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Lowering the Odds of Being Outsourced 355

Posted by Zonk
from the keep-your-job dept.
Lam1969 writes "Computerworld points to a study by the Society for Information Management, which concludes that the best thing young IT workers can do to avoid being outsourced is beef up their management skills. The article quotes Thomas Tanaka, a recent computer engineering graduate, describing a recent job interview: 'While the Santa Clara, Calif., resident has generally been looking for entry-level software jobs with IT vendors, he recently had an interview with a financial firm looking to fill an in-house IT position. That's where his lack of business background was exposed.'"
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Lowering the Odds of Being Outsourced

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  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:04PM (#15030491) Homepage Journal
    from replacing your job.

    Even the overseas marketing skills.

    It all comes down to the economics. If you want to stop it, you either have to affect the demand side (by corporate reforms, limits on L1/L2/H1B visas, or a dearth of skilled workers worldwide) or the supply side (by say, making it so Indian tech workers start getting paid more, as is already happening).

    Me, I love working for the feds in medicine. That works a lot better.
  • by eln (21727) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:09PM (#15030543) Homepage
    Here's one source [upi.com]

    There is huge demand for skilled technical people in India. As a result, wages are going up and turnover is a huge problem. Headhunters literally roam the streets outside of the major tech employers looking to entice workers to different jobs.
  • Indian wages (Score:3, Informative)

    by LunaticTippy (872397) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:15PM (#15030571)
    I knew this was happening from several sources, a quick google turned up many results. Here's one [computerworld.com]

    India Aims to Tame Soaring IT Wages is the headline for anyone too lazy to click.

  • by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:24PM (#15030630) Journal
    Lakh is one of the currencies in india (about the same as our dollar?).
    There is only one currency in India -- the rupee. A lakh is colloquial for expressing 100,000.
  • by Xeger (20906) <slashdot@trac[ ] ... t ['ker' in gap]> on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:27PM (#15030640) Homepage
    Not to pick nits, but a lakh just means 100,000 of something. So the girl in the article, being paid "Rs 4.8 lakh," was being paid 480,000 rupees per annum.

    At about 40 rupees to the dollar, you can see that her pay in dollars -- $12,000 -- is quite low. Even though salaries in India are rising dramatically, they've still got a long way to go before they close the gap with US salaries (especially in fields like tech, which are on the rise even in the US).

    And now for my spot of commentary:

    In the long run, those jobs that can be outsourced effectively, *will* be. The corporations that form the basis of our free-market economy are compelled BY LAW to reduce costs as much as possible, in order to increase margins and enhance shareholder value.

    As one would expect, not every job can be outsourced efficiently. At the moment the pendulum is swinging TOWARD outsourcing, as greedy CEOs experiment with new ways to lower the bottom line. However, there have been (and will continue to be) numerous incidents where jobs are inappropriately outsourced. Given a few decades, the economies of "insourcing" countries will rise as money floods in, corporate types will learn which jobs need to stay in country, and the system will reach equilibrium.

    Those who don't like what the future has to hold can choose to move to a country with a controlled economy, or find a protected niche such as health care, palm reading or burger flipping -- none of which are amenable to outsourcing.
  • by Eevee (535658) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:28PM (#15030648)
    No, lakh [wikipedia.org] means 100,000. Rs [wikipedia.org] is an abbreviation for rupee, which is the currency. Right now, there's around 45 Rs to a dollar.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:29PM (#15030654)
    I'm a technical consultant and am the "bad guy" in a lot of places. No matter what anyone says to the contrary, the final decision almost invariably rests on cost. I can deliver a solution to many companies for far cheaper than in-house IT staff. For example, I've had to deploy an email solution to a 50+ employee company. I was able to do the job for $6K, plus cost of hardware. Their IT guy -- who gets $60K/year -- had already invested a month on the task and didn't seem anywhere close to completion. I did the job in two weeks.

    And I see this in many places. There was a time when I would work closely with a company's IT staff (or person) and count on him/her being technically competent. I would come in only because their IT support was too busy. Part of my duties would be to train the staff and then leave. Not anymore. Now every day I meet IT workers who are inept and only concerned about making it to retirement. And all I hear, day in and day out, are complaints from the IT staff. They browse the Internet for two hours a day, have two hours of breaks (1 hr lunch, 1 hour at the coffee machine, chatting about video games), then complain about the amount of work they have to do. Here's a clue -- spend an hour a day doing the work and it'll be a lot less work left to do.

    And of course I'm not speaking for every IT department. I know that management has absolutely no clue about what you do. Management doesn't care about people, no matter they tell you. If you want to keep from being outsourced, make damn well sure that the alternative is much more expensive. Keep your customers happy and they'll come back to you. Works for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2006 @07:32PM (#15030675)
    I don't think you understand what syndromes like Aspergers really is.

