Even though Professor Matloff won't admit it, he is one of the leading insurgents in academia.  His stance on slumdog scabs is always viewed through the prism of politically correct statistical analysis (he is a statistics prof) and he keeps his distance from violent insurgents like myself.  He and Ron Hira, another academic (and ironically, a Desi) do good work challenging the high tech junta and the leading propagandists for the slumdog slave trade.  Here in this Bloomberg piece Matloff once again uses the words of his foe and NASSCOM agent Vivek Wadhwa to make his case that H-1Bs are all about cheap, compliant labor:

Software Engineers Will Work One Day for English Majors

Which of the following describes careers in software engineering?

A. Intellectually stimulating and gratifying.

B. Excellent pay for new bachelor’s degree grads.

C. A career dead-end.

The correct answer (with a “your mileage may vary” disclaimer) is: D. All of the above.

Although the very term “coding” evokes an image of tedium, it is an intellectually challenging activity, creative and even artistic. If you like puzzles and are good analytically, software development may be your cup of tea. You not only get to solve puzzles for a living, but in essence you compose them.

Wages for new computer-science graduates working as software engineers are at, or near, the top of most surveys, certainly compared with new humanities grads. We hear about the gap a lot this time of year, as students compare job offers.

You had better be good to get that first job in computer engineering, because you will probably be asked to code on command during job interviews; employers have been burned too often by those with high grades yet low ability. But those who are chosen are generally paid well and love the work.

The downside? Well, say you interview as a graduating college senior at Facebook Inc. (FB) You may find, to your initial delight, that the place looks just like a fun-loving dorm -- and the adults seem to be missing. But that is a sign of how the profession has devolved in recent years to one lacking in longevity. Many programmers find that their employability starts to decline at about age 35.

Gone by 40

Employers dismiss them as either lacking in up-to-date technical skills -- such as the latest programming-language fad -- or “not suitable for entry level.” In other words, either underqualified or overqualified. That doesn’t leave much, does it? Statistics show that most software developers are out of the field by age 40.

Employers have admitted this in unguarded moments. Craig Barrett, a former chief executive officer of Intel Corp., famously remarked that “the half-life of an engineer, software or hardware, is only a few years,” while Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has blurted out that young programmers are superior.

Vivek Wadhwa, a former technology executive and now a business writer and Duke University researcher, wrote that in 2008 David Vaskevitch, then the chief technology officer at Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), “acknowledged that the vast majority of new Microsoft employees are young, but said that this is so because older workers tend to go into more senior jobs and there are fewer of those positions to begin with.”

More than a decade ago, Congress commissioned a National Research Council study of the age issue in the profession. The council found that it took 23.4 percent longer for the over-40 workers to find work after losing their jobs, and that they had to take an average pay cut of 13.7 percent on the new job.

Why do the employers prefer to hire the new or recent grads? Is it really because only they have the latest skill sets? That argument doesn’t jibe with the fact that young ones learned those modern skills from old guys like me. Instead, the problem is that the 35-year-old programmer has simply priced herself out of the market. As Wadhwa notes, even if the 45-year-old programmer making $120,000 has the right skills, “companies would rather hire the younger workers.”

Whether the employers’ policy is proper or not, this is the problem facing workers in the software profession. And it’s worsened by the H-1B work-visa program. Government data show that H-1B software engineers tend to be much younger than their American counterparts. Basically, when the employers run out of young Americans to hire, they turn to the young H-1Bs, bypassing the older Americans.

Fewer Managerial Jobs

With talent, street smarts and keen networking skills, you might still get good work in your 50s. Moving up to management is also a possibility, but as Microsoft’s Vaskevitch pointed out, these jobs are limited in number. Qualifications include being “verbally aggressive,” as one manager put it to me, and often a willingness to make late- night calls to those programmers in India you have offshored the work to.

Finally, those high programmer salaries are actually low, because the same talents (analytical and problem-solving ability, attention to detail) command much more money in other fields, such as law and finance. A large technology company might typically pay new law-school graduates and MBAs salaries and compensation approaching double what they give new master’s degree grads in computer science.

If you choose a software-engineering career, just keep in mind that you could end up working for one of those lowly humanities majors someday.

(Norman Matloff is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis. The opinions expressed are his own.)

