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My Job Went To India

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Programming 396

Josh Skillings writes "The author, Chad Fowler, draws upon his experiences as a software engineer, a team leader over a group of Indian developers, and as a jazz musician, to describe 52 ways or tips that will help you to become a more valuable employee. These tips are described in two or three pages each, and are usually illustrated by a practical example or story. The tips are well thought-out, well-explained and make sense. Chad draws upon the open source movement as well, highlighting ways that contributing to and learning from open source can improve your career. These tips gave me greater respect and appreciation for the open source movement in general." Read on for the rest of Josh's review.Chad encourages the you to think of your career as life cycle of a product, and as such divides the 52 tips into the four areas of "Choosing Your Market", "Invest in your Product", "Execute", and "Market", and then two extra groups called, "Maintaining Your Edge", and "If you Can't Beat 'Em". This grouping works surprisingly well and provides an overarching context that makes sense. Many of the tips have specific calls to action at the end, which are useful if you don't already have ideas on how to apply the tip.

For example, under "Choosing Your Market", tip #7 "Don't Put Your Eggs In Someone Else's Basket", Chad encourages you to refrain from learning vendor-specific technologies that can disappear with the vendor, and then calls you to action by suggesting you write a small project in a technology that competes with the technology you are used to using. This will help you understand why the technology exists to start with and what opens your horizons for what might be coming next.

Under the section "Investing in your Product", tip #14 called "Practice, Practice, Practice", Chad offers suggestions on how software engineers can get even better by specific kinds of focused practice. The action items at the end of the section suggests practicing "Code Katas" katas similar to martial artists, but instead in code and in different languages.

With 52 tips, this book has a lot of tips, a tip for every week of the year, but you should expect to spend much longer than a week on most of them. A few of the tips you are probably doing already, but many of them you aren't. Some of the tips are fairly straight forward and easy to put in to practice. You could spend your entire life attempting and never achieve some of the other tips, such as tip #39, "Release Your Code." The ultimate goal of this tip is to be able to say in a job interview, "Oh, are you running Nifty++? I can help you with that- I wrote it." Chances are this scenario won't ever happen to you, but by working towards this goal in the ways the book outlines, you will definitely become a better, more valuable software engineer. Many of the tips will make you a better person in general, regardless of your career, such as tip #28, "Learn How To Fail", where Chad emphasizes how to fail gracefully and the rewards that can be learned from failure. This wide range of time, difficult, and application of the tips gives you something to work on today, next week, and next year.

The title of the book is silly. Yes, it was catchy enough for me to notice in the bookstore, with the red cover and the homeless (software engineer?) holding a sign, "Will Code For Food". So from that point of view, the cover worked. However, unless you've read the book, you might think it's as campy as the cover and wonder if it is somehow anti-Indian. I think a better title would be along the lines of "How to Get Any Job You Want", since if you can master all of these tips, you'll be the best there ever was.

While I didn't expect any specific technical advice, I would have liked some. I understand that an author needs to be sensitive to how fast technology changes, however just one tip with a warning: "This information is my opinion on April 11, 2007 and will probably change tomorrow". And then describes about how Subversion is a great tool, Python is a great language to learn, and learning design patterns can make your life easier, would have been appreciated. A tip like this would help you to understand the author a bit better and further encourage you to learn more.

If you want to improve yourself and you can accept advice, this book is for you. You will find things you can do better and skills you've never considered. Like some of the other Pragmatic Programmer books, I will never be able to master everything in this book, so I'll be reading this book again and again, trying to get better every time. Don't let the cover put you off, this is a great book.

You can purchase My Job Went To India (and All I Got was This Lousy Book) from Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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First arrival (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24675575)

I am already there...

Re:First arrival (2, Insightful)

Jansingal (1098809) | about 6 years ago | (#24676095)

The best thing to do if you are in IT now, try to get out.
If you have kids, or know people you care about. DON'T let them go into IT, or major in it in university.

Re:First arrival (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676213)

And what would you suggest Obi Wan? Maybe Medicine? Law? Literature? Give some alternatives.

Re:First arrival (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677267)

I would suggest law. Once you pass the bar, you have a meal ticket for life, and almost assuredly a six digit salary in a few years, possibly seven depending on region.

To boot, you work 8 hours a day, five days a week, no worries about overtime.

Attorneys get respect by Joe Sixpack. The tech field sadly gets nothing but contempt.

Re:First arrival (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24677269)

Learn Spanish and get a masters license in some skilled trade.

Re:First arrival (2, Insightful)

proc_tarry (704097) | about 6 years ago | (#24677011)

It's really sad that what our country needs most to remain competitive in the future is more young people learning science and engineering. But because of the effects of globalization our advice to them is to avoid these fields.

It's pretty simple really:
Nationalism = what's best for us, at the cost of everyone else
Globalism = what's best for the world, at the cost of the least efficient (in this case us)

Re:First arrival (0, Flamebait)

Jansingal (1098809) | about 6 years ago | (#24677123)

sad but true. thank you that idiot george bush

Re:First arrival (1)

CogDissident (951207) | about 6 years ago | (#24677287)

It isn't IT that is the field to avoid, but to avoid grunt work in IT. There will always be a need for on-site staff for databases and computers. The part that gets outsourced overseas is always the programming. The actual database and business-rule customization of the programs still stays in the US.

