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IBM The Almighty Buck

IBM Moving Developer Jobs Overseas 1346

helixcode123 writes "According to the New York Times (also on Yahoo News), IBM is planning on moving a substantial number of high level jobs overseas to 'India and other countries.' IBM argues, in essence, that they need to do this to stay competitive. The article quotes that Forrester Research '...estimated that 450,000 computer industry jobs could be transferred abroad in the next 12 years, representing 8 percent of the nation's computer jobs.'"
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IBM Moving Developer Jobs Overseas

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  • by nother_nix_hacker ( 596961 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:50PM (#6504860)
    ...I'll move to India. That'll fuck em' over!
    • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:54PM (#6504938)
      Yeah, we can all move to India; they'll never notice the influx! We'll make our own little English-speaking-only community and call it 'Little Silicon Valley.'
    • by Fammy2000 ( 612663 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:54PM (#6504945) Homepage
      IBM is planning on moving a substantial number of high level jobs overseas

      Woohoo, IBM is paying us to move overseas! Isn't this great guys? I wonder if they will offer free roundtrip airfare on the weekend back to the states...
    • by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:57PM (#6504984) Journal
      OK, here come the 500 posts all crying about the loss of jobs here in the US....
      Stop your crying. Listen, this has been happening in all industries since the dawn of the industrial age. Remember, the NorthEast US used to make textiles. Sugar Cane used to be grown in Hawaii. Steel used to be made to in Pittsburgh. And, televisions once were made here as well.
      Programming is simply a commodity. I oughta know, I am a programmer. My job will go overseas sometime soon. I'm just trying to make as much money as possible beforehand, in the opes that I am prepared.
      • Re:I have a plan... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@[ ] ['via' in gap]> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:50PM (#6505738) Homepage
        Well here's the part that I'm always surprised no one points out.

        You have a bank. That bank runs on a mainframe. That mainframe is programmed in something like COBOL or somesuch. There's a problem getting COBOL programmers. Not many people want to learn or work with COBOL any more, so when these existing programmers retire or die (which will cause the pool of COBOL programmers to dwindle 15% in the next decade), they're going to be hard to replace. But in India there's a crapload of people willing to do the work. It would be considerably cheaper to outsource the maintenance on the existing system than it would be to rewrite it in flavor-of-the-month language/platform, so to India the jobs go.

        Yes, throw in the factor of "lay of tons of people about to retire and outsource them now" and the situation gets all shitty, but why doesn't it ever occur to people that sometimes the jobs are outsourced because no one wants to do it anymore?

        A place I interviewed at outsources their document imaging to India - and the nature of the business meant that millions and millions of documents are done this way. True, they saved a lot of money by not paying rows and rows of Americans a minimum wage, but the other problem was that there simply weren't enough Americans willing to do it, period.

        • by NuttyBee ( 90438 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:08AM (#6508677)
          I figured it out a long time ago. Engineers and programmers could be outsourced, replaced, or outright eliminated if needed. There are lots of bright English speakers in India who need jobs. They want mine. They've probably already got it.

          There are a few places where you can't practically outsource a job. Ever tried outsourcing your car repair to India to fix its air conditioning? Fixing things like air conditioning can be very labor intensive, easily a full day in some cases. It was 105 degrees here in CA today, if my A/C was broken it'd be winter by the time someone in India could have in fixed and back to me. (Including the ocean voyage.)

          Another case is health care, if you're sick in a hospital in San Francisco, does it matter that there are nurses in a 3rd World Country? Nope, all the matters is that we don't have enough nurses HERE.

          You can't outsource the ice cream shop down the street, you can't outsource the gas station, you can't outsource moving someone from one house to another to somebody in India. You can't outsource services that require a "personal touch."

          Here's the plan: Develop the "personal touch" that the person in India can't. Expect to have to change careers. Accept that the 90s are over and you can't work at Starbucks for $10/hr until the economy improves. What you did in the past may not necessarily be what you do in the future, but make a plan for when the future throws you a curve ball.
      • Re:I have a plan... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vsprintf ( 579676 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:54PM (#6506414)

        Programming is simply a commodity. I oughta know, I am a programmer. My job will go overseas sometime soon. I'm just trying to make as much money as possible beforehand, in the opes that I am prepared.

        I'm a programmer too, and I find little logic in your comment. Why should a company which is based in the U.S. be allowed to benefit from the infrastructure here while offshoring jobs? Why should the company get a free ride when their employees no longer pay U.S. taxes or pay into Social Security, and the company no longer pays the mandatory matching contribution? Sure, the company might make more money in the short run (and shareholders in whatever country make a few pennies), but it is at the expense of the American taxpayer. Companies that offshore their labor should do the right thing and offshore their headquarters and management as well, so they can adequately supervise their operations.

