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Lowering the Odds of Being Outsourced

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the keep-your-job dept.

355

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

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355 comments

too many manaagers (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 8 years ago | (#15030477)

eventually we'll have too many managers and have to outsource them too :-0

on a side note I just got promoted and a 16.change% pay hike Yea me!
-nB

So the best way to avoid being outsourced IT? (5, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 years ago | (#15030544)

is to get into management? doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of getting into IT? That's kinda like saying the best way to avoid losing your job in the steel mill is to get a degree in medicine.

Re:So the best way to avoid being outsourced IT? (3, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 8 years ago | (#15030668)

That's kinda like saying the best way to avoid losing your job in the steel mill is to get a degree in medicine.
Not necessarily. Management is a sort of meta-job. There would be no managers if there weren't people to manage (well, then they're consultants). Following your analogy, it would be like telling the steel mill worker that the best way to avoid losing his job would be to learn a little management so that he can float for a little while longer than his buddies.

About TFA, the solution seems more like jumping from a sinking ship to one with termites eating at a wooden hull.

Re:So the best way to avoid being outsourced IT? (2, Insightful)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | about 8 years ago | (#15030704)

Only if you consider IT management to not be part of IT. I however disagree. IT management is not general purpose management. The best IT managers tend to grock technology.

Re:So the best way to avoid being outsourced IT? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030894)

And good hackers grok the spelling of the word "grok".

Answer: Vote for Populist Candidates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030719)

If you hate the idea of outsourcing jobs to non-free markets like India or China, then vote for the populist candidates in this upcoming election. The Republicans and the Democrats be damned.

If none of the candidates are populist, then write "Bill O'Reilly" on the ballot.

Re:So the best way to avoid being outsourced IT? (4, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | about 8 years ago | (#15030759)

It sounds that way, but it isn't entirely. From what I have experienced, the suits have a real problem getting an IT guy to see their point of view, and the same is true in reverse. Someone who has the experience to understand why some of the ridiculous things managers ask for aren't as foolish when looked at from their perspective also knows how to employ the inverse.

That is a person who can lead a tech team from the frontlines and then come back to the Meeting Room and be an evangilist whos opinion carries weight. I view it as a redefinition of what a "project manager's" responsibilities and place in the corporate structure are.

Sometimes it isn't about a business wanting you to add up time cards and crack the whip. I think any geek would bend over backwards if it meant they could show some young turks through all the mistakes they had to figure out alone. Maybe business are learning that PHB's screw the IT shit up, so they go to their fall back option - can one of these geeks speak our language and will he wear a suit twice a year?

Re:too many manaagers (1)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about 8 years ago | (#15030819)

on a side note I just got promoted and a 16.change% pay hike Yea me!

Congratulations. My increase was 1.95% of my salary, and when you combine that information with the fact that I'm in the 8th Percentile salary-wise for what I do and where I live, I am working up a new resume and moving my bones on.

No promotion after two years of promises, two consecutive paltry (less than cost of living) raises == me wandering off down the highway to a new gig.

.. what is it you say you do here? (1)

theStig (960440) | about 8 years ago | (#15030867)

I have people skills dammit! I'm good with people. I deal with the customers so the engineers don't have to. What the hell is wrong with you people???

first post (1, Funny)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | about 8 years ago | (#15030483)

The person responsible for the first post has been outsourced....I guess they didn't read the article.

Re:first post (0, Flamebait)

eln (21727) | about 8 years ago | (#15030521)

And once again we have a job outsourced to a cheaper replacement who can't get the job done right.

Re:first post (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15030555)

> The person responsible for the first post has been outsourced....I guess they didn't read the article.
>
>

***** We apologize for the faults in the comments. Those responsible have been outsourced. *****

(Pleased to be reminding you, m00se vindal00 can be veryvery spicy...)

***** We apologize again for the fault in the posts. Those responsible for outsourcing the people who have just been outsourced have been outsourced. *****

(Hot-gritted m00se on the left half side of the screen in the third post from the top, given a thorough grounding in Slashbotese, 31337, and "O" Level Trollery by Pradeep Portman)

****** The managers of the contracting firm hired to continue the posting after the other people had been outsourced, wish it to be known that they have just been outsourced. *******

The postings have been completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.

6 VENEZUELAN RED LLAMAS
142 MEXICAN WHOOPING LLAMAS
14 NORTH CHILEAN GUANACOS
(CLOSELY RELATED TO THE LLAMA)
REG LLAMA OF BRIXTON
76000 BATTERY LLAMAS
FROM "LLAMA-FRESH" FARMS LTD. NEAR PARAGUAY
and CMDRTACO and ZONK.

My professor has been saying this for years. (4, Insightful)

rob_squared (821479) | about 8 years ago | (#15030485)

Professor Weinstein, if you want to know his name.

And a lot of people listened to him and minored in business. The problem is, when companies require x years of experience managing or in engineering/IT to get a job, where will we get those people?

