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Opinion about Dice Discussion on outsourcing

 
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On Dice Discussions I come across posts such as 'IT is a dead field...with all the outsourcing ..'etc... any opinions?
Thanks
-Sarah
 
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Do you have a link to that post? Some do come up with flashy headings to catch the prospective reader's attention.
 
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IT can never die. And no company can do 100% outsourcing.
 
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sarah shine wrote:
On Dice Discussions I come across posts such as 'IT is a dead field...with all the outsourcing ..'etc... any opinions?
Thanks
-Sarah




There are a lot of people who can program. It's that whole supply/demand thing. On top of that you have to compete with guys who have weaker currency. People in a country with weaker currency can live a decent life on a salary that would have you poor in the US or Europe. Obviously jobs will go to those countries.

It's the natural way of things. All things expand from high pressure to low pressure until there is equilibrium.
 
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Welcome to JavaRanch
 
sarah shine
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This is how my post about 'Opinions' started...

Actual quotes [ there are so many...] from Dice forums:
"Unfortunately, IT is pretty much dead in the US with LOTS of experienced people looking for work and taking jobs that entry level people used to get. "

"My suggestion is to choose another field besides IT!!!"

not sure if I should post the handles..
[ link to this: http://seeker.dice.com/olc/thread.jspa?threadID=16180&tstart=15 ]

 
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There's a difference between "IT is a dead field" and "IT is pretty much dead in the US".

I don't see any major slowdown in the demand for IT world-wide in the foreseeable future. However, IT in the USA has been severely beaten about the head and shoulders, and I'm not recommending that anyone who wants to make any sort of decent living as a US Citizen to pursue a career in IT until conditions change again.

In 2001, the Internet had virtually eliminated the costs in round-the-world high-speed communications. At the same time, while the cost of working at a distance had been virtually eliminated, the costs of living had not. Back then, someone in Bangalore could live quite comfortably on one eighth as much income (measured in absolute dollars) as his or her compatriot in the US or Western Europe. To a lot of companies, this was Christmas, tantamount to being presented with a whole factory full of Oompa Loompas. For the price of a single US programmer, you could hire an entire team of Indians. Technically, this also applied to Chinese and a lot of other people, but India grabbed the lion's share thanks to having the edge in both population and language.

Now actually, a of software doesn't benefit from large teams, but management has never been able to fathom IT people anyway. They're working with machines. Machines work most efficiently when you have lots of them and you run them 24 hours a day. Ergo...

So a lot of work got shipped overseas. Conversely, thanks to the H1-B and L-1 programs, a lot of foreign labor entered the US. H1-B's in theory were no threat. After all, they had the same grocery bills as the rest of us. In actuality, it wasn't that simple. Guest workers are generally hired with the idea that they'll be returning home. Thus, if they save carefully the higher salaries of US employment, they'll return home with a small fortune in back-home terms. However, because they can be summarily deported, they have a strong incentive to put up with a lot of that domestic employees typically wouldn't, including abusive hours and relatively low pay. Since "relatively low" is still munificent by Kolkata standards, they mostly tolerate it.

However, the cost isn't just to the guest workers. In theory, H1-B's are what you bring in as a last resort when you can't get domestic workers (which by the law of Supply and Demand means that they should actually get higher salaries). In practice, the system has been royally abused, and domestic employees have seen downward pressure on their own salaries as a result.

Nothing lasts forever. The Dollar/Rupee exchange rate isn't quite so favorable these days, and skilled offshore labor isn't quite so inexpensive - these guys know a good thing when they see it, and they've been demanding - and getting - higher salaries as a result. However, an eight-to-one disparity is something that doesn't go away overnight. And the recession has tempered things a lot. It's no longer true that offshoring is a total no-brainer, but we're a long way yet from the case where the deciding factor is quality of work and not raw dollar cost.

Sadly, over the last 2-3 decades, we in the US have gotten used to "lower prices everyday". This isn't just due to cheap labor. Cheap Japanese junk was sort of a cliché in the 1950s. But thanks to automation and microelectronics, we generally get fairly decent quality from cheap foreign labor these days. It's a sign of the times. We've become conditioned to expect that we can have everything we want and we can have it virtually free, whether it's wide-screen digital TVs or the very roads we drive on. Eventually, like the Hobbits in the Shire, we came to expect that prosperity was the natural due of everyone, and lost the concept of "good value" instead of merely "cheap".

Unfortunately, some of these benefits were an illusion. There was some serious rethinking about how "worker productivity" has actually increased (or not) over the years after the bubble burst and a lot of hidden things crawled out into the sun. We're looking at some serious bills coming due. Right now, the state governors are meeting in New Orleans and almost every one of them has their state tapping Federal Stimulus money to make up for the revenue shortfalls that came from Lower Taxes Everyday. Except, of course, the Federal Government doesn't get money from good fairies any more than the states did.

