How To Keep Your Job

Here's some notes from a presentation I gave back in 2007.

Executive Summary: American software jobs are at extreme risk, and most software people don't realize it. The storm is coming. Do you want to be selling shoes in five years?

These are my thoughts after hearing Dave Thomas' excellent presentation.

You may ask "Won't our jobs just continue like they always have? Why has overseas outsourcing become a threat now? Why can't I just work like usual and retire from IBM like my Mom?"

Answer: "The world has changed drastically in the last 20 years."

  1. A lot of very good programming talent is available now that wasn't there 10 years ago because of the following:
    1. Cheap hardware

      More individuals in 'developing countries' who want to program can now buy a PC rather reasonably and learn the trade.

    2. Internet has lowered the cost of learning

      Students don't have to buy $50 books on the latests APIs and theory - they can read it on the web.

    3. Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python, (LAMP) provide a free environment for development

      Students no longer need expensive, proprietary IDEs and environments to learn. Eclipse for java is free and in many respects more powerful than VisualStudio.

  2. Internet based software technology allows concurrent, distributed development

    Think sourceforge.net. Now with this type of framework, developers from many countries can work on projects at once and share the same codebase and bug database.

  3. End of the Cold War

    This opened Russia, the East Block, and China as sources of programmers

  4. Higher level definition languages

    With new languages being developed for describing the behavior of systems, its easier to outsource more of the project. When these next generation BPEL languages mature, more of the system can be outsourced.

  5. WebEx allows demos from anywhere

    Developers can demo their latest version to you from anywhere. Daily demonstrations of software can now be done - this reduces the risk of waiting 6 months and hoping the software is going to be right. 10 years ago outsourcing overseas was difficult just to get the software back to the US and test it - now its just a URL away.

  6. Personal Anecdotes:
    1. Motorola
    2. Medical WebSite in Austin
    3. AMD - factory automation
    4. CounterTrends
  7. Summary

    We must upgrade our skills so we can provide high-quality software quickly that meets our customers needs at a better price.

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