        Since U.S. executive compensation is so horribly out of whack compared to the average worker's in comparison to the rest of the world (over 500:1 at last count), why aren't the executives' jobs offshored first? That would be the most logical place to start cutting costs and improving profits. And if managerial brains are not a commodity, what is? IBM's position is: "Ooh, ooh, other companies are doing it, so we gotta do it too." I liked the old IBM better. Then they had real management that appreciated the fact that the current employees made the company what it was.

        • by bmajik ( 96670 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:40PM (#6507319) Homepage Journal
          why should a bunch of people from all over the world be able to clone expensive microsoft software and give it away for free ? why should random programmers off the street get to freely clone the user interface, protocols, and functionality that cost microsoft so much to develop ? what are all those microsoft employees supposed to do ? dont people realize that the majority of tax revenue in some places comes from microsoft ? if people are cloning microsoft software for free and anyone can use it, how can a microsoft employee hope to feed her family ?

        • by invenustus ( 56481 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:30PM (#6507656)
          Should I assume that you don't consume any products or services from overseas to save money? Every article of clothing on your body was made in your country, as was every electronic appliance in your home? If so, I admire you for having the courage of your convictions. But if not....

          How dare you benefit from the infrastructure here while offshoring the manufacture of your clothes and appliances!? Why should you get a free ride when the people who make those things for you no longer pay US taxes or pay into Social Security?!
      • Re:I have a plan... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tbradshaw ( 569563 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:08PM (#6506569) Homepage
        Actually, sugar cane is still grown in Hawaii. Surprisingly, sugar is the one of the most subsidised industries in the US. We pay over five times the "world price" for sugar.

        Originally it was just to protect sugar growers, but after corn syrup became the number one sugar substitute, it's now used to keep domestic sugar prices higher than corn.

        Why would this be that important? Well because the first political primary is in Iowa, of course, corn capital of the world. Historians will look back at the US and wonder why in the hell corn farmers had such a huge impact on the policies of the most powerful nation in the world.
      • by av3ragejoe ( 691565 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:49PM (#6506955)
        The only problem with this argument is that the list of professions not susceptible to exportation is growing perilously short. Accountants, scientists, architects, engineers, financial analysts, and all the HR and other support staff that go with them are now vulnerable. What we're seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg ... any career without a mandatory customer-facing component is looking to face the offshoring axe sooner or later. It will gut the US economy, and, in what little justice emerges from this, Bush in '04 as well ... his free-trade trips across the globe won't look so hot when unemployment is still rising late next year. The real question we should ask is whether the kind of free trade that has emerged since the early 70's really in our best interests? Will reducing trade barriers with countries offering labor at levels 1/5 or less than ours improve our quality of life? Countries such as India and China are engaging in some rather questionable practices, not the least of which is pegging their currencies at artificially-low levels relative to the dollar. This parasitic trade arrangement is destroying our industrial and intellectual base. It can't last forever ... we can't consume indefinitely while continually gutting our production capacity and going ever deeper into debt. While some sort of correction down the road is inevitable, I just hope its one we all can live with. BTW ... don't let the recent rise in the stock market fool you. The correlation between the Dow/S&P and the state of the American economy is thin given these are *multinational* organizations we're talking about here, not sure if they really even qualify as American companies anymore.
    • Re:I have a plan... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheViffer ( 128272 )
      And hey it does not matter if you are white, black, Hispanic, Canadian or Native American. You are still a minority.

      And guess what, India is an Affirmative action country.

      So what would happen if American's moved to India, protested for jobs under India Affirmative Action, and then requested US salaries since they are still US citizens working for a US company?

      • So what would happen if American's moved to India, protested for jobs under India Affirmative Action, and then requested US salaries since they are still US citizens working for a US company?

        Um, they wouldn't get hired. Hate to be the one to break it to you, but affirmative action doesn't let you demand triple salary here; it's something you can sue for when the company shows a pattern of hiring against a group when there are equivalent workers available. That's why, even though PA had 1-1-1-1 laws for
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:03PM (#6505076)
      > ...I'll move to India. That'll fuck em' over!

      Ha ha, only serious :)

      Once enough of these jobs are located in India, the wages companies will have to offer Indian workers will rise.

      Until that happens, those of us in the Western world can invest in companies that are relocating or doing outsourcing work. As these companies become more profitable, their shareholders can win too.

      What's that you say? Shareholders? Who are they to profit? Oh, those horrible corporations making scads of money, setting up a new aristocracy of shareholders as the companies they own become more profitable? Oh, the horror! How dare they! How exclusionary, how elitist! Damn those corporations with their Congress-bought laws that prevent Joe Sixpack from joining the New Elite by, umm... opening up a brokerage account, hey, that was easy, but I'm sure the Evil Business Conspirators exclude undesirable rabble from, umm... buying shares with the, umm... click of a mouse. Umm, but it's all a part of the violence inherent in the system! Yeah! Help, help, I'm bein' repressed!

