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Frankie
10-15-2004, 10:18 AM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=711&e=10&u=/usatoday/20041014/tc_usatoday/endangeredspeciesusprogrammers

Thu Oct 14, 7:32 AM ET

Endangered species: US programmers

By David R. Francis, The Christian Science Monitor

Say goodbye to the American software programmer. Once the symbols of hope as the nation shifted from manufacturing to service jobs, programmers today are an endangered species. They face a challenge similar to that which shrank the ranks of steelworkers and autoworkers a quarter century ago: competition from foreigners.

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Some experts think they'll become extinct within the next few years, forced into unemployment or new careers by a combination of offshoring of their work to India and other low-wage countries and the arrival of skilled immigrants taking their jobs.


Not everybody agrees programmers will disappear completely. But even the optimists believe that many basic programming jobs will go to foreign nations, leaving behind jobs for Americans to lead and manage software projects. The evidence is already mounting that many computer jobs are endangered, prompting concern about the future of the nation's high-tech industries.

Since the dotcom bust in 2000-2001, nearly a quarter of California technology workers have taken nontech jobs, according to a study of 1 million workers released last week by Sphere Institute, a San Francisco Bay Area public policy group. The jobs they took often paid less. Software workers were hit especially hard. Another 28% have dropped off California's job rolls altogether. They fled the state, became unemployed, or decided on self-employment.

The problem is not limited to California.

Although computer-related jobs in the United States increased by 27,000 between 2001 and 2003, about 180,000 new foreign H-1B workers in the computer area entered the nation, calculates John Miano, an expert with the Programmers Guild, a professional society. "This suggests any gain of jobs have been taken by H-1B workers," he says.

H-1B visas allow skilled foreigners to live and work in the US for up to six years. Many are able to get green cards in a first step to citizenship. Another visa, L-1, allows multinational companies to transfer workers from foreign operations into the US.

The H-1B visa has been highly controversial for years. This fiscal year, Congress set a quota of 65,000 visas, which was snapped up immediately after they became available Oct.1. Now, US business is pleading for Congress to let in more such workers.

The US Chamber of Commerce (news - web sites), for instance, wants Congress to revisit the cap "to ensure American business has access to the talent it needs to help keep our economy strong."

That rationale makes no sense to the Programmers Guild and other groups that have sprung up to resist the tech visas. Since more than 100,000 American programmers are unemployed - and many more are underemployed - the existing 65,000 quota is inexcusably high, they argue. H-1B and L-1 visas are "American worker replacement programs," says the National Hire American Citizens Society.

Further, the H-1B program, set up in 1990, is flawed, critics charge. For example, employers are not required to recruit Americans before resorting to hiring H-1Bs, says Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California, Davis.

And the requirement that employers pay H-1Bs a "prevailing wage" is useless, he adds, because the law is riddled with loopholes. Nor are even any remaining regulations enforced.

The average wage for an American programmer runs about $60,000, says John Bauman, who set up the Organization for the Rights of American Workers. Employers pay H-1Bs an average $53,000.

A programmer, Mr. Bauman was out of work for 20 months before finally taking a job with a 40% pay cut. His experience is common enough that programmers are organizing to fight in Congress against H-1B and L-1 visas.

But they face an uphill battle, says Mr. Miano, as business groups are far better organized and funded than the smattering of programmer groups. "They have the best legislation money can buy," he says.

Miano sees such a dim future for programmers that he decided to enter law school. "I saw the handwriting on the wall," he says.


Copyright 2004, The Christian Science Monitor

unlurking
10-15-2004, 10:20 AM
Ahh, who cares?

There's always community college.

Brock
10-15-2004, 10:21 AM
Does it pass the global test?

Cochise
10-15-2004, 10:26 AM
Wow, what a hot new problem. Can you imagine if this would have happened in some other industry, like textiles, auto manufacturing, steel, electronics, any kind of assembly, etc.

