Offshoring Views Revisited

posted on 2004-07-15 at 10:28:39 by Joel Ross

Over the weekend, I went to my Aunt and Uncle's house to visit with some family in from Texas. I had a pretty good time. But that's not why I'm posting this.

My uncle (Paul), another relative (Bob) (he's my grandma's sister's daughter's husband - how is that related to me?) and I got into a discussion about offshoring. My uncle is deadset against it. When I told him my experiences, I don't think he liked it too much. He didn't seem real thrilled with my views. He did ask a couple of good questions though.

1. "How long before my job is off shored?"

That's a question I used to worry about, until I started seeing how off shore works. You see, the idea of offshoring is to take the programming tasks and get them completed at a much cheaper rate. But when you work with them, you realize it's not quite that simple. They need much more direction. They need a much better design than the typical developer I deal with. That, right there, is the difference. I am a developer. Offshorers are programmers.

Anyway, Bob brought up a good point. He said that 100 years ago, carriage makers were probably a little worried about the auto industry. At one time, companies were reluctant to put electricity throughout warehouses. Companies were reluctant to embrace the internet and computers. What do all of these have in common? Well, first, the ones who did embrace the changing trends thrived. Those who didn't, whithered. Second, even though some whithered, we're still here and going strong. So yeah, maybe in 10 years my skills will be commoditized. But I have 10 years to figure out what will be valuable. Lesson: Throughout your career, you have to be nimble and accept that things change.

2. "How can the economy continue this trend of services without an industrial base?"

An interesting question, isn't it? Now, what's wrong with it? It assumes we don't have a strong industrial base. I don't think I buy that. But it is a good point. I'm in the service industry, and as I think back on my clients, most of the clients I've worked for provide services for their customers. I have worked for a few industrial clients, but not that many. Paul said he sees a collapse of the US economy in the future if that trend continues. "We can't all provide services for each other. Someone has to create the money." It sounds almost like a call for a global economy, something offshore could help to ignite. Feed money into their economy, and it will eventually come back around to us.

Anyway, that's all I have for now.

Categories: Consulting