      • by Computer! ( 412422 )
        OK, I don't mean to be rude, but you're an idiot. Here's why:

        Once enough of these jobs are located in India, the wages companies will have to offer Indian workers will rise.

        You know there's almost a billion people in India, right? And even with our current job situation in the US, wages have fallen through the floor. How many of these jobs do expect to be created in India? 100 million? Think.

        Damn those corporations with their Congress-bought laws that prevent Joe Sixpack from joining the New Elite by
        • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:53PM (#6505773) Homepage Journal
          OK, I don't mean to be rude, but you're an idiot.

          Ah, the first signs of enlightened argument.

          You know there's almost a billion people in India, right? And even with our current job situation in the US, wages have fallen through the floor. How many of these jobs do expect to be created in India? 100 million? Think.

          Because clearly, the entire billion-strong population of India are computer programmers. Also, because Visual C++ has such wonderful Hindi support, as well as the other 17 languages recognized by their constitution.

          Also, there's such a strong tech sector there, and they've all got such easy access to PCs.

          So as long as you're being sarcastic at someone else for thinking things through, you might try it yourself. He didn't say they'd go up to American salaries, but he's right, they certainly will go up; this is just how supply and demand works. There is /not/ a programmer glut there. Do some research before calling bullshit.

          Damn those corporations with their Congress-bought laws that prevent Joe Sixpack from joining the New Elite by, umm... opening up a brokerage account, hey, that was easy

          Remember: JOE SIXPACK NO LONGER HAS A JOB.

          Isn't it nice when the person that replies to you in a yelling fashion is yelling exactly what you're being sarcastic about? Here's a hint: the reason he was making it seem uncertain is that he was talking about a steel worker going online and becoming an online broker. It's a fantasy; the market doesn't make money, it only exchanges it. And it's generally the untrained that are doing the losing, despite the legions of Slashdotters who are sure that they missed the RedHat IPO boat but the next one's on its way.

          Please stop jumping on posts you clearly don't grok.
      • by Eneff ( 96967 )

        Let's say that one percent of the people in a given population have what it takes to be a programmer.

        That means there are about 10 million people primed and ready for action over there.

        How about china? 16 million...

        US is down there at 2.5 million... how many programming jobs in the world do you think there need to be?

        I know I'm looking to get out.
  • I guess... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Squidgee ( 565373 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:50PM (#6504863)
    I guess this is a viable option for software companies; I mean, it's exactly what large clothing companies do to their manufacturing, why not software giants?

    My only question is, if you have questions with the code, aren't you going to need a translator for the comments?

    int a; #Es un variable para el funcion de la red.

    American Programmer: Buh?

  • reduce costs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linuxislandsucks ( 461335 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:51PM (#6504872) Homepage Journal
    so its okay to outsource jobs to reduce costs but not okay to lower salaries of the top management to reduce costs?

    • by lylum ( 659581 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:53PM (#6504909)
      Welcome to capitalism. You must be new here?
    • Re:reduce costs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian.mcgroarty@ ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:59PM (#6505022) Homepage
      Someone [who the board believes to be] capable of driving a company isn't a commodity worker. Pretty much everybody in the middle class in the US is a commodity worker however.

      Thanks to globalization, the middle class will find themselves increasingly distanced from the wealthy. The IBM situation is merely one example of this.

    • Re:reduce costs? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zulux ( 112259 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:22PM (#6505365) Homepage Journal
      so its okay to outsource jobs to reduce costs but not okay to lower salaries of the top management to reduce costs?

      This happens! .... just on a company wide scale.

      Lean and mean 1970's SONY repleaces fat-and-bloated RCA

      Lean and mean 2010's Samsung replaces fat-and-bloated SONY ...

      Lean and mean 1970's Honda replaces fat-and-bloated AMC

      Lean and mean 2010's Hyundai replaces fat-and-bloated Honda

  • by eclectic_echidna ( 586735 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:51PM (#6504873)
    8 percent!

    That means that 92% of us will still be around.


  • yikes! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:51PM (#6504875)
    Okay, I'm in Seattle, and it's already a pretty horrendous job market here - I'm reduced to working a temp job for $10/hr (not in my industry). This is gonna make things even worse. So what's to do? Do we have to have a 'Made by U.S. Programmers' label for software packages?
    • by Colonel Panic ( 15235 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:02PM (#6505064)
      Do we have to have a 'Made by U.S. Programmers' label for software packages?

      Honestly, did you 'look for the union label' before buying your clothing? Why do you think anyone else is going to care if their software was made in the USA? Ultimately, they just want the lowest price.

