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568 comments

Or alternatively (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905510)

So what does the Poli Sci grad and ex-General Counsel for the ITAA think is the answer? Open the gates to more foreign workers, urged Cresanti, including H-1B holders.

But since he thinks the problem is that "there are not enough engineers with the appropriate skill sets", surely the long-term solution is to adjust your training and education regime so that there are enough such engineers? Hint to start with: degree courses in fields such as Computer Science and Software Engineering should not have teaching Visual Basic.Net and Java as the primary or only focus!

Re:Or alternatively (4, Insightful)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905540)

Yup. And it should start even earlier than college. When I was growing up, it was pretty much derigeur for boys to be trained in basic electronics. What kid didn't build a crystal radio set in the 50s? Today, I say both boys and girls should be taught more than how to use a mouse and point and click on the web. You really should know the why before you know the how. Anyone who disagrees with me on this is just a part of the problem. That is all.

Re:Or alternatively (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905664)

Schooling in general has seemed to shift more toward "job skills" than theory lately, and that is a bad thing. In just about any field, if your education is geared toward a specific type of job, you're going to be doomed to failure because the job market changes too much for what you were taught to be relevant for long. If, however, you're taught theory (the why behind the how, as you noted), you are a much more flexible worker, and are in a position to quickly learn and adapt job skills in the changing market.

No no no ... (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905644)

The "solution" is to import cheap labour to further erode your citizens' desire to spend the time/money/effort getting those advanced technical degrees.

After all, why rack up so much debt from school when there will be someone else willing to do the same job for less because his school loans (if they exist) are a fraction of your's?

And isn't in the corporation's best interest to get the cheapest labour they can find?

So, the question becomes ... why, in his opinion, are Americans so much dumber than citizens in other countries?

I don't think we are. But I do believe that our government is too closely involved with business's desire to get the maximum benefit with the minimum investment. Fuck that. I want to see scholarships for advanced technical studies. Lots of them. Put your money where your mouth is. When 50% of the computer science majors can get out of school and pay off their debt within 5 years, THAT will be sufficient. Only then can he talk about how dumb Americans are.

Re:No no no ... (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905778)

There is actually 2 "solutions".

1st is to wait for the real estate industry to tank to the bottom. Too many IT folks have gone that route and are permanently too afraid to come back.

2nd is to avoid college CS/IT degrees altogether. Can you imagine going to a certification class and someone said it would cost you 4 years and $110,000. That is what college essentially is, except there is no corporate backing and the material is always outdated. Now if you were going to college for networking, fine.

Re:No no no ... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905894)

Can you imagine going to a certification class and someone said it would cost you 4 years and $110,000. That is what college essentially is, except there is no corporate backing and the material is always outdated. Now if you were going to college for networking, fine.

The certification classes don't give you anything you can't learn yourself either, TYVM. I've been freelancing in the NYC area for the past 2 years, and out of many prospective clients (and around 50 actual business clients) exactly one has asked if I was MCSE. I said I wasn't - "ok, come in and meet with me." Meeting: "Can you fix this?" Fixed it. "Ok, no one else was able to get this to work. Cool..."

-b.

Re:No no no ... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905994)

I can't speak for the MCSE, but as far as MCDBA goes, i'm not impressed. I've met MCDBA's who can't write a simple join statement. These certifications prove nothing, and I find that most of the time, the people who get them are the ones who know so little that they couldn't get a real diploma/degree. And they don't actually know enough to get their foot in the door without a piece of paper. So, what, you can pass 4 exams. That really doesn't say much. If you pay for the course that teaches you how to pass the test, you're going to pass the test. That doesn't mean your a competent DBA. I'm not a DBA, I took software engineering in university, but I learned more in my 1 database class then some people with an MCDBA.

Fix it by making salaries go up by limiting H1-Bs (1, Insightful)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905942)

The solution is to make salaries in IT go up. When that happens, people will become interested in CS and flock to it, just like during the IT boom. Granted, that will attract people who otherwise wouldn't and probably shouldn't go into CS, but that will also attract the truly intelligent who would now rather become a doctor or a lawyer because they get paid so much more. The end result either way is more domestic IT workers.

How do we make IT salaries increase? Simple. Decrease the supply of IT workers in the short-term. That means DECREASING the number of H1-B workers, not increasing them. Fewer workers available means that companies have to bid up the few available workers left. More bidding means higher salaries for IT people.

What does INCREASING the number of H1-B workers mean? That means companies have more people to pick and choose from. That means companies can pay less for their workers because they don't have to bid up. That means US college students become less interested in CS and IT. That's because they see jobs going to foreigners and the few jobs that don't go to foreigners pay poorly. That means we as a nation become more dependent on H1-B labor. That means we don't fix our problem.

(Incidentally, companies want to increase the number of women going into IT for the same reason they want to increase the number of H1-Bs. The economic logic is exactly the same.)

Re:Fix it by making salaries go up by limiting H1- (2, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905990)

People don't make major choices about their broad vocations simply on money. Temperament and aptitude is more important. Now, within those broad vocational parameters, money matters. Someone may become an oncologist, a general practitioner, or a pediatrician based on various trade-offs between pay, workload, etc. But they aren't going to choose between software engineer and doctor - considering the vicissitudes of the labor market, it would be foolish for them to.

He does have a point ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905798)

After all, the president of the United States was barely able to complete school (his GPA was around C - 2.35 more precisely) ... and last time he got 51% of the votes.

Re:He does have a point ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905960)

That's because his opponent, who liked to claim he was smarter, actually had worse grades, and lower test scores. Your point?

Re:No no no ... (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905970)

. . .our government is too closely involved with business's desire to get the maximum benefit with the minimum investment.

You just don't understand. The Huns are a burden on society, but if we put them to good use guarding the gates of The City our native legions will be free to roam afield expanding the Empire.

KFG

Why bother getting into the field at all? (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905658)

People talk all day long about American IT workers "adapting to the market" and "creating more value" than their counterparts create overseas, but there's nothing in the universe that an American IT worker can do that someone else overseas can't do, for cheaper.

There is no adaptation that a US IT worker can aspire to, that can't be matched or exceeded or even pre-emptively achieved by workers elsewhere. Not even one.

That's exactly why Toyota, Nissan and Honda are eating the US auto industry alive: we offshored our technology to them and now they're using it against us after having turned the proverbial transistor into the transistor radio except this time in a much bigger way.

And they always will. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905732)

There will always be some place in the world where people will work for less money than where you are right now.

And knowledge is easily transfered.

We have to focus on linking our technological imports with our school system. We cannot, as a nation, afford to reduce the number of home grown engineers while increasing the amount of tech we import (either through goods or visas).

If our technology imports increase 20% one year, then a significant chunk of that increase should be put into our engineering degree programs.

Re:And they always will. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905952)

If our technology imports increase 20% one year, then a significant chunk of that increase should be put into our engineering degree programs.

