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What Kind Of Roles Are Unlikely To Be Outsourced?

 
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I am in the US. I have read a lot about larger companies outsourcing coding activities to other countries.
I would like to better position myself in the IT industry and need your guidance on what kind of roles are unlikely to be outsourced.
May I list several roles for discussion?
1. sales role: sell softwares that can be integrated into the heterogeneous environment of clients.
2. service role: install applications for clients, train end users, and work with development team to improve the quality of the applications.
3. development role: try to become an Architect instead of being a developer.
4. are there other roles not listed here? :roll:
In addition, are the following tasks likely to be done by lower wage IT professionals in other countries?
a. web and GUI testing;
b. version control;
c. organizing software development process
[ April 05, 2003: Message edited by: JiaPei Jen ]
 
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Originally posted by JiaPei Jen:
I am in the US. I have read a lot about larger companies outsourcing coding activities to other countries.
I would like to better position myself in the IT industry and need your guidance on what kind of roles are unlikely to be outsourced.
May I list several roles for discussion?
1. sales role: sell softwares that can be integrated into the heterogeneous environment of clients.
2. service role: install applications for clients, train end users, and work with development team to improve the quality of the applications.
3. development role: try to become an Architect instead of being a developer.
4. are there other roles not listed here? :roll:
In addition, are the following tasks likely to be done by lower wage IT professionals in other countries?
a. web and GUI testing;
b. version control;
c. organizing software development process
[ April 05, 2003: Message edited by: JiaPei Jen ]


Let's see:
1. No. The question addressed is not likely to happens. Remember dot com saga. Sale is about face value. If the customer do not feel comfortable with you, they will not buy the product even you have to bend backward.

2. No. It is call pre-sale excepted for improving quality called post-sale. It is still in the sale process.
3. Yes. You implicitly address the IQ levels. It is depended on individual. What if, your IQ prevents you to become an Architect? I think the approach should be Research Expense Tax Code and other codes that the government imposed. If the research expend is outweight the revenue, tax code does not relieved, and other legal codes impose on the company prevented. The development will go overseas as well.
4. Customization: After the company purchased the products and want to mix them together to fit with organization spec. It will stay.
a,b,and c are belong in the manufacturing process will go too.
How do I know? I based my experience with all the family members up and down with American economic life cycles. Just give you the micro-level experience. If you read news and follow the events in this country, you will see the macro-level.
How did we come to this? The only person to blame is us. As an individual, we want to maximize our income but we minimize our expense. The same goes for an organization. An organization is a collection of an individuals.
Do not worry too much because everything will happens in phases, just like it did in the hardware industry.
Porbably we feel the jolt now because the 9/11 event sped up all the unfortunate phases.
In any events, as long as you have ideas, you will prevail. Organization always need people with ideas. How do you implemented them is up to your understanding of business ethic.
Cheers,
MCao
 
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Originally posted by JiaPei Jen:
I am in the US. I have read a lot about larger companies outsourcing coding activities to other countries.
I would like to better position myself in the IT industry and need your guidance on what kind of roles are unlikely to be outsourced.
May I list several roles for discussion?
1. sales role: sell softwares that can be integrated into the heterogeneous environment of clients.
2. service role: install applications for clients, train end users, and work with development team to improve the quality of the applications.
3. development role: try to become an Architect instead of being a developer.
4. are there other roles not listed here? :roll:
In addition, are the following tasks likely to be done by lower wage IT professionals in other countries?
a. web and GUI testing;
b. version control;
c. organizing software development process
[ April 05, 2003: Message edited by: JiaPei Jen ]


I think the following technical roles are immune to outsourcing.
1) Architect - requires a unique blend of process/business/industry knowledge and technical proficiency.Architects will always be needed, because technologies change but people will always be needed to design usage of these technologies. Developer are very unsafe, as a developer you have to keep yourself on that technology treadmill, let your skills slip and you are jobless.
2) Administrators (Database/application server)-at least until communications improve whereby you can have offshore administrators, administrators will be safe for the forseeable future.
3)Project managers:some people may disagree but i believe this is to some extent a very political position. if you are ready to kiss a$$ and schmooze with your customers/bosses etc, you probably can keep getting a paycheck.

developers/programmers? sorry you are just a resource, you are expendable and will be outsourced whenever possible and nobody anywhere is safe, US outsources to india, but i think the guys in india should start watching their backs cos there are lower cost programmers in the china/phillipines, even possibly south africa (yes south africa).
Thoughts anyone?
 
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I think the following technical roles are immune to outsourcing.
1) Architect - requires a unique blend of process/business/industry knowledge and technical proficiency.Architects will always be needed, because technologies change but people will always be needed to design usage of these technologies. Developer are very unsafe, as a developer you have to keep yourself on that technology treadmill, let your skills slip and you are jobless.
2) Administrators (Database/application server)-at least until communications improve whereby you can have offshore administrators, administrators will be safe for the forseeable future.
3)Project managers:some people may disagree but i believe this is to some extent a very political position. if you are ready to kiss a$$ and schmooze with your customers/bosses etc, you probably can keep getting a paycheck.