      The situation sucks, but I'm not sure what we can do about it. Maybe tax breaks for companies that hire American workers in America, but even that would probalby not helpt too much.
  • in the future (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ralico ( 446325 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:51PM (#6504888) Homepage Journal
    We'll be telling our grandkids that the US actually had an H1B visa program to encourage tech workers from other countries to work here, not the other way around. And they'll say
    "Grandpa, you're pulling my leg!"
  • But good for IBM. I mean this, but I know it won't be popular. By IBM cutting developer jobs, they will be able to stay competitive in more markets and increase the GDP of the nations they are moving operations to. That means increased buying power for that nation, and in turn, everybody benefits from selling to that nation.

    It also means that while developer positions are harder to come by, more jobs in other sectors will be created to satisfy the increased revenue IBM has available.

    So, before you flame IBM try to see how this isn't a greed manuever but something that can benefit more people outside of the software development industry.
    • It also means that while developer positions are harder to come by, more jobs in other sectors will be created to satisfy the increased revenue IBM has available.

      Let's see and those jobs would be for:
      Lawyers, Marketeers, Sales droids, and more Wall Mart clerks. Yipee! What a wonderful future we'll have.
    • by darkov ( 261309 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:14PM (#6505244)
      Exactly. This is what happens in an efficient (global) economy. A product becomes popular (computer technology) it becomes a commodity and gets cheaper, margins shrink and you look to save on costs.

      The solution isn't to weep and wail and whinge, but to innovate. That's how the US got where it is in the first place. But you should understand it never stops. Free your mind and get rich!
    • by Vicegrip ( 82853 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:48PM (#6505713) Journal
      I can dig competing for my labor costs on the strength of my skills, but I can't compete with developers who make $5,850 [] a year, because I can't even rent a hole in the wall in my city for that yearly income, let alone feed myself.

      Do we really want to 'Flint, Michigan' the entire high-tech industry? At the very least, lets insist that only countries with similar social standards as ours can get looked at for this kind of expatriation of jobs.
      Personally, I'm not interested in returning to the days of the Industrial Revolution where workers had no rights-- cause thats what it's like in many third-world countries.

      What the hell, lets just expatriate everything... I'm sure we can find dollar-a-day workers for it all over there-- course by then they'll be nobody to pay the lawyers and buy the goods they want to sell to us-- at least the lawyers will all die of hunger too, thats should be a good thing.
  • Admit it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <joelinux&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:53PM (#6504911) Homepage
    As an Electrical Engineer, I'm thoroughly convinced that defense jobs are the only ones that are going to stay in-country. Might as well jump on the band-wagon now. Viva le Tomahawk!

    The meek might inheret the earth, but they'll be in India.
  • Disturbing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Geopoliticus ( 126152 ) * on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:53PM (#6504927)
    I need to make sure I have this right. If we give the rich a tax break, they will create more jobs. Those jobs in turn will be transfered overseas where the rich will again see an increase in their capital investments which are now taxed less. Ok. Just making sure I understand. No further questions.
    • Re:Disturbing... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Catskul ( 323619 )
      .... and then the poor people of those countries become middle class thus decreasing the variance of the world socioeconomic gap. (while increasing it in our own country)

      Dont feel too bad for yourself though, because while you may no longer be able to buy that awesome SUV you've always wanted, people in India are getting that health care they've always wanted.
  • Oh my god! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:54PM (#6504929) Homepage Journal
    You mean to tell me that International Business Machines might employ people in other countries!!!?!?!!112@

    That's just so wrong!
  • Third world (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:54PM (#6504936) Homepage Journal
    Well, I guess it depends upon the industry. For years German and Japanese companies have been moving automobile production to the US because the labor and benefits are much cheaper, while IT is being more and more phased out to India and other countries.

    • Re:Third world (Score:4, Insightful)

      by doktor-hladnjak ( 650513 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:20PM (#6506089)
      Yes, but there's an important difference with these types of jobs:

      It's probably about the same cost to build a car in these countries as the US, but it costs a lot to actually ship automobiles by sea. American cars sold in Europe are generally made in Europe as well.

      To ship your software product just takes a file transfer or at the most a CD via FedEx.

  • by dogfart ( 601976 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:54PM (#6504937) Homepage Journal
    If you want to emigrate to India and work in a convenience store. I'm sure all those Indian programmers will need their late night cola and chips.

    Don't be too perturbed if they make fun of your American accent though.

  • by Alethes ( 533985 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:56PM (#6504979)
    If companies have to maintain profitiablity, and developers are cheaper in other countries, what choice do they have except to export those jobs? Sure, it makes life harder for the developers in the US, at least for the short term, but what if exporting that work enables IBM to spend money on R & D that provides even more work for state-side developers in the long run? I'm just thinking there are some benefits and some disadvantages with just about any solution IBM chooses.