Hurray for Kapitalismus! (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | about 6 years ago | (#24675595)

But face it: Indians are smarter so good riddance!

Tip # 24 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24675605)

Be sure to bathe regularly. Contrary to your Indian underlings' beliefs, being stinky and unbathed is NOT a turn on to the rest of the world.

WENT TO INDIA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24675617)

And I didn't even get laid.

They took my job (5, Insightful)

ilovesymbian (1341639) | about 6 years ago | (#24675643)

They took my job; they took my job; they took my job.

The American companies are to blame, it has nothing to do with America or India. If Dell, HP, GE outsource to India, don't buy their products anymore. Simple as that. But don't blame the poor people over there trying to make a living with what the CEO of Dell does.

Anyway, Python is a great tool, yeah.

Re:They took my job (5, Interesting)

forgoil (104808) | about 6 years ago | (#24675861)

Also, start your own company and show what you can do, let it become a battle on your turf, make it about software and products, not about bottom lines and the bosses fancy yacht and head count. The US was built by entrepreneurs, it's time to start building again!

Same goes for anyone else in any other country where a crap company outsources your job or your mates jobs from a company you helped build. Start up your own company, it's the best way to 1. get back 2. do things your way.

Re:They took my job (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676277)

Did you even read the summary? The book's not actually about outsourced jobs - it's about making yourself a valuable software employee.

Re:They took my job (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24676997)

Yeah... and it sounds like by the time you are through that you
might as well just go into business for yourself, throw off the
shackles of corporate America and take home a bigger part of the
value of your labor.

If you've got to start thinking/acting like a small businessman
in order to hold onto your w-2 job then you might as well BE a
small businessman.

Those kinds of skills are FAR more valuable outside the cubicle.

Re:They took my job (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 years ago | (#24677171)

This is exactly right. If you have to gain all these other "soft skills" or business skills in order to just be a regular software engineer, then why keep working for someone else? One of the main reasons for being an employee is because it's (supposed to be) both easier and safer than striking out on your own. Instead of long hours and having to wear many hats, you can just concentrate on your own skill, and leave the business stuff to the people who specialize in that. Anyone familiar with the idea of specialized labor should understand this. The downside is (supposed to be) your pay is lower than it could potentially be by owning and operating your own business.

If today's corporations want their regular rank-and-file employees to wear many hats, be multi-talented, and have a lot of business skills, then they're simply not doing their own jobs correctly.

Re:They took my job (5, Insightful)

Butisol (994224) | about 6 years ago | (#24676757)

How naive can you get? As if entrepreneurial talent grows on trees or can be evoked by Anthony Robbins. As if people aren't at certain points in their life where such risk is unacceptable. As if financing a venture is as simple as breaking open a piggy bank. Yes, America provides some modicum of equality of opportunity, but it's disgustingly condescending to pretend that everyone has the necessary resources or latent talent (or capacity to develop such talent) to pursue those opportunities. If only the poor would just get off their asses and work, eh old boy? The "If you don't like it, just start up a business" line of thinking is just a roundabout way of blaming the victim, and a blanketed insult to boot.

Re:They took my job (1)

genner (694963) | about 6 years ago | (#24676917)

Also, start your own company and show what you can do,

Of course you won't be able to compete with the companies that do outsource their jobs since their prices are lower than yours.

Re:They took my job (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677127)

That's all there is to it? Wow! I'll come up with a great idea that isn't already out there (very easy), come up with the starter money (I have a few extra tens of thousands $ and rich friends), and I'm sure my marriage will survive me being buried in my startup 16 hours a day. Plus, everyone's dream is running a business, right?

Re:They took my job (1)

nakajoe (1123579) | about 6 years ago | (#24675869)

No kidding--we can't expect companies NOT to use cheaper labor when we as consumers line around the block to save a few bucks. I'm not saying outsourcing is all bad, but we as consumers are the ultimate cause of it all.

Re:They took my job (0, Flamebait)

halofan_sd (683327) | about 6 years ago | (#24675899)

well, why is it a virtue to buy "Made in America" products? I would rather have my money go to a third world country where people really need it, than have it go to some spoiled Americans that think they deserved to be paid $40 an hour.

Re:They took my job (0, Flamebait)

Rakishi (759894) | about 6 years ago | (#24675995)

So are you an total isolationist or do you want foreign companies to simply bury US ones (by providing products at half the cost)?

Foreign Companies will bury US ones (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676761)

I have over 20 years of software development experience in the U.S. I am not working in that field anymore.

One of those big U.S. based multi-nationals laid me off. I have found myself in another engineering field (not software).
My current employer is happy to pay a good salary while I learn this new business. I have now worked there longer than
most of my jobs in the IT world.

When I apply for software jobs, it is all I can do to get people to return my calls. I have to followup
over and over to get to the next step in the interview process. I say, who needs it.