For the record, I'd rather work for an American English Major rather than another failed slumdog programmer that sucked enough dick to get into IT management, which would describe a few of the recent managers that I've had the misfortune to work with.  There is only one thing worse than a slumdog coder, and that is a slumdog IT manager.  They can't communicate OR code.  The last nose-picking chair-warming Hindu fuckstory I had couldn't even run a circle-jerk, much less an IT department. 


A true WTF. The comments are especially revealing. I look forward to the day a displaced IBM-er takes a gun to their "GDF" and gets some retribution.

"IBM’s 2015 plan was hatched to deliver $20 earnings-per-share to the delight of Wall Street. IBMers were offered a carrot, a few shares of stock granted at the end of 2015, as a reward for helping them achieve that target. It appears that IBM’s goal is not to issue any of those grants as they continue to conduct resource actions (IBMspeak for permanent layoffs) and remove talented and valuable US employees in favor of moving work to low cost countries such as Brazil, Argentina, India, China and Russia.

Work that stays onshore is mainly sent to what are called Global Delivery Facilities (GDF’s), two of which were created at heritage IBM locations (Poughkeepsie, NY and Boulder, CO) while starting new ones in Dubuque, IA and most recently Columbia, MO. IBM’s public position is they are creating jobs in smaller towns when in fact they are displacing workers from other parts of the US by moving jobs to these GDFs or to offshore locations.

In the case of Dubuque and Columbia, IBM secured heavy incentives from state and local governments to minimize their costs in these locations and are achieving further savings by paying the technical team members, most of whom are new hires or fresh college grads with no experience, a fraction of what experienced support personnel would require.

Let’s look closer at Dubuque, not because it is any different from the rest of IBM USA but simply to characterize the company at a finer scale.

When IBM opened the Dubuque center the people of Iowa were expecting great things.  The center was staffed by a small number of US IBMers in management positions.  IBM then brought over people from India for “training,” then sent them back.  Few H1B visas were even required.

Every time IBM sent a batch of trainees back to India from Iowa they laid off US workers.  While Dubuque was led to believe they’d get an influx of highly-paid new residents, what the city actually received was a transient workforce of underpaid people — workers that may well be invisible to local government.  It would be interesting to know how many permanent hires in Dubuque have been Iowa residents or graduates of Iowa universities?  How many workers spend less than a year in Dubuque?  Is Iowa seeing any benefit from the investment they made to open the IBM Dubuque center?

Whenever IBM has a big project they now have to bring in extra workers, usually from India.  I have been told they plan the arrivals over several days to a few weeks.  They route people through different airports.  They make sure there are never more than two or three workers coming on the same flight, effectively avoiding notice by Homeland Security.

Are any of these people paying FICA or US income taxes?  Good question. Why is IBM sneaking around? Better question.

With hundreds of thousands of laid-off IT workers in the USA, why can’t American workers be hired for these positions? Because IBM doesn’t want US employees. Or, for that matter, European employees, though these are harder to jettison.

Layoffs at IBM are rarely due to job performance, though complaining will get you sacked. IBM tends to position these actions as job eliminations, but jobs aren’t usually eliminated, they are just relocated to GDF or GR locations staffed by cheaper workers. IBM manages to skirt the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requiring advance notification of layoffs or plant closings by structuring these resource actions to stay just below the numbers required to provide notifications at given locations. In this way IBM has managed to avoid the mainstream media and touts itself as a good corporate citizen while continuing to expect remaining employees to work 60-70 or more hours per week to keep up with the amount of work.

These draconian tactics might be justified if survival of the company or the best interests of the customer were involved, but they aren’t. It’s mainly about executive compensation. Meanwhile IBM’s work for customers is becoming increasingly shoddy. Contract terms such as vulnerability scanning, ID revalidations, and security implementations are routinely late or not done at all. Account teams are under continued pressure to meet revenue and cost targets regardless of how poorly the contracts were structured by the sales team. Each business sector has a target to move a certain percentage of their technical work to an offshore Global Resource (GR) or onshore Global Delivery Facility (GDF) as mentioned above.

IBM’s goal appears to be to have as few employees in the US as possible, maximizing profit.  But doing so clearly hurts customer satisfaction.

Major IBM customers such as Amgen, The State of Texas, and most recently the Walt Disney Company have cut ties with IBM in favor of other providers. Many other customers are scaling back the services they’re buying from IBM as the perceived value continues to drop. Customers are starting to realize that they can directly hire offshore companies such as TCS, Wipro, HCL and Satayam and book the savings directly instead of paying IBM top dollar for support and then seeing that support fulfilled from BRIC countries.

