One of the more controversial topics in my Software Engineering classes is outsourcing. Ankita Parikh was the author of this entry and makes some great points -- My comment in Ankita's logbook was - " Outsourcing is a difficult issue and as you correctly stated it has been happening for centuries. The response for us has to be is there an opportunity here? Even with outsourcing folks, still are not satisfied with the state of software development and maintenance – outsourcing does not cure all the issues, it mainly reduces the cost."
Ankita's entry and my response reminded me of an article by Herbert A. Simon, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, titled, "Prometheus or Pandora: The influence of automation on society." It was in the November 1981 issue of IEEE Computer. Although not spot on the topic he does discuss how automation affects employment and it is a great read. Unfortunately, it is in no electronic archive, so you are going to have to walk to the library to get a copy. Some gems from the article: "... the level of employment in a society has nothing to do with that society's level of productivity"... "In a very obvious way a society is capable of making use of the human resources it displaces by increasing productivity." ... "We have seen no large disturbances in our society over the last 35 years that were caused by worker displacement through automation."
Since I believe that outsourcing is a technological twist (caused in part by cheap, high quality communication), the article does bear on the current issue. The key is to see what opportunities outsourcing provides. Concentrate on improving the lot of software not simply making it cheaper to produce. Making software that is more reliable, flexible, human engineered, ... the software industry has lots to improve on that adds value and that outsourcing wouldn't fix.
So read the rest of this post and read Simon's article and think about the opportunities. It would be great if you would add comments to this post. I am sure this will not be our last post on outsourcing! Later.
I just read an article in TIME about “Exporting America” and the concern it rises. Is outsourcing going to be taking away more jobs than it already has? According to article, by the end of the year 588, 000 jobs will have left the country and 1.6 million by 2010. Should we all be worried? I am really not sure how I feel about this current uproar. I guess because I know I will have a job once I graduate. But I am a little worried that if more and more jobs in Information Technology are being sent overseas; I may be at risk of losing my job in another 3 – 4 years. Many of the big power houses don’t see a problem with outsourcing because for them it’s saving money. It’s all about making money huh? It tough for me to take sides for the reason that I understand both point of views. I have never been a selfish person and I won’t be starting now. I won’t deny it’s a problem nonetheless. It’s ironic that outsourcing has become such a big issue recently, when we’ve had outsourcing since the start of our country. Everything from clothing to electronics to cars has been coming from other countries. So why the big uproar now? It’s finally hit our professional job market. Before the jobs that were being sent off shore were labor job – manufacturing. Now, it’s more alarming because we may actually lose the jobs that we spent the last four years preparing for.