Panelists: Jobless IT workers should reinvent themselves
Computerworld - NEW YORK -- Out-of-work IT workers in the U.S. upset about lower-cost H-1B and L-1 workers and offshore outsourcing firms wresting away their jobs should accept that highly skilled, cheap foreign labor is here to stay and instead broaden their own talents beyond programming acumen.
That was the message this week from panelists who spoke at Northboro, Mass.-based Brainstorm Group Inc.'s Nearshore & Offshore Outsourcing conference here.
"There's certainly a feeling out there that [offshore programming is] a threat to American IT workers," said Larry Gordon, vice president of marketing at Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., a Teaneck, N.J.-based custom software developer with offshore programming interests in India. Gordon spoke on a global sourcing panel moderated by Computerworld.
What do you think about the panelists' conclusions? Post your opinion, and read what others have to say, in our just-launched discussion forum.
"Programming is becoming commoditized. If you can do programming for $20, $25 an hour, why would you pay $150 an hour?" said Amit Govil, managing director and CEO of Sapient India in New Delhi.
H-1B visas allow skilled foreigners, many of them in the IT field, to work in the U.S. for up to six years. The number of H-1B visas issued is restricted by a quota set by Congress.
The L-1 visa program allows multinational companies to transfer overseas workers to the U.S. after they have been employed by the company for at least one year. There are no caps on the number of L-1 visas.
The growing unemployment of U.S. technologists "is a very serious problem," said Kent Bauer, principal consultant at GRT Corp., a Stamford, Conn.-based data management consultant with operations in Russia.
Bauer suggested that American IT workers should consider "moving up the food chain" and working more closely with business units to help steer big projects like enterprise resource management (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives.
Govil agrees with Bauer that American technologists should act as a "bridge" between IT and the businesses they serve "by becoming planners and organizers" in charge of implementing "conceptual solutions," he said.
Srinivas Raghavan, an engagement manager at American International Group Inc. for Troy, Mich.-based outsourcer Syntel Inc., says there are "huge opportunities" for U.S. IT workers to bundle their expertise in communications and integration skills.
Those skills, Raghavan said, could be used by a growing number of companies that are focusing on further integrating e-business and other types of applications throughout their organizations.
Read more about IT Careers in Computerworld's IT Careers Topic Center.
- 2014 IT Workplace Trends and Salary Guide Staying competitive in the IT market can be challenging. This guide provides you with insight into variety of IT workplace trends including, U.S....
- The Business Value of Continuous Delivery Download this whitepaper to learn more about the business value of Continuous Delivery and see why it could be a game changer for...
- Ten Factors Shaping the Future of Application Delivery Download this research report conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to learn how those that are seeking to accelerate application delivery are leveraging...
- Software Asset Management: Ensuring Today's Assets Today's trends like BYOD and SaaS are new and exciting in terms of how they will help make our jobs more productive but...
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Leveraging Flash Storage to Accelerate Oracle Real Application Clusters Join this webinar to understand the latest solid-state storage trends, the specific applications driving solid-state storage deployments and the benefits of deploying the... All IT Careers White Papers | Webcasts
Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.