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The foreignization of computer programming

The foreignization of computer programming

I’m sorry about using a word that doesn’t exist in the dictionary, but foreignization best explains what’s happening in the computer programming industry.

First of all, there is the familiar outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries, mostly India. Because of this, the computer programming industry within the United States is an industry with a shrinking number of jobs, although as a worldwide phenomenon I’m sure computer programming will grow at a brisk rate. Would outsourcing of computer programming and other IT jobs be such a big trend if the industry were more prestigious? I think not. You don’t see lawyers being outsourced. In fact, by law, only members of the bar are allowed to practice law, so it would be illegal for foreigners to do American legal work.

The other half of foreignization is the near abandonment of the domestic IT market to foreigners. This is a trend that is accelerated by the issuance of special H1-B visas that allow extra computer programmers to come here and take jobs away from American programmers. Computer programming (along with nursing) has been specially targeted by our government for foreignization.

Foreignization creates a vicious circle effect with the low prestige of the profession. Because the profession has low prestige, employers balk at the idea of having to pay high salaries (while it seems perfectly appropriate if a lawyer or investment banker is making a lot of money). Thus the demand for more H1-B visas so that salaries can be decreased. In turn, Americans see an industry full of brown people speaking barely intelligible English, and this further lowers the industry’s prestige. Computer programming and IT in general is now seen as the foreigner’s industry and not a proper profession for upwardly mobile white Americans. [The Indian and Asian people I've known in the IT industry are nice people, and normally I don't pay attention to their different appearance, so this should not be taken as a racist dislike of non-white people. I am only accurately describing the fact that the typical white American thinks negatively of a profession that's predominately non-white. And I stand by my belief that people born in this country have more rights to the money being created here than foreigners. Asian countries feel the same way about foreigners. Asian countries are, typically, a lot less open to foreign worker immigrants than is the U.S.]

Because there is no reason to think that the trend of foreignization will reverse, this will ensure that the future of the industry will be lower salaries.


(via JOS, AG go get the link for us will ya?)
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 10:52pm
OB: ward anti-deletion reply.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 10:52pm
Troll
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 30th, 2007 10:56pm
Why would Ward delete the OP?
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 30th, 2007 10:56pm
"This is a trend that is accelerated by the issuance of special H1-B visas that allow extra computer programmers to come here and take jobs away from American programmers."

For the first time, I am getting recruiting emails sent directly to me (as opposed to spam) that say something like "If you are not a US Citizen, that is okay---we'll sponsor you as H1-B"

Wow.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 30th, 2007 10:57pm
The profession in the US is foreignized. Not sure if I agree with his conclusions, but it is happening.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 10:58pm
Boom time. Sucks it didn't come in '04 when I needed it.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 30th, 2007 10:58pm
ah well.  It means my perfect diction and writing skills are premium. Me hopes.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 30th, 2007 10:59pm
I don't follow.  You were looking for work in the US in 04?

Anyway, not your kind of foreigner.  Indians & Chinese mostly.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 10:59pm
I was, yes.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 30th, 2007 11:00pm
perfect diction and writing skills might be helpful, if there are jobs that need programmer + those skills. 

On the other hand, you might just be in a low status profession that doesn't utilize all your skills. Hard to know.  It is what one makes it.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:01pm
Where abouts?
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:01pm
hasn't software become so business process dependent that you need people who actually understand the user needs?  Or are they hiring a "massa" with a "plantation"?
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 30th, 2007 11:02pm
>Where abouts?

In and around Irvine/Newport Beach, California.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 30th, 2007 11:05pm
I think at larger places, it's masa + plantation. with articulate slaves considered dangerous to the clueless but powerful masa.  still there should be a space for the can communicate with humans developer in smaller shops.  less pay than selling out and running a crew of foreigners, I'd wager.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:06pm
>  Irvine/Newport Beach, California

Nice part of the country.  You might not be so enamored with London if you had made it. :)
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:07pm
"Why would Ward delete the OP?"

because its boring crap?  god knows Im tempted.
Permalink pondBacterium 
July 30th, 2007 11:08pm
Original thread in JOS deleted 

http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?joel.3.525667.2
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:09pm
stop being an ass pondB.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:10pm
To the OP, do you feel there are two worlds to programming.  There is the startup, contractor, free-lance developer.  The guy that wears shorts and t-shirts to work and then the business casual-guy at the larger/mid-size corp (me) that has a boss, management, blah, blah.

I think business-casual (me) is basically toast but not totally dead; I wonder if he can be reborn in SF and join all the startup world.

But yea, so far at the main places I have been (2 places), larger projects with longer deadlines (years), it makes more sense to outsource.  I am just guessing, but I think the startup needs more innovative, quick on your feet kind of thinking.  People who read programming.reddit probably won't be found in the larger shop and will be the startup kind of person.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 30th, 2007 11:10pm
We have to hire a developer member to our team (J2EE position).  Who wants to takes bets that the guy probably wasn't born in the US.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 30th, 2007 11:11pm
Bot,

I didn't write the OP, I just posted it, but yes, I agree there are two worlds about exactly as you describe them.  Pockets of goodness and badness in both, but about like that. 