Why? So that more people can enter into a globally flooded profession? That is like trying to prop up factory work.
           

Re:Why bother getting into the field at all? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905746)

Another way of saying this is that technical knowledge can no longer be our comparative advantage [wikipedia.org] . It used to take expensive infrastructure to allow staff to communicate to build complex things. Now it only requires a commodity web connection. I frankly don't know what the hell the US's comparative advantage is anymore. Marketing bullshit, perhaps?

Education is cheaper over their also. The cost of your education alone is possibly more than the total lifetime earnings of a 3rd-world developer.

The "tech shortage" may become a self-fulfilling prophecy because of this.

Re:Why bother getting into the field at all? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905774)

Education is cheaper over their also.

Rats, I forgot to outsource my grammer checking :-)
     

Re:Why bother getting into the field at all? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905772)

many tech companies find it difficult to succeed in doing research and development in other nations. My guess is that communication between engineering and marketing should be strong for most product oriented companies to succeed, and with timezone differences and possible language barriers that can make it more difficult to succeed.

you can find many excellent software engineers in India, but it's been my experience that it is difficult to find good software managers there. (it's hard enough for find good software managers in the US, often engineers meet schedules despite their managers)

I hear a lot of stories about how Americans engineers are more creative or produce better quality products. But I think those really are just stories and have no basis in fact. I'm an American and take pride in what I do, but not for a second do I believe what piece of dirt I am standing on makes a difference in terms of engineering. And working with engineers from other countries I find similarities in our methods and processes even though we are culturally different.

besides, Bangalore is not a whole lot different from San Jose. :)

Re:Why bother getting into the field at all? (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16906012)

People talk all day long about American IT workers "adapting to the market" and "creating more value" than their counterparts create overseas, but there's nothing in the universe that an American IT worker can do that someone else overseas can't do, for cheaper.

If the only reason you think jobs are moving overseas is because it's cheaper your missing out on some of the other huge reasons. One big one is that people overseas work hard. They have been poor and now see an opportunity, whereas many americans are lazy and happy to punch a clock 9-5 and go home and watch Britney Spears. The american attitude will not survive as the world goes global. There are too many people in the world who are just getting a taste of freedom and capitalism that no job from an MBA to IT monkey is safe. It's scary, but in the end will create more for everyone.

There is no adaptation that a US IT worker can aspire to, that can't be matched or exceeded or even pre-emptively achieved by workers elsewhere. Not even one.

There is, to stay educated. The US must be the place where the next big thing comes out of. Our public educational system is so screwed up right now I fear that this won't be the case.

That's exactly why Toyota, Nissan and Honda are eating the US auto industry alive: we offshored our technology to them and now they're using it against us after having turned the proverbial transistor into the transistor radio except this time in a much bigger way.

Um no. All those companies beat the US companies because they innovated better than the US companies did. For many years US car companies manufactured crap at extremely high costs for which you have unions to blame. Paying some guy $30/hour to turn a screw is a complete waste when we have robotics and tech that can do that. Lets not even go into all the complete marketing blunders from when gas prices sky rocketed and the US car companies were still trying to sell these huge beasts of cars. Toyota, Honda, etc... took this opportunity to build better for cars for less money. And guess what, many of the Hondas, etc... are built in the US. Actually lots of foreign cars are built here. While not really low cost, every BMW z3/z4 roadster [wikipedia.org] is built in the SC and then shipped all over the world.

Re:Or alternatively (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905674)

While you're right, the answer is increased education, he clearly doesn't think that that's going to work:

and almost never can be skilled enough.

Now I don't accept that (although that's based on personal prejudice without reference to any facts), but taken in context, his solution (import the skills) makes sense.

Re:Or alternatively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905680)

Another idea would be to offer computer science degrees that do not revolve around programming. I'm not sure where it is everywhere around United States, but atleast at some colleges and universities that I have looked into, all they offer are either computer science degree, or certificates for other computer areas (i.e.networking). I want to get a degree in computers, but I don't want to spend years learning programming languages that I will not utilize in the workplace. I'll admit I haven't examined the degrees of many colleges, but the ones I have checked out seem to have the exact same cirriculum. Maybe someone can offer insight on how to get some type of bachelors degree in an area such as Computer Networking or Information Security? My local city college has numerous degrees available in this area, but they are only AS, and I am already almost finished getting 3 of them.

Plug-and-Play Staff (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905694)

Hint to start with: degree courses in fields such as Computer Science and Software Engineering should not have teaching Visual Basic.Net and Java as the primary or only focus!

I think the whole tech-shortage thing is lobbyist bullcrap. But that aside, VB and Java is what businesses actually want. Where do you think the demand really is? Every developer complains about companies focusing too much on specific tools and not enough on generally ability. This is the way it is.

They want instant tool-of-the-month experts rather than train, and one way to get that is to import/export them as needed rather than wait for Americans to learn.

Can you use a hammer? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905784)

Boss: Can you use a hammer? Worker: Yes. Boss: Great. Now build me a house.

Re:Can you use a hammer? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905856)

If you are talking about having better designers rather than just programmers, that takes experience. People are not going to get experience if they keep giving such jobs to visa workers.

Re:Or alternatively (4, Insightful)

waveclaw (43274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905844)

Training? But that costs money.
But since he thinks the problem is that "there are not enough engineers with the appropriate skill sets"


Not hardly. The problem really is "there are no engineers cheap enough and with the appropriate skill sets." When was the last time [monster.com] you saw a job requiring Senior level engineering skills, but only offering fresh-out-of-college pay?

FTA:
"without H-1B visas, we would have economic dislocation," Cresanti said.


Oh poo hoo, we have to pay top dollar for top quality says industry shrill. Instead, how about we import some cheap labor and dangle VISA restructions over their head to keep them working like slaves?

You want the skill$ you hand over the bill$. What ever happened to paying a good days wages for a good days work? Henry Ford paid his workers enough to afford his new cars. The money he paid out came right back into his pocket because he through globally and invested locally. If you keep pouring money into $THIRD_WORLD_COUNTRY don't be surpised when their highly trained employees cost as much as local ones. (HINT: rising wages <--> rising standard of living.)

Again, FTA:
"Math and science are ingrained. We're a country of laws and men. They're a country of engineers."


says the man with a Polical Science degree. You won't get any argument about that from me, though. The No. 1 concern of politicos when discussion H1-B's and international trade is pushing our lawyer-based society (e.g. claiming patents = invention and lawsuits = income) on China. The irony in that be hip deep.

Management can either enable employees or get out of the way. If you look at your workforce and think 'they're undertrained, I wonder if I can replace them with equally undertrained but cheaper forgein imports.' Which one are you doing?

Re:Or alternatively (1)

eieken (635333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905870)

Preach on brotha! I was so disgusted with the programming courses offered at the college I was attending, I decided to get a job instead of taking more classes that were taught using Visual Basic. VB is not an advanced language that challenges students to learn, instead it promotes laziness and bad programming techniques.

