tax revenues in order for the deficit to narrow appreciably.

But the economy will have to grow extremely fast, and the stock market will have to resume rising at rates seen in the late 1990's for that to happen.

"From 1995 to 2000 capital tains tax revenues increased from $40 billion to $120 billion," Congressman Spratt said. "We had a phenomenon in the 1990's that is not likely to repeat itself. And now, even if the stock market goes up, the administration has cut the capital gains tax rate."

Mr. Wyss from Standard & Poor's said that "cutting the deficit in half over the next few years is highly optimistic."

"We think it will come down," he said, "but I don't think you will have very high long-term economic growth. Moreover, military spending will remain high, and there are more tax cuts in the pipeline."

In its report, titled "Mid-Session Review," analysts at the budget office note "these deficits are manageable if we continue pro-growth economic policies and exercise serious spending restraint."

Based on past performance, curbing spending does not seem likely.

In recent article in The Economist, the British newspaper, Veronique de Rugy, a fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, is quoted as saying that Federal spending during the first three years of the Bush administration has increased 13.5 percent.

In 2000, when the Federal budget was comfortably in surplus, Federal spending accounted for 18.4 percent of national income, according to The Economist. Today, it accounts for just under 20 percent.

Is it just me... (1)

SD-VI (688382) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444963)

... or does someone ask this every time there's a market downturn?

Cost.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444971)

Hire 2 programmers or more at the same cost of 1 ? what would you choose.

Oh .. programmers .. I see .. (2, Interesting)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444972)

and got me thinking about the nature of the current downtrend in programmer demand in the U.S

I hate this statement. Just what exactly do you consider a "programmer"? Is a MSCE a "programmer".

I look all around me and I see MSCE, 6 week crash course community college trained Java programmers, and guys who think they should be administrating 100 UNIX boxes because they were successful at installing Linux on the fourth try all over the place pissing and moaning on how bad things are.

On the other side of the spectrum I see C/C++ programmers and DBA's with job offers all over the place.

Until "programming" is a certified profession, such as engineers, doctors, even accountants, you can make the numbers do whatever you wish.

In the 90's businesses were pretty stupid. They thought that since you knew things around computers that they need you. Today, they are a little smarter and will ask more indepth questions, and ask to see that $50K+ piece of paper.

Asian deflation in many markets (3, Interesting)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444975)

The Asian nations of India and China are not just deflating tech salaries. To limit the view to this is myopic. Both nations have a high number of workers who are well trained and willing to work for very low wages.

Add to this the low barriers to commerce as a result of WTO membership and extensive fiber networks and the result is that we are about to enter a period of hypercompetition that will result in massive profit deflations for many American firms. Consider that the big three automakers are now demanding that their suppliers match the price for potential parts that could be produced at Chinese wages. They are essentially telling suppliers in advance to beat the potential Chinese price or the Chinese price will become a reality.

The end result of this will be the continued growth of Asian economies as China will most likely continue to surpass the US for foreign investment as it did for the first time in 2002.

Maybe in biotech and entertainment the US will keep a lead, but everything else is up for grabs and the lowest price will win.

I think it's a sad reality (3, Interesting)

Uttles (324447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444979)

It is the sad reality that companies are willing to trade any sense of locality for the quick buck. Problems with shipping high tech jobs overseas are hard to quantify, and therefore do not show up on investor reports. The main problem today is that companies are working for the easiest way possible to get a little jump on some chart or graph rather than establish long term paths to success. These shortcuts will come back to haunt them though, and eventually things will even out, in my opinion.

Re:I think it's a sad reality (1)

YllabianBitPipe (647462) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445089)

But then again, just to play devil's advocate ... back in the boom days, employees were quitting their jobs, skippin town, basically trading any sense of locality for the quick buck. I'm sure it pissed the companies off then, that they'd have to pay top dollar to get some programmer just to have him ditch for a .com, getting a 20K bonus in the process, etc.

This isn't meant to justify outsourcing, but I can understand why comapnies don't give a crap about employees anymore. It does them no good when employess don't give a crap about companies, either. The feeling is mutual.

Protectionism is used ALL THE TIME. It works! (0)

truthhurts1 (689438) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444981)

Look at our MILITARY . Would you like China building our bombs and JETS ????? And guess what people say these sectors produce good profits ,jobs ?? The same REPUBLICAN No-brain-traders. They prob have alot of their 401 k in these companies like Boeing and Lockheed.