  • Rhetorical Question:

    At what point will the risks to Organizational/National Security be considered? How can we effectively defend key components of national critical infrastructure against domestic or international attack if all of the source code is being developed overseas. We have trouble securing our own banks domestically. How do we sustain a cyber perimeter that encompasses multiple continents?
  • by Sean80 ( 567340 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:59PM (#6505024)
    Maybe I'll be like one of those guys who walks down the mall, naked, ringing a bell, and screaming that the end of the world is nigh, but I really do wonder sometimes if the end of capitalism is nigh here in the United States.

    What we're pretty much seeing, yet again, is the valuation of the company over the individual. People like Larry Ellison and Bill Gates and pretty much every other CEO in the tech industry are getting richer and richer at the expense of the people who keep them there.

    Where will this end? Equilibrium? I honestly can't see that happening. I'm pretty sure you could ship every technical job to India and China, and their cost of living, and hence their salaries, would still undercut the US by a massive margin. So what's to stop the flow? I think that legislation might be the only way. Hey, Mr Gates, if you want to use this country to stay rich, then you have to pay it back, your workforce has to be a certain percentage American.

    Without that sort of thing, I worry, I honestly do. All I can try to do is be the best in the global market, not just the local market. But how good can I be. You can hire 5 or 10 Indians for what it takes to keep me in a job here in the States. I just can't compete any more.

    • I don't think capitalism is the problem, it's greed. Ambition or efficiency is one thing, greed is something else.

      We're still in the early evolution of megacorporations. Up until the 1950's it wasn't practical to manage a company as large as they come today. They haven't figured everything out yet.

      They think they're making more money, but at some point they'll have taken all the good jobs--along with all the spending money--away from their most loyal customers. That's when they'll start reconsidering how
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:59PM (#6505025)
    Right now businessmen are eager to outsource a 80k / yr job to a 10k / yr position. (Forget that 5k shit in the Times, you need more developers and there are hidden costs, in delivery delays and communication overhead.)

    What are the boards going to do when they realize you can get a CEO for only 100k / year in India or Russia ? If Ed Whitacre (SBC) was replaced, the 82 million a year savings (yes, look it up) would nearly be enough to make SBC profitable, for the first time since they hired him !

    Corporate Boards themselves are much cheaper overseas; in some cases you only have to go as far as Canada to get boards that work for a tenth the price of boards in the United States.

    These changes are the inevitable reflection of the market, and passing laws against it just damages our competitiveness. American CEOs will always be able re-train to other jobs to stay competitive.

    Best of all, the savings to the bottom line can be feed into tax-free dividends, which help keep the stock market strong.

    The IPs of those who respond against this post or mod it down will be reported to Asscraft as Al Qeada agents.
  • by pbox ( 146337 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:59PM (#6505032) Homepage Journal
    Couple of notes on this:

    1. Brush up your Hindi/Cantonese/Tagalog/Mandarin.

    2. While we in the US can keep crying about this (and will) don't you think it is a good move for the globe? This is practical wealth redistibution. Instead of 1% of the world population, now the wealth generated by IT can be shared with 20-30%. Isn't it just fair? Specially if you notice that this is not only an IT related phenomenon.

    Effactively the US corporate giants (mostly Republicans) are doing what the liberals have been preaching for a long time (not Democrats, but Greens).

    What do ya know?
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:00PM (#6505041) Homepage
    Seriously, can anyone think of a comperable like of work in terms of the sort of work and the salary?

    I'm not going to get stuck like people in the muscle industries have in the last few decades, clinging to the shrinking number of jobs for less pay for more work. I'm still in a good position, it's time to start gearing up to switch to an industry that's not getting shipped overseas.

    Whadya think? Management's probably good -- those fuckers will never reduce their own numbers or salaries, but I hate sitting in meetings and being useless. Health care? Big barrier to entry, though... What else isn't going away?

    • by Abalamahalamatandra ( 639919 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:32PM (#6505503)
      Easy. Don't be a developer.

      Get involved in infrastructure work - all the suits left here aren't going to be communicating with the slave labor over there via the US Mail - they'll still need computing infrastructure here, like Internet access, email, and decision support systems.

      I would say that you should look at computer security, but over the years I've tried to train a lot of people in it (my field) and I've become convinced that it just takes a certain kind of person to do it - you're pretty much always interested in it, or you're not and can't get that way by training.

      I've got some karma to spend, so I'll say it - a certain amount of this will be good for the industry as a whole. A lot of the people getting weeded out by this outsourcing are the ones who took their classes to become a developer and "make the big bucks". Over time we'll realize that IT in the US will be left with the people who think up the cool stuff to do and leave it to the overseas grunts to actually execute.

      That said, I also want to say that I'll be the first to laugh when one of these countries (probably not India, though) becomes the next Iraq and some US companies get put in a serious bind.