I mean, if this were not just an isolated incident that is Bush's fault, and instead were part of the cyclic nature of maturing industries and observable repeating labor patterns, we'd be in some real trouble.

memyselfI
10-15-2004, 10:30 AM
Ahh, who cares?

There's always community college.

Actually community colleges are starting to phase out computer programming courses for this very reason...

I guess you could get your 'Administrative Assistant Diploma'. :hmmm:

dirk digler
10-15-2004, 10:34 AM
3 years ago I graduated with a CIS degree but I couldn't program my way out of wet paper bag. I hate programming and I hated learning it but alot of my friends were very good programmers and it was easy for them. This has to suck for them.

Cochise
10-15-2004, 10:34 AM
I guess you could get your 'Administrative Assistant Diploma'. :hmmm:

A number of possible retorts come to mind, but I will abstain in favor of allowing another poster to knock this meatball over the fence.

Frankie
10-15-2004, 10:39 AM
Just curious. Who on the CP are programmers?

KingPriest2
10-15-2004, 10:40 AM
Actually community colleges are starting to phase out computer programming courses for this very reason...

I guess you could get your 'Administrative Assistant Diploma'. :hmmm:


Denise as expected you are not paying any attention.

Hey you never did come back to respond to my posts the other day about Kerry pulling out. Also today why have you not reponded to the reports on the economy and Greenspan talking about the oil prices.

NOt good news for you Huh?

BIG_DADDY
10-15-2004, 10:41 AM
Maybe Frankie will have someone in the unemployment line with him he can bitch with.

Cochise
10-15-2004, 10:52 AM
Just curious. Who on the CP are programmers?

I am.

For what it's worth, I decided to look for a new job and found one within 2 weeks with a >10% pay increase. And the company I work for has hired more than 1,000 people since the first of the year (headcount increase >10% in 2004)

memyselfI
10-15-2004, 11:03 AM
Denise as expected you are not paying any attention.

Hey you never did come back to respond to my posts the other day about Kerry pulling out. Also today why have you not reponded to the reports on the economy and Greenspan talking about the oil prices.

NOt good news for you Huh?

Did you respond to the list of news I posted yesterday...the list that would cause someone to be 'offended' by the Mary Cheney remark and thus divert attention from such news?

KCTitus
10-15-2004, 11:03 AM
Well, here's an idea...dont go into computer programming.

Remember how sad it was when the last Buggy Whip mfgr went out of business? It was devastating to the economy.

KingPriest2
10-15-2004, 11:24 AM
Did you respond to the list of news I posted yesterday...the list that would cause someone to be 'offended' by the Mary Cheney remark and thus divert attention from such news?


Yes

and why have you not responded to mine?

KCWolfman
10-15-2004, 11:27 AM
Well, here's an idea...dont go into computer programming.

Remember how sad it was when the last Buggy Whip mfgr went out of business? It was devastating to the economy.
Block Ice sales went down in the 40s.


DEVASTATING!!!!

Brock
10-15-2004, 11:32 AM
http://www.eesd.org/Cadwallader/Room%2020/Colonial_Trades/Black/gifs/bbshaping.gif

Damn thee, Bush!

Soupnazi
10-15-2004, 11:56 AM
Tends to happen when you have a gigantic employment inflator like Y2K, and then precisely no useful purpose for those people afterwards.

Sorry, it sucks. Pick your ass up and find a new gig.

Cochise
10-15-2004, 12:45 PM
Not all programming jobs will go elsewhere. You just have to put yourself in the right position; a sort of market that would be difficult to outsource, or move away from low-level coding.

There are also major, major communication issues with people who aren't native English speakers. About half of my previous job turned into translating for people who were pretty much illiterate, and they weren't even offshore workers, it was right here in the US. So, you can't just hand a big pile of work to a contracting firm in India and say "here, have at it".

