Reader Response: Needed: Voice for IT

Readers respond to Jim Rapoza's May 5 commentary.

When I announced over the Internet I was forming the Programmers Guild in 1998 to do what you suggest, I expected 10,000 people to immediately sign up for the mailing list. It took over three years to get 1,000 to join us.

I believe we are still the only programming group invited to testify before congress (twice). We have been bringing a string of discrimination complaints to the government. We have been fighting to get the New Jersey ban on offshoring passed.

Programmers, especially younger ones, have little interest in organizing. They look out for themselves and thats it. Our membership survey showed just one under the age of 30. I estimate that in the entire country we have fewer than 5,000 politically active in-the-field programmers.

Programmers tend not to be very forward thinking. When I testified before the judiciary committee in 2000 I was working at Dun & Bradstreet. At the time my coworkers were chiding me about my useless activity and how it was costing me so much money. Shortly thereafter, their CIO announced they were all being H-1Bd. If every programmer waits until he or she gets laid off before becoming active, there is no hope.

The reality is, if programmers dont start doing as you advocate, there will be no programming profession in the U.S. in a few years. (Try to buy a mens dress shirt made in the USA.)

john miano
Founder, the programmers guild
Former Chairman, the programmers guild
2 weeks short of being a 2nd year Law Student