Is Software Outsourcing thedevil?
In Silicon Valley, there is no shortage of American programmers convinced that outsourcing to India, the Philippines or other places for coding is a bad idea. Now, we can argue all day and all night regarding qualitative issues about this. We can also argue in terms of political consequences about this. After all, whenever there is an economic effect, whether positive or negative, political repercussions aren’t far behind. People can and do get sensitive.
However, when it comes to just technical feasibility, the answer should be quite obvious. No, it’s not. Seriously. A lot of Americans are really just being territorial about their work. They’re thinking that code is one of those things that has to be made in America with American labor for it to be any good. This is just plain old jingoism and parochialism, if you ask me.
The truth is great minds exist all over the world. Why not tap the power of the Internet to tap the amazing creativity and imagination of all these people so you can produce a better product? If anything, outsourcing highlights the demand for people who are masters at their craft. It highlights the demand in India. It highlights the demand in the Philippines. It highlights the demand in Silicon Valley in the United States. In other words, there is a segmented economy here.
By and large, software engineering and software strategy should be done closest to the market. I am, of course, talking about the San Francisco Bay Area. Everything else can be outsourced, and the more you outsource, the greater the value of the final product you end up creating. I know it sounds paradoxical. Indeed, it even sounds ironic, but this is the reality that we’re living in.
It has nothing really to do with cost. For the longest time, a lot of American tech companies were beside themselves because they couldn’t find enough engineers. It’s not because they weren’t paying sufficient money. I mean, if you are a software engineer in the United States, your starting pay is at least $160,000. You get an adjustment if you live in California, In the Bay Area, $200,000 is not an outlier.
The problem is you cannot find people. Why? For the longest time in mass media, if you love coding and if you love engineering, you’re automatically a nerd. You’re a geek. What do you think the impact would be on a kid’s social identity in junior high school? Kids stay from engineering and think that it would make them social lepers.
The chickens have come home to roost, and that’s why because of Hollywood’s mistreatment of the nerd archetype, we have this labor shortage. So, Silicon Valley really has no choice but to import from India and elsewhere. This really belies the whole idea of software outsourcing as evil or unethical. It isn’t. It’s not the devil. It is a necessary component of the modern development landscape. It gives the system the flexibility and scope it needs to remain vibrant.