      As for those saying that this will redistribute the wealth globally - get real! We're creating a new overseas worker class, not new overseas companies. The jobs are going there because the people will work for peanuts, not because they have great skills and deserve huge salaries.
  • by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:02PM (#6505068) Homepage
    I'm an American. I lead a lifestyle that is substantially better than most of the people on the planet. Outsourcing of IT jobs to countries like China, Russia and India is threatening that lifestyle, and if I'm not careful it could all go right down the drain.

    I say: Good. It's about damn time.

    Why does America deserve to have all the wealth that it has? If someone in India can do my job at 1/10th the cost, why exactly should anyone pay me to do it? Simply to support my American way of life? No. The American way of life is not a birthright. It has to be earned. You earn it by doing what those guys in India and China and Russia can't do. You earn it by innovating, and by taking risks. You earn it by seizing on oppertunities that those guys simply do not have access to.

    It's time to wake up people. Being able to sling a little code, set up a webserver and talk your way around a design meeting is not going to cut it anymore. You need to get off your ass, put the time in on the weekends and:

    1) Identify what it is that you can do that cannot be done by anyone else (or at least, anyone who is willing to work for your salary)

    2) Train yourself to do it well.

    Otherwise you will not have a job. Simple as that. Just like during the manufacturing boom in the 50's and 60's, America (and Western Civilization in general) had gotten fat and lazy in the last few years. Now there is simply no reason why you are worth 10 times more than the rest of the world. So you had better come up with a reason, or move to China.

    • by jgalun ( 8930 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:33PM (#6505520) Homepage
      Now there is simply no reason why you are worth 10 times more than the rest of the world.

      While I think you have a valid point in your post, I do object to this - there is one very good reason why Americans are worth 10 times more than the rest of the world - because the economic capital (read: technological infrastructure/overal education level/economic rules) developed in the US is far greater than India's.

      I don't think it's accurate to say that Americans got fat and lazy all of a sudden. Rather, it's that in 1980, American developers were (let's say) 20 times more productive than Indian developers, because the infrastructure in the US for computer development was (let's say) 40 times more developed than India's. Today, US developers still make 20 times as much, but are only 10 times as productive - because in that time, India has caught up in terms of computer education, internet infrastructure, etc.

      The numbers are made up, but you get the idea.
    • Assuming you can even find a tech sector that isn't being outsourced to another country.

      Why should I suck it up and get reamed up the ass so some overpaid CEO can get another multi-million dollar bonus for cutting costs again and providing yet another stellar earnings statement for the latest quarter?

      We're not talking about the local iceman losing his job because everyone moved to electric refridgerators or the guy running the local Singer shop going under because no one makes their own clothes anymore.
    • wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:39PM (#6505612) Homepage Journal
      "Why does America deserve to have all the wealth that it has? "
      because we deloped global capitalism.
      Because we set the standar for other to achieve.

      "1) Identify what it is that you can do that cannot be done by anyone else (or at least, anyone who is willing to work for your salary)"

      Well, that would be aahhhh nobody.

      "2) Train yourself to do it well."
      I do programming well. you would be hard pressed to find an area of programming I have not done. yet, I still will loose a job overseas.

      Nobody has gotten fat and lazy in the last few years. That is always the perception because we work harder then most countries, but we also play harder.

      well, thats a great attitude you got there, lets see what you have to say when your living under a bridge.

      Hell yeah, America first.
    • Good good, glad you like this 'outsourcing thing', now remember not to complain when your followed by hordes of begging children, or murdered for 5 dollars. Remember this when unemployment jumps 10% and you have to clean toilets just to make enough for something to eat. Yes, we should be like the rest of the world, we already have the corruption and the despotic leadership, now all we need is pervasive poverty and crime. Yep...

      We are worth 10 times more than the rest of the world, because we BUY the pro
    • One very simple flaw in your argument:

      The reason that I cannot compete on price with that Indian developer has nothing to do with my willingness to work and everything to do with the fact that I will always pay more for real estate in America.

      Even Arkansas farmland is going to be more expensive than a good place in India.

      Not to mention that goods and services here are more expensive because everyone around here has to pay the same real estate prices.

      If I had a million dollars right now, I'd be investing
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:05PM (#6505104)
    Repeat after me... Do you want fries with that...

    It's always a good idea to have a backup plan.
  • by dyj ( 590807 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:11PM (#6505191)

    While it is true that many technical jobs have been moved to India, the best Indian engineers actual come to the US to have jobs here.

    CBS's 60 Minutes had a segment on students of the ultra-competitive Indian Institute of Technology [] a while ago. And apparently all the graduates from IIT want to come to the US.

    Therefore, I have the thesis that technical jobs in the US are simply getting more and more advanced, whlie "easier" technical jobs are being moved overseas.

