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The Hottest Jobs in Information Technology? Offshore Project Manager

Raj Rajan
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 19, 2006
Posts: 2
Check out this CIO Magazine Article: http://www.cio.com/career/hotjobs/column.html?ID=28191

Bloggers are also analysing this: http://infosysblogs.com/managing-offshore-it

[ January 21, 2007: Message edited by: Raj Rajan ]
[ January 21, 2007: Message edited by: Raj Rajan ]
Mike Isano
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 144
I scrolled down to the bottom and it says managers make up to $250,000 a year. That is way too much money for someone who doesn't actually produce anything. I'm not saying good management isn't important but I would not pay 4 figures.
Jesus Angeles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Posts: 2057
It is because that range includes huge projects. This manager can be the deciding factor on the success or failure of million$ projects.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Mike Isano:
I scrolled down to the bottom and it says managers make up to $250,000 a year. That is way too much money for someone who doesn't actually produce anything. I'm not saying good management isn't important but I would not pay 4 figures.


You wouldn't pay 4 figures? I assume you mean 6. Now a decent developer in NYC, Boston, SF would cost ballpark $120k, architects can easily go for $140-170k.

You would argue that because the manager doesn't produce anything, he's not very valuable. By that argument, sales people are equally useless, because they produce nothing. Of course, sales people bring in the actual money and are often some of the highest paid people at technology companies (the good ones, anyway).

Consider a typical decent manager, he needs to understand technology and architect to some degree (usually good ones began as a developer), but then also project management and have good people and communication skills to work with non-engineering teams. he need to balance technology, risk, budget, hiring, vendors, and people. Seems reasonable that he should be paid $150-200k at some of the larger companies. Remember, this combination of technical and soft skills is rare. But let's even assume that's high.

Suppose there's a team of 40 people offshore, and they bill at $2000/mo (which is very low these days). That's $800,000 per year. If a better manager can get a 10% productivity increase, he just saved the company $80,000 annually. If the company pays him $50,000 more per year to hire him, everybody wins--the company makes money and the workers are happier because of better management. (Note: I didn't take into account overhead and benefits.)

These are ballpark numbers, but when you look at them, it doesn't seem so outrageous. I'm now saying that everyone is worth $250,000, but the top ones are.

If you look at CEO pay, the argument is similar. If CEO A would create an extra $10M in value over CEO B over the course of a year (which for a multibillion company like a Fortune 500), that CEO will ask for a good chunk of that $10M because without him that $10M in value wouldn't be created, and he'll be paid it. (Often the disagreement is whether or not he really creates the extra $10M or not.)


--Mark
[ January 21, 2007: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6661
    
    5

Ah yes that brings us to the whole "I get paid so much because I can do this" argument. Imagine life without farmers. We wouldnt be able to eat without them but they dont make much. Some of them do but that is rare. Managers have to deal with things that are not under their control. A manager is only as good as the people that work under him. Its hard being a manager in my opinion. You have to know a bit of management, word, excel but there are so many things that you dont control and in the end the manager is made responsible.

Unlike the luxury of control that most coders and architects share, a manager does not have that in most cases. Even with architects you could argue about the degree of control. The user might come tomorrow and change the whole requirement


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Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by John Meyers:
Ah yes that brings us to the whole "I get paid so much because I can do this" argument. Imagine life without farmers. We wouldnt be able to eat without them but they dont make much. Some of them do but that is rare. Managers have to deal with things that are not under their control. A manager is only as good as the people that work under him. Its hard being a manager in my opinion. You have to know a bit of management, word, excel but there are so many things that you dont control and in the end the manager is made responsible.

Unlike the luxury of control that most coders and architects share, a manager does not have that in most cases. Even with architects you could argue about the degree of control. The user might come tomorrow and change the whole requirement


The farmer argument makes no sense. How much farmers get paid is a function of pure economics--supply and demand. In the US for example where farmers don't make much it's because there is an oversupply of food. In the 19th century more than 80% of the US population farmed. Agricultural improvements greatly enhanced productivity driving prices down from the excess supply of food. It also forced most farmers to the cities looking for work. In recent decades the US federal government has provided crop support in order to keep food prices at a minimum.

