Be Good at Your Job

The company where I work-- a rather large pharmaceutical company-- is aggressively pursuing offshoring. The two largest projects in our department, the projects we worked on exclusvely for the last three years, are actively going through "knowledge transfer" with Satyam right now.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

I struggle with processes like this at work. Thankfully, they are nowhere near as severe, but the end result is the same: you almost have to break out the Cool Hand Luke civil disobedience on them-- it’s for their own good. They are literally choking the productivity of their own organization, and all the while beating the drum of “process”.

Wow, I should bookmark that link and go look at it every time I feel down because I’m a one-woman coding shop with very little support from the rest of the company. At least I can build my own tables!

This post is very optimistic, yet significantly off the mark.

I moved from the U.S. to the 3rd world country – not India, but a nicer one somewhat near. My living costs are about a half of what they were in the U.S., and I’m very happy to work for 50% to 70% of the U.S. salary (FAR better lifestyle AND more money saved in the end).

Self-improvement is no way to compete with someone who starts at a far lower cost basis. There are top guys in India that are as willing to tune their skills as you are, but their breakfast still costs $1, vs. yours for $5.

Jeff, I still believe that many of the companies in US that are offshoring work to India are aware about the quality and sensity of the work invovled. These is based on the fact that, many of these companies never reveal the source code of core areas of their applications. Quality is compromised due to short deadlines and many times projects are never successful.

There is a big dearth of quality programmers in India. The kind of quality you guys pocess are unmatchable and due to this you always have an extra edge over the area of your work. Your job is safe! :slight_smile:

-an Indian

Hello from central Europe.

Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Novel, Adobe, Apple etc was taking programming jobs out of our countries for last 10-20 years, so let us have our revenge :slight_smile:

So beware - we are coming :slight_smile:

I find it interesting that it’s ok to offshore skills, but when it comes to buying products, corporations are not happy for consumers to get the best price.

It seems to me that the average person loses out to the best jobs and the best prices, while the corporation is able to get the lowest cost developers, and sell their products at the best price.

I think there is a scoping problem here. I agree wholeheartedly that we should be the best we can, and continue to improve. Whether or not work gets outsourced, that has very little to do with my personal activity. I read that during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, those losing their jobs felt personal responsibility, even though the economic climate was such that no actions on their part could have kept the job. I see a similar situation here.

This is a deep and rich vein - how can we compete if our 11-year-olds won’t make shoes for 15 cents/hour…safe workplaces cost money. That gives the third world a leg up…pollution controls give us a competitive disadvantage with regard to China…etc, etc.

We should strive for excellence because that is the nature of the world. In the same sense, even if there were no offshoring, we still could not afford to do poor quality work, or be complacent with obsolescing technical skills. I wish India well, likewise Central Europe. Good business practices are good business practices. If you want to offshore, be prepared to be locked to foreign sources, even if a plunging dollar makes them more expensive. These are not simple or easy decisions, and those who make them lightly may suffer the consequences.

We should argue for good working conditions and environmentally safe practices worldwide because it is the right thing. The fact that a level playing field is convenient for my career and income is a side effect, not a root cause.

At least that’s what I think. (East coast, USA)

Hey Jeff,
I stumbled across this post as I was going through your blog archives. I have a Masters from IU and about 3 yrs. experience in US on .NET. I am back to India for those boring family reasons :). With internet being the epicenter of programming these days, I think any person from the smallest/poorest part of the world would be capable of taking on the mighty “American programmer”. I do think 90% of coders in India do not know what the hell they are doing.
As long as you are building good quality products, your job is safe. Competition has tightened for sure. If there was no quality whatsover among Indian developers, then there was no reason for Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo … to open developer centers here.


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