I am turning my back on IT. They only seem to want to pay for 2-5 years of experience. If you have 10 or more years,
they don't want you. They want energetic and cheap. They want to keep making the mistakes that were made 5 years ago.

I think the current technical job market will dissuade people from entering the IT field in the first place. The work
is hard to do in the first place, and they are going to cast you aside eventually.

Indian companies will have an advantage because they will not need to manage projects across so many timezones. They
will have lots of people coming out of college with lots of jobs for them. U.S. based companies will only be able to
find the people they need at the price they want to pay overseas. They will continue to use their money to train
armies of software developers many timezones away.

Over time, these non-U.S. companies will master the rest of the business and bury the US-based ones. Free trade or
protectionist stance will not affect this outcome.

My advice to current U.S. IT workers: don't get too deep into debt and plan a backup career.

Re:They took my job (0, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | about 6 years ago | (#24676129)

There is only one way to solve this. Everyone get into a pile and get gay!

Re:They took my job (1, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 years ago | (#24676475)

There is only one way to solve this. Everyone get into a pile and get gay!

Maybe if you can convince the Indians to do this and get your own women off the birth control, your grandchildren might have jobs. You, personally... well, you're pretty much shit out of luck....

No big deal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676145)

Hey boss, be sure to take your malaria shots before you go!

What irks me is that they've been trying to offshore computer works for 50 years with mixed results. What the real problem is that they keep asking for more guest workers (who can't change jobs [easily], who aren't citizens, who can't form unions, and restricted to certain employment). Is it our government's role to provide subsidies for wealthy companies and stifle small business? If we're going to have immigrant workers, why can't they use the usual immigration process and not H-1B non-immigrant guest worker policies?

It's a management vision problem, not an American worker productivity problem.

Re:They took my job (0)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 years ago | (#24676401)

So you are saying kill off all the American companies, so no American has a job. America cannot thrive alone anymore if we try we will get killed. I would suggest reading Tom Freemans The World is Flat. But even the Mighty GE would die if it didn't outsource. Royal Dutch Phillips, Roles Royce, there are pleanty of companies ready to get GE market. And many of these countries will not allow GE in unless they have local people work for them. Say for every 2 programmer outsourced there makes an opening for 1 software manager/designer, now here is where it gets weird, the developer over times develops a design that will require 4 programmers which will be outsource however after that large job is done it will break into smaller teams thus creating demand for an other software manager/designer and continue on.

So what if there are more jobs outsourced, there will be more demand for better jobs here.

Re:They took my job (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24676879)

Rather than reading The World is Flat, have someone hit you over the head with it. The experience will be equally revelatory, but in the end, less painful.

(Anybody who thinks that the United States can somehow maintain a lead (in education, ability, know-how, etc) over the top 20% of Indians and Chinese is delusional, that 20% is more people than live in the U.S. The U.S. will compete and succeed just fine, but the idea that it will be the center of enterprise in this century that it was last century is not supported by reality)

Re:They took my job (1, Interesting)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 6 years ago | (#24676791)

On the contrary... blame Americans.

We all know the result of a rising third world: we get a lower standard of living.
Now this is a long process and it is taking time.

The reality is, India wouldn't be so competitive if people in America didn't have this concept of an ever increasing standard of living (as if that is possible). We all weigh ourselves based on the work of others. Most of what we pay goes to the wages of others. We've only enjoyed material wealth recently because we can pay overseas people nothing.

If the fast food worker is paid 25K/year, then the teacher must be paid 50K/yeah, then the engineer must be paid 100K/yeah, then the doctor must be paid 300K/year...

If you want your engineering job to be competitive... there are 2 ways:
1. decrease the value of the dollar (kills savings, investment)
2. have a universal pay cut.

If the fast food worker is paid 15K/year, then the teacher paid 30k,, then the engineer paid 60K ... suddenly it is no more costly. And believe me, rent and housing would drop as well, as would the cost of all services (medical...). Only goods imported would appear more costly.

That WILL be the end result of all this. A more equitable payscale globally. Unfortunately, trying to get this done when dealing with things that are not the free market (unions, public sector workers...) is tougher. This is really the dilemma western nations face.

If we don't act, you're going to see a lack of skilled labor. Why?
Well, why would a skilled young person go into engineering if they can make more money as a teacher or a nurse or a bus driver. Trust me, this is happening now in Canada. Teacher salaries are creeping into the 80-90K range. This only hinders competitiveness more and accelerates the transfer of skilled labor to such places. The only skilled profession intelligent young westerners want to get into now is healthcare (doctors...) due the guaranteed high payoff.

so don't blame the companies. Don't blame India. Westerners are digging their own grave by refusing to acknowledge reality.

No longer can you have the cushy job while the Asians build your railways and the Mexicans farm your food.

Re:They took my job (1)

onto_dry_land (1346313) | about 6 years ago | (#24676919)

Huh? Why should we not buy from them? Because they make the U.S. richer through providing cheaper products or because they make India richer through buying services from them?