Managers have a lot of control. First and foremost, they determine who is on the team, including overall level and particular skill set. This is, in my mind, the most important part of the job. Second, they determine methodology. They also control for risk using a number of different tools. Third, they set expectations outside of the group. The push back at the customer/sales/marketing to prevent changes to the project midway through. They can focus resources on particular areas they deem important. Managers select technology--not the architect; the architect provides a technical assessment, but the manger considers that along with cost, risk, training time, etc and makes the final decision.

You joke about MS Word, but being an effective writer/speaker is critical to the role. Most importantly, they have to convince people. They must convince the developers to do things they may not like (e.g. documentation, testing); yes a developer will do it because he is paid to do it, but someone who works because he believes in what he does is much better st it than someone who does it because he has to. The manager must also convince people outside engineers to make tradeoffs so all the burden isn't on engineering. Sales often begins with unrealistic expectations, convincing them to give up those expectations without them being angry at you isn't always simple.

Managing requires a number of soft skills. Many engineers don't understand these skills (I feel into that category when I was a jr engineer) and therefore don't appreciate them.

Try the following.... ask engineers and managers who they think have more control.

--Mark
Mike Isano
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 144
pffft. Managers do practically nothing then take all the credit. Anyone can be a manager.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18842
    
  40

Originally posted by Mike Isano:
pffft. Managers do practically nothing then take all the credit. Anyone can be a manager.


If "anyone can be a manager", then why are good managers so hard to find?... There is a reason why good managers get top salaries. They are not that common, and certainly not "anyone".

And BTW, managers that "take all the credit", will quickly find themselves with a team that don't trust them. Or worse, will quickly lose their best people, as they generally have the best options. This is not a position that a manager wants to be in.

Henry
[ January 21, 2007: Message edited by: Henry Wong ]

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Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6661
    
    5

The farmer argument makes no sense. How much farmers get paid is a function of pure economics--supply and demand.


It does in a way. Their pay does depend on the whole supply demand thing but for the work that they put in they seldom get paid the right amount.

As for managers having control yes they do decide many thing that go into the project, but its the engineer and the architect that do the work in the end. If the people under the manager cant get the work done there is very little a manager can do. He/she cant fire the entire team and find replacements. A manager leads the way but if no one follows he has no control. That is where the soft skills part comes in. Trying to talk people into getting the work done is difficult. Good negotiation skills also play a role there.
Rohit Nath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 387
With a little effort put in understanding the roles and responsibilities of a manager one can come to realise that the so called "good managers" tend to stick to thier roles and responsibilities more than thier other counterparts.

It is not very uncommon to have seen managers literally ponder around in the office at times doing very little to improve the system and least bothered about what thier subordinates are into. Also usually if there is good management at the top it reflects greatly till the bottom part of the pyramid where all other members of the organization function. One also need to understand that just as a coin has two sides, there are "good managers" and the "not so good managers". Equally true is the fact that it is not necessart that the best paid will be the best in the industry in thier profession and vice versa!
[ January 22, 2007: Message edited by: Rohit Nath ]

R.N
Devesh H Rao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 687

Originally posted by Mike Isano:
pffft. Managers do practically nothing then take all the credit. Anyone can be a manager.


Managers do practically nothing then take all the credit. Anyone can claim to be a manager.
Tim LeMaster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 31, 2006
Posts: 226
I have some problems with what some managers are paid but my biggest qualm is with Project Management. These people somehow got management stuck in their job title so they think they are your management and should get paid what managers get paid. In all reality they used to sell cars or something else and took 6 months of classes from the Project Management Insitute and became a Project Management Professional. All they know how to do is whine about the deadline and are convinced 9 women can make a baby in 1 month.

And yeah I've seen the trend for off shore management where I'm currently working (for 2 more weeks - all on shore contractors to be replaced by off shore contractors). I'm not sure why corporations seem so desperate to have a bunch of non-technical people in charge of a bunch of technical people off shore, but they seem determined to rid themselves of any people who know how the technology works.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tim LeMaster:
I have some problems with what some managers are paid but my biggest qualm is with Project Management. These people somehow got management stuck in their job title so they think they are your management and should get paid what managers get paid. In all reality they used to sell cars or something else and took 6 months of classes from the Project Management Insitute and became a Project Management Professional. All they know how to do is whine about the deadline and are convinced 9 women can make a baby in 1 month.