Re:Or alternatively (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905974)

Let me present a conspiracy theory: IT is one of THE ONLY industries whose back hasn't been broken yet by cheap labor.

Ask yourself, why has the US Government undermined the working middle class at every turn? Because doing so allows the ownership class to recapture the wealth held by those middle classes.

Long-term... (2, Informative)

writermike (57327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905512)

Well, I guess that's a good short-term answer, if you're not at all interested in bolstering the skills of the local fauna. Short-term answers are great for politicians, too.

*sigh*

Make Education More Available (1)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905602)

TOtally. Some of us would like to go back to school for paper creds and get into the IT field, but school so damn expensive. I aleady have a BA, but coming up with the bucks for even just a cert or an AA would be hard.

Your cars suck! (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905516)

Well, I'm unimpressed with Czeck cars. Take that!

  lyricslist.com/ [slashdot.org]

penny wise, pound foolish (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905532)

Well, that's sure to encourage more Americans to get IT degrees (rolls eyes)

Green Card (4, Insightful)

Boronx (228853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905542)

How about instead of H1-Bs, we fast-track green cards for people with needed skills, or is that not enough like indentured servitude?

Re:Green Card (5, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905662)

How about instead of H1-Bs, we fast-track green cards for people with needed skills, or is that not enough like indentured servitude?

I've seen H-1B abuse with my own eyes at a very large telecom. They want people they can manipulate, not full-blown citizens with real choices. There is no "shortage", just lobbyists looking for an angle. See about this Rand study:

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB1505/in dex1.html [rand.org]
     

Re:Green Card (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905742)

Why not simply grant citizenship? *rolls eyes*

If employers are currently abusing H1B holders, then the system should be adjusted.

You've hit on a major point. (2, Interesting)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905934)

Several other major countries such as Australia let people into the country for job reasons while approximately 2/3 of immigrants come to the US under family reunification. In an era of cheap long distance, the Internet, and discount airfares, giving such a high priority to family reunification probably doesn't make sense (definition of "family" includes adult brothers and sisters of US citizens etc...).

Re:Green Card (2, Insightful)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905982)

"How about instead of H1-Bs, we fast-track green cards for people with needed skills, or is that not enough like indentured servitude?"

Business want indentured servitude. They don't want people who will be free to leave the company easily. So a fast-track green card to replace H1B, or a fully portable H1B visa program (i.e. work anywhere you want for the duration of the visa without requiring the new employer to sponsor anything) will not happen as long as politicians are in bed with big business.

As always, the real problem is (1)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905544)


"We don't want to pay local workers enough".

Re:As always, the real problem is (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905652)

The problem is competition. They want the cost of labor to go down to compete with companies that are hiring those foreign workers where they live - in India, for example. You can't have it both ways: either you reduce the cost of labor here, or you lose jobs as companies are unable to compete on price.

There is a third way, but it will not happen: protectionism, with tariffs to protect wages all around. But the local worker who wants to get paid more doesn't want to pay more, either, and is usually quite happy buying Chinese-made goods for every industry except his own.

Unimpressed ! (-1, Troll)

soul_on_fire2001 (587336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905552)

I am unimpressed with theodp for submitting a useless article.

Pay as always is the answer (5, Interesting)

cmorriss (471077) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905556)

When faced with a workforce shortage, in no other field has the answer been to import skilled labor from other countries. The answer has always been to increase pay until the appropriate number of skilled candidates are attracted.

Allowing companies to import all of the skilled labor at cheap prices sets the stage for a dangerous trend. Ultimately it will sink wages throughout the workforce as companies see they can start trying this in other fields.

The government seems to think it has to use tarrifs to protect the iron industry but actively participates in the lowering of wages in the IT field.

I sincerely hope this starts to become a bigger issue and the word gets out. Undoubtedly if other fields start getting hit, the politicians will start to feel the pressure.

Re:Pay as always is the answer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905608)

Did you even read the article? There simply ARE NOT ENOUGH SKILLED IT WORKERS IN THE US!

Paying the existing too-small pool more money for their skills isn't going to help any when there aren't enough of them to fill all positions. If there were enough skilled workers in the US, companies would be hiring them, but there ARE NOT.

We need to import workers to fill the gaps, not because we're not paying IT workers enough, but because there simply AREN'T enough IT workers available in the first place.

Re:Pay as always is the answer (1)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905654)

There never will be enough IT workers when that profession gets corporate welfare visas like H-1 and L-1 at low rates. Businesses in competive economies like Singapore pay competitive prices for their visas.

Re:Pay as always is the answer (1)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905760)


Do you know why?

We don't pay enough for the skills.

When a less-skilled, less-demanding job pays the same, what do people do?

Yes, that's right.

Re:Pay as always is the answer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905914)

There are thousands of skilled workers who quit IT because it doesn't pay well enough. I know that I work and study harder, smarter and longer hours than most lawyers, guess who commands the higher salary.

Commodity IT workers are monkeys, any skills shortage is because these monkeys devalue the labor market. I'm not getting out of bed for less than $75,000; don't tell me there's a skills shortage, tell me what is being done to reduce living costs.

Open-source union? (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905628)

The government seems to think it has to use tarrifs to protect the iron industry but actively participates in the lowering of wages in the IT field.

The reason for the difference?: UNIONS

You may complain about unions all you want, but without them your political ass is not powerful enough to compete with deep corporate pockets and armies of full-time lobbyists.

Perhaps we could form some kind of open-source union? Just a thought.

By the way, the Rand Corporation looked into general claims of tech/sci shortages in the late 90's, and found none. It is a scam.

Re:Open-source union? (1)

heroofhyr (777687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905846)

What exactly would be "open source" about the union? The people in it would be open source programmers? Or the decision-making would be done on an open and democratic level? If it's the latter, such unions have existed since the 19th century. In the United States (and elsewhere, but elsewhere existed other types of organisations based on the same principles) the largest was called the IWW, and was rather powerful until World War I when many of its speakers and salters were executed, imprisoned, or deported to other countries under the Espionage and Sedition Acts and during the J. Edgar Hoover-organised Palmer Raids, and was later finished off almost entirely under the Taft-Hartley Act (nicknamed the "Slave Labour Bill" by Harry Truman and euphemistically titled the "Labor-Management Relations Act") of 1947.

By the way, the Rand Corporation looked into general claims of tech/sci shortages in the late 90's, and found none. It is a scam.

Most likely there is a shortage of scientists and engineers...the fine print to that statement being "willing to work for the salaries offered." Hence the encouragement by the Tech Czar to increase the number of foreign entry visas for skilled workers. They're grateful to have the visa and the shit wage and lack of benefits is still a vast improvement to them compared to what they'd settle for back home. And if they ever start to complain, just cancel the visa and you're rid of them. No health care plan, no retirement package, no company car or stock options or competitive income, and best of all no complaining. And if they don't work out, there's plenty others to choose from. People see the free market and globalisation as such a miracle until it dawns on them, far too late, that labour--including theirs unless they happen to be the one doing the buying--is a tradeable commodity like any other.