Re:They took my job (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 6 years ago | (#24676925)

If [companies] outsource to India, don't buy their products anymore

You won't find any products in which outsourcing played no role in production/marketing/etc.. Basically, you just suggested we boycott everything. Good luck leading that revolution, my naive friend.

Re:They took my job (2, Interesting)

kellyb9 (954229) | about 6 years ago | (#24676949)

If Dell, HP, GE outsource to India, don't buy their products anymore.

You're going to hurt the people working over there FAR sooner then you're ever going to hurt Dell, HP, or GE.

Re:They took my job (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 6 years ago | (#24677191)

They did not take your job. You lost your job.

The difference is significant.

Why is your prior role now filled by one (or two or three) people in India/China/Nigeria/Brasil?

Because you did not provide enough value to the company to justify your salary.

Life is unfair. Deal with it.

On a related note, *if* you are really worth the extra cash, then you should be able to figure out how to use your skills to demonstrate that to your employer... and on the plus side, you will be contributing more to the economy and society. Otherwise, suck it up... it's time to face the reality that being an American doesn't mean you never have to compete with foreign labor.

One other thing -- if you are going to complain and suggest a boycott of outsourcing companies, I suggest you make sure not to buy any goods made offshore either. Have fun paying for locally made clothes, consumer products, and food. Offshoring of labor, while difficult to deal with when it's *your* job on the line, has led to a vast increase in our American quality of life, based upon the variety and price of consumer goods available. You need to take the bad with the good, and if you were personally affected, I'm sorry, but that's the price of globalization.

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677297)

From the OP:

Chad draws upon the open source movement as well, highlighting ways that contributing to and learning from open source can improve your chances of having your job go to India .

There, fixed that for ya.

Too late... (2, Funny)

LoaTao (826152) | about 6 years ago | (#24675659)

... MY job went to India.

Re:Too late... (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#24675737)

...and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!

Re:Too late... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676151)

...and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!

...which was made in China.

Re:Too late... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 6 years ago | (#24677047)

I get all my shirts the old fashioned way...

Sleeping with CowboyNeal

Re:Too late... (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about 6 years ago | (#24676797)

You forgot the link [] .

DEY TOOK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24675669)


Isn't this old? (3, Informative)

colmore (56499) | about 6 years ago | (#24675713)

This book was published three years ago. It's a little late for a review of a topical work like this.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676199)

Did they stop outsourcing in the last 3 years, or are you saying that the tips on skill development are no longer valid?

Just curious.

Re:Isn't this old? (3, Interesting)

intrico (100334) | about 6 years ago | (#24676375)

Yes, I actually read this book a couple of years ago and I believe it was fairly new at the time. The information in it is still very relevant though, as this book is not specific to any particular technology, but rather it is a career advice book. It basically gives practical, solid advice about how to stay relevant in IT in the long run. If you've worked in various capacities and companies in IT, you will probably recognize that much of the advice mirrors the habits of people you've worked with that have avoided the layoffs and/or got the coveted promotions.

Re:Isn't this old? (1)

colmore (56499) | about 6 years ago | (#24676801)

If the book is general how-not-to-get-fired advice, then I could see it still being relevant. However, if that's the case, then shame on the nativist scare mongering title. If the job is going then it's either no longer a needed job or it's going *somewhere*. It's unhealthy to demonize developing economies like that.

Re:Isn't this old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676887)

Personally, I'm a little tired of only seeing reviews of newly Published books. Many reviews are not really reviews but are an ad for the book. A review of a book that has been out for a while is less likely to be a phony marketing effort (IMHO).

Re:Isn't this old? (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | about 6 years ago | (#24676999)

or it could still be a phony marketing effort in order to drumm up sales for an older book whose sales have dwindled.

Re:Isn't this old? (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | about 6 years ago | (#24676935)

yeah, i just noticed that, 3 years old.

Re:Isn't this old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677189)

The authors running out of money, so he wrote a review... maybe?

Thanks Congress and This (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24675751)

thug [] .

Okay.... (2, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24675763)

Chad encourages you to refrain from learning vendor-specific technologies that can disappear with the vendor

Yeah, but it pays really well when you know something that's hot i.e. the latest fad product (that's ALWAYS called a "new technology"). Just save your money and be prepared to jump to the next big thing.

"Learn How To Fail", where Chad emphasizes how to fail gracefully and the rewards that can be learned from failure.

Failure. The trouble is if you fail big, you're labeled as a failure and you're fucked for a very long time. And folks just love to kick a guy when he's down. Then you become older, wiser, and fucking bitter at the goddamn machine!

I have to go. The cafe is throwing me, my cats, and my shopping cart out.

Re:Okay.... (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | about 6 years ago | (#24675865)

you're labeled as a failure and you're fucked for a very long time

Aren't those two things universally exclusive? Unless you're a hooker, in which case both would apply.

Re:Okay.... (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | about 6 years ago | (#24676279)

That reminds me of that scene from Fun with Dick and Jane (the remake), where he goes in for an interview with thousands of other people, and gets pulled to the front of the line just so everyone at the company can laugh at him.