You gotta hack your way through it. (2, Insightful)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 8 years ago | (#15030728)

I wish I'd had your professor. It took me a while to figure out that, as technology people, our value comes down to two things: how well we can document business requirements, and how good we are in some domain. And if you can document business requirements, your competency in some domain becomes secondary. So the question becomes, how do you get the experience if you don't have the experience? And the answer is: you find whatever the hell you can, fight your way into it, and then hold onto that job for dear life until you have five years and some certifications.

oh great (1)

gullevek (174152) | about 8 years ago | (#15030487)

not that we have enought manager who think they can manage but have absolutly no management skill. Now tons of IT people who also have no management skill are forced to manage too. Oh holy manage-o-runi!

Maybe... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 8 years ago | (#15030652)

Maybe that will mean that those same IT people who also have no IT skills will be forced to manage too. If you have an incompetent person, is it better that they are in management, or IT?

None of this will stop L1/L2/H1B hires (2, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 years ago | (#15030491)

from replacing your job.

Even the overseas marketing skills.

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

Me, I love working for the feds in medicine. That works a lot better.

Re:None of this will stop L1/L2/H1B hires (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 8 years ago | (#15030515)

(by say, making it so Indian tech workers start getting paid more, as is already happening)

Where are you getting this information from?

Re:None of this will stop L1/L2/H1B hires (3, Informative)

eln (21727) | about 8 years ago | (#15030543)

Here's one source [upi.com]

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

Re: One source for his statement (3, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 8 years ago | (#15030551)

Here's one easy to google for.
Search for "Lakh inflation salary programmer".

Lakh is one of the currencies in india (about the same as our dollar?).

http://www.the-week.com/25dec04/currentevents_arti cle10.htm [the-week.com]

At 13.8 per cent, average salary hike will be the highest in India

By K. Sunil Thomas

Charu Malik is a quick learner. After finishing her master's at the Delhi School of Economics last June, the 22-year-old joined Pipal, a research firm in south Delhi, at an annual salary of Rs 4.8 lakh. If Charu thought she had landed a decent bundle, there were more, nicer, surprises in store--the company had two appraisals every year. This meant her salary went up by a whopping 40 per cent within six months, and that is not including the chunky bonus she got. ... article continues...

---
When their wages reach 40 to 50% of US wages then the outsourcing will be less of an issue and -maybe- wages and job security will recover here in the States.

Re: One source for his statement (2, Informative)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 8 years ago | (#15030630)

Lakh is one of the currencies in india (about the same as our dollar?).
There is only one currency in India -- the rupee. A lakh is colloquial for expressing 100,000.

Re: One source for his statement (4, Informative)

Xeger (20906) | about 8 years ago | (#15030640)

Not to pick nits, but a lakh just means 100,000 of something. So the girl in the article, being paid "Rs 4.8 lakh," was being paid 480,000 rupees per annum.

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

And now for my spot of commentary:

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

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

Those who don't like what the future has to hold can choose to move to a country with a controlled economy, or find a protected niche such as health care, palm reading or burger flipping -- none of which are amenable to outsourcing.

Re: One source for his statement (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 8 years ago | (#15030723)

Excellent!

Learned something new today.

If they can maintain 10% inflation, then it would take roughly 7 years for her salary to double to 24k U.S. However, as the article says an unknown portion of her compensation is in bonuses, trips, new cars, and other benefits. My "bonus" last year was about $160.

I have seen (and some part of one of the linked articles in this thread refers to) rates more like 20% referred to. At that rate, it would only take about 4 years to double. So even by those "optimistic" estimates, it will be 8 to 12 years before there is probably no savings for outsourcing.

That is a pretty brutal period for anyone trying to get an IT job with a huge student loan debt on their back. I tell everyone to avoid IT. My daughter went into business.

Re: One source for his statement (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15030762)

The corporations that form the basis of our free-market economy are compelled BY LAW to reduce costs as much as possible, in order to increase margins and enhance shareholder value.

Bullshit. They do it to increase their bonuses. Absent blatant corruption or theft, there's very little the shareholders can do but sue, which they'll do no matter what the officers do.

Re: One source for his statement (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | about 8 years ago | (#15030775)

The corporations that form the basis of our free-market economy are compelled BY LAW to reduce costs as much as possible, in order to increase margins and enhance shareholder value.

No, they aren't. Fiduciary duty implies no such thing. Quit spreading misinformation. I'm very sick of seeing this lie.

Corporations are bound to their charter, which may include things such as "no outsourcing" or "no buying foreign copper" or similar restrictions.

Even if it doesn't, there's no law that compels people running a public corporation to always "reduce costs as much as possible". Otherwise it would be illegal to not go with the lowball bidder on every contract, regardless of their suitability.

People running a public corporation have a duty not to blatently waste or steal money, and that's about as far as fiduciary duty goes.

Another extremely important point that seems to get lost on socialists such as yourself, is that most of the companies in the US are not public, and never will be.

And they aren't all small companies either. From Forbes: Cargill, Koch Industries, Mars, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Publix Super Markets, Bechtel, Ernst & Young, Cox Enterprises, Toys "R" Us, Fidelity Investments, Swift & Co., SC Johnson & Co., Boise Cascade, Giant Eagle, Gulf Oil, Hallmark Cards, Levi Strauss, Hearst, Neiman Marcus, Bloomberg, Colonial Group, Kohler, Wegman's Food Market, 84 Lumber, Mervyn's, Booz Allen Hamilton, McKinsey, Perdue Farms, JR Simplot, Wawa, Cumberland Farms, Edward Jones, Gilbane, and E&J Gallo Winery.