And yeah I've seen the trend for off shore management where I'm currently working (for 2 more weeks - all on shore contractors to be replaced by off shore contractors). I'm not sure why corporations seem so desperate to have a bunch of non-technical people in charge of a bunch of technical people off shore, but they seem determined to rid themselves of any people who know how the technology works.



As wih other claims in this thread, I think you're lumping too much together. Project management is management, albeit limited in scope.

Consider product management, someone is in charge of a product or product line. They may not have a person to manage, but they are managing something and the term is valid (www.dictionary.com lists management as "the act or manner of managing; handling, direction, or control").

Project management is also management, in that it directs the day to day tasks of the development team. Project managements often don't do hire/fire, budget, general product scope decisions, strategy, etc. Nevertheless they do manage and regularly put out fires and provide course corrections.

I think project manager who have not been developers tend to be weak. I also think the PMI certification is utterly useless. (If you've read how little i value SCJP and related certs, I value PMI certs even less.) Multiple choice questions have nothing to do with manageing projects.

That said, I think there are good project managers who add value. If you've never had a good project manager, or manager in general, that's unfortunate (and I would encourage to you see employment elsewhere because you're half way decent you shouldn't have to work in such a place). But to make sweeping claims that all project managers are overvalued is, IMHO, excessive.

--Mark
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41863
    
  63
In addition to everything else said, note that it says offshore project managers. Managing teams split over different countries adds a whole new dimension to a project - it's hard to get it to work. There are lots of lessons to be learned until it works right. If in the end the project actually brings home the hoped-for cost savings, then the PM is worth quite a bit of money indeed.
[ January 23, 2007: Message edited by: Ulf Dittmer ]

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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61218
    
  66

Originally posted by Mike Isano:
pffft. Managers do practically nothing then take all the credit. Anyone can be a manager.


No, the problem is that just about anyone is a manager.

I've been in the industry three decades and can tell you that good managers are hard to find.

Just because you haven't experienced a good manager yet, doesn't mean that they don't exist.


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John Uftring
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2006
Posts: 2
Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

No, the problem is that just about anyone is a manager.

Actually, everyone is a manager. Perhaps you only manage yourself, but you are managing...

Originally posted by Bear Bibeault:

I've been in the industry three decades and can tell you that good managers are hard to find.

Just because you haven't experienced a good manager yet, doesn't mean that they don't exist.

I've not been in the industry quite as long (just 2.5 decades), but I can count on just one hand the number of "good" managers I've had, and still have one finger and one thumb to spare.

Good managers are hard to find and great to work for. The problem is that you may only learn how good they were when they leave or when you no longer work for them...

- John

[ January 25, 2007: Message edited by: John Uftring ]
[ January 25, 2007: Message edited by: John Uftring ]
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6661
    
    5

Good managers are hard to find and great to work for


++

The problem is that you may only learn how good they were when they leave or when you no longer work for them...


Fortunately its the other way round for me right now. I hope the manager I work with sticks around. I had a bad one followed by the good one.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18842
    
  40

Other "traits" of a good manager, include, they understand the value of good people and they understand the value of social networking.

I had a great manager, who I worked with for less than a year, but we kept in touch afterwards, and he gave me a few recommendations when I decided to transfer departments, years later.

I had another great manager, who I only worked for on a temporary basis (for one month). Six months after I finished the project, I get woo'ed for a position. He even allowed me to work remotely, as I lived on the opposite coast.

Henry
alfred jones
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Posts: 279
yea, its true that junior developers works heavily and the project depends upon a lot on them ....its like a war where soldiers are fighting.

but one day , you might also a be senior and then you would be elevated to that rank....a good manager has to be a good human being ...he should understand his people ...he should know what to speak and how to speak with individual people because each people are different...it would be a great plus if he is also knowledgeable person but not politician and credit mongers.

trust me , these kind of people wont survive long....he will loose finest people very soon if he continues this.

and to my believe , true knowledgeable persons are of good mind and they help each other.

and about money ? , umm...come on , at least show respect to the seneiority!
they have some work also ...its not that they sit idle ....may be they are not utilizing the brain to solve a complex programming problem but they are using the time in some other work.
 
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