The low-level coding is something you can ship out, but then again, does Ford Motor Company employ people to make the foam that goes in their car seats? No, they probably buy it from an overseas supplier.

I don't understand why IT offshoring is such a big issue, it's already happened in every other industry that there is.

KC Jones
10-15-2004, 12:52 PM
Remember how sad it was when the last Buggy Whip mfgr went out of business? It was devastating to the economy.

The sheer stupidity of this statment and the sentiments like it are amazing to me. Software/IT is and continues to be a growth industry. This is not a case of luddites fearing a new technology, or an industry marginalizing and minimizing the impact/usefulness of a given skillset or trade.

We have always held on to the belief that we are the innovators and that we will be the ones to come up with the next great _____ to fuel our economy. The argument is that our society is fundamentally better than others on the planet because we support the kinds of rights that make innovation prosper. A free press, the ability to easily incorporate, easy access to loans... Couple this with our gee-whiz universities that think themselves the bastion of all knowledge and research.

The PROBLEM is that all these things are slowly disappearing. The gee-whiz universities that come up with the innovative ideas? The actual product of those ideas are produced in cheap-labor economies. Eventually the "locals" catch on -- this is what happened in Japan when we had them building our TV sets and telecommunications devices. Eventually they figure out how to do it themselves, and suddenly our domestic manufacturing goes out of business. "Oh well," we say to ourselves, "at least we've got XXXXX."

As in, "Oh well, at least we own the auto industry." Not any more. "Oh well, at least we own the manufacturing tools industry (production line machinary)." Not any more. "Oh well, at least we own the telecommunications industry." Not any more. "Oh well, at least we own the software industry..." Well, not for much longer. And what's left? The only jobs remaining are the ones that require a physical human presence.

So, you need the guy to unload the cargo shipment from China. You need the salesperson to sell you the new gee-whiz gadget (imported, of course). Or sell you your hamburgers, which, surprise, are made from imported beef because it's cheaper.

And don't get me started on the other aspects of our country that will "save us." Free press? That's gone the way of the Dodo bird, thanks to media conglomerates like FOX and relaxed FCC restrictions on local station ownership.

How about our easily incorporated companies? Good luck coming up with an idea that isn't instantly sued into oblivion thanks to our asinine intellectual property laws. Instead what you'll have is a great idea that's either bought out by a bigger fish, or simply stolen by them. Not to mention todays junior programmers (code monkeys) are tomorrows senior software engineers, architects, project managers, and entrepenuers. But our lawyers will save us, right? Our giant army of lawyers? Don't count on it.

BigRedChief
10-15-2004, 01:00 PM
Not all programming jobs will go elsewhere. You just have to put yourself in the right position; a sort of market that would be difficult to outsource, or move away from low-level coding.

There are also major, major communication issues with people who aren't native English speakers. About half of my previous job turned into translating for people who were pretty much illiterate, and they weren't even offshore workers, it was right here in the US. So, you can't just hand a big pile of work to a contracting firm in India and say "here, have at it".

The low-level coding is something you can ship out, but then again, does Ford Motor Company employ people to make the foam that goes in their car seats? No, they probably buy it from an overseas supplier.

I don't understand why IT offshoring is such a big issue, it's already happened in every other industry that there is.

What I think is different is that these are not manufacturing jobs going over seas. In the past it was mainly assembly line work that went over seas. Unskilled labor jobs. These are educated workers. I think thats what the difference in the American public eyes. That we may lose our technology edge. That why would the young people study technology in school if there are no jobs.

Cochise
10-15-2004, 01:08 PM
What I think is different is that these are not manufacturing jobs going over seas. In the past it was mainly assembly line work that went over seas. Unskilled labor jobs. These are educated workers. I think thats what the difference in the American public eyes. That we may lose our technology edge. That why would the young people study technology in school if there are no jobs.

I don't think it has to do with skilled vs. unskilled at all. The only principle at work is that there is another part of the world that now has the education capabilities, and where the standard of living is such that an American dollar performs very well in their economy.