And that's just a few.

Hello false pretense (1)

missing000 (602285) | about 8 years ago | (#15030797)

Not to rain on your parade, but your logic depends on a system with no rules.

Fortunately for everyone, the system is full of ways to keep all the jobs from being outsourced. The only rational reason in pure economic terms to outsource a job is a wide disparity of resources. So wide that it makes up for the enormous infrastructure costs of exporting it.

What we have here instead are a set of artificial rules we've set up that make stuff from one place much less expensive in tokens than stuff from another place. This is called a trade imbalance.

It's not that your pure laze faire system does not hold truth. It does, but it would never really work on a large scale, because large scale systems depend on order, something that system is woefully incapable of providing.

Now in today's imperfect world the best thing to do is to take a good look at a situation and make some hard calls about what rules we need and want. Want an efficient system for IT? Keep it local unless there is no one who has the skills required and needs a job. Then you allow the jobs to go to the next country over.

We really would benefit immensely from some logical tariffs. The word sounds bad, but then so does global depression, a term we are becoming more and more weary of.

Re: One source for his statement (2, Informative)

Eevee (535658) | about 8 years ago | (#15030648)

No, lakh [wikipedia.org] means 100,000. Rs [wikipedia.org] is an abbreviation for rupee, which is the currency. Right now, there's around 45 Rs to a dollar.

Indian wages (2, Informative)

LunaticTippy (872397) | about 8 years ago | (#15030571)

I knew this was happening from several sources, a quick google turned up many results. Here's one [computerworld.com]

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

Re:None of this will stop L1/L2/H1B hires (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 8 years ago | (#15030642)

Imposing/tightening limits on L1/L2/H1B visas would affect supply, not demand, as would having a dearth of skilled workers worldwide.

Umm, okay (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | about 8 years ago | (#15030493)

Isn't that sort of like saying "stop being an IT worker and start being a manager"? Seriously, if tech skills aren't their number one selling point, why are they even trying for IT-specific jobs anyway? I guess someone with management/negotiation skills AND IT skills would be a good manager in an IT department, but if you've got management/negotiation skills, that opens up doors to many departments.

Quick Answer: Get an MBA (4, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 8 years ago | (#15030497)

No- really. For anybody who has been out of college for more than 2 years, that's what the article recommends. No advice if you're not a people person, hate people, and went into computers to avoid working with people. No advice if you're not a natural entrapreneur running your first ecommerce site before you've left the dorms in college.

Re:Quick Answer: Get an MBA (1)

eln (21727) | about 8 years ago | (#15030562)

MBAs are quickly becoming the most diluted degree you can get. Lately, it seems that everyone is getting an MBA, and they are becoming increasingly easier to obtain.

"Get an MBA" is the new mantra because everyone assumes managers can't be outsourced. I think that's a load. Yes, if you're an American company, then by definition you're going to need at least a few managers in the US, but the more you outsource your workers the more of your management will have to be moved offshore as well.

Hell, if McDonald's can outsource drive through order takers [usatoday.com], I don't think any profession is really safe.

Re:Quick Answer: Get an MBA (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 8 years ago | (#15030689)

No offense, but I've worked for companies that hired managers with MBAs and I've worked for (the vast majority of) companies that "promote" programmers into management positions. Never underestimate the value of working with someone who is actually trained to do their job. It kinda pissed me off that I went to university, studied hard, passed my exams with distinction and then have to take orders from a guy who came bottom in his class doing the exact same degree. Managers who are not trained to manage are the bane of the IT industry.

MBAs are the bane of the world (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 years ago | (#15030868)

Have you ever worked for an MBA.

Most are net negative producers who have never actually done anything usefull.

I worked with an office full of MBA consultants. Most thought it was insightfull to tell us the profit = (revenue - costs).

Never met such patronizing morons in my life.

Re:Quick Answer: Get an MBA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030660)

Then you are missing key skills. Do you think companies like workers that are missing key skills?

Re:Quick Answer: Get an MBA (1)

coldtone (98189) | about 8 years ago | (#15030711)

Right with you man!

It would be nice if these articles would useful for the non people, people here. One of the big joys of working with computers is the lack of people.

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030502)

So the best way for a technical worker to survive in the current environment is to not be a technical worker. Great!

You ever wonder what's at the finish line of the race to the bottom? I think that eventually we're just going to get to the point where everything in the world is owned by Americans and nothing in the world is produced by Americans, such that if you're an American, either you're (1) managing the people in the third world who actually make things, (2) selling the things made in the third world to other americans, or (3) doing nothing at all.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030612)

You ever wonder what's at the finish line of the race to the bottom?

A Wal-Mart greeter smock with your name on it?

I think that eventually we're just going to get to the point where everything in the world is owned by Americans and nothing in the world is produced by Americans, such that if you're an American, either you're (1) managing the people in the third world who actually make things, (2) selling the things made in the third world to other americans, or (3) doing nothing at all.

Everything in the world will be owned by multi-national corporations with no loyalty to anything but the bottom line. Tax revenues will dry up as more and more "American" companies are operating out of a post office box in the Kaymans, CEOs will be grossly overpaid for gross mismanagement, stockholders will be bilked by dodgy accounting, people at the bottom will be paid less to do more, then screwed when the doors finally close and the company goes under or goes to South America/China/etc to get cheaper workers. Oops, objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear...