When IBM first started its big push to offshore technical work, the account teams were asked to make a list of reasons why customers’ work couldn’t be offshored, but were not allowed to use skills as a reason. That makes no sense in a rational organization but it makes perfect sense to IBM."

http://www.cringely.com/2012/04/somethings-rotten-in-IBM-dubuque/


Tunnel Rat posted on April 12, 2012 22:06

The beginning of the end for SLUMDOG SLAVETRADE:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7405064n

"...The Indians had no knowledge at all..."


Indian IT firms are heading for a fall

Response to visa-related lawsuits indicates that Indian services firms don't fully understand the American system

Patrick Thibodeau
 

April 6, 2012 (Computerworld)

India's IT firms understand software, but not America.

It is the American character not to back down, and to fight for what is right. Our children are taught this from their earliest ages. Even new arrivals, immigrants or people on work visas are quick to grasp this essential truth.

America's institutions reflect the national character. Our political system encourages sharp and hard contests. Our legal system facilitates a fight, as India's IT companies are now learning.

Three of India's largest IT outsourcing firms, Infosys Technologies, Larsen & Toubro InfoTech and Tata Consultancy Services, are involved in lawsuits filed against them by current and former employees.

The lawsuits are a problem for each of the companies. But taken together, the cases are a major threat to the Indian IT industry in America.

India's IT firms are dependent on American businesses for about half of their revenue. They can't operate in this country without work visas, such as H-1B and L-1 visas.

Thus the allegations by employees of visa misuse and harassment have broad implications and are attracting federal investigators and congressional oversight.

MORE...


Uh, no shit.  I bet Andrew Wasser starts getting death threats from the Indian Outsourcing Regime, or a slumdog CMU student throws acid in his face.

IT Outsourcing System Is Broken, How Can Service Providers Fix It?

– Stephanie Overby, CIO

March 29, 2012 

 

Andrew Wasser's perch affords him a broad view of the IT outsourcing industry. Wasser serves as associate dean of the Heinz College's School of Information Systems and Management at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), where a third of the graduate students studying applied business and information technology are refugees from the IT services industry. He has oversight over many of CMU's business projects that are commissioned by a virtual who's who of the outsourcing industry -- providers, clients and consultancies. And, as a veteran financial services CIO and director of CMU's CIO Institute, he has an intimate understanding of the outsourcing practitioner's point of view.

From his multidimensional perspective, one thing is clear: The outsourcing system is broken. Heck, if you go by the old saw that defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, it's downright crazy. The vendors say they are strategic partners, but they are in fact neither strategic nor partners. Both providers and customers say they want to create more business value and innovation, but neither is making the changes necessary to do that.

CIO.com talked to Wasser about what ails the outsourcing industry -- from talent gaps and process devotion to closed-off clients and poor communication -- and what, if anything, could turn things around.

CIO.com: You have a particular interest in the growing talent gap in the global sourcing industry. What is the state of offshore outsourcing recruiting?

Wasser: As important as what we are seeing is why we are seeing it.

My bias is in looking at the big Indian firms -- Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, TCS -- and to some extent the Accentures, IBMs and captive centers. In the beginning when you talked to a tier-one sourcing [firm], they would tell you, "We get the best of the best." They made offers only to the top 0.5 percent at the universities. And they may still tell you that today, but the reality is quite different.

Because of increased competition and a shortage of talent, they have had to go much deeper into the pool of students and go to second and third-level schools. They are no longer getting the best and the brightest. It's no longer a coup to get an offer from Tata because everyone is getting an offer from Tata.

CIO.com: Is that just a result of needing more people? Are they still recruiting the best and brightest as well -- or is that top talent going elsewhere?

Wasser: These firms have hiring targets -- sometimes as many as 5,000 new employees. They may be getting, at best, the top quartile. I don't have a good handle on where the top decile is going. These young professionals entering the sourcing industry end up "going back to school" at Infosys or Cognizant or Tata, which all have their own academies. They take mechanical or chemical engineers and teach them how to be IT engineers, ideally with some client skills. They repackage them.

CIO.com: What's the biggest complaint you hear from outsourcing customers?