We need Managed Smart Trade ,as in some sort of formula to trade with nations that dont want to trade with us like CHINA and JAPAN and Taiwan. These countries are TARGETTING our JOBS and we sit and do nothing thinking that they will buy alot of our cars or planes. BUT THEY DONT.

Free trade with EUROPEAN countries but not with INDIA and other ASIAN nations. THeir Managers for their countries don't want anything to do with FREE trade. They do SMart trade. Thats what we need to do. Managed Smart Trade.

Limits on Japanese Cars and Chinese products, Indian programmers(who by the way were educated to take over U.S. jobs and not their own domestic market).

Don't believe the hype - Bright IT Future! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6444994)

I feel the future is bright as long as it becomes legal to sell your organs for profit. I've calculated I could retire on the proceeds from the sales of one of my livers and 2 kidneys. You could easily do the same.

Overseas Outsourcing (3, Interesting)

spector30 (319592) | more than 11 years ago | (#6444997)

I am curious about the overseas outsourcing of call centers. When does it become more of a burden to tell your customers that they have to speak to someone that speaks their language as a second or third language than it does to provide quality service and support? I bear no grudge against people that have accents, as a matter of fact I find accents quite interesting personally. But customers rarely want to deal with this. When they call for help or with a complaint they want to speak to someone that not only understands them and their concern, but that they can understand as well. When this does not occur another customer is lost to some other company that does it well.

Just my $.02US (which probably isn't worth much right now, but wait for deflation to hit and watch out)

I saw this a decade ago (2, Interesting)

BluedemonX (198949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445000)

A certain high tech company in Canada was experimenting with this about a decade ago.

They realised a few things quickly - and that was that you spent more time and money writing specs, that turned out to make the projects far less flexible. Also, because of cultural differences, for example, when finding a major bug after the project goes gold, some cultures have a "duck the head, don't say anything" mentality, which resulted, in one occasion of note, in a very expensive recall of MANY CDs that had been pressed and sent to customers.

The biggest reason for cost overrun in IT is NOT the salary of the engineer in question, but boneheaded decisions made at levels higher - yes, it may look good in the short term to hire cheaper people, but that doesn't necessarily translate into cheaper projects. Especially when you take the 3am long distance bills into consideration.

I believe Canada swung back after these experiments because it was costing them more than they anticipated, with too much attendant risk. (Company goes out of business? Sells the code on the open market?)

Of course, they wouldn't let us telecommute because they needed us RIGHT THEN AND THERE IN THE OFFICE FOR EMERGENCY MEETINGS, etc. But outsourcing the work halfway across the planet? A mere logistical hurdle to be hurdled.

Yeah (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445001)

That's how the U.S. ends. It ends with our company's looking for cheaper labor costs and in turn we teach them how all our products work and then they take over our company's.

You don't have to drop a nuclear weapon to win a war just win it economically.

Big corporate company (2, Interesting)

ryanw (131814) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445002)

I work for a big corporate america company that everyone has heard of. I could confirm that the demands of the current business stradegy is to off load programming to india or any other off USA soil site.

In the past development of new products was always developed here with local people and then once a product became "steady state" or in a maintaince mode it was then sent off shore to have them maintian any code or product.

This new development of working with offshore sites to develop new products has been a bit of a hastle. The business loves it because it appears to save money immediately being cheaper per line of code or per hour, BUT there are huge gaps when trying to deploy or release this product into production.

One of the major problems is offshore people can hardly speak english. We've found ourselves needing to rely on local foreigners to either translate or attempt to speak better english. This makes implimentation time and working with the system administrators a much more drawn out process.

Can't shift *all* of IT (1)

GeckoFood (585211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445003)

As long as there are Department of Defense contracts, there will be some availability of jobs in the US. Programming that requires a security clearance to access the system on which the code will run, for example, won't be farmed out to India or Malaysia because of the security issue. In this, us IT guys can at least take some comfort.

From where I sit (commercial sector at the moment, working for a retailer), most of the work being exported is help desk and call center stuff. I do know of other places though that are exporting programming work to the far east.