I'm actually less pessimistic about a "jobless recovery" impacting the IT job market than most, since I think we took our major hit in the last jobless recovery, and that there's some pent-up demand.

But there are still too many negatives at the moment. If I wasn't already in the field, I would be training for a non-IT career.
 
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sarah shine wrote:On Dice Discussions I come across posts such as 'IT is a dead field...with all the outsourcing ..'etc... any opinions?
Thanks
-Sarah



My advice is to stay away from Dice forums. It's the crappiest forum I've come across. Shame it's run by a public limited company. All I find is chicken little's and h1b bashers there.

To answer your question, every hiring manager I came across recently says how hard is it to find a good java developer.

Cheers
 
Tim Holloway
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Suresh Thota wrote:

sarah shine wrote:On Dice Discussions I come across posts such as 'IT is a dead field...with all the outsourcing ..'etc... any opinions?
Thanks
-Sarah



My advice is to stay away from Dice forums. It's the crappiest forum I've come across. Shame it's run by a public limited company. All I find is chicken little's and h1b bashers there.

To answer your question, every hiring manager I came across recently says how hard is it to find a good java developer.

Cheers



I haven't spent any time on the Dice forums, but I've run across the "hard is it to find a good java developer" claim quite a bit. When pressed, these would-be employers typically indicate that they're expecting a "junior programmer" to design the UI, implement the backend, and serve as a general sysadmin. For about $18/hr. Considering you can skip the pain and expense of technical training and make almost that much at a fast food restaurant, it's hardly surprising that there are few takers.

It does seem to be true that the developers they do hire aren't very good. I've seen some of the most howlingly bad code in my life lately presented by people who've come to me to get bailed out lest they lose their jobs. And most of the worst offences weren't theirs - they were just the latest in a series of maintainers, each of whom had taken a bad design and left it even worse. In fairness, they had no incentive to do better, however. They had no long-term commitment to the product, and the only metric that counted was to "Git 'R Dun!" as quick as possible, regardless of how badly it got done.

The Law of Supply and Demand says that if a critical resource is truly scarce, the price goes up. By that metric, programmers in the USA aren't scarce at all, because the going hourly rate for contractors locally has fallen to $40/hr, and they're now talking about it dropping into the $30's. Even at the height of the 2001-2003 recession, they never quite squeezed it down that low.

I realize that $35/hr doesn't sound like the sky falling in Bangalore, but we have to buy our necesseties locally, and while we're hardly the most expensive place in the land, you're still looking at about Rs. 800 for the average lunch here. To say nothing of housing, clothing, infrastructure and transportation.
 
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In NYC the demand for software developers (I'm talking about "software" as in applications and not web design) went from steady to strong in the last year or so.

--Mark
 
Tim Holloway
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Mark Herschberg wrote:In NYC the demand for software developers (I'm talking about "software" as in applications and not web design) went from steady to strong in the last year or so.

--Mark



That's quite impressive in a year that's generally reported as being one of the worst for employment since WWII. I'm surprised such an anomaly has escaped the notice of the trade press.

Could you provide some hard data?
 
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Tim,
I don't think the two conflict with each other. You can have many unemployed people when employers start re-hiring. The demand is strong, but there's a big backlog of people looking for jobs.

I can't comment on how many companies are looking in NYC, but there are certainly a lot of good candidates out there looking still.
 
Tim Holloway
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Mark prefers that people back up their assertions with hard data, so the temptation re reply in kind was just too great to resist. Hopefully he'll forgive me.

From where I'm sitting, however - and that's NOT NYC - the demand - expressed in number of positions advertised and compensation/benefits offered doesn't indicate strong demand for talent in the local market. My standing DICE search for the region only resulted in 3 positions listed today. We're a mortgage industry hub though, so in our own way we're no more typical than New York.
 
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I can't comment on how many companies are looking in NYC, but there are certainly a lot of good candidates out there looking still.



I too, know quite a few very strong people who are currently looking. Don't have any actual data, but just from the friends and aquaintances around me, it is not looking very good in NYC.

Henry
 
sarah shine
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At this minute...I can think of at least one old friend in Boston...who was let go from EMC [I think] and took 1.5 yrs to find a a lower level position at Bose. She was laid off from there after just 3 months in Nov '08 and is still unemployed. I know she is networking hard and also applying. I think she has mid level Java skills.

At the end of the day...what is disapointing is, to see hard working, well qualified folk constantly getting laid off and not getting rehired!! IT is for sure hard work...what with all that constant troubleshooting etc..

I dont have any hard stats etc. but just these cases around me make me wonder...

What I wonder is...how ofen do you see a Nurse/MD or other professional 'laid off' and having trouble finding employment??

Could an 'exit strategy' from IT possibly be an MBA? Any thoughts?
 