Fair-Weather Free-Traders (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905924)

People see the free market and globalisation as such a miracle until it dawns on them, far too late, that labour--including theirs unless they happen to be the one doing the buying--is a tradeable commodity like any other.

I've noticed that a lot of Indian programmers have become fair-weather free-traders. India has typically been a socialist-leaning country and has no cultural reason to see capitalism in an almost religious-like sense that the US south does. And I don't think that has fundimentally changed such that they are a bit naive. If South Africa or China etc. suddenly become the "cheaper bucket" and decimated thier offshoring contracts, I am sure they would become the socialists that they started out as. No country has changed their spots that fast, at least not in a lasting way.
       

The problem with importing staff (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905672)

Is that both China and India are already suffering from staff shortages. They can barely get enough unskilled labour, never mind highly skilled IT staff.

e.g.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/03/business/03labor .html?ex=1301716800&en=49c0d472886e1f39&ei=5088&pa rtner=rssnyt&emc=rss [nytimes.com]
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15212647/ [msn.com]

 

You know what they say about a rising tide... (1)

sadler121 (735320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905766)

A rising tide lifts all boats...

GREED! (3, Insightful)

MilesNaismith (951682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905564)

The motivation behind this is: GREED! Big American companies want cheap disposable labor. They have no concern with what long-term effect this has on the middle-class, or on the economy, as long as it keeps propping up those bottom lines and rolling in the bonus and back-dated options. If they really wanted the best that the world has to offer, to be brought here and integrated into the US economy on a permanent basis, these would not be H1-B visas. They would have a program for work-towards-citizenship. Everything else is lies and misdirection.

Re:GREED! (4, Insightful)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905826)

Well give credit to the American consumer as well.

We have no hesitation looking to find cheaper versions of products we want, ignoring quality. And at the same time we enjoy constantly griping about not being paid enough.

The quality of products produced by US workers has also declined. The quality factor alone is no longer significantly different. So given a choice of poor quality work from both inside or outside, which are you going to pick? The lower cost of course. That is not greed on the part of businesses. It is common sense.

at first glance... (2, Funny)

bechthros (714240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905572)

...i read this as "czech tsar"... and who asked him, anyway?

Lobbyists Lobbyists Lobbyists (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905576)

They were saying this during the bottom-of-the-barrel tech bust in the early 2000's. I personally met a representative from Microsoft who claimed this at a San Diego university, and he was saying this to unemployed techies in the same goddam room. He quickly left when the question-and-answer session came.

Indirect benefits. (1)

vhold (175219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905580)

As more skilled workers come to America the less appealing outsourcing looks because all the good talent will all be here in the first place. At least in the US, they'll come to expect something resembling US standards for pay and not something 1/8th of it.

What we really need (4, Funny)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905586)

Is for technically skilled people to have more children. Companies must embrace women and pregnancy, with daycare and . Only Darwin can help us here. They are the only way to increase the force of people capable and willing to be the next generation.

Re:What we really need (5, Funny)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905624)

And, since technical people tend to have fewer social skills and have a harder time finding mates, there needs to be a lottery amongst the non-technical people. Draw the "lucky" number, and you are required to marry a tech person.

The government will also be monitoring the bedrooms of these couples to ensure that the mandated sexual encounter per week is not avoided.

Re:What we really need (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905638)

Or we could just kill the others, preferably before they reach a fertile age.

Re:What we really need (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905968)

We need more white people and fewer wetbacks.

We already have too many mud people. The politicians want to turn America into a sea of mud. They (Democrats and Republicans) want America to become a third world country with a ruling elite and huge underclass of cheap mud people.

A tech shortage eh? (4, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905592)

The severe problem of supply of staff will lead to soaring salaries of course... Simple market economics, restricted supply and strong demand. What you say? Salaries are not soaring? Doesn't sound like much of a shortage to me then.

 

Re:A tech shortage eh? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905668)

I think that the counter-argument is that salaries are as high as they will go... people will just run IT-heavy businesses in cheaper markets rather than pay the higher salary. Keeping the market "artificially" low by letting more skilled people into the country can theoretically keep the jobs in the US.

Re:A tech shortage eh? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905740)

Except that there's huge wage inflation in IT sector (and others) in India, China etc, on the order of 20% per year because they already have a tech shortage. Economics coming back to bite the offshorers.

 

Reaping what you sow (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905610)

What Robert Cresanti refuses to face is that much of the shortage isnt from the dot com bust, most of us rode that out, it is more from people who were forced out during the "offshoring" boom and the waves of layoffs due to "restructuring". Many have abandonded the field in droves and have encouraged their friends and loved ones to do the same. Outsourcing which was once done as a cost saving measure is now being necessary due to lack of available domestic skills.

I worked with a team of 12 engineers that were slowly whittled away due to layoffs from offshoring out of the 8 or so I still keep in touch with not a single one has gone back into the corporate world all have either gone to small companies, independent contracting or left the field completely. You can only kick a dog so many times before it turns on you. As foreign enconomies improve and outsourcing becomes less cost effective (its already happening) companies that screwed over their domestic employees are going to find it harder and harder to do business. IMHO they are getting what they deserve.

Re:Reaping what you sow (2)

scoove (71173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905822)

Grapeape - excellent comments. In particular:

it is more from people who were forced out during the "offshoring" boom and the waves of layoffs due to "restructuring".

And to add to that, it's also due to the segmented, "pigeon-hole" strategy that most larger corporations use with their IT (which, incidentally, is even worse with off-shore IT workers).

I was a telecom engineer and manager who experienced the dot-com bust, worked as an infosec consultant for banks for several years while I went back and got a finance and risk management education. I'm now contracting to one of the larger international firms in critical infosec projects. I was brought on to accelerate lagging and failing infosec systems due to client and compliance issues - in spite of over 2,000 IT workers worldwide, serious problems were developing. Logs were being ignored, policies not implemented, and basic infosec systems falling apart. Production system hardening was being done poorly and risks were being assumed all over the place.

Outsourcing work the past 4 years for this firm made things even more of a disaster. The result was a segmentation IT environment where everyone just focused on their own specific area and nobody thought about interdependencies, broader operational and infosec issues, etc. When it got outsourced, the remaining internal people couldn't communicate with the outsourcing firms and nobody took ownership for understanding how things worked.

This is the real IT problem, and our educational systems do very little to address it. Cross-specialization is critical but ignored. H1Bs make this worse, not better, as the cultural/caste issues inherent in many of the outsourcing target nations make it less likely that people will speak up about potential items outside of their speciality. I deal with that aspect nearly daily.

