I’m listening to Bob Reselman on .Net Rocks right now, and some very interesting points were brought up. First is the outsourcing of IT jobs to India and other places where developers will work for fewer dollars. The company for which I work has partially done that, and half of my development team is actually in India. The guys over there do excellent .Net work, and they are very intelligent. We tasked them to write a module, and the result was fabulous and met the specs exactly. The problem with outsourcing to a foreign country is that the customers are still here in the U.S. There has to be someone to translate from the customer’s need to the technical specs and then actually code to those specs with the customer’s needs in mind. The developers in India just can’t do that. They can do pieces that we delegate and monitor, but in order to produce a quality product, American developers are still needed to pull it all together and make a package that is geared to the customer. I imagine that some IT departments think only with their wallets, but then they fail to estimate the added cost of communication. Outsourcing development creates a huge communication barrier, and that will cost money. There will need to be more code and feature reviews to ensure the project is on track. The communication barrier is very real and very expensive, so I predict that some companies that are quick to outsource to India will come back and learn that they need hometown developers as well, and they will lose money for jumping on this bandwagon instead of save money.
I know that plenty of software developers are out of work now or are working for less money than they feel they deserve. I know it’s tough in parts of the country. More now than ever, we must all take responsibility for our careers and for providing for our families. Yes, it’s a greater challenge now, but the laws of supply and demand are working. We must improve our skills so that we are more in demand. In this market, a developer cannot coast and hope to find a nice, tidy, well-paying job. There is more competition. Competition is good. That is what our economy is based on. I’ve been away from my development job for over a year while deployed to Iraq, and I have some catching up to do if I am to stay competitive. I’m going to have to put the nose to the grindstone because there are people out there eyeing my job. It’s up to me. . . and you.