So they really think (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 8 years ago | (#15030510)

That we are -ALL- going to be managers.

It is really sad to see them lying to us (and maybe even themselves) so blatantly.

Many of our outsourced positions now include outsourcing the project lead level as well.

The only thing that is going to save our jobs is higher wages overseas.

Why should you spend $50 grand and 4 years of your life to get a degree with NO FUTURE?!?

Sure if you are a genius- go for it. But if you are joe average "B" / low "A" type person- there are many easier degrees with better job prospects than IT. IT SUCKS.

No respect, no pay, no security, rampant age discrimination, constant retraining- and even then you have to be "lucky" to get experience at the hot new technology or you are out on your kiester in as little as 2-3 years.

Don't listen to the propaganda/lies that are suddenly being pushed over the last few months (in conjunction with the H1B issue oddly enough... HMMM!).

Lots of poeple can be hard workers.
Not many people can be good manager types.
Not many people can be hard workers for -LESS- than minimum wage when they are trying to pay back a $50 grand debt that they -CANNOT- declare bankruptcy to get out of when they get the shaft.

Re:So they really think (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15030742)

Why should you spend $50 grand and 4 years of your life to get a degree with NO FUTURE?!?

Oh, but what should that entitle the graduate to? What, society owes them a job? /sarcasm

When we have all lost faith in the social contract, this will be a very dark place. People better disengage the cranial-rectal interface, like right fuckin' now.

Re:So they really think (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 8 years ago | (#15030940)

That we are -ALL- going to be managers.

It is really sad to see them lying to us (and maybe even themselves) so blatantly.


Oh, there's no doubt they are lying to us, and very little doubt that they are lying to themselves.

They're lying to us so that we won't recognize the screw job for what it is and revolt before they had a chance to secure our replacements.

The same people who advocate outsourcing jobs to cut costs and thus earn themselves a fat bonus definitely don't want to draw the obvious conclusion that they are next, and so are lying to themselves.

Management! It's proof against outsourcing!

I laugh cynically.

False (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15030528)

Everybody did notice that they study was for Information Managment, no? People think that we will keep managment here, while sending the tech jobs elsewhere. Not likely. In fact, as the tech jobs go, so will the managerial jobs. Anyinterface position will be those that can live in both cultures easily.

Personally, I would argue if you really do not wish to be outsourced, then become a marketer or become the company owner.

Re:False (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 8 years ago | (#15030609)

Personally, I would argue if you really do not wish to be outsourced, then become a marketer or become the company owner.

You don't have to go all the way down to "marketer", but you do need to develop strong client interaction skills. I've outsourced myself to Thailand, and the biggest challenge I am faced with is the lack of face-time with clients (and co-workers).

One thing that can't easily be outsourced or done remotely is to have a meeting with a client where you let them know that you understand their concerns and have unique insight into how you can solve their problems.

In contrast, my management functions that I previously performed just disappeared into the organization, although I was supervising 12 people and over $3m of projects a year. Those functions were important, but not as critical as "getting the work done." Management positions should evolve, not be artificially created - good managers might seem hard to do without, but most organizations can survive some chaos, as long as work is coming in through marketing and going out through production.

Re:False (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030807)

is to have a meeting with a client where you let them know that you understand their concerns and have unique insight into how you can solve their problems.

And if the salespeople would quit promising moons and bullshitting about what the software can do, that would be their job.

Simple solution to being outsourced... (0, Offtopic)

Chordonblue (585047) | about 8 years ago | (#15030530)

...outsource yourself! See the world, earn big dollars tax free!

Or something...

Wrong! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 8 years ago | (#15030533)

The best thing a young IT worker can do to avoid being outsourced is re-train for a career in health-care. For some reason, nurses and pharmacists have a much harder time phoning their work in.

Wrong!-Migrating Healthcare. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030684)

"For some reason, nurses and pharmacists have a much harder time phoning their work in."

What do you think immigrants are for?

--
The "are you a script" word for today is illusion. As in escaping outsourcing is an illusion.

Best Outsourcing Insurance (2, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 8 years ago | (#15030556)

Own the company. Unless you actually own at least part of the firm's capital, IP or bricks and mortar, you are either going to have to compete with foreign white coller labor or illegal blue collar immigrants. You just invest your money in what gives the best return.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030561)

That's like saying "If you can't have bread, eat cake"!

Social skills, social skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030591)

That's why most of us can't do the management thing, and why we probably won't be able to do anything else.

Those of us with Asperger's (or below average social skills that don't reach the level of Asperger's) will be unemployable. I wonder, when we turn to a life of crime, what's going to happen? I mean, will there be a huge increase in hacking attacks, or just lots of weird people sleeping on the sidewalks like you see in NYC?

Re:Social skills, social skills (1)

irimi_00 (962766) | about 8 years ago | (#15030615)

Social skills can be learned and honed with practiced.

With enough practice you could land a bombshell if you wanted to.

Re:Social skills, social skills (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 8 years ago | (#15030661)

I really don't think you understand what Aspergers syndrome is.

Read here.

www.cureautismnow.org

Yes practicing and therapy helps. But to some extent thinking a person with this can do as well socially as a person without it is unreasonable.