You can pay a programmer in the third world, say, $10,000 USD per year and they will have a standard of living about as good as mine is in the US. That's also the main reason why all the people from India and the ME that I formerly worked with were here - they came to the US and worked for 10 or 15 years, saved all the money they could, and would eventually go back to their country of origin with all that money and retire very well-to-do.

On a higher level, I am not willing to say that I deserve a programming job more than someone in India does. This guy has comparable education, comparable skills, is probably willing to work more hours than me, and will do it for less. Why doesn't he deserve it? I can't compete with that.

I think it's pretty arrogant and at risk of sounding like Duhnise, somewhat racist, to say that I should be entitled to this job just because of my ethnicity. If we're going to scream to high heaven about gloablization and being sensitive to the rest of the world, should we descriminate in our hiring practices? Will it be better for the economy in the longrun if we attempt to forward our labor force through continuing education and skill building, or if we throw a tantrum like a 4 year old at K-Mart, and swear that we're not going to change and if the rest of the world doesn't want to give us all the money we're taking our ball and going home?

I don't think that is the way we got to our place in the world. I think we got here by being ingenuous, proactive, and by being innovators. We shouldn't try to dig our heels in and watch the world economy evolve past us.

KCTitus
10-15-2004, 01:11 PM
The sheer stupidity of this statment and the sentiments like it are amazing to me.

I dont know why you think it's stupid or how it amazes you, it's quite simple really and the American role in the global economy is that of a highly skilled work force tha puts out a superior product the quickest.

It is the very entreprenurial spirit in this country that drives innovation and it's precisely because of out capitalist system that this sprit lives and thrives. It would be stronger, actually, if the govt stopped penalizing 'profits' off of risked capital.

Im willing to leave it to the market to settle these issues, Im not clear as to what your solution was other than to rip your shirt off and run off in a panic flailing your arms in the air. Isolationism policies do not work and brought on the depression the last time it was tried. The US workforce will just need to adjust--they have been doing very well, IMO.

KCTitus
10-15-2004, 01:14 PM
You can pay a programmer in the third world, say, $10,000 USD per year and they will have a standard of living about as good as mine is in the US. That's also the main reason why all the people from India and the ME that I formerly worked with were here - they came to the US and worked for 10 or 15 years, saved all the money they could, and would eventually go back to their country of origin with all that money and retire very well-to-do.

Here's a perfect example of market forces...as the 'third world' gets more jobs and becomes more prosperous, the standard of living will increase, as it increases the workers will demand more pay and what was once 10k annually, becomes 20, 30, 50, 100, 150, and then companies look for programmers who will do it cheaper with the same efficiency and quality as this country.

It's cyclical.

Saulbadguy
10-15-2004, 01:19 PM
I am.

For what it's worth, I decided to look for a new job and found one within 2 weeks with a >10% pay increase. And the company I work for has hired more than 1,000 people since the first of the year (headcount increase >10% in 2004)
What language(s)?

Cochise
10-15-2004, 01:19 PM
I dont know why you think it's stupid or how it amazes you, it's quite simple really and the American role in the global economy is that of a highly skilled work force tha puts out a superior product the quickest.

Exactly. I mean, are you and I the only people who took economics in college?

The american work force has strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are high education and training, the weakness is they command the highest salary.

A third world country's work force typically has low training and low education, but commands the smallest salary.

It's like selecting the best candidate for any other job. If someone can sew soccer balls in Indonesia for $.10 an hour and do just as good of a job, you'd be an idiot to pay someone here $6 an hour to do it. Just like you wouldn't hire an engineer at $80k to do a $20k janitor's job.

India is moving out of the third world labor force and into a first world labor force. It's really not that hard to figure out.

Cochise
10-15-2004, 01:20 PM
What language(s)?

C++, SQL, a little Java, a little Perl, and I dabble in Visual Basic whenever I can't avoid it.

Velvet_Jones
10-15-2004, 02:07 PM
Not all programming jobs will go elsewhere. You just have to put yourself in the right position; a sort of market that would be difficult to outsource, or move away from low-level coding.

There are also major, major communication issues with people who aren't native English speakers. About half of my previous job turned into translating for people who were pretty much illiterate, and they weren't even offshore workers, it was right here in the US. So, you can't just hand a big pile of work to a contracting firm in India and say "here, have at it".

The low-level coding is something you can ship out, but then again, does Ford Motor Company employ people to make the foam that goes in their car seats? No, they probably buy it from an overseas supplier.

I don't understand why IT offshoring is such a big issue, it's already happened in every other industry that there is.
The problem IT firms are having with off shoring is that the product quality is suffering. QA expenses are offsetting the saving in coding. Also, the lack of business knowledge that is inherent with the foreign programmers causes an increase in cost to management the projects.

I'm a data-architect-software-engineer-analyst-DBA. I build robust business systems, not PC toy applications. I also specialize in an industry that is woefully lacking in technology. I think my job is and business is safe for the time being.

I have also hear from some colleagues that they are considering bring the coding back in-house to make change management and customer support easier and more cost efficient. A couple of them said that the cost in costumer dissatisfaction cost more than was save by off shoring.

Now, if they start exporting psycho-bitching, then I hope Frankie and Duhnese have already picked out a good JuCo. Might I suggest getting an associate in normalcy?

Velvet

KCWolfman
10-15-2004, 02:10 PM
The sheer stupidity of this statment and the sentiments like it are amazing to me. Software/IT is and continues to be a growth industry. This is not a case of luddites fearing a new technology, or an industry marginalizing and minimizing the impact/usefulness of a given skillset or trade.

We have always held on to the belief that we are the innovators and that we will be the ones to come up with the next great _____ to fuel our economy. The argument is that our society is fundamentally better than others on the planet because we support the kinds of rights that make innovation prosper. A free press, the ability to easily incorporate, easy access to loans... Couple this with our gee-whiz universities that think themselves the bastion of all knowledge and research.

The PROBLEM is that all these things are slowly disappearing. The gee-whiz universities that come up with the innovative ideas? The actual product of those ideas are produced in cheap-labor economies. Eventually the "locals" catch on -- this is what happened in Japan when we had them building our TV sets and telecommunications devices. Eventually they figure out how to do it themselves, and suddenly our domestic manufacturing goes out of business. "Oh well," we say to ourselves, "at least we've got XXXXX."

As in, "Oh well, at least we own the auto industry." Not any more. "Oh well, at least we own the manufacturing tools industry (production line machinary)." Not any more. "Oh well, at least we own the telecommunications industry." Not any more. "Oh well, at least we own the software industry..." Well, not for much longer. And what's left? The only jobs remaining are the ones that require a physical human presence.

So, you need the guy to unload the cargo shipment from China. You need the salesperson to sell you the new gee-whiz gadget (imported, of course). Or sell you your hamburgers, which, surprise, are made from imported beef because it's cheaper.

And don't get me started on the other aspects of our country that will "save us." Free press? That's gone the way of the Dodo bird, thanks to media conglomerates like FOX and relaxed FCC restrictions on local station ownership.

How about our easily incorporated companies? Good luck coming up with an idea that isn't instantly sued into oblivion thanks to our asinine intellectual property laws. Instead what you'll have is a great idea that's either bought out by a bigger fish, or simply stolen by them. Not to mention todays junior programmers (code monkeys) are tomorrows senior software engineers, architects, project managers, and entrepenuers. But our lawyers will save us, right? Our giant army of lawyers? Don't count on it.