I've known all of these be outsourced. I do architecture work on a contract basis myself. I've worked on projects which outsourced both general-process and DB administrators, and almost all the project managers I know work for several different employers (often several at the same time).
The only job which I don't think can be outsourced is "owner". Start your own business and take on other people's outsourced work
 
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As Frank noted, just about any role can be outsourced, but some lend themselves to it more then others.
Generally speaking the likelyhood of outsourcing is inversely proportional to the level of communication with others in the company. (To a second order, it's inversely proportional to the level of communication to others who will not be outsourced.)
What does this mean in practical terms? A code monkey who spends 8 hours a day in a cubicle can have that cubicle in New York or in New Delhi. The advantage of the latter location is obviously lower cost. The cost is that the communications pipe is smaller, and so communication problems cost more.
Roughly speaking, the closer you are to the customer (I'm using this as a general term for more business facing units, although even these can be outsourced), who cannot move, the less likely you'll be outsourced. As noted earlier, the sales people are close to the customer. Deployment people also must be able to get to the physical location.
What about architects, or other high level technical roles? It can vary. Those who are handed requirements and simply work with developers can be outsourced. Those who work with customers to help define the system are less likely to be sent far away from the customers.
--Mark
 
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I take it as axiomatic that ANY job that can be done without actual physical contact with people outside the organization can/will be outsourced. In certain cases, this can even mean some traditionally "hands-on" jobs, thanks to robotics.
Eventually, I suspect that the economy thing will reach its logical conclusion - outsourcing the ownership itself - i.e. a foreign company that not only saves money on the grunts but on the increasingly unrealistic paychecks of senior officers will be in a position to underbid any U.S.-based company.
So one scenario would be that the U.S. ends up a nation of Wal-Mart employees and MacDonald's burger flippers. At minimum wage.
Think I'm cynical? Well, I am, but I did read just the other day that there's somewhat of a crisis in manufacturing now because no one wants to go into that area. We may no longer have the "critical mass" of machinists needed to produce the specialists that can develop the prototypes which will eventually be mass-produced overseas.
A similar situation appears likely in regard to software. A good software architect doesn't just spring up overnight. You have to have a career path. And if the earlier stages in that path have all gone overseas, what then?
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
So one scenario would be that the U.S. ends up a nation of Wal-Mart employees and MacDonald's burger flippers. At minimum wage.
Think I'm cynical...


I'm pretty cynical, but I don't see that happening. For one thing, the US military has enough clout and money to pay a premium for US manufactured goods (in wartime it's important to have the supplies local).
It's true we are inhibited by a high standard of living. But its a double edged sword, as this also attracts the best and brightest from around the world to our shores. We also have one of the top university systems in the world. And, possibly most importantly, we have an environment (laws, culture, support system, economics, etc) to support innovation, growth and change. Many third world nations lag far behind the US in this respect.
--Mark
 
Matt Cao
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Hi Mark,
What are you saying? Do you mean US should make more wars for keeping the manufacturing in operation? Did you know Congress killed Boeing proposal to have some of its products outsource to Japan? A second time around, it clarified only commercial stuffs, Congress still killed it?
I think it has nothing to do with our high living standard. Japan also is a high living standard country. Majority of European countries are high living standard. I think the problem is American consciously arrogant.
During the dot com boom, a lot companies in Silicon Valley wanted to outsources the works to overseas to keep up with the worker shortage problem. ITAA "lobbies for American consumer" by saying if the product cheap enough, a lot people would purchased it in essence creating more jobs. Congress blocked it so many times. ITAA turned around creating the H1-B Visa concept to bring top talent professional overseas to Silicon Valley, then to US. Other cities around US envied of Silicon Valley revenue, also send their Mayors to overseas recruiting companies to expand to US. Did you see we set up ourselves to fall?
I think Newt Gringrich, now Georgia University Professor, said it nicely. What we need is a massive idea, the idea that equivalent to the dot com to help us now. Stem cell only benefit a certain sector of society not big enough.
Well, a lot of you in this club is much more brilliant than me, certify this and that, please have some ideas helping our country?

Thanks,
MCao
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Matt Cao:
What are you saying? Do you mean US should make more wars for keeping the manufacturing in operation? Did you know Congress killed Boeing proposal to have some of its products outsource to Japan? A second time around, it clarified only commercial stuffs, Congress still killed it?


I didn't quite follow everything you were asking, but let me clarify some of the points.
I am not advocating that the US goes to war for economic reasons. (I am not taking any stand on any wars, past, present, or future, in this posting.)
I don't know what Boeing proposal you're talking about, perhaps you can give a reference. Generally speaking the military mentality has been that the US must keep sufficent manufacturing capabilities within the US to be able to produce equipment in wartime. This does not mean that 100% of airplanes, cars, computers etc must be made in the US.

--Mark
 
Tim Holloway
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Easy, folks! politics is a touchy subject on the Ranch these days. As though economics isn't!
I may misremember, but I'm pretty sure that the old Military-Industrial Complex of the Cold War is pretty well gone and that even if the U.S. were to go into the war business that there's just not enough business there to sustain the country. I do recall reading recently that Raytheon has so many other concerns that the war business isn't expected to do much for their bottom line.
I was just reading an editorial about serious wage deflation that has occurred in Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of people that think the U.S. may be in for something along the same lines.
 
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