    • by stetsds ( 567259 ) * on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:22PM (#6505362)
      > Therefore, I have the thesis that technical jobs
      > in the US are simply getting more and more
      > advanced, whlie "easier" technical jobs are
      > being moved overseas.

      No, this just means that the US has either still better living conditions* or just better propaganda than India.

      Indian engineers wanting to come to the US might just mean they are ill-informed about the US.

      *actually, I think living in the US isn't too bad. If I could freely choose where to live the US would definitely be somewhere in the top 20.
  • by Colonel Panic ( 15235 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:16PM (#6505269)
    ...named Dilbert.
  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:17PM (#6505273)
    I'm a consultant, and most of my work does not require me to be physically onsite -- although my clients prefer it. So what should I do in response to a disappearance of nearly 1 in 10 positions overseas?

    Maybe I should move to Bangalore, use my established clients to continue work in the US, and use the drop in my own housing/personal/family expenses to remain competitive. My old college roomie did a version of this -- telecommuting to consulting gigs in Los Angeles from a very nice house in Arkansas. I can think of half a dozen places to go that wouldn't suck at all. Hell, given the way the state & federal economy's been run into the ground here in the US ($450B+ deficit!), maybe my kids will get a better public education abroad.

    Then again, I find that if I drop the price for my services below a certain level, then the client no longer respects the work as coming from an expert (and thus exclusive) source. It's sad to think that I tend to get the most abuse from clients to whom I've given cut rates. Maybe I should raise my rates? If I keep my fees well above the internationally-outsourced folks, but below the top decile (easy targets for that 8%), I should be in good shape, no?

  • by k98sven ( 324383 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:24PM (#6505390) Journal
    In my opinion, computer programming should no longer be considered a "high-tech" job.

    Sure, there is science in the mix (mostly logic, math), but how many programmers actually make use of this stuff on a daily basis? Most programming that is done in industry is relatively routine stuff;
    Code, Run, Debug, Repeat.

    Only a lucky few are developing completely new algorithms, and doing what can really be called 'research'. The rest are just engineering jobs, if that.

    Now the former, research-related stuff, will stay in the country. Our universities and research are still much better.

    The latter type of programming, which unfortunately is what most people are doing, like writing VB programs to solve relatively simple tasks and such, cannot compete.
    There is no reason to keep those jobs in the country if someone else can do the same thing cheaper.

    And that's just fine with me. For nations like India, it's still one step up on the ladder of technology, and for us, it's a motivation to keep pushing upwards towards the new areas that really are "high-tech".
    • I appreciate your perspective and admire your boldness in posting such a thing on /., but I am compelled to speak the truth and to counter misconceptions where I see them. You have missed some critical features of professional work.

      There are many instances in every job where a level of commonality is reached. In this level, a "trained monkey" could do the job. But that doesn't cast the entirety of the profession onto the manual-labor streetcorner.

      I have wormed my way back into IT (serendipity played a large part of that, however), and I find myself writing a lot of procedures for others to follow. The procedures are for even the lay person to follow, since time is always of the essence. But it took my little skilled self to not only write them, but to come up with the need to have them written in the first place. Corporate memory arises from Human action, and those acts are skilled ones.

      Added to this is the sad, sad truth that too many people cannot even construct logical thought processes necessary to be an effective professional. IT work is brutally logical and missing details leads to almost catastrophic results. IT is laboring under the weight of that old song or poem about For The Want of a Nail. The need for disciplined thinking alone puts such work into realm of "uncommonality".

      In summary, yes, you are broadly correct that pushing VB routines around is more of a commodity skill and as such can be priced down to minima. However, programming itself is a profession requiring years of dedicated practice and study, and you will be hard pressed to demand a 4-year degree for a 4-year career, or a 16-yr-old's wages.
    • by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:23PM (#6507211) Homepage
      The rest are just engineering jobs, if that.

      Um, I'd call engineering jobs "high-tech." I don't see why you are saying that high-tech implies research, the two are completely separate things.

  • by Przepla ( 637674 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:24PM (#6505392)'s very good think. I live in Poland, where unemployment rate is as high as 20%, 50% of university graduates are unemployed, and where I work as a system administrator for about 1000 zlotys (less than 300 USD) monthly and last payment was from March.
    I have a Masters Degree in Physics, and I am finishing my Masters thesis in Law. I'm 25 and still living with my parents in a flat (let's just say, that renting one room flat costs over 500 zlotys (half of my pay)) and I consider myself very lucky having a place to live, a job, and at least some perspectives.
    So whenever some US corp. is moving out of US, we people from underdeveloped countries, are rather happy, as this means better future for us.
  • by glenstar ( 569572 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:36PM (#6505570)

    After reading the usual bitching and moaning about tech jobs going overseas, it struck me odd that the same people who are proponents of Free (not necessarily *free*) software are some of the loudest whiners. Ok, so you can charge for Free software, but once it is in the wild, then what? Well, you are shit out of luck! Unless you can talk a user of your software into a maintenance contract or whatnot, you are never going to see another penny from your software unless some do-gooder decides to pay for it even when they can get it for free.