Re:Okay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676307)

It's important to know how to fail. Everyone fails at one point. Each time you do, you should gain something more than the bitter taste of defeat. Ultimetly this will not make you a winner, but you'll never mess up big time.

Re:Okay.... (1)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24676657)

I would say that if you come up against failure too many times, its time to move to a different area of IT.

Personally I find its generally safer to be the one creating new technology then one of the coders who use that technology, even if it is much harder to do. That way if things go sour you are at least better prepared, in terms of skills, to transfer to a new job or area.

If all you do is follow the 'don't re-invent the wheel' philosophy, or use code to do complex tasks that other people have written, then I'm afraid you aren't as useful as someone who would work for a fraction of your pay in India, tough.

Re:Okay.... (3, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24677187)

Chad encourages you to refrain from learning vendor-specific technologies that can disappear with the vendor.

Then Chad is hopelessly naive about what it takes to get a job in IT. If you apply for a job that requires experience with Websphere, and your resume only has Tomcat, JBoss, SunOne, and Weblogic, you will not be called in for an interview. It doesn't matter that they're all N-tier frameworks designed to work with Java, you don't have the specific skill needed, so unless the hiring manager is clueful AND does all of the initial resume screening himself instead of letting HR do it, you won't ever get that job.

Face it, there are a lot of idiots in IT management who only know the names of the vendors, and don't even understand what the technologies do. You have to list those vendors on your resume if you ever want to get a job, being vague about working with N-tier architectures just won't cut it in today's environment.

I know I know (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 6 years ago | (#24675805)

Tip #54: Write a book about blogging using some of that poetry you wrote after a party back in the nineties. Someone [] will buy it.

At least for software developers (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24676077)

or consultants, or technical writers, or anyone who can work remotely without a strict government issued license :

Get to elance and similar services, and work for yourself. eventually you will be able to make a name, and afterwards you will be able to make money.

AND you can compete with indians. true, they can give out $3/hour for software projects. but, remember, what you pay is what you get. you'll find that there are a lot of people who know that regardless of india or vietnam, you should not be having software done for 3/hour. these people know whether a rate given for a work is rational or not. when bidding for projects of people like these, indian houses that shell out $3 bids are at disadvantage.

it can be done. sometimes it can be hard, until you make a name for yourself. but when you make a name for yourself, you will have continual clients that contact you outside of these services, and youll find that you rarely ever go bid on projects anymore.

well. take a shot at it yourself. its not as if anyone is barring you from doing it, unless you have exclusive items in your contract preventing such work.

Re:At least for software developers (3, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | about 6 years ago | (#24676437)

when bidding for projects of people like these, indian houses that shell out $3 bids are at disadvantage.

Why don't they raise their prices then? If it's just the too-good-to-be-true quote.

I know someone who realised western companies weren't comfortable paying only $10/night for quality hotels in Eastern Europe (this was a few years ago, I forget the actual numbers). He bought a small hotel business in a capital city, translated the website to English and bumped up the price to $100/night -- now the hotel is full of western businessmen and tourists, but the hotel doesn't cost much more to run.

Re:At least for software developers (4, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 6 years ago | (#24676487)

We outsourced to India ... and are now scrapping and rewriting in-house ....

The code works but ... trying to change anything with the time differences involved is a nightmare, it does not matter who they are just where they are ...

Re:At least for software developers (2, Interesting)

BusinessHut (1143993) | about 6 years ago | (#24677081)

Ditto. Although we used developers from another country. It seems that US companies are outsourcing because it's the popular thing to do. Our outsourced "developers" cost the same or MORE than US ones. Add in the communication issues such as time, culture, and language, and I don't understand what my company was thinking. Eventually, our outsourcing was also scrapped in favor of redoing the project in-house. This decision had mostly to do with the fact that what they sent technically worked, but there were no standards or best practices. Everything was just hacked in on the fly and I basically had to rewrite everything as it came in anyway. Even though they "already did QA." Right.

Re:At least for software developers (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24677147)

The problem with outsourcing in general is that you change the business
relationship between what used to be internal customers and internal
providers to one where you've got some outside company with interests
that are probably completely different than your own.

You're no longer a cohesive team. Those other people will not necessarily
pull together for you anymore. They will have their own bosses and their
own sucess metrics.

Your relationship will be defined by a contract that is designed to
prevent you from abusing them too much. Processes will have to be
formalized far better. Changes will be far more tightly controlled.

Depending on the project, it may be dramatically more expensive to
outsource (like something with insane dev schedules).

Doesn't OSS Make it Worse? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676105)

I'm not against OSS per se, but I'm skeptical that an individual contributing to an OSS project is a good idea. It's one thing for IBM to invest in Linux (for example). If you invest in Linux, you're effectively donating money to for-profit organizations like IBM and Red Hat. This seems to go *against* your self interest of keeping a healthy job pool for software developers. Sure, read and study OSS, but don't lower your own value by working for free.