What is my opinion? I think that the commercial sector will eventually bring some of the work back here, depending on how much greed appears abroad and how hungry the workforce gets here. Those in DoD do not need to be as concerned, regardless -- DoD spending is assured for at least a while.

Must be careful of lens you are looking at (1)

AlienSexist (686923) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445007)

Personally, I find that the dot-com dream of working for a huge company with all kinds of benefits is gone. All those jobs are going overseas as we have all have reluctantly admitted over the past year or so.

However, this is not the entire case. I find that the market for "renegade" IT folks (The OSS & Linux evangelists) in small-biz shopes is quite high. And they don't have the time, patience, resources, or confidence to bother with contracting work overseas.

It's the little shops where a renegade can make the most difference, prove their value, and become... *gasp* a CAREER employee. Use your grassroots techie knowhow and keep their heads above water, and they'll keep you on. Ah... Symbiosis.

Probably are several counter-examples, but it has worked for me, and I'm better off than if ever I had joined any of those l33t crack-shot developer teams.

My view (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445008)

Basically, the outsorcing craze has hurt US businesses along with people who have lost their jobs to it. I see it every day. When Amex outsorced their entire IT group to IBM, they really outsorced it to IBM India, and after a while they figured that they were being screwed on the quality. So after their internal clients stopped barking at them, they started subcontracting their old project managers and analysts through US consulting firms, still under IBM India. At crappy rates. The moment the economy picks up even slightly, Amex is going to find itself without the groveling people who used to make $80K+ and now settle for $50K. Even as they continue to use Indians for "grunt" work (read: coding) they have a myriad problems with quality that they didn't have before. Something has to give.

It's been a nice experiment. But overall, if you talk to the folks who made these decisions to "save" money they'll admit that overall it's been more expensive or simply the same (but with the added problems of communication breakdowns and so on).

I think it's just a cycle. Eventually the PHBs that thought they could use $20/hr coders to do the same job that the $80/hr ones did will realize that it was a supremely stupid thing to do and will come to their senses. The price ratio of IT work will level itself out (I have to admit it was insanely high in some isntances) and things will return to normal, or a semblance thereof.

Ha ha, you lose! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445017)

Thank God I didn't go into CS like the rest of you jobless fucks.

Average Programmers Need Not Apply (2, Insightful)

at_kernel_99 (659988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445026)

The boom times may be over, but they're more 'over' for the folks that entered technology for the money. The kids that switched majors or took a couple courses at a tech school in order to get a lucrative programming job are in trouble. But the folks that can actually think for themselves & communicate ideas effectively are not going to have as much trouble staying employed.

In the late 90's, anybody that claimed to have passed a VB, HTML or Java class (ha!) could find work without having to proove anything. As the job market tightens, the incompetent folks are getting laid off. Go figure. But the folks that know what they're doing & actually add value to a business continue to work.

Where I work, now and for other employers over the past 10 years, we've been doing custom software devlopment in a fast paced, dynamic environment. I've worked on multi-national teams that have had minor communication issues when we're all in the same office. No way did we have the time to write detailed specs that we could send off to another part of the world & expect to get perfect code back that just 'plugs in'. Our developers have needed the ability to communicate with one another on an ad hoc basis. This at all phases of the project - design, unit test, integration, production support. Some folks call it XP, some bad planning / project management. But the fact is that this kind of development is going to continue & the people hiring for these positions are going to have their pick of the cream of the crop. For those of us working in the field we're going to have to get used to the fact that most folks' salaries don't jump 10 to 20% a year.

I'd say it's both - and neither (2, Insightful)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445028)

OK, that's an ambiguous answer.

First, it's obvious the market has changed. We had the dot-com-to-bomb experience, economic slowdowns, etc. New technology is coming out, old ones fade - then suddenly hang on. I'm not sure what's going on, but it definitely doesn't seem like it did a few years ago.

However my feeling is companies have overreacted to the changes going on, thus making the changes in the economy and jobs far more painful and pronounced than need be. So we have a "blip" on top of actual changes.

That being said, I think our ultimate problem now is that in a shifting and changing world, with changing technologies, it's hard to know what is going on, and may well only get harder. Things will change faster. Trends will shift quicker. Overall patterns will be harder to determine.

Our methods of predicting and reacting to economic trends are far behind the speed of the world.

Just 2 cents tossed in the wishing well of the future . . .