The American "know how" you see leaving was never done on a mass scale anyway. The same people being laid off en masse were incorporated en masse. The individual and individual's companies are still there striving away. My wife works for one and has for over a decade. He and his wife started a company selling a few items from a 4 page catalogue (including the cover). To date, they have been a Fortune 500 company for 3 separate years and have expanded their standard sales and internet sales to grow over 1200% over that decade. And he still is a private entity.

The people I just bought a software package from in Clearwater Florida are a similar tale.

You are wobegoning giant corporations laying off numbered employees en masse. That is bound to happen with any huge corporation.

The ingenuity, drive, and desire are still alive in American business, they just never lived in Sprint or Microsoft.

KCWolfman
10-15-2004, 02:11 PM
What I think is different is that these are not manufacturing jobs going over seas. In the past it was mainly assembly line work that went over seas. Unskilled labor jobs. These are educated workers. I think thats what the difference in the American public eyes. That we may lose our technology edge. That why would the young people study technology in school if there are no jobs.
We lost our technology edge in 1975. And we are still surviving.

|Zach|
10-15-2004, 02:11 PM
Good thing there is no outsourcing of awesome lazy college students who like crab rangoon.

Hydrae
10-15-2004, 02:14 PM
So it is time to stay on the cuttin gedge and move into space exploration as the next "industry" where we can enjoy a large lead for the next decade or two.

We went from agriculture to manufacturing to the information age and now it is time to continue to progress to the next technology.

KCWolfman
10-15-2004, 02:14 PM
Good thing there is no outsourcing of awesome lazy college students who like crab rangoon.
Why is there no crab in crab rangoon?

Shouldn't it be called Sour Cream Rangoon with little microscopic bits of seafood substitute?

Velvet_Jones
10-15-2004, 02:16 PM
What language(s)?
Oracle Designer
Oracle Forms
Oracle JDeveloper
SQL
PL-SQL
Java
VB occasionally
Perl
micos (obscure but effective)
KornShell scripting
CPIO scripting

|Zach|
10-15-2004, 02:17 PM
Why is there no crab in crab rangoon?

Shouldn't it be called Sour Cream Rangoon with little microscopic bits of seafood substitute?
Hey, we park in driveways and drive on parkways. Welcome to America, check your logic at the door.

Velvet_Jones
10-15-2004, 02:20 PM
So it is time to stay on the cuttin gedge and move into space exploration as the next "industry" where we can enjoy a large lead for the next decade or two.

We went from agriculture to manufacturing to the information age and now it is time to continue to progress to the next technology.
That whole space-time continuum thing is a bitch to figure out though. It's all about wormhole technology.

Velvet

Saulbadguy
10-15-2004, 02:25 PM
Why is there no crab in crab rangoon?

Shouldn't it be called Sour Cream Rangoon with little microscopic bits of seafood substitute?
Cream cheese.

HC_Chief
10-15-2004, 02:26 PM
Newsflash: The Sky is Falling!!!!

KCTitus
10-15-2004, 02:26 PM
The problem IT firms are having with off shoring is that the product quality is suffering. QA expenses are offsetting the saving in coding. Also, the lack of business knowledge that is inherent with the foreign programmers causes an increase in cost to management the projects.


not suprising...

Cochise
10-15-2004, 05:12 PM
The problem IT firms are having with off shoring is that the product quality is suffering. QA expenses are offsetting the saving in coding. Also, the lack of business knowledge that is inherent with the foreign programmers causes an increase in cost to management the projects.

That is definitely true.


I have also hear from some colleagues that they are considering bring the coding back in-house to make change management and customer support easier and more cost efficient. A couple of them said that the cost in costumer dissatisfaction cost more than was save by off shoring.


I've heard of IBM and read some piece on another company that sent their customer service reps offshore and some other IT work and ended up bringing it back because of those reasons, poor quality that didn't result in an end-of-the-day cost savings.


Now, if they start exporting psycho-bitching, then I hope Frankie and Duhnese have already picked out a good JuCo. Might I suggest getting an associate in normalcy?


ROFL ROFL ROFL rep incoming