So why is the Bush administration and the Democratic congresspersons so eager to blame US IT workers? They pursue the same myth the previous executive management of the firm I'm working with believed (previous as in their mismanagement led to across-the-board pink slips for the execs - something that is unfortunately too infrequent given how poorly many run their firms). Rather than develop a cross-functional culture (which is not easy), they seek the 1920s assembly-line, replacable cheap worker dreams where IT people only handle a single function and nobody is made responsible for the larger picture. Those people are difficult to replace for half the wages.

I have no objections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905634)

I am an IT worker and I have no objections to a company importing as many foriegn workers as they desire for any position. However I think they should pay a tax for this.

This tax is over and above all of the other taxes they pay and should be the greatest of these three:
1) Minimum wage.
2) Median wage nation wide for the position.
3) Median income in the zipcode where the work is to be performed.

I do get pissed when I read those ads that want a MD and a doctorate in math and want to pay $46,000 per year.

VISAs harm Americans (5, Insightful)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905636)

VISAs are essentially an import tariff on employees.

Remember the steel import tariff Bush imposed a year or two back? the steel manufacturers were overjoyed - and rightly so; since imported steel now cost 45% more, they could raise their prices to match, and they made plenty of money out of it.

Who suffered? well, *EVERYONE ELSE*. All the companies who use steel had to pay 45% more. All their products (cars, construction materials for houses, etc) went up in price to compensate for their costs. You and I subsidized the steel industry, by Bush's decree.

Back to VISAs.

If you have demand for a skill-set and a shortfall in supply, wages go up.

Just like steel prices going up, when wages go up, final product prices go up.

So if you restrict the supply of programmers, software prices go up to compensate.

Who benefits? American programmers. They have fatter pay packets (which they notice), but most things they buy will be more expensive (which they won't notice). (Things are more expensive since the part of their cost which covers the price of the software used to make them has gone up).

So who pays? you and I, by Bush's decree.

Re:VISAs harm Americans (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905958)

That's fine but let them immigrate through the normal channels. There is a host of moral reasons why the H1B system is unfair for native workers and the H1Bs.

Hmmmm (3, Insightful)

boner (27505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905648)

Such broad statements don't help. I think it is a mixture of the IT industry needing more specific skills AND more people.... I don't believe that blanket H1 increases will solve the problem.

The IT industry should look inward and admit that it has done a piss-poor job of training people (and the employees have been complacent in their training demands). While many companies have training courses, most of these courses cover only general topics. Highly specific and technical knowledge takes more than a two-week course can provide, it takes months, even years to develop. IT companies somehow expect Universities to deliver these people, ready made for work. As long as employee training is considered a cost more than a benefit, the industry will keep saying that they can't find the skilled people. What these companies are saying in reality is that it is not cost effective for them to train their own employees, it is much cheaper to get foreigners trained at much lower cost and then import them. This outlook denies the fact that many employees posses the practical experience to quickly learn new skills if given the opportunity.

So what is the solution? I don't know, but the net effect of allowing more H1's will not be an overall improvement of American skills.

Expect Universities to deliver these people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905744)

IT companies somehow expect Universities to deliver these people, ready made for work.

No we expect that people are paying tens of thousands to dollars for Universities to deliver an over-blown sense of entitlement and endless ability for mostly left-wing mental masturbation.

Open the gates AND grow your own homeboys (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905656)

As far as I am concerned anyone should be able to come over here and reap the American dream just like all our ancestors did (except for the natives we forgot to kill).

In addition to the foreigners, you can avail yourself of more Americans by setting your sights lower. I've found that people that have an entrepreneurial spirit, ability to take personal responsibility of job functions, and demonstrate willingness to learn and self-study do very well in IT regardless of official degree. And they cost less.

Re:Open the gates AND grow your own homeboys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905922)

If you feel so generous, I suggest you send your salary to poor people in other countries and stop spending money on things like computers and internet access to waste your time on slashdot.

Re:Open the gates AND grow your own homeboys (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905950)

As far as I am concerned anyone should be able to come over here and reap the American dream just like all our ancestors did (except for the natives we forgot to kill).

Who are we letting in, though. If we don't vet the people whom we allow into the US carefully, we might very well allow some terrorists and other foreign enemies in. Which will mean that we'll accept further erosion of our civil liberties under the guise of watching over them. If we control whom we let into the US more tightly, we can afford a freer society internally.

In addition to the foreigners, you can avail yourself of more Americans by setting your sights lower. I've found that people that have an entrepreneurial spirit, ability to take personal responsibility of job functions, and demonstrate willingness to learn and self-study do very well in IT regardless of official degree.

I'm doing just fine in tech with no formal training - actually, I do have a mech engr degree but no one has really asked. The only thing is that I want to go back into engineering so I'll probably be out of the market within a year or two. Hopefully, I'd have hired enough good talent to keep supporting my clients by then, though and to have a financial cushion to lay back upon if I hate the new job or decide to go to grad school.

-b.

like we need more h1b's in the US? (4, Insightful)

poopie (35416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905670)

Summary: US Kids are dumb, lazy, and fat and only interested in video games and lighting their farts on fire. Jobs in the US are leaving the country. Employers are moving their hiring to China, India, Brazil, Eastern Europe. Skilled workers in the US are having a hard time gettings or keeping jobs and the US companies' salary increases aren't even tracking the cost of living increases in the US.

Proposed solution: Bring in more foreign workers to compete for the few jobs that haven't been outsourced or moved overseas?!? Have them bring their extended families with them into the US. WTF! I'm not trying to be protectionist, but... we need to improve education in the US and we need to make sure that there will be good jobs for our kids when they grow up.

I know a lot of US companies now that only hire about 1 person in the US for every 20 they hire. Do you really think it's because they're aren't any qualified workers in the US!?

Could we see a day when our kids will be leaving the US to go to China and India to look for jobs and we'll be complaining about those countries limiting US foreign workers? I believe so...

Re:like we need more h1b's in the US? (0, Flamebait)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905806)

...Have them bring their extended families with them into the US...

You had me till that line.. After that, you were nothing but a bigot.

Re:like we need more h1b's in the US? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16906020)

[...Have them bring their extended families with them into the US...] You had me till that line.. After that, you were nothing but a bigot.

The problem is that the idea doesn't scale. Do we really want to let everybody and their dog into our country? We would have a population bigger than China in no-time. Ignoring issues about culture differences, do we really want a huge population here? (Remember, it is not just IT that corporations want to flood.)

Also, Indian H-1B's find that after they become citizens they are less in demand.
             

So? (1)

zamboni1138 (308944) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905676)

I bet most of the US IT workforce is not impressed with the government.

Funny how that works.

some reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905678)

1)College is just too expensive in the US now, it is *insane*

2) the government goes WAY out of its way to allow companies to offshore work or import cheap workers and has utterly killed off any expectation of a job that would justify several years hard work just to get your foot in the door and start out with high 5 figures or worse *debt* before you have worked yet. This is beyond nuts and has had the desired effect for the boss class, they can complain their aren't enough workers. Gee, who wouilda thunk that might be the outcome? To me, it looks like it was designed on purpose that way..