    Social interaction is more than what you are consciously aware of. The things average people do in a "social situation" include a lot of very minute and subtle cues that we rely on but are not consciously paying attention to, as the result of millions of years of evolution that honed in these abilities for survival.

    People with aspergers do not, for whatever reasons, have the ability to sense these things or communicate them in return.
  • by Iron Condor (964856) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @09:21PM (#15031268)
    It isn't really that difficult: the MBA is a big-picture person -- he'll step back and squint and follow the whole thing without much grasp of the details. That's easy. Anybody can be a manager. Because you never need to think about details. The bs/cs guy drills down into the depths of one such detail. That's easy as well. Anybody can be a specialist, as you only ever have to know and understand one thing. But how much detail can you see without losing the big picture out of sight? How much of the big picture can you grasp without starting to gloss over details? THAT's complexity. This article tells you that your employment chances improve if you show some complexity. Which is really a pretty simple and obvious statement. (Incidentily I've found it a lot easier to teach a little business and management to techies than the otehr way 'round...)
  • by museumpeace (735109) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @09:40PM (#15031361) Journal
    That is disgusting but it works. so if you want to stick to coding, and you like work in communicatons or realtime or robotics or uh , things that go boom...get a clearance. Of course its the employer who pays for you to get a clearance all you have to do is not have debts, drugs, arrests etc on your record. Oh yes one other thing, now with bush throwing civil rights in revers, you better not be gay either. all the defense contractors have great jobs that go begging for want of people who have a clearance. We just don't outsource secret work to other countries...not even Israel.
  • Re:the answer (Score:1, Informative)

    by thej1nx (763573) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @10:35PM (#15031581)
    Make it illegal to outsource to A) Communist countries (china) B) Immoral countries that still have a backwards caste system (india)

    Ok. But then how about ... C) Unethical countries that still have rascism against blacks (America)? Tone down on that self-righteousness and xenophobia buddy! Can't talk about China but India happens to be a democracy. And caste system is not something supported officially. When was the last time *you* guys had a black president ? Or a female one ? Or a muslim one ? India had a female prime minister and muslims(minority) as president. Chances of either happening in USA are near zero.

    There can be tons of arguements against outsourcing. But quoting caste system etc. as one, is a cheap shot, in context to America's own problems with rascism. Heck, the latest Oscar winner is movie that talks about the very same issue.

    And at least, Indian official responce to caste system issues is to actually *reserve* 50 - 60 percent of the seats/jobs in almost every damned sector/academia/government/(and a substantial chunk in)parliament for the lower castes. Mind quoting me the percentage of jobs/seats reserved for blacks/minorties in USA ?

    Talk about kettle calling the pot black...

  • It's all economics (Score:3, Informative)

    by bhmit1 (2270) on Thursday March 30, 2006 @11:17PM (#15031711) Homepage
    Supply and demand are making some significant changes in how we do business because of global economic model vs the US economic model. We've been getting our economy out of sync with the world for far too long and we are seeing the results with the trade deficit, immigrants trying to jump our borders, and jobs moving overseas. I'm sure anyone that has worked with a bankrupt airline or is in the final stages of Detriot's breakdown will tell you, throwing up barriers will only prolong the pain. And unfortunately, there isn't anyone jumping up with a clear solution because there is no clear solution that everyone will like. My best guess is that the peak of the US economy is in our rear view.

    One thing that should already be clear to every worker is that you are an expense to your company, not an asset. The best way to make money is to solve problems in a way that the value you bring (cost savings or additional income) is noticeably greater than how much you cost the company. And your cost is significantly more than your salary. Try to factor in the cost of office space, HR, taxes paid by your employer, management requirements, etc. People that do this are the problem solvers, those who see what could be done better, and create the solution, sometimes without any support from their company.

    The other option is to find a niche where there isn't enough supply. That includes government work with a clearance, a bunch of positions in health care (I recently discovered that pharmacists have their pick of jobs), and the less popular parts of IT. The less popular parts of IT aren't necessarily bad jobs, they just aren't the rent-a-coder jobs that schools keep trying to fill. Rather it's the people that know a complex application or have lots of experience in a unused platform. I've made a pretty good living off of solving problems with a complex application. The next problem I plan to solve involves a platform that you just don't see that often where the existing solution involves an aging mainframe and expensive proprietary hardware.

    Maybe the best advise I can think of would be for everyone stuck in the entitled employee mentality to try shifting your thinking with a few good books: Rich Dad, Poor Dad; Think and Grow Rich; and Who Moved my Cheese.

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