Re:Social skills, social skills (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030675)

I don't think you understand what syndromes like Aspergers really is.

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

People with aspergers do not, for whatever reasons, have the ability to sense these things or communicate them in return.

Re:Social skills, social skills (2, Interesting)

robertjw (728654) | about 8 years ago | (#15030706)

I wonder, when we turn to a life of crime, what's going to happen?

That's an interesting question. I used to have friends in high school that I joked with (and I emphasize JOKED) about how easy it would be to set up drug labs. Hopefully we won't get all the smart introverts involved in the criminal underground. Might be bad for everyone.

Re:Social skills, social skills (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 8 years ago | (#15030730)

Those of us with Asperger's ...

WTF is with all these slashdotters suffering from Asperger's syndrome all the sudden?! Were you actually diagnosed by an accredited professional as having this affliction? Is there some online test going around that I haven't seen?

Pay cut (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 8 years ago | (#15030599)

>> best thing young IT workers can do to avoid being outsourced is beef up their management skills

Yeah, that and taking an 80% pay cut.

Related To's Interesting (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | about 8 years ago | (#15030641)

I find the Related to links interesting here

Related to this topic

> Aging Workers, Automation Portend IT Hiring Problems
> Microsoft security chief to step down
> Government offshore report becomes political hot potato
> Senate Bill Seeks to Raise H-1B Visa Cap to 115,000
> Dell will double staff in India to 20,000

I especially like the last two which seems to say that if you want to lower the odds of being outsourced closer to zero, then stay out of IT! Of course the young don't need to hear that from me, they're already avoiding IT like the plague compared to years ago.

Other side of the coin (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030654)

I'm a technical consultant and am the "bad guy" in a lot of places. No matter what anyone says to the contrary, the final decision almost invariably rests on cost. I can deliver a solution to many companies for far cheaper than in-house IT staff. For example, I've had to deploy an email solution to a 50+ employee company. I was able to do the job for $6K, plus cost of hardware. Their IT guy -- who gets $60K/year -- had already invested a month on the task and didn't seem anywhere close to completion. I did the job in two weeks.

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

And of course I'm not speaking for every IT department. I know that management has absolutely no clue about what you do. Management doesn't care about people, no matter they tell you. If you want to keep from being outsourced, make damn well sure that the alternative is much more expensive. Keep your customers happy and they'll come back to you. Works for me.

Re:Other side of the coin (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 8 years ago | (#15030822)

I was able to do the job for $6K, plus cost of hardware. Their IT guy -- who gets $60K/year -- had already invested a month on the task and didn't seem anywhere close to completion. I did the job in two weeks.

And walked away.... leaving the $60K/year IT guy to maintain, upgrade and generally find some way your solution can live with the rest of the network. And all the while he's removing malware, cleaning systems, reimaging machines, desperately trying to get people to stop using "password" as their password, harranging the local ISP, trying to get the 68bit WEP key changed, supporting blackberries, upgrading hardware, relicencing software, debugging the company website, fixing the bosses' kids laptop, ordering replacement parts, plugging mice back in, kowtowing to the database admin, giving everyone gadget advice when they come calling, unjamming the printers, and trying to find a new job.

Oh what he wouldn't give to do a job for 6K, plus cost of hardware, and just.... walk away, down that Yellow Brick Road.

Re:Other side of the coin (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030908)

And walked away.... leaving the $60K/year IT guy to maintain, upgrade and generally find some way your solution can live with the rest of the network. And all the while he's removing malware, cleaning systems, reimaging machines, desperately trying to get people to stop using "password" as their password, harranging the local ISP, trying to get the 68bit WEP key changed, supporting blackberries, upgrading hardware, relicencing software, debugging the company website, fixing the bosses' kids laptop, ordering replacement parts, plugging mice back in, kowtowing to the database admin, giving everyone gadget advice when they come calling, unjamming the printers, and trying to find a new job.

Ummm...no. I was brought in because their existing email system kept crashing, had no remote access, was insecure, had no quotas, blah blah etc.. He could have kept the existing system if he'd done the minimal amount of work to maintain it... but no. I don't know if he felt threatened by me being there or what, but he missed our first two meetings, found excuse after excuse when it came to telling me what the user base requirements were, didn't know what an MX record was, blah blah etc..

Sure, yeah, there are going to be harried system admins. I was one. But I also worked my ass off. And when I didn't, I made damn sure that I could script it so that even if I did the job in a tenth of the time the previous guy would take, the job got done. I'm not against free time. I'm just pissed off at the crop of lazy ass hats that are ruining a very good gig because they suck at responsibility.

And I really think that 50 employees is the magic number where the lazy ass hats can blend in. Smaller than that and you get canned if you don't pull your weight.

Business Skills Management (1)

rewinn (647614) | about 8 years ago | (#15030659)

If I read the article correctly, it talks about business skills, whereas most of the comments so far relate to management.

They're not the same thing. Many of us would hate to be managers, and/or would suck at it, and that's o.k.

Entrepreneurship is a lot like that part of a MMPORG in which you go out and get the gold from the monsters; management is like keeping track of your inventory of potions & arrows. If you like the former and hate the latter, don't worry .... you're normal. You just need to admit you like being an entrepreneur, even if it's within the confines of your cubicle.

