Letters to the Editor
Some developers mourn the day that offshoring will force them out of a job, while others assert you need to make yourself more marketable. Only the strong survive.
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Offshoring Hits a Nerve
Several things come to mind regarding Patrick Meader's Editor's Note, "Offshoring Shakes Up Developer Landscape" [April 2004]. Offshoring will affect not only the jobs of developers, but those of all sorts of IS staff personnel. The trend toward application service providers (ASPs) in the marketplace is going to displace thousands of IS folks if the current trend continues. The offers to business of removing the need for server management, backups, and overall complex infrastructure, in addition to keeping the business operating on the latest versions of applications such as Word and Excel, are hard to resist.
While those of us who've been in the business know that many of these ASP operations will fold up like the dotcoms did, leaving many businesses in a bad way, the opportunity offshoring offers right now can be difficult to resistespecially for those with direct profit-and-loss responsibility and only a surface level understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.
Right now, programmers have the best development environment to date. I'm referring to VS.NET, of course. It provides us with an ability to get more done in less time and with more flexibility than we've ever had before. At precisely the time when many of the promises of the past can finally be fulfilled, it's possible we're going to find ourselves with no one to develop for.
This is a community problemone we can address and move beyond. If the "best and brightest" were to put our collective minds together, we could find a way to keep not only our jobs but our pride in our profession as well.
No one really understands what we do, until they see the finished product and it's everything they wanted/needed. As such, we're not often seen as a production/profit source for an organization, but instead simply a cost that needs to be contained/minimized. IS personnel will always be at risk as long as that is how they're viewed.
Bill Coupe, Burlington, N.C.
I read this virtual storm of letters with a chuckle and a grimace [Editor's Note, "Offshoring Stirs Reader Passions," by Patrick Meader, May 2004]. Some people are basically saying, "Competition is OK, as long as it doesn't affect me." If you expect the government to protect your job, then get a job with the government. I guess they should just come right out and say, "We do not operate in an open market!" "We do not want globalization!" "We do not want to compete!"
I've been faced with this problem, and the only solution is to take responsibility for your own destiny. In order to command the salaries you desire, you must make yourself more marketable. The days of sitting in the corner churning out code for a huge salary are gone. In short, you have to be multitalented, or you'll be passed over.
I've been programming for 30 years (from punch card and paper tape to .NET). Every major paradigm or marketing shift has caused upheavals in the industry. I've learned to adapt because I want to stay in the industry. This involves commitment and hard work.
In my opinion, Darwin hit the mark. Evolve or be left behind.
Steve Harris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Let me put it to you this way: Would you want to be publishing your magazine in English, tomorrow?
Michael D Baranowski, Seattle