Support over Programming (1)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445040)

Programming may be moving off-shore, but one thing's for damn sure: As long as companies have computers, the computers will break, and someone'll have to be on-site to fix them. IT Support, while getting harder to find work, will always be around. Hiring an American techie will always be cheaper than flying one in from India.

"protectionist policies like H1B quotas" (4, Interesting)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445046)

The H1B program is not an example of anti-protectionism. Without any trade barriers at all, the employment situation in the US would be like that within the EU boundaries: a programmer from Portugal can get a job in Germany with the same rights as a German worker. Under H1B, an Indian programmer does not have the same rights as a US programmer; he is basically an indentured servant, who must accept any conditions his employer imposes or face immediate deportation.

The argument for H1B is the claim that there is a shortage of skilled technology workers in the US. At present, there is not a shortage, except in very limited cases. However, many companies prefer H1B workers to citizen or permanent resident workers, because they can drive them harder and pay them less, holding the threat of being sent back to India or China in reserve.

H1B visas... (3, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445048)

Ah, why are these things still around? They were put into place when there was a shortage of tech workers.

So it's a double-screwing, exporting tech jobs and importing tech workers.

I knew I should have took up nursing. The only sure-fire growth industry these days...

Sad Truth (5, Informative)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445049)

The sad truth is that the H1B Visa is no longer an issue. It is easier and cheaper to outsource your entire support staff to a foreign country. With the maturing of high speed communications the ability to work with staff across the world is forcing labor costs down. Any law passed is easily circumvented as the support center ( consulting shop outside the US) is not part of the business entity. The only way that this behavior could be deterred is by putting a tarriff on foreign services which would too broadly impact other industries that arn't "abusing" (relative term here) this business option. P.S> Thank Clinton for raising the H1B visa cap his last day of executive power. 3 days later 2000 IT staff nation wide (US) were given notice. 700 here in Minnesota. Where I was at the time EVERY person that was laid off was replaced by H1B staff the following month (That totalled 22 people). One of my co-worker at $33/hr was replaced by a H1B @ $9.50/hr. NY Times was applauding Bill for helping create a 5 BILLION dollar IT industry in India. That's 5 billion that American Workers lost. That's 5 billion directly gone from the US economy.

IT versus CS (1)

Schezar (249629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445050)

I got into IT instead of coding partly for this reason. You can ship coding jobs overseas, but you still need someone in the server room to re-seat the RAM and flash the switch's microcode. As long as I'm not tech support, they need me physically present. It will take longer for them to bring people here to replace me than it would to simply send my job over there.

Yea, I'm a selfish bastard ^_^

Silicoln Valley gonna be the new Rust Belt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445051)

But instead of abandoned factories, it's going to be a wasteland of office parks. It's not just IT but many middle class "service" jobs being outsourced (ie medical techs, accounting, engineering). I think the US is going to be hit with a period of massive deflation.

That depends... (4, Funny)

j_kenpo (571930) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445057)

Once again this topic comes up on Slashdot. I remember a quote one time (cant remember where to link) but the jist of it was that while cheaper labor, they provide a different mind set to projects. The poster mentioned that American programmers have a better problem solving mindset, while Indian programmers could spit out more generalized code much much faster and could do math based programming better. While I don't necessarily agree with this, it did bring up a good point in my mind, and that's the old "right tool (or programmer) for the right job". It's too bad that businesses see it in dollars, not sense and leave a lot of good American programmers without work, and put Indian programmers on programming tasks they would better suited for.

But back to this threads topic, I do think that it is a trend that will be difficult to break. The reason is saturation of programmers in America. Partially because during the IT boom, everyone and their mother went to get a programming degree, which left the US market saturated with programmers that were in it for the money, not because they loved it. I think that's the root cause of the US IT employment woes, just like in the early to mid 80's when everyone went the MBA's. And in about 10 years the same thing will happen, a new fad market will arise (legalized marijuana growth is my hope...) and the saturated market will subside. That's just my opinion...

Capitalism at work (1)

whitelabrat (469237) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445059)

This is just how capitalism works. If I can buy a lawnmower for $50 less that is as good as every other lawnmower... I'm going for the less expensive option. At least until I can legally keep a variety of grass grazing animals in my yard.

My point is that many buisnesses are realizing that there are many folks out there who are willing to at least pretend that they are skilled geeks and will work for far less than the folks here in the US. The cost of our geeks just wasn't paying off so we're getting cut.