Upper Management aka America (1)

plexium_nerd (724461) | about 8 years ago | (#15030679)

I've had this running theory about the the results of outsourcing and globalization where america basically becomes a nation of managers over the other countries where cost of living is cheaper and so the labor. 3rd world countries would become the business departments in a global business. That is until the giant spagetti monster-aliens visit us and we find some way of exploiting them too.

"DOers" and "Enablers" (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 8 years ago | (#15030680)

IT is to enable people to make money, not to make money in of itself. If you can't come up with technical solutions which drive that goal, it doesn't matter what you can do technically.

I know, I know, you didn't think you were going to 6 years of school to help Bob in sales increase the stock value. You thought you were training to make all of your 1337 virtual networks interface in new and creative/exciting ways with the latest database. You were wrong. Nobody cares about your network. Nobody cares about your storage. Nobody cares if you use Linux or Windows. They want to know how you can help them "do", which in most cases is make money. IT is somewhere in the social hierarchy around Janitors: "Don't tell me what shoes leave less scuff marks, just clean up the damn spot!"

If you can't express how you are able to leverage technology to help them make money, you're applying for the wrong job, I would recommend a job in higher education. Lots of tech jobs where the newest, latest and greatest gets applied to making newer and greater.

Re:"DOers" and "Enablers" (1)

ximenes (10) | about 8 years ago | (#15030717)

Now that's funny. If you want a job that pays half as much (if you're lucky), where you can be talked down to by PhDs that know virtually nothing about practical computing, and laid off at a moments notice then yeah, higher education is the place to be.

Re:"DOers" and "Enablers" (2, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15030799)

I know, I know, you didn't think you were going to 6 years of school to help Bob in sales increase the stock value. You thought you were training to make all of your 1337 virtual networks interface in new and creative/exciting ways with the latest database. You were wrong. Nobody cares about your network. Nobody cares about your storage. Nobody cares if you use Linux or Windows.

Nobody cares about degrees.

Nobody cares about work ethic.

Nobody cares about dependability.

Nobody cares about loyalty.

Nobody cares about professionalism.

Nobody cares about craftsmanship.

Nobody cares about education.

Nobody cares about knowledge.

Nobody cares about other people.

Nobody cares about people who get sick.

Nobody cares about people who are hungry.

Nobody cares about people who are suffering.

Nobody cares about people who lost their job for no reason.

Nobody cares about people who lost their home because they lost their job.

But they all care about money.

Is that really what we're working towards? What a cold, corrupt and repulsive world.

Re:"DOers" and "Enablers" (2, Insightful)

dezert1 (964839) | about 8 years ago | (#15030833)

I agree with most everything except the higher education part. I've worked for a university for 12 years, and the role of IT is changing. Schools are now beginning to outsource their IT depts, and, just like the private sector, are now looking at IT as an enabler only.

The powers that be (boards of regents, vice provosts, bean counters, etc.) which have power over the university's direction are feeling pressure to 'step it up' so that smaller, private schools don't beat us to the punch. It's difficult for universities to be mobile, but it can (and is) being done. Keeping up with tech is hard, and schools who don't keep up will also flail in the wind.

So, your statement is true for everyone, really - even the public sector.

It's simple, really (0)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 8 years ago | (#15030693)

You don't have to do anything. The reason that people get outsourced like this is because companies are managed by people who do not value their technical personnel at all, and think that a company that only has managers actually has some value.

If you don't want to be outsourced, work for a company that thinks that they actually need to produce something, instead of some drunken fraternity party managed by drunken frat boys.

Best way to avoid being outsourced? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030701)

Keep pictures of your boss is compromising positions with farm animals. Unfortunately, if you don't have a boss that's really into farm animals, you're pretty much screwed. I also beleive it's just a matter of time before management starts being outsourced too, so "brush up your managerial skills" is a pretty naive response to the problem. Nope, I'm afraid threatening to tell the world about your boss' sheep fetish is really your only hope.

Interesting Way Managers Can Prevent That (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 8 years ago | (#15030703)

A friend who works at Universal told me that her manager prevents jobs for her subordinates from being out-sourced by requiring all new hires must know the abbreviations for each state.

Re:Interesting Way Managers Can Prevent That (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030837)

Yeah, because there's no way one of those foreigners could ever get their head around such a western concept!

That's hardly a barrier (1)

grahamsz (150076) | about 8 years ago | (#15030870)

I grew up in Scotland and for some reason i ended up making a bet with a friend that I could learn the names of all 50 states by the next morning. Wasn't really very difficult.

Oh yeah! (0, Troll)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15030705)

which concludes that the best thing young IT workers can do to avoid being outsourced is beef up their management skills.

Sure! Let's all become donut-stuffing middle managers! Then we can all make the house payments!

Best thing IT workers can do to avoid being outsourced is to reduce their cost of living by moving in to the urine-soaked refrigerator box behind Clem's Seafood Grill at the beach. Don't plan on anything important like health insurance or light. Forget having a family or a home. Just plan on a non-stop string of benefit-less underpaid jobs working for lying fuck rat bastard cheat chair-wedged-ass hairpiece moneygrab space-age-greased greed on wheels. That's the social contract now. Work your ass off getting an education and then get FUCKED OVER UNTIL YOU STARVE OR RETIRE.