Basically what I was getting at with masa & plantation, but you put it better.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:12pm
Who have you interviewed for the job? What kind of resumes have you got?
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:12pm
"Who have you interviewed for the job? What kind of resumes have you got?"

I am out of the loop, I suggested some places to look (startup land), but so far I haven't heard anything about it.  I am low on the totem pole.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 30th, 2007 11:13pm
Our shop is mostly indian, so for unity, I am predicting that will be the pick.  Me, I am just the nerdy black guy that doesn't try to get in anybody's way.  The white guy will try to fix stuff.  They won't hire another black guy.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 30th, 2007 11:17pm
"Not everybody can become a successful entrepreneur, or through, force of will, move up to the Vice President of Technology at a Fortune 500 corporation. A good career is one where, even if you don't rise to the very top, you can still work for for many decades and take satisfaction in what you do, and computer programming doesn't offer this option."

OP's blog
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:20pm
Where.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
July 30th, 2007 11:20pm
"A good career is one where, even if you don't rise to the very top, you can still work for for many decades and take satisfaction in what you do, and computer programming doesn't offer this option." "

Yeah. Maybe I should seriously consider becoming an Emergency Medical ambulance nerd. 

Actually I would enjoy keeping the equipment working.  How can I do that.  Or is that foreignized, too?
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 30th, 2007 11:31pm
If 90% of the jobs are for internal developments that tend to demand less skills and more presence, I'd say you don't need any more help with making the jobs low prestige.

Sure, foreigners are much happier with the low salaries and good lives they could have in the U.S. than native folks. So you have these passionate folks dying to go to the U.S., and they might even study a lot to prepare for it, while the native folks just can't be happy with their salaries as 1) they might owe more money than the foreigners, 2) might have greater costs of lives, 3) might have structured families already while foreigners might not...

All in all, if you are ambitious, you gotta do something to change the downward spiral, but waiting for the society and government to come up with solutions is not very ambitious.

Most folks chose the wrong profession...

But it sucks to complain, really! This issue is just the tip of the iceberg of all the issues.

What kills the most is the inefficiency of the corporations, governments, social matters, loans/credit for paying for "good" study opportunities, family problems, wars, military expending, arrogance, isolation (did you know there are over 180 countries? how many of them have you ever visited yourself?), and finally, a sense that there's always a bubble in the making that might explode any time and take all the economy with it...
Permalink Oy- 
July 30th, 2007 11:32pm
"Actually I would enjoy keeping the equipment working.  How can I do that.  Or is that foreignized, too?"

The OP says nursing is targeted, but that's all I know.
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:39pm
Hmm. Oy- I don't know if your post makes me optimistic or pessimistic.

What do you think individuals can do? Especially if they are programmers?
Permalink Oppy 
July 30th, 2007 11:40pm
Programmers should try to leave the private sector and go work for the government anywhere, as you turn the table on the foreigners there. Programmers should not play dead to try to get away with it. Programmers should always try to join forces with good folks and start businesses when possible. Don't waste money paying too much for things that could be way cheaper, even more when you are on your own. Read important books, not fiction and self-help crap. Take free/inexpensive classes to improve your resume/skills. When you become a manager, try to be efficient and make things happen, cut unnecessary corners, leave dogmas behind you, because you will be better than most managers by knowing the inside-out of things. Exercise and take care of your looks. Live inexpensively whenever possible. And remember, you will always suck when compared to a lot of people in the world, so be serious and help things succeed and you might be noted by folks who can help you. If you can move to a foreign country, take the opportunity because when you come back you might become even more valuable.
Permalink Oy- 
July 31st, 2007 12:19am
There are 6 billion people in the world but more than half the software they use has been produced in a country with a total population of 300 million.

And now the inhabitants are whining because a few more of the remaining 5,700,000,000 are getting a slice of the pie.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
July 31st, 2007 3:36am
Why do so many people feel they are ENTITLED to a job.

It is your right to the PURSUIT of happiness that is enshrined in your constitution. Nowhere is that happiness guaranteed.

If jobs in industry X are moving overseas, deal with it.
Permalink Send private email Tapiwa 
July 31st, 2007 8:22am
>>  Irvine/Newport Beach, California
>Nice part of the country.  You might not be so enamored
>with London if you had made it. :)

It was nice (especially the weather, which is f**king awesome), but there are many things wrong with orange county.

* It was filled with shallow rich kids obsessed with money and sex. These are the kind of people who would have been my friends, at least initially.
* You need to be able to drive to get anywhere, and I was looking at a possible commute of an hour each way.
* Nobody seemed to have grown out of Disneyland.
* There is more culture in a pot of yoghurt.

If I were to move to the US, I don't think I'd move anywhere other than New York now. Maybe Chicago or LA.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 31st, 2007 9:28am
"Why do so many people feel they are ENTITLED to a job. "

Maybe where you are from, kids are not encouraged to spend $50,000 to go to expensive private schools, and therefore incredible life-changing debt, in order to transcend their social class.  Nobody feels "entitled".  People do feel cheated.

And rightfully so.  The game is rigged and nobody can explain to a 17 year old what that really means because they still believe the hype about the American Dream.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
July 31st, 2007 10:43am
I agree. Too many import statements.
Permalink heartsheep 
July 31st, 2007 2:31pm

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