It's inevitable the jobs will be back. They may not pay as well, but they will be here. Meanwhile I should brush up on my foreign languages...

high CMM level != good code (3, Insightful)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445072)

The most insulting part of the slideshow was the assumption that a high CMM level for an organization meant good code was being written.

All the CMM level means is that things are being done in a defined manner. Crappy code can be written in a defined, repeatable manner.

Getting a grip (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445081)

There are two fundamental facts about computer programming that most engineers and programmers need to admit: 1) Learning most computer technologies is very easy and 2) Using most computer technologies is very easy. Once you learn these facts a third fact becomes readily apparent: 3) Shipping most jobs involving computer technology almost anywhere in the world is very easy.

Software Engineers tend to have a highly inflated view of their own intelligence and their supposed indispensibility. I am a Software Engineer, I know. All US workers in the IT industry need to come to a realization that most IT work consists of mundane tasks suchs as making cgi scripts, coding Java objects, and the like. Any decently educated and motivated person can do most of what we do.

Motivation is key. The jobs are getting shipped to countries where putting food on the table is a real concern. 99.9% of people in the United States don't have a problem with that. These people are exiting grinding, bitter povery which is a real motivator. Yes they should be payed more, but they are making more money than they would otherwise.

US IT workers need to acquire more specialized skills in IT to really become invaluable, work for less money, or move on to something else because their job is in danger

Not that far away from no human IT at all (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445086)

Really, how much farther into the future can it be before service patches, automated scripts, etc. are writing themselves with the new development codes released by various companies, so that there is practically no need for IT workers at all? Of course, there will still be the old network hubs, just like today there are still people that use typewriters and older stuff. However, it will be more a choice of personal fancy than the going trend. Think of the TV repairman -- who needs that? If the TV breaks, you get a new one. They're so cheap and efficient that it's not a big deal.

Learn to adapt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6445087)

Your keyboard was probably made in China. You should do what the american worker making the keyboard did...adapt..and move on.

It's a cyclical downturn (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445088)

1) China cheats. They steal blatantly steal IP from other companies. It is estimated that 90% of all business software in China is pirated. Chinese tech workers, as a rule, are quite mercenary... always ready to jump ship for a few thousand more RMB. I would venture to guess the situation is similar in Russia. I'm not so sure about India. One can get away with cheating for only so long. By way of example, Microsoft has gotten quite aggressive of late forcing Chinese companies to comply with their licensing requirements. On a level playing field (no cheating) some of this "competitive advantage" goes away and the cost of doing business there increases.

2) The standard of living will rise in all 3 countries over time. Already one can find articles about companies leaving India to even cheaper locales. Same thing will happen there. There's only so many countries. :)

3) There is a different cultural mindset in China, Russia and India than exists in the US (i.e. The American Dream). Over time, I expect this will obviate itself.

Who knows how long the cycle will last though.

TODO: Workflow and Training (3, Informative)

blunte (183182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6445092)

Many development jobs may be leaving the US, but there are many other tech related jobs that will exist (and don't currently).

From my consulting experience (large and small companies), I've seen two areas that need major improvement: workflow and training.

They're actually strongly related. Many companies are just now basing a significant part of their business processes on technology. They've been gradually moving this way for some time, but it's at the point now where a tech catastrophy would seriously hurt them. However, they're still only taking advantage of perhaps 10 to 40% of what's technically feasible and also practical. There's still quite a lot of double entry of data and shuffling of papers.

So the workflow side should see a continued increase in technical development for years to come, and this will require services of "experts" of both the problem domain and technology solutions.

Training is the other area that should see continued and hopefully increased rate focus from businesses. Most users (and their bosses) approach computers and software as they approach a rental vehicle. They don't typically get much or any formal training, and they don't spend much time with books or manuals.

They're just scratching the surface of what much of their tools could do for them. Many people need broad and specific training to really make their technology work. An example of this is MS Exchange and Outlook. (I'm no fan of these, but I use them as example since they're ubiquitous.) Most business users can send and receive email, possibly with attachments. But most never touch their calendars, public folders, etc.

So maybe development is moving away, but there exists a big vacuum for other tech-related services, and those are going to stay right here in the US, if only because they often require personal contact.

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