This has nothing to do with profits or business. They fire people in order to make them suffer. Management fires people because they can, and it's wrong. Simple as that.

Be a plumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030714)


2000$ a week, plenty of housewives/eyecandy and absolutely no chance of being outsourced

Outsourcing management (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15030722)

I'm not sure if switching over to management would be a good idea. If anything, management is easy to outsource. They're so out of touch with the reality of the company's everyday business that they can just as well reside on Mars.

Snide comments aside, the idea of getting management skills up is not so far fetched. I'm one test short of being a certified bank auditor. Add in a well rounded knowledge programming (including ABAP), a bit over 8 years of experience in computer and network security and a few more goodies that can make some impression on my resume. And so far, it's never been a problem to find a well paying job.

If you can "only" punch code, you're replacable. Yes, your code will blow anything created in India out of the water, it's 10x faster and 10x more secure, 10x easier to read and 10x more stable. But it's also 10x as expensive. And your management doesn't give a rat's behind about secure, stable and efficient code. Security doesn't matter (until shi. hits the fan, and by then the client has paid), stability is something the client has to deal with and efficiency is unnecessary when you have machines that have 1000x the horsepower needed to run any office application. Management wants cheap code! So try to have some "additional value". Give your prospective employer something he can't easily hand over to India.

Re:Outsourcing management (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15030788)

efficiency is unnecessary when you have machines that have 1000x the horsepower needed to run any office application.

Yeah right. Inefficient code means you have to buy more boxes, so there's a balance to be struck between scale and code efficiency: the more scale you need, the more efficient you need to be.

Re:Outsourcing management (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15030888)

But it's also 10x as expensive.

You get what you pay for.

And your management doesn't give a rat's behind about secure, stable and efficient code.

Ok folks, if you can't see what's wrong yet, I don't know what to tell you. Want to know the reason everything is so fucked up right now? There it is.

Herbal supplements (2, Funny)

Jacco de Leeuw (4646) | about 8 years ago | (#15030725)

Which part of 22-year-old Rupak Shah's resume will most likely impress IT employers?

* C) The e-commerce Web site he started last year, for which he negotiates prices for his products -- imported herbal supplements -- with overseas suppliers?

Shah's degree and technical skills might land him the interview. But his entrepreneurial skills and business savvy set him apart from the pack

Herbal supplements? So he ran a penis pill spam ring from his mother's basement? And now employers are falling over eachother to hire him?

Beef up management skills? (1, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | about 8 years ago | (#15030756)

Are you out of your fucking mind? If we spent nearly as much time with our management skills as we do with our technological skills, we'd not only own your company, but you'd be licking our feet like the gods we already are. You management types should already know by now (and I've been in two management positions already,) that you're too busy trying to keep up with the newest business scam instead of trying to keep up with the exacting needs of network security and technology. Give us a break, quit outsourcing American jobs to India, and give us a fucking chance. Until then, I'm more than content working at a fast-food joint where their 'computers' are 486-DX2/4 touchscreen registers. All I do is cook food and on occasion show a person how to operate the overly-basic touchscreen register, now, and I'm happy, because my skills in computers not only save the franchise that I am working for money, but it also gives me a higher pay rate, even though I'm a mere 'cook/line-worker-on-call-to-fix-register-problems ' employee.

Yea, you heard that right. I get paid more than a Taco Bell manager, and I'm only a line-cook that has more technological knowledge than he has. Isn't that sad, guys? I make $11 an hour whereas our manager only makes $8.50. You all might as well try to hit up the fast food industry, where you can stop fraudulent serving times and fix register problems on the fly since it all runs DOS 6.22+

Differentiators (5, Insightful)

uqbar (102695) | about 8 years ago | (#15030767)

I interview lots of tech folks. The things that set the best of the best apart are leadership skills, ability to think in a deep analytical fashion that starts with looking at the assumptions, curiousity and ability to communicate with good, articulate answers and thoughtful questions.

Very few techies have these skills - anyone that does is so amazingly useful to us that we'd never be able to oursource what they do.

The problem is that I don't know if these skills are the sort of thing you can just learn. I've seen plenty of techie MBAs that have no aptitude for leading.

Can this stuff really be learned?

Re:Differentiators (2, Insightful)

sgt101 (120604) | about 8 years ago | (#15030831)

Not really, but the potential to get those capabilities can be wasted.

I've known a lot of good guys who simply refuse to believe what you just said, and plough the same frustrated furrow for year after year as a result.

Also, everyone needs a good mentor to blossom.

Re:Differentiators (0, Flamebait)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15030879)

ability to think in a deep analytical fashion that starts with looking at the assumptions, curiousity and ability to communicate with good, articulate answers and thoughtful questions.

At which point they will be labeled "non-team-player" and fired.

Can this stuff really be learned?

Nobody knows what it is, so no, it probably can't be learned. Management just wants to play golf with some recently fired homeowner's salary in their pocket.