Re:Doesn't OSS Make it Worse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676907)

Tell that to a musician who is trying to get his music played on the radio. "Don't give away your product for free, make people find you". If they follow your advice, they'll starve. People in creative jobs need to give away a sample of their work before people will buy.

The reason you want to be part of an OSS project is so you can say, "here's my code" and have it be independently verifiable. Also, if it's a product that company X needs, they will hunt you down for jobs and advice when they need it.

I'm sorry... (2, Insightful)

lantastik (877247) | about 6 years ago | (#24676153)

...but if your job went to India, you're expendable. Learn some new skills, get better at what you do, etc. The company I work for now is 70% India, 30% US. They trimmed the fat and sent the cheap labor to India.

If you haven't learned by now that you need to stand out from the crowd with an invaluable skill, your job is going to keep going to India.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

cdpage (1172729) | about 6 years ago | (#24676411)

that's true... but that doesn't explain customer service. it might be cheaper to out source that, but they will never do as good a job as we can right here.

Re:I'm sorry... (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#24676463)

...but if your job went to India, you're expendable. Learn some new skills, get better at what you do, etc.

what an insensitive BS answer!

I'm an expert in my field, I have over 20 yrs doing what I do (netmgt) and yet companies are not respecting actual field experience anymore - they prefer to cheap-out EVERY TIME ;(

there is nothing I can do about it. 'get better' at what I do? I'm already a leader in my company, for this technology.

actually, my job didn't go to india. it went to 'eastern europe' (country name withheld). the labor is MUCH cheaper there but I'm not at all convinced they have better experience or understanding of the field. it was PURELY for cost reasons.

when its for cost reasons, there is nothing an employee can do. can I live on the same pay rate that east europe can live on? surely, I can't (I live in the US).

no matter how you cut it, its unfair and its NOT the employee's fault. grow up and you'll see this - and stop blaming US workers, its NOT our fault most of the time. its the bean counters.

Re:I'm sorry... (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24676655)

no matter how you cut it, its unfair and its NOT the employee's fault. grow up and you'll see this - and stop blaming US workers, its NOT our fault most of the time. its the bean counters.

Sheesh, grow up. You're too old for this kind of whining. It's ALWAYS the employee's fault. You're either valuable or you aren't, and -- by definition -- your value is based on what someone is willing to give you. If someone isn't willing to give you the pay you want, then you're not worth that much.

Either take a job at a lower pay, move somewhere else where the pay is better (or it's cheaper to live), or find a different niche to fill. But for God's sake, take responsibility for your life and stop expecting other people to take care of you.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but seriously, read back what you wrote. Time to become an adult.

Re:I'm sorry... (1, Redundant)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#24676993)

your post got mod'd insightful?

amazing. your whole post was 'stop whining'. what a content-free post!

I'm a principle engineer with a few decades of field experience. I'm far from entry-level yet you tell me to 'grow up'?

how am I to compete with a cost of living in a nearly 3rd world country? even if I'm the best contributor in my field, if the bean counters are swayed by cost and cost alone, this is a losing battle.

clearly you have not lived this experience. YOU grow up and then you'll see it, first hand.

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | about 6 years ago | (#24676553)

if your job went to India, you're expendable. Learn some new skills, get better at what you do, etc.

Good point.

If you haven't learned by now that you need to stand out from the crowd with an invaluable skill, your job is going to keep going to India.

Any idea what skill(s) is(/are) invaluable?

Re:I'm sorry... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24676855)

Any idea what skill(s) is(/are) invaluable?

I know this sounds crazy, but you could... I dunno, check the job listings to see what companies are actually hiring for. They sometimes even tell you the wage scale!

You become more valuable (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#24676195)

by having multiple trades. Don't be so specialized.

Re:You become more valuable (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#24676379)

Too hasty with the "Submit"

I was replaced by a machine. Well, guess who fixed the machine? With a nice raise besides. Can't get paid to fly airplanes? Sure can to fix 'em. With all sorts of phony pretexts to take them up for a "test" flight. Just replaced a nav light. Gotta take it up to make sure it doesn't shake loose.

No Chapter On The "Failed Off-Shoring"?? (5, Insightful)

Black-Man (198831) | about 6 years ago | (#24676221)

Maybe the author should stop by where I work. He can talk to the people they are hiring *back* after the off-shore company ripped us off for millions giving us crap code which was basically unsupportable written by the "experts".

Re:No Chapter On The "Failed Off-Shoring"?? (4, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | about 6 years ago | (#24676521)

Lol, that's their own fault. The managers probably said: "code me something that does x" instead of "code me something that we can support" or the sales person offered: we can do your coding project for USD XXXXX which appeared cheaper than what they were paying for the local coders. The long term cost of course, they didn't plan for.

I had something similar happen at one of the companies I used to work for a while ago (precision measurement instruments for industrial processes). They outsourced their lab and prototyping to China as to profit from the cheap scientists. As soon as the branch in China got hold of the blueprints of quite some high tech products (5 and up digit retail value) the whole department literally vanished. Nothing was heard from them for a while until somebody went over just to see an empty building with the offices. All original equipment was still there, the people had started their own little company selling the same product for a lot less down the road, they took all the contacts and copies of plans with them.

Re:No Chapter On The "Failed Off-Shoring"?? (3, Informative)

CharlieG (34950) | about 6 years ago | (#24676931)

Not meant for you, but your bosses

Outsourceing your "product" is just plain stupid. If you're in the electronics business, don't outsource your electronics design. If your in the software business, don't outsource software. If you build electronics, and the PC program that interfaces with it is a "it's nice to have", but isn't "the product", go ahead, have someone else write the software. If they take it, it doesn't kill you.

Figure that ANYTHING you outsource will be in your competitors hands - if that is going to hurt you, don't do it. So, lets say you are NOT an accounting company. It won't kill you to outsource your payroll, etc.

You would think management would think about "what makes US special as a company", and keep that in house, but they seem to look to the next quarter, or at most, next fiscal year

Re:No Chapter On The "Failed Off-Shoring"?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677229)

You are quite right. There should be a chapter(s) on off-shore. In 1995 the company I worked for brought in some off-shore people to learn our systems. Then they went back and started up. My boss denied me a raise that year, 4 weeks later I left and haven't looked back. Not only did the operations hear close, the lack of a usable product(s) from the off-shore operations almost bankrupted them, and may yet.

My second bout with this was more recent. But is quickly shaping up towards the same outcome. They wanted me back, so I asked for a raise. They were thinking more like India wages in North America. Needless to say, I said no. Besides, who needs the problems of a disorganized business, 2-3 years behind in a business critical venture that is costing them a fortune, to work for managers that don't factor in performance, contributions, dependability, track record and ethical work habits before RIFing you.

I don't feel sorry for companies outsourcing that find they get ripped off.

Interview questions (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | about 6 years ago | (#24676299)

So many job descriptions are written by HR reps who only list off names of various software packages, and only go by a checklist when reviewing candidates.

If someone asks me "Do you know TechnoBuzz software?" my factual answer would be "I haven't used it before, but I'd love to/willing to/confident I can learn it."

What's a better answer to give an HR rep who doesn't know the technology?

Re:Interview questions (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | about 6 years ago | (#24676609)

You give the same answer you give to someone who asks "are you a god?"

Re:Interview questions (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | about 6 years ago | (#24676929)

Someone mod 0racle up, because I can't!

Re:Interview questions (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24677261)

What's a better answer to give an HR rep who doesn't know the technology?

"Yes, I know that quite well." Do you seriously think an HR drone is going to know enough to challenge that response?

Maybe if Americans worked and did not whine? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676305)

From experience in the industry, I can contract Tata Consulting, and obtain well commented, thoroughly tested code module for a project for less than 20% the cost of an employed developer here. Bonus is that there are fewer employees needed, which saves immensely on overhead. Plus with payroll taxes the way they are, the IRS almost pays companies to offshore.

Why attempt to hire people here who claim to have programming experience, even with degrees, when one can get code written arguably by the best people on the globe for far less?

Pretty much all my company needs is a guy to run a build for QA and another person to be the InstallShield monkey to ensure the program deploys.

four words (5, Informative)

syrinx (106469) | about 6 years ago | (#24676369)

"Get a security clearance".

Those jobs aren't going to India.

Re:four words (1)

antique future (1339361) | about 6 years ago | (#24676599)

They may not go to India, but I heard Dubai does quite a bit with security...

Re:four words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677143)

Drop out of high school and get a security clearance. :D The easy way is to take contracts in war zones.

oEp!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676481)

commUnitY at

They took our (0, Redundant)

AP31R0N (723649) | about 6 years ago | (#24676505)


First line of the review... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676561)

The very first sentence of this book review has a grammatical error. I'm not sure how the author, the reviewer, and the editor feel about this because there are good editorial services for cheap in India, Ireland, England.

It's that "Giant Sucking Sound" Ross Perot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24676597)

Warned us about.

Globalization sucks...

It's our government that is to blame.

Inflation in India (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 6 years ago | (#24676679)


An indian software engineer can earn about 400,000 rupees ($10k)at the moment. In 10 years that will match the west, but long before then the difference will be too marginal to make it worth offshoring.

Confucius say (4, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 6 years ago | (#24676739)

Confucius say "Job is like a woman. Smartest programmer in world cannot keep job from leaving if it wants to."

Survivors (4, Insightful)

slashdapper (896470) | about 6 years ago | (#24676753)

Learning new software, programming languages, code-katas or whatever is NOT going to help.
Indians have access to the internet too, you know.
They can learn all this new stuff and provide the same service cheaper.

Some random points:
(1) People who code, administer or test will not survive. If you write/fix any kind of code or scripts or do any kind of testing at least once a day your job is in danger.

(2) People who are unable to create something from nothing will not survive. If you need a well-defined set of requirements and design before you can do your work, your job is in danger. If you need someone else to take some vague problem from the customer/boss and come up with a solution that you can implement, your job is in danger. If, however, you invent solutions, you will be fine.

(3) People with inability to solve problems will not survive. This goes to general smartness/intelligence. If you are the kind who can use a cool-head and solve most of problems (job-related or not) through a combination of steps such as keeping a cool head, knowing what to do, who to approach etc, you will be fine. Many problems are tough but you would be surprised to see many people give up before they even take a stab at the easy ones.

As an example: Here is a problem given to you by a customer: "Size the work effort that you personally will require to install DB2 on my AS400 box"

Bad answer: We are a C++ coding shop. We dont do DB2 admin. We dont know how to size this.
Good answer: 6 months (cuz we have to learn all the shit first)

(4) People who will survive are those who can talk to customers to elicit business requirements, design tecnhnical solutions and coordinate project activities - not people who know how to change a config file to get Linux to play mp3 files.

(5) Good-looking people who can talk with management and customers in a confident non-geeky way in perfect English will survive.

(6) If you can relate well with people and can get them to do favors for you, you will survive. If you are the type of person who ends up leading meetings and discussions, you will survive.

(7) If your job is in IT but deals with some kind of calculation involving dollars at least once a day, you will survive.

Re:Survivors - bad example.... (2, Informative)

gabrieltss (64078) | about 6 years ago | (#24677007)

"As an example: Here is a problem given to you by a customer: "Size the work effort that you personally will require to install DB2 on my AS400 box""

DB2 is already installed on your AS/400 box by default - it's part of the OS.
  This would show me the customer is a DULT and doesn't know anything about the system they bought/use.

(I'm a former AS/400 operator/Administrator/RPG developer - Turned Java programmer).

Tuition benefit (3, Insightful)

MetricT (128876) | about 6 years ago | (#24676825)

This is overlooked by too many people. I'm a physicist/computer guy by training, but I decided to broaden my employability a bit. I used my employer's tuition discount to take some business classes at the local community college, enjoyed them, and went on to earn a MBA at Vanderbilt at nights/weekends. I've started taking pre-med classes at the community college partly for fun, but also because Nashville is a major medical town and I suspect it will increase my employability even more.

I get a 70% discount on a 3 hour class. At the local community college, that works out to ~$300 per class including the textbook. That's $900 a year. That's a no-brainer in my book. I've never bought an asset, never owned a stock, never owned a mutual fund, that has a higher rate of return than my brain.

While I don't think my job is going to India anytime soon, you can't be sure about tomorrow, and why wait until tomorrow when you can do something about it *today*. Most people ignore their tuition benefit. I'm sure most people fail to fund their 401K to the company match too; that's not the company's fault. Take control.

Wahhh wahhh wahhh (1, Troll)

kipin (981566) | about 6 years ago | (#24676873)

I'm sure monks in the 15th century complained about the printing press taking their jobs and reducing their relevancy as well.

It's call progress. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. Step on board, re-invent your skill set, or get out of the way because someone else is willing to do what you aren't.

And if you don't want to get out of the way, well that's fine too. You will soon find everyone around you passing you by as you continue to complain about the loss of your job.

52 tips to become a better employee (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 6 years ago | (#24676951)

Play poker for a living.

Thah took are Jehrbs!!!! (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 6 years ago | (#24676985)

ob South Park :-)

Quick, everyone have gay sex...

filthy goobacks.

so they outsource jazz musicians to India too? (3, Funny)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | about 6 years ago | (#24677019)

It's all fault of John McLaughlin!

Invaluable employee... there is no such thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24677083)

I've been outsourced out of two jobs. (So far.) In one case more than a thousand IT people were laid off; in my department 10 veteran programmers were replaced with two very nervous Indian kids with a combined total of six months' experience in the product. Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense if you understand this: outsourcing is about cutting costs, period. Yes, quality went to hell. But quality is very difficult to measure, and the people hurt by the sudden sharp drop in service were far, far below the CIO. The very same CIO that can walk into the CEO's office with a PowerPoint showing how he's removed the, um, "fat" from his organization.

Yes, you are an invaluable employee and they won't dare get rid of you... but only if your CIO
has the vision and brains to defend your salary and benefits based on the true ROI of your work. If he or she is out to cut costs, then you can be replaced. It does not matter if the people replacing you aren't as qualified or wonderful as you. They cost less, programmer A = programmer B, don't let the doorknob etc, etc.

Perceived value != Real worth (1)

bjourne (1034822) | about 6 years ago | (#24677129)

The author is plain wrong. Learning new languages and tools improves your skills, yes. But that won't reduce the risk of your job getting outsourced or increase your salary. It is all about perception. Someone is valuing and someone decides whose jobs are getting outsourced. What that person, or group of persons, think is your value to the company is the only thing that matters. You might be the best employee at the company working with a team of incompetents that takes all your glory, then it doesn't matter how many languages you know or how many open source projects you have released.

Value your yourself highly and don't be afraid to let others see it. That's the best tip I know for being successful.

The keys to keeping your job in the global economy (1)

Dex5791 (973984) | about 6 years ago | (#24677133)

Step 1: Agree to work for 75% of market rate or less Step 2: Always get to work early Step 3: Do lots of important stuff Step 4: Leave late in the evening Step 5: Never ask for a raise
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