3)The IT industry rank and file has been utterly and completely brainwashed into not acknowledging that the globalist miilionaire and billionaire owners have very strong "unions" which are the corporate industry associations and their huge lobbying (bribery,let's callit like it is)power in DC, along with the "wall street" swine, but for some reason, workers orgs or guilds or unions are "not acceptable", even though there is nothing stopping allegedly very smart people from taking a look at where unions in the trades did well, and where they didn't do well, and adjusting how to run a union accordingly, from learning from past mistakes and historical example.

4)and most important, once again they, along with the other narrow minded people who can't learn from history, have elected the globalist party to run government. There is no two party system, there is one party, the globalists, who have two wings that exist *only* to keep their serfs divided and squabbling with the other serfs, so that no one looks upstream to where the problems are.. Until such a time as the people stop allowing that two headed hydra to run them into the ground, to rule over them, this destruction of the middle class will continue, because this is what the globalists want, a two class society with masters and serfs, which is what they always have wanted going back through history.

Re:some reasons (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905966)

1)College is just too expensive in the US now, it is *insane*

For private schools: I'd agree. Public universities in some states like Maryland, NJ, and California (among others) are less expensive for in-state residents and frequently have decent programs in the sciences and engineering.

-b.

A worrying trend! (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905686)

Very worrying indeed. But we should not be surprised because the US education system has been in "free fall" since the mid-eighties. One day, I fear that the US, like all other "major empires" of the past, will be irrelevant. When this happens China Brazil and India will matter. This is scary!

Insourcing (1)

jax9999 (919336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905692)

the simple point is this. The big companies want the outsource pay rates, without the outsource stigma. They basically want to outsource, but say that the jobs are local. They will pass over a thousand IT professionals that know what they are doing over the one little kid from Bangalor who printed his diploma off at Kinkos.

H1Bs... Yeah, That'll Do It... (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905698)

You're getting as mixed a bag with H1Bs as you are with US IT workers. In IT you can make a salary well over the national average and it's a lot easier to get your foot in the door than it is with medicine or law. I've met some very talented H1Bs and I've had to clean up after some who were complete idiots. The trick isn't so much in the volume of smart people, the trick is in your HR Department's ability to filter out the folks who are only in it for the money.

This is a LIE!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905726)

H1-B = TREASON!!!!!!!!!!!! SHORTGAGE??????? this is HOGWASH there are thousands of young american citizens that are graduating every year from technology based programs that can fill all the positions held by H1-Bs i work at a customer site where 80% of the work force is H1-B visa holders on paper these workers have master degrees, certifications blah blah blah AND YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE ALL DUMBER THAN A BOX OF ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they do not understand english well enough to perform their job their work is substandard and full of errors , i am always having to correct their work they cannot think outside of the box ... if its not in the documentation or the manual 99.99% of the H1-B`s I work with CANNOT develop unconventional solutions to unconventional problem sets they are not able to develop simple solutions that solve problems there is a HUGE cultural void in their mode of thinking and the American way of doing things

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16905728)

When the fox was interviewed about the "hen shortage", he replied that we do not have enough local hens anymore, and that we desperately need to import hens from other areas...

Skills? Who needs 'em? (2, Interesting)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905748)

Not some of the IT staff working for the telecommunications industry apparently. I was helping my mum get her broadband fixed and it was pretty damn clear that some of the staff she spoke to were just working from a flow chart style script. If it wasn't one of their proscribed answers then they didn't know what to do. It seems like some call centres undercut others by not bothering to train people, just given them scripts. Not all, mind you, after redialling a few times we got though to someone who was actually not only not working from a script but who knew what she was talking about.

This is all the fault of outsourcing - I used to work in a callcentre for a now defunct computer company and while we did have some training, only two weeks mind, we had no incentive to fix problems. Even if we did have the skills, and it would take twenty minutes on the phone to fix, there was no reason to do that. I left when I got a better job, the last straw being my colleague being praised for fobbing people off because he took more calls than I did trying to fix things.

Economics: Law of Supply and Demand (1, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905776)

Shortages and surpluses of labor are normal -- and powerful -- forces in a free market. A shortage corrects the underpricing of labor, and surpluses correct the overpricing of labor. If a company cannot find enough information-technology (IT) workers at a salary of $80,000, then that salary is below the equilibrium market price at which supply meets demand. So, the company is underpricing its labor and must increase the salary (and must improve working conditions) to get more labor. There is plenty of labor at the right price.

There is no need for the government to "fix" shortages by importing desperate labor in the form of H-1B workers or illegal aliens. When the government "fixes" a shortage, the government is damaging the normal operation of the free market. The free market works fine without government intervention.

Regrettably, most politicians (and some journals like the "Wall Street Journal") cater to certain segments of the population and outright lie about how economic laws work. For example, many Republicans favor big agri-businesses and claim that the American economy will be irreparably damaged unless Washington allows illegal aliens to pick fruits and vegetables. Many Democrats favor ethnic pressure groups like La Raza and make an identical claim.

Journals like the "Wall Street Journal" use an even sneakier strategy. The Journal repeatedly claims that increasing the American population is wonderful because doing so increases the wealth of the nation via increasing human capital. To a point, this claim is true. Consider an economy of exactly one person. That economy is pathetically poor because one person, regardless of how smart she is, cannot be equally skilled in all areas of work. Here, when I refer to wealth, I am referring to wealth per capita (i.e., GDP per capita), also known as personal wealth. If the 1-person economy grew into a 2-person economy, we can easily imagine that the wealth doubles or triples: one person is tending the vegetable garden while the other person is protecting the grass hut from wild animals.

However, consider an economy with 100 million people. If we doubled the size of this economy, then its wealth does not double. The wealth increases by substantially less than 1 percent. After a certain population size, each doubling of the population brings a rapidly decreasing percentage gain in the wealth.

The game that the WSJ plays is to ignore this concept of diminishing returns. Further, the WSJ deceptively says that doubling the population doubles the total weath (i.e., the total GDP, not the GDP per capita). Though that statement is true, it does nothing for the actual wealth that you experience. What you experience is GDP per capita, not total GDP.

Finally, there is a trade-off between (for example) a 0.1% increase in personal wealth (i.e., GDP per capita) and annoyances (e.g., pollution) created by a doubling of the American population.

By the way, identical comments about diminishing returns apply to global trade. Onces a global free market reaches a certain size, it captures most of the advantages of a large amount of human capital. The USA loses almost nothing by restricting our free trade to only free markets, which includes (at the moment) only Western nations. We should slam our markets shut to non-free markets like India, China, and Mexico. The tiny percentage gain in personal wealth (i.e., the GDP per capita) that we get by including India, China, and Mexico is completely offset by their damaging impact on Americans in the unskilled-labor market. China indirectly erodes the quality of life for Americans in the unskilled-labor market.

