Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Why aren't there more of us?

I started reading Frank Hayes' piece on H-1Bs and Students last night with doubt because the two groups represent two different experience levels. Students are entry level workers and workers on H-1B visa's are typically experienced professionals. But those entry level workers eventually want to move on to experienced positions where they will compete on an uneven playing field with H-1B workers.

Now, it's no surprise that a view in Computerworld is slanted towards importing more workers. It's a genuine concern in our industry and therefore an appropriate subject to report on. Yet, they consistently fall on the side of the debate that advocates more H-1B workers.

Frank examines the trends of Computer Science graduates and correlates it to the rise and fall of the DotCom Boom and Bust. Personally, I dismiss those cycles because they just enticed people who weren't passionate about the profession and were chasing the almighty dollar. I think kids that want to get into this business because they think they will like it are scared. Scared they will be in a six-figure job with a mortgage and two kids when some C level executive decides to offshore the whole operation to China. Scared that they'll end up being 40 and be replaced by some guy willing to take 1/2 of what they make.

Where do these crazy kids get these ideas? The national media as well as several trade publications shout it from the rooftops daily. As someone who hires IT workers regularly, I can tell you that's not the case. I'll typically go through a couple dozen resumes to fill one spot. I have a spot that went unfilled because I just couldn't find someone to fill it. Maybe you won't spend 20 years at the same company, but the work is there if you want it.

I think there is a flaw in Mr. Hayes' numbers as well. While CS graduates are most likely destined for the IT industry, there are so many other disciplines that turn out IT workers. Hiring managers need to look beyond the engineering programs and open their search up to all the majors. Some of my best people have come from respected science or business programs.

I don't think it's all gloom and doom for the IT industry in this country. The press may lead you to think that everything is being outsourced to somewhere else, but the fact is there's a lot of work out there for the taking.

1 comment:

Noons said...

the problem is that in the good old net tradition of "everything is free" , management thought there was no price to pay for 4 years of wild offshoring and total lack of consideration for IT careers.

well, there is indeed a price to pay. it's called market forces. if there is demand, then prices must go up. of course, no one wants to acknowledge that simple fact after the years of economical "excreta del toro" theory we've had.

of course folks don't want to go for CS! it pays below other careers much easier and cheaper to train for.

it takes much less effort and moolah to complete a quick busadmin course and become a middle manager of offshored services than it does for a complete CS. is it any surprise folks don't go for CS then? what, everyone is just stupid?

and pretty soon it'll be as expensive to get H1Bs or offshore work as it is to hire from the inside. first, the Indians are starting to ask for more moolah: again, the market forces demand thing. second, the folks who are available to migrate are ALSO asking for more. yeat another manifestation of the real problem.

the sooner management wakes up and starts realising that there is no such thing as a free lunch, the lesser the problem will be. it'll just hurt more and more later on...