In the past week tech news has confirmed what everyone in the world of programming has feared. Programming is now a commodity and not an art only for those gifted in math and logic. Last week, Microsoft announced that it was moving 800 jobs to India, Yahoo announced that it would shift it’s entire research and development wing to Bangalore, India. Finally, IBM joined in the fray and announced it was moving jobs over to India slowly and steadily to as many as 60,000.
This brought on an entire wave of paranoia in the development community at large in the USA. Suddenly, everyone is comparing the entire direction the tech industry is taking to that of sweatshops. As always, the news brought out the best in some developers and the worst in others. One comment on Slashdot pointed out that it was inevitable that this should happen and that the USA should (and will) stay ahead through innovation and true high tech. On the other hand, others blew their lid off at how so many GA’s/TA’s were from India at US Universities and how the US tax-payers were footing the bill to educate the developers who were finally taking away the jobs too (What about the Kalpana Chawlas I would have asked, but I wanted to moderate the discussion :S not participate).
The facts are of course, that the Indians are doing a good job in the area of development. There is also the immense savings. On average, an Indian with 2 years of solid professional experience will get around $8000 a year, while the same kind of experience here demands several 10’s of thousands in US Dollars.
It’s true that the american way of life costs, but it also demands innovation. The circumstances bring out this truth in the open, assuming of course that the sweatshop trend will settle in. At around the middle of year 2002, when things began to go really sour, lots of Indians predicted this, saying that the crunch on finance in the high-tech industry would result in a trend of this sort. However, the current movements are not a result of just sorry finances, we are talking major high-tech firms affirming their faith in the Indian Tech Industry.
Strangely, it also brought out good humour, someone asked, why not out source management too? Someone else pointed out that now Americans could migrate to India and open convenience stores for the Indian programmers 🙂 of course don’t be surprised if they make fun of your american accent ;). To apprise them, we don’t have convenience stores, well not many really. We do have kirane wallahs and as the people of Lullanagar and Aundh will point out, that has been out-sourced to the Biharis already.
I believe that the future holds prosperity for the Indian tech. Industry. I just pray we don’t get too caught up with the business of tailing when we can lead eventually. I want to be surprised when I say that the best innovation can come from us too.
My sup. in Persistent once said, as long as Indians are there in tech, quality will remain absent… “Chalta Hai” !! This is an opportunity to prove otherwise…