    Guess what? If I am a large multinational that makes, say, CRM software, and along comes some Free and kickass version that my customers start using then I start fucking laying people off or shipping my work overseas. Why? Because I am not making as much money. That in itself may not be too bad -- a little competition is a good thing -- but in this case now *no one* is making any money. Whoohooo!

    People may want to see MS go down, and I can't necessarily say I am not one of them. However, stop for a minute and think of the mind-numbing and crippling effects that would have on the entire worldwide software industry. There are thousands and thousands of companies that make their money from supporting MS products, writing add-ins, etc... In the Seattle-area I would venture to guess that about 95% of the solutions providers and about 80% of the development shops rely on MS. MS goes away? Thousands and thousands of jobs go away as well. Fun fun.


  • by da_anarchist ( 548175 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:38PM (#6505593)
    Please, why don't they be honest in their press releases and state the obvious: they don't give a rat's ass about their workers in the United States.

    Face it, technical jobs are becomming increasingly a commodity that can be filled as easily by someone in Bangalore as Boston. So, when the Joe CEO of Moneygrubberscorp realizes that he can slash costs by many times through overseas outsourcing, what do he's going to do? That's right, he sees that lower costs = higher profit = more money for Joe CEO, his cronies, and the all mightly shareholder. Almighty capitalism at its finest!

    Unfortunatly, that means that means that the middle class workers he just eliminated are SOL. Their piece of the pie is gone, eaten up by Joe CEO so he can afford another villa in Switzerland. Poor John Programmer now must try to find another job - but unfortunatly, no other company can justify the cost to hire him.

    As more companies outsource, those who don't, out of patriotism and respect for their countrymen, have higher costs, realize less profit, and lose their competiveness. Eventually, they will either: A) Be eaten by Microsoft / Oracle / etc B) Go out of business.

    What does this mean? IT MEANS THAT SOON, THE ONLY COMPANIES LEFT WILL THE ONES WHO HAVE OUTSOURCED ALL THEIR WHITE COLLAR JOBS. John Programmer will have to find something that has not / can't be outsourced, such as the trite example of flipping burgers. Thus, bye bye middle class.

    Who wins? Joe CEO, Moneygrubberscorp, its shareholders and all the other's companies like it make out big time by pocketing the difference between the salaries of thousands of John Programmers.

    What can be done? I'm not going to preach here (I'll leave that for another time). Just be aware that this is happening and ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE IT HAPPENS TO YOU!

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @06:53PM (#6505780) Homepage Journal
    Is what all this outsourcing means! I've lost over 70 Lbs since I switched to my $10@ week diet. Hooray for layoff's and indian outsourcing!

  • by jonr ( 1130 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:15PM (#6506038) Homepage Journal
    So, who will buy their software when all IT workers are out of job? They should move the whole manegment overseas... I've heard that CEO's are pretty cheap in Malasia.
  • UNIONIZE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zapp ( 201236 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:22PM (#6506111)
    From the article: ...the company's executives were particularly worried that the trend could spur unionization efforts.

    Why aren't we unionized? What are the actual benefits, downsides, and what does it take to get there?

    This is obviously the beginning of a downward spiral, so I say we should act now while we have a chance.

    This is part of a larger problem in which everyone looks out for #1. If we would only concider our actions on the scope of our community (speaking nationally), things might be different... from copyright laws to workforce management.
  • by puppetman ( 131489 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:25PM (#6506139) Homepage
    Going to use India as an example:

    First, as more companies invest in places like India, wages will rise (just as they may fall in the US).

    Second, developers in India will leave American companies and form spin-offs or direct competitors, which requires more local employees, reducing the number of developers available for the US firms, also driving up wages in India.

    Third, India will eventually develop a market for software, rather than just be a supplier. As that market grows, more and more Indian developers will be employeed to fill the demand, and American companies can compete as well.

    Fourth, many jobs can't or won't be moved over, and IT is in general still a growing field. Computers and software are even more ubiquitous than ever, and the demand for domestic workers will still exist.

    Fifth, only large companies can really afford to do this. They're usually the shittiest jobs anyway; I'd rather sand-blast my ass-crack than work for IBM. Working for a small-to-medium sized company is far more exciting.
  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ( 156602 ) * on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:48PM (#6506353) Homepage Journal
    IBM Moving Jobs Overseas

    I didn't know IBM had that kind of clout with Apple. Poor Steve, did he have any say in this at all? What about his family, are they moving too?

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak