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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Can you give me a few examples of IT jobs that cannot be moved to another country, and why?

    Exclude the ones where physical and cultural proximity is important -- requirements, sales, UI design, customer hand-holding.
    • Can you give me a few examples of IT jobs that cannot be moved to another country, and why?

      Exclude the ones where physical and cultural proximity is important -- requirements, sales, UI design, customer hand-holding.

      A good portion of government and defense related IT jobs cannot be moved offshore. Some of that work is done by offshore subcontractors, but certainly not all of it. And there is a limit to how much can be sent offshore due to political, legal, security, or privacy issues. With added r

      • Hang on a minute. I thought the gist of your post was that offshorable IT == lower-skill IT. So I asked for examples of IT jobs that were so high skill they could not be exported.

        Now your objections are more about the whole outsourcing concept, which applies within as well as outside the USA. (Hawaii is quite a few timezones away.)

        Did I misunderstand your original post? Otherwise I'm still waiting for examples.
        • by ziggy (25) on 2003.12.28 0:49 (#26843) Journal
          Hang on a minute. I thought the gist of your post was that offshorable IT == lower-skill IT.
          Not quite. I started out by saying, «the high-wage "developed world" does not have a monopoly on brilliant people...». Martin Fowler recently wrote [martinfowler.com] about ThoughtWorks, and their experiences with development centers in Bangalore and Melbourne. For example, he concludes (in part):
          As I write this, offshore development is very fashionable, but it's still too early to really understand its true strengths and pitfalls. Certainly anyone doing because they think they'll get cost savings similar to the rate differences is seriously deluding themselves. [...]

          One conclusion is clear, anyone who thinks that onshore developers will triumph because they are more skilled is very wrong. We've found that we can hire just as talented developers in India as we can in North America and Europe.

          Fowler's experiences are guardedly positive. ThoughtWorks has a high set of standards for hiring programmers, whether they are in the US, India or Australia. They are hiring abroad because it increases the chances of them hiring the best people in the world. However, this is not the standard, simple minded «let's send all the work to India because programmers are cheaper» mantra, which is facile.

          I can see where you thought I was equating low-skill IT with offshorable IT. That was not my intent. Rather, my primary point was, «the kinds of jobs that are subject to wage arbitrage are commodity jobs [...] the kind of jobs that need a warm body with a pulse to wrestle with the computer until something works».

          Mostly, I'm arguing against the fashionable meme that all IT jobs inevitably will migrate to Upper Elbonia because their labor costs are 1/200th of what there are "back home" (wherever that may be). One reason why those jobs won't (or shouldn't) go offshore is because outsourcing (or outsourcing to team that's geographically too far away) doesn't make sense for lots of projects.

          One very important reason why those jobs won't (or shouldn't) go offshore is because cheap labor -- even in large quantities -- is not enough to solve hard problems.

          [continued next post]