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Actually, so far, this recession has been apparently kinder to IT people than the general working population. One likely cause of the relatively small number of IT layoffs to date is that a lot of companies never really added staff after the last recession ended and therefore had little "fat" to eliminate. However, in the last month or so, I've seen some indications that IT layoffs are becoming more common.

Still, the carnage in the 2001 recession was unbelievable. Some of the leading lights in the business ended up seeking new employers, including Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl), Alan (Smalltalk/DynaBook) Kay, and Mike Smithwick - who did one of the better planetarium simulators I've seen (Distant Suns). Some of the aforementioned may really have decided that a recession was an ideal time to move on - at a certain level, you don't get fired, you "resign to spend more time with your family" (and occasionally actually do). Smithwick, however was begging for donations on his website just to pay bills.

I didn't enjoy that era much myself. A company that NEVER laid people off laid a whole slew of people off, I spend 2+ years jobhunting and had only 3-4 interviews in that time, and finally went back to work earning 12% less than I had at the previous job.

So far, for IT folks, it hasn't been that grim this time around. Yet. We are at this moment on the cusp of deciding whether or not we're coming out of the recession proper, or just beginning a slide into something far more grim, and as far as I can calculate, it's 50/50. A lot of economics isn't what "is", it's what people want to think "is", which is how bubbles get started to begin with, as well as many other economic trends.

But recessions, and even depressions come and go. The root question here was on the viability of a career in IT (and specifically un the USA). It's relatively unimportant what your career choice was when a recession hits - although IT used to be considered "recession-proof". But if your chosen profession has no employment opportunities whether the overall economy is boom or bust, you've probably not made the wisest of career choices.

 
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sarah shine wrote:...how ofen do you see a Nurse/MD or other professional 'laid off' and having trouble finding employment??

Round here, all the time. Actually very few people are laid off; they are promised jobs at the beginning of their training and never find jobs. Not too bad a problem for doctors, but from the number of doctors who come to Britain from across the Channel, it would appear to be worse on the Continent. But for nurses, physiotherapists, etc . . .
 
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Unfortunate for people who live in USA the dollar is not worth much in it's own country. A 30k salary while living in a city would not go very far with $1000+ rent per month, taxes, car bill, food, family, etc. So programmers in the USA will refuse to work for 30K.

To someone in india $30k is serious money. If a buisness offers them a salary of $30K they will bend over backwards to get it.


Any work which doesn't have to take place inside the USA is going to have the same problem. It's the reason america has become a "service" economy. Becuase services need to occur locally. If you pay someone to clean your room, they can't clean it in India. If you pay someone to fix your car, you dont' want to ship it to russia. If you break your leg, you don't want to fly out to china to have it treated.
 
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Any work which doesn't have to take place inside the USA is going to have the same problem. It's the reason america has become a "service" economy. Becuase services need to occur locally. If you pay someone to clean your room, they can't clean it in India. If you pay someone to fix your car, you dont' want to ship it to russia. If you break your leg, you don't want to fly out to china to have it treated.



To be fair, it is not all "doom and gloom"... because believe it or not, IT is a "service" industry. There are still a huge number of companies that won't outsource, because they want their IT reachable when they pick up the phone -- and not leave a message to be picked up hours later. Remember time is money too, saving a few dollars to lost an hour of response time, at a cost of a million, is not a good idea.

Of course, this means the winners are the ones that can provide the service. IT people who can communicate well with their clients, who can respond well, in addition to being local, are the ones that I think will win out.

Henry
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

sarah shine wrote:...how ofen do you see a Nurse/MD or other professional 'laid off' and having trouble finding employment??

Round here, all the time. Actually very few people are laid off; they are promised jobs at the beginning of their training and never find jobs. Not too bad a problem for doctors, but from the number of doctors who come to Britain from across the Channel, it would appear to be worse on the Continent. But for nurses, physiotherapists, etc . . .



In NYC, the "nursing" union did a "full court advertising press" against the city for closing a bunch of underutilized hospitals... the goal was to save "nursing" jobs. Of course, it was a bunch of baloney. The goal was to actually save the non-nursing union jobs. In NYC, there is such a ridiculous shortage of nurses, that neighboring hospitals were wooing them, even before the hospitals were shut down.

Now, of course, if the union showed cafeteria workers, plumbers, secretaries, etc... I don't think it would have as big an impact as nurses.

Henry
 
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Try getting a job round here as a cafeteria worker or a secretary And it will be even worse if the local steelworks closes (probability > 0.99). But there is a shortage of good plumbers, electricians and skilled tradesmen in Britain, far worse in the more expensive parts of the country. Plumbing is a service industry. If my tap/faucet drips I can't take it India to have a new washer fitted. I usually fit the washer myself; the hardest part of the job is usually remembering which spanner fits!
 
Henry Wong
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Maybe "plumber" is incorrect -- as that is a trade, and they get paid well. I was more referring to the hospital janitorial staff.

Henry
 
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