Wasser: We see continued frustration from clients that these people are really good order takers, but they are not problem solvers. They are smart -- no question -- but they are not the strategic partners they had hoped they would be.

CIO.com: Can you trace all of that dissatisfaction back to the recruiting issues at the junior level?

Wasser: I have several hypotheses. One issue is what I call the "filter effect." The sourcing firms go to the same affiliate universities and programs year after year. The HR people have a formulaic set of attributes they are looking for. Did they take discrete math or programming one and two? How were their grades? When they can check off all the boxes, they make an offer.

So they are getting students who have done exactly what they were supposed to do. They graduated from high school with good grades. They told their parents they wanted to study history or art. The parents said, "Great, but you're going to be an engineer." They have no gaps in their studies, no blemishes on their records, their extracurriculars are all in place. And when they finally graduate with a chance to do something innovative or unique, they once again do exactly what mom and dad tells them to do -- apply for a job at IBM or Infosys.

Then the firms say, "Why aren't my people innovating?" Well, you filtered out all the people who might innovate -- the guy who took time off to hike the mountains or the girl who tried to start her own t-shirt company or the student who stumbled freshman year because he was interested in guitars and girls. You hired people who are good at doing what they are told and now you wonder why they're only [a] good order taker.

CIO.com: Couldn't the providers teach them how to approach the work differently?

Wasser: I think so. But that gets to what I call the "treatment effect." Once you get into these sourcing companies, they all follow CMM-I or Six Sigma or ITIL. They put in place all these SLAs and metrics and procedures and policies. I have no problem with process frameworks. They have been great for our industry and turned what was a craft into a science. But they do not foster innovation. No one is willing to say, "Hey this might not meet the SLA or it's not ITIL, but here's a novel way to address a business need."

CIO.com: Are these problems only found in the Indian or offshore-centric firms?

Wasser: No. They are all going after the same talent pool. Some firms tend to be more westernized. I would put Cognizant and Accenture and IBM in that mix. But they've all replicated the Indian delivery model, so they are experiencing the same problems.

One of the issues particular to offshore outsourcing is what I call the "texting effect." Whether you are in China or Mexico or India, the [English] speaking and listening and writing skills aren't always great to begin with. Adding to the problem is that engineers are notoriously weak communicators. And if, on top of that, the engineer doesn't understand the business drivers, they're never going to speak the real language of the client.

CIO.com: Do the customers themselves bear any responsibility for the lack of problem solving in their outsourcing engagements?

Wasser: The client holds a whole lot of responsibility. They often don't want to spend much time with the Indian guy -- they don't think he's that fun, he has an accent, and he can't talk about the Syracuse win last night -- that's a problem.

That is tied up with what I call the "context effect." The client tells the vendor what to do but not why they want it done. If I tell you, "Move this box from here to there," and you do not know the context, all you can do is what I tell you. But if you understand the bigger picture, you may realize you can discard some of what's in those boxes, some of it you can scan, and some you can leave behind. There is so much value in understanding the real meaning of what you are trying to accomplish. Context can be especially difficult to gain when a development center is in Monterrey or Chennai. But it is the client's responsibility to share that business context.

CIO.com: What can outsourcing customers and providers do to advance their relationships and foster the innovation they say they want?

Wasser: Some of it is obvious. Who is doing the hiring? How are they doing it? Where are they doing it? If it's the same old HR mindset, you will get the same old results. Why not take a look at the guy who dropped out of school or the music major?

But even more important is how are you incenting these workers? That is going to require some deprogramming on the client side. You can't focus on the strictest service-level agreements and then wonder why the provider didn't innovate. You didn't create an environment for innovation. You need to explain the why, not just the what.

CIO.com: Many of your master's and Ph.D. students came from the IT outsourcing industry to make the switch from order taker to business innovator. Are they going back into IT services?

Wasser: No. Most stay in the U.S. and go to client firms or consulting firms or technology firms.

I tell them that these talent gaps are an opportunity for them. What you want to be is one of [the] people [who] can fill that gap -- that polymath who can look at things from an entrepreneurial perspective. There will always be someone in Pune or Poland that can program more cheaply than you. But what the world needs is business technologists -- IT professionals who understand negotiation and information security and economics and architecture. We are not going to out-MBA the MBA or out-tech the computer scientist. We are filling the sweet spot in between the two. And that's what companies tell us they need.

http://tinyurl.com/6wpss3g



- Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies

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