Even Software Architecture

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-06-25 Print this article Print

Gets Outsourced "> Before we get all giddy, though, consider this: Outsourcing is here to stay, and its creeping up the food chain. IT professionals may still cling to the notion that only low-level jobs such as help desk or call-center positions get sent overseas, but if thats not a comforting myth yet, its well on its way to becoming one. Case in point: As revealed by WashTech, an organization thats long been a stalwart defender of tech-worker rights, as early as 2001, Microsoft was sending software architect jobs to Indian outsourcing companies Infosys and Satyam. (Technology companies are loath to reveal this type of information, which amounts to a public image nightmare. Kudos, WashTech, for the fine sleuthing.) Data architect: Thats not the low-hanging, low-skills fruit weve grown used to comforting ourselves about, telling ourselves that only low-level positions such as help-desk jobs are going overseas. As the New York Times said in this article about Microsofts outsourcing, Microsoft was billed $90/hour for the work. In the United States, skilled software architects pull down six figures.
Click here to read columnist David Courseys thoughts on why outsourcing is good for business and bad for America.
So when somebody tells me that data center professionals dont sweat the idea of outsourcing, it strikes me that thats a piece of information worth sharing. Scott Townsend, CIO of Macomb Schools and Government Credit Union—the 6th largest credit union in Michigan and in the countrys top 2 percent of credit unions—told me that outsourcing the credit unions data center jobs has never been an issue because, basically, heavy-duty technical lifting has always been outsourced, from the start. That includes technology for which theres no desire or capacity to maintain in-house: for example, security, router management, Internet site hosting or other noncore banking systems. That leaves the work of managing and loading core mainframes and high-level servers and doing ad hoc programming internally, and that type of work isnt going anywhere. "We have to have core mainframe [applications] in-house to have as much control over future development as possible," Townsend said. P&G is still ironing out the kinks in a year-old, $3 billion, 10-year outsourcing gig with HP. Click here to read more. Salary ranges vary by skill and location, of course, but one data center manager in the small town of San Angelo, Texas, told me hes paying salaries of between $30,000 and $80,000. That one particular manager, Bobby Bruner, who works for a contracting firm he declined to name but which runs the state of Texas consolidated data center, also told me hes geared up to double his staff in the coming two years. Bruner doesnt have a simple answer to the question of whether outsourcing will ever touch data center professionals. After all, his contracting firm is benefiting from having agencies across the state outsource data center functions to it. Next page: Critical data will always be kept close to the vest.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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