Then, along comes the WSJ to deceptively talk about total wealth (i.e., the total GDP) in absolute numbers, say, an increase in total GDP of $15 billion dollars. $15 billion is an eye-popping number. However, divide that number of the number of Americans to get the GDP per capita, and you see only an increase of $50. Is $50 worth destroying the quality of life for Americans in the unskilled-labor market?

Re:Economics: Law of Supply and Demand (2, Insightful)

homer_s (799572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905944)

Its funny that you talk about the free market while simultaneously advocating protectionism. In what way are India, China and Mexico less free or more protectionist than the USA? How are they damaging you in the 'unskilled labour market'?

If someone is willing to work for $1/day, then in a free market he will get a lot of customers. That person is not damaging your 'unskilled labour market'. It means that the work he is performing is only worth $1/day. That is the definition of the free market.
You are free to disagree whether it is right or wrong, but don't pretend to understand the free market while condemning free competition and advocating artificial barriers to trade.

Re:Economics: Law of Supply and Demand (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16906014)

A free market is one where goods and services (including labor) are subject to normal market forces. Such is not the case in India, China, and Mexico.

In particular, in the case of Mexico, if a free market existed, there would be plenty of jobs for everyone.

Combining a free market like the USA and a non-free market like Mexico does not create a free market. Combining 2 free markets creates a bigger free market.

Combining a free market and a non-free market does not create a free market. The combined market damages the operation of free-market economics in the USA. The non-free market, for example, damages the movement of wages in the the American unskilled-labor market.

Real motivations (4, Interesting)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905790)

To gauge Robert Cresanti's comments, it is important to first grasp where he comes from. So who is Robert Cresanti? He is a former Vice President of Public Policy for the BSA. Yes, that BSA. [lwn.net] Before that, he was the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the ITAA. [wikipedia.org]

Why is this important? Both of these are groups that are all about the interests of big corporations. The BSA, in particular, protects those interests without regard for anyone in its path. So when someone of this mindset says they need to import more workers, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where he's coming from. There are two basic ways that companies in the US could increase the number of qualified workers. One is to increase salaries significantly enough to entice capable students of pursuing a career in IT. The second is to import workers from other countries often willing to work for the same or less.

For government, the two basic ways are to increase educational funding to lower the barrier for students to pursue higher education in IT and the second is to ease restrictions on workers from other countries to work in the US.

The second option is the quickest and "cheapest" solution from both a private and government perspective. The fact that he is promoting this as a solution shows that he thinks short term and not long term. It also means he thinks from the perspective of what is best for big business and not the American worker. This isn't totally surprising considering where he comes from and who got him in his position.

Here we go AGAIN (3, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905804)

The outsourcing boom is not working so well.
The number of CS grads is going down.
The US salaries are going up.

What to do, what to do, they've got us by the short hairs again... what did we do before? Ah yes.

Convince Congress that we don't have enough people to do the job, and that those people who live here suck anyway.

Let the H1B's start a-flowin'!

Salaries go down, more American students won't take CS as a degree, then we can ask for more, cheaper slave slabor from abroad! Eternal power-down cycle! Win-win! $$ for us managers!

Introduce school vouchers (1)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905808)

I'm all for more H1B workers, but at some point we have to confront the dramatic failings of large sections of the K-12 education system. We need more high quality K-12 schools that the broad population can attend. High stakes testing won't deliver that, and government/teachers union controlled schools haven't and won't deliver that either. (I'm not anti-teacher, but anyone with actual school experience will tell you that the state and national teachers unions are part of the problem, not the solution.)

I think the broad model should be the US university system. It doesn't have to be all private or all public, but you have real competition between schools and people can direct some of their government subsidies for education towards private schools instead of public schools.

Competition works, Government run monopolies don't. Until we realize that, large numbers of our schools are going to continue to pump out drug dealers instead of electrical engineers and web designers.

Corporate Welfare (1)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905810)

The thing is Cresanti is pursuing a classic corporate welfare strategy. I discuss this in my articles here [vdare.com] . These visas have a market value of about $100,000 each. They cost companies a fraction of that amount. If the visas were prices appropriately, there would be no shortage--and US wages would adjust somewhat.

Great! Just Great! Who is this idiot? (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905854)

That's right, he's an idiot.

Let's see... Just open up all of our American corporations so that all of their precious information, applications, systems, networks, etc are built, maintained, controlled by non citizens. Many of them have no drive to get things done correctly, safely, securely. Most of them do not have a stake in the companies that hire them. Couple this with language barriers, society barriers, background barriers, and we end up with ineffective employees. I've seen it time and time again, where the H1B holder can't comprehend the simplest things because they don't understand the context around it. They've gone to school, they've taken the classes and they've memorized the answers. However, ask them to think it through, to give the full reasoning behind each feature and function, and they just stare at you as if you've asked them to quote the value of Pi to the 3 billionth decimal place. They might even know the answer, they just can't comprehend the context of the question, because we base it on what we know and have learned over the years.

Do you really want all of the companies who sub-contract to the companies who supply the DoD with equipment to rely on H1B holders? How much of a cost increase is there when every line of code, every circuit, every component has to be double and triple checked by non H1B workers to make certain that security glitches, back-doors, etc weren't introduced.

What kind of holes will be introduced into software which uses personally identifiable information simply because the H1B worker took shortcuts to get the job done, because they CAN'T say no and push the time-lines back?

I'm sorry - there's just too many things that go wrong when you introduce too many non-native employees into the mix. It just doesn't work. It's not effective. It ALWAYS ends up costing more in the long run.

Education Problem (3, Interesting)

kstumpf (218897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905864)

I blame schools. Secondary education is big business. There's only a handful of schools with quality programs. Here in Louisiana, many schools still teach pascal and basic. Later courses are taught by underqualified professors who've been out of the loop for years. For my C++ course, I had to constantly argue with the teacher over every program I would write because he did not know the ANSI standards. The class barely covered the first three chapters of a "teach yourself C++ in 24 hours" type book. Classes tend to "gear down" to the accomodate the dumbest person in the class, which is just wrong. I got fed up, left school, got six years experience, then came back and got a business degree.

Do Law or Accountancy (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905898)

If you're a youngster interested in computers this should tell you: get interested in something else, something that will make you money so you can follow your interest. Working in IT will never provide you with the long term career to raise a family.

Now doing H1B applications for X immigrant will, so study law.

You will thank me for this advice one day, and those that mod me down, you sick SOAB condemming the next generation of intelligent kids to the hell that is being an engineer in the west ...

Bush appointees aren't skilled enough (0, Flamebait)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905906)

IT employees aren't the problem. The real problem is that Bush's appointees aren't skilled enough. There have been some real duds. Michael Brown, the FEMA director, was previously head judge of the Arabian Horse Association. Bush's early chief economic adviser, Lawrence Linsay, came from Enron. So did the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert B. Zoellick, and the secretary of the Army, Thomas White Jr. And then there's the Attorney General, Albert Gonzales, "Mr. Torture" himself, formerly Bush's lawyer.