This is hardly a revelation, you know. (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 8 years ago | (#15030795)

Even before the Age of the Outsource came upon us, it was always a good idea to have multiple skillsets, even within a given discipline. However, I'd say that from the standpoint of avoiding being "rightsized" it's just as important to to keep the people who make such decisions aware of your value. That requires yet another skillset: politics. It's typical of software and engineering types who sit in their cubicles all day to be shocked when they get let go: they may feel (often correctly!) that their value to the company is sufficient to keep them on. What they don't often understand is that it's asking a lot to expect that information to somehow (by osmosis, telepathy or some other more direct means) to float upwards to the decision-making levels. If you're known as the "driver guy" and they can find some Indian dude to do (what appears to be) the same thing for a fraction of the cost ... well. The fact that you not only write drivers, but write proposals and specs, API documentation, user manuals, handle the occasional tough customer problem, help train salespeople and are an invaluable source of product information for everyone from engineering to marketing doesn't make a damn bit of difference if the guy pulling the trigger doesn't know it. Sure, your fellow employees may be devastated after you're gone, hell your entire division may implode without you, but that won't do you any good.

I find it's the extras (1)

Badgerman (19207) | about 8 years ago | (#15030798)

In my experiences on both side of the interviewer's chair, it's the extras. This article goes into some, but I'd say not far enough. If you want to survive in IT, be more than an IT person or be a hell of a specialist.

Being a programmer-turned-Project Manager, that transition makes it painfully aware that being good at a job in IT is often far more than having IT skills (just as good management is more than about basic business skills). My most vivid example was hiring a consultant who had less IT experience than some of the other programmers, but his other skils (management, experience in manfuacturing, business knowledge), let him code more than just good code, he got the code we and the customers needed. And his bug count and need for revision were incredibly small.

The one thing that annoys me is people act like there's a lack of such skills ONLY in IT.

Re:I find it's the extras (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 8 years ago | (#15030866)

Yeah, it's always "more skills." Yet management can never quite explain PRECISELY what those skills are. The reason they can't is because it's all a fragrant load of HORSESHIT.

They want to fire people, enjoy their suffering and despair and pocket their salaries. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

Not Management skills, BUSINESS skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030802)

I'm an coder who moved into the business. I have worked with a lot of IT people and I've had business projects worked on by several IT departments. The most important thing a coder can have is an understanding of the business. If a coder doesn't understand the business, I have to write the specifications so detailed they might as well be pseudo-code. If a coder does understand the business then rather than me just describing what I want, we can collaborate to work out what needs to be done, because we share the same language (in my case 2, because I can speak IT and they can speak business). It is much more efficient, problems are found earlier, fixed more easily and ideas come from BOTH business and the coders. IT people are smart, if they understand the business enough to come up with ideas, they're likely to be good ideas.

You wouldn't try coding a web browser without understanding how to use the web. Unless you understand the business for which you're coding, your input to processes will be minimal and you will constantly be reacting to user requests you didn't see coming. If you can gain an understanding of the business, you can take the initiative.

Short Term Solution (1)

Khammurabi (962376) | about 8 years ago | (#15030871)

I'm sorry, but I see this type of solution only as a way to prolong the problem. Logistically, it makes very little sense to have a manager over in the U.S. manage IT workers over in India. The only reason to do so is if there are few people with IT management skills in India (which is currently true).

However, India is full of intelligent IT people, and in 5 years there will be enough IT people with experience to start being managers themselves. When that point comes the U.S. will start to outsource IT management positions overseas for two major reasons: 1) Reduced Salaries for comparable work. 2) Logistical and communication benefits. (A manager works best when working directly with the people he or she is managing.)

The reason the process is sort of start-stopping right now is because of communication limitations and cross-cultural difficulties. As more and more people from India and China gain more IT experience, more and more managers will appear in these countries. In response, the mean U.S. salary for IT managers will steadily drop over the coming years.

Flooding the job market with skilled English-speaking IT workers will behave the same as any other market that gets flooded. The mean price (salary) will drop considerably until the demand once again exceeds the supply. As more cheap labor becomes available, more companies will find ways to exploit this resource. And as more and more companies use up the resource, the price (salary) will again go up. (But I figure it's probably going to be a while before that happens.)

Will you survive in the IT industry by becoming a manager? Yes, but don't be surprised if managers start getting outsourced as well in a few years and your salary starts to slip. The only people I see maintaining their salaries intact are those individuals who have hard-to-find knowledge and experience. Specialized knowledge is, by definition, hard to come by, so the corresponding salaries will be impacted less. (But seeing how this is the internet age, good luck trying to find and keep that specialized knowledge to yourself.)

Basically, to end this rant, it could be bad (very bad) for IT workers over the next few years, but it'll turn around eventually.

Rediculous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15030921)

So they want you to be fully rounded in every aspect of business, finance, customer service, and technology... and if you can't be, the better choice is to outsource to someone that has a lack of comprehension of all of the above and a language barrier?
-Weird.

Three steps to job security (5, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | about 8 years ago | (#15030943)

  • Rohypnol in the boss's drink: $50
  • 1 goat - $100
  • Instant camera with film: $25
  • Eternal employment: Priceless

Some things in life are free. For everything else, there's extortion.

Or Create Complex Systems (1)

foobarra (869305) | about 8 years ago | (#15030951)

They will have to keep you around to maintain the complex web of indispensable, mission-critical systems you created, and only you know how to maintain.

And if you leave, or are outsourced, they will have to call and contract your services - for a premium hourly price, of course ;)
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