We could probably get better people from offshore. Certainly we could find better people in the financial and trade areas. Bring in some smart financial people from Singapore or Dubai as economic and trade advisers and get the country moving.

good observations (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905912)

Despite getting the solution wrong, he does have some good observations.

First, that it's too hard for international students to come to the US to study.

Second, that our compitition populates it's governement with engineers, while we populate our government with lawyers (and Poli Sci grads).

With those observations, he should realize that he is actually part of the problem. I wonder if he sees that... probably not.

Problem is Primary, not Secondary Education (2, Insightful)

jonathanbutz (721096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905916)

Successful developing nations adapt their curricula to produce timely skills, and many are the targets of massive investment and job migration.

Meanwhile, in the face of mass offshoring, we have an increasingly undereducated population whose skills are steadily declining in value.

Visas and offhosring appear attractive short-term solutions because qualified candidates have TOO MUCH education and cost too much.

If the average high school graduate had the needed skills, we'd already have the labor at a reasonable cost.

A bit about Mr. Cresanti... (3, Insightful)

Frangible (881728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905918)

"Before his confirmation, Cresanti served as Vice President of Public Policy at the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). Earlier in his career, he served as Staff Director for the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem. He was also Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Financial Services and Technology for the Senate Banking Committee. Mr. Cresanti received his B.A. degree from Austin College and his Juris Doctor degree from Baylor University."

"The Under Secretary is focused on carrying forward President Bush's vision to grow the economy... the Under Secretary's priorities are to: foster an environment conducive to private sector investment in innovation, by identifying ways to facilitate knowledge exchange between scientists and investors, which will boost our country's economic performance"

He's a republican from big business, charged with carrying forth a republican agenda "conductive to private sector investment". And what is a way in which this is accomplished? Lower labor costs. See, most people on Slashdot see America's IT performance as the number/quality of native workers. Cresanti sees it as how attractive each company's stocks are. And in this case, what's good for the goose is not so good for the gander.

Of course, in all fairness, that is a valid perspective, and isolating our market's cost structure from the rest of the world is not sustainable long-term. Thus, this results in a more short term decrease in the American standard of living, and increase in the third world's standard of living-- which no one here likes. There is of course an alternative; 97% of the wealth in the US is controlled by 3% of the population, or something like that. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The earth has enough to satisfy every man's need, but not any man's greed."

So the bigger picture here is that we are not an island, and our standard of living is also dependent upon the standard of living of the rest of the world. But the earth is very rich in resources, and there certainly exists enough for all to enjoy a reasonable standard of living. The question then becomes, how do you redistribute the ultra-concentrated wealth in such a manner it is to the benefit of all, without the detriments of communism and forced labor, without killing incentive, risk, and drive that led to its creation? I think the happy medium is displayed in many European countries, with a more reasonable redistribution of wealth that encompasses rewarding the people who create it and taking care of the rest of society. Hell, the wealthy should be wealthy. Just perhaps to not such a large degree. How many gold shark minibars does one truly need for their 4th vacation mansion?

The core attitude that is an immediate reaction to stories like this though creates the problem. We immediately think of us, our lifestyle, etc. But we fail to acknowledge the connectedness to others; by hoarding ourselves, either individually or as a nation, we let our neighbors fall into poverty, which comes full circle when they labor for much cheaper wages and are no less human or capable. So I think the true solution is to raise the standard of living in countries we so fear for taking our jobs, for a reasonable redistribution of some of the wealth in the hands of so few, with the intent of providing a livable baseline for all and still room and reason for success and risk taking. And that is very much within our power-- our nation already has the wealth, as evidenced by massive spending in Iraq, and the concentrated wealth at the hands of so few in the population. We simply lack the will to use it to help ourselves and our neighbors. And every time the response is one of selfishness instead of compassion, at any level of society, even for us... the problem perpetuates itself. For if the vast majority of society is committed to any particular economic policy, chances are it will happen.

For as much as we like to blame the rich at times, the truth is their intent and actions are our own. If we were in their position, we would behave in much the same way. Compared to most of the rest of the world, we are all wealthy. And change never starts with forcing another to do something, but by doing it ourselves. "You should be the change that you want to see in the world." -Gandhi

The alternatives, of course, are that society continues to be hoarding, materialistic, and eventually our wealth is worn away by countries that labor for much less than we do. Or, that we impose trade barriers, and stave this off for a while, until a sudden crash at the end.

So I say, don't fear the H1B visa worker. Fear your anger and fear towards them. For it is that, collectively, that makes the problem exist.

A more pressing problem... (1)

cstec (521534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905954)

is the lack of any qualified candidates for Under Secretary positions

Roman Numeral accountants and mathmaticians... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905984)

... you can never have enough of them so to calculate what only a higher level of math can accomplish in the hands of the common man.

Does anyone really think that in 50 -100 years anyone is going to need the skill set we now require for "Information Technology"?

In other words, IT can be made a great deal simpler and will be as demand increases and requires more than can be educated at the current required level of roman numeral mathmatics.

K-12 education (5, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16905986)

I teach the three-semester calculus-based freshman physics sequence to a lot of engineering majors to a community college. A lot of these people are intelligent enough to learn the material, but flunk out of physics because of their weak backgrounds. It's not uncommon to look at their transcripts and see them having started their community college careers by taking Math 20, which is basic arithmetic. It's extremely difficult to start from that level, and then work your way up to the level of competence required of an engineer. In addition, many of them have really weak language skills; sometimes this is because they're immigrants, but other times it's because they entered college with a sixth-grade reading level. Some of them also just don't seem to have put education very high on their list of priorities.

The net result of all this is that at my school, the total number of students who start the calc-based physics sequence every year is something like 300, and the number who finish it is roughly 30. (Some of the loss is from students who transfer before finishing, and or students who fail calculus, etc.)

There's a pretty simple solution to the problem, which is to set higher standards in math, English, and science in K-12; enforce those standards with standardized tests; and refuse to promote kids to the next grade if they can't demonstrate that they've mastered the material. Our present system is especially harmful to people who come from working-class backgrounds. They go to lousy public schools, and they and their parents get the impression that they're getting a good education. Then they arrive in college, and find out just how much they've been screwed over by our educational system.

Of course, Slashdot's readership is disproportionately composed of tech workers who are U.S. citizens, so I'm sure there will be plenty of people howling about the damn immigrants coming in and taking away our jobs. I'm none of their ancestors were immigrants. But seriously, would you rather compete for jobs against a coder who immigrated from India, and is expecting U.S.-level pay, or a coder who is still in India, and is therefore available for 1/4 of what you'd cost? If there's a problem, it's that H-1B visas don't necessarily lead to any opportunity to remain permanently in the U.S.

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