Readers Respond: Perils of Going Offshore

Readers respond to Lisa Vaas' recent column on offshore outsourcing.

In Lisa Vaas column, Perils of Going Offshore, she details the conundrum of the tech industry: loss of little over a half-a-million tech jobs, more companies outsourcing their tech departments and the inability of many people to find jobs in the field.

The notion that government must "protect" the industry is a dangerous one. This will foster a system where weak performers are protected. Who wants that? Strong performers know that their tech skills must be continuously honed and developed, through formal classes, self-teaching and on-the-job training. They also know that certs alone mean little. Strong performers know that spamming companies with resumes (a la Bernard Shifman), responding to classified ads, or using one of the "job sites" is a lose-lose proposition. Strong performers know that they get a job when they can prove to an employer that they can provide value to that employers business.

The heyday of the late 90s caused many people who were not serious about growing their skills and remaining competitive to enter the market. Why not? You take one of those guaranteed-passing-score classes, sit for the MCSE, and then make $50k per year. Fortunately, those days are over, and good riddance, too. People with a paper and no experience who expect the world to lay riches at their feet are hopefully going to go find some other industry to play in. IT workers who dont continuously update their skills and remain highly flexible when it comes to employment and compensation are going to be in for a rude shock when their positions are outsourced to a foreign company that can provide the same value for a fraction of the price.

The bottom line is that people provide value, organizations hire people who can provide value, and a paper cert alone does not provide value.

On the other hand, companies that still refuse to see tech as a strategic asset and instead look at IT as "cost center" are aging dinosaurs ripe for losing serious market share to more flexible companies that understand the value of technology. A company that uses tech to streamline the supply chain can handle many more orders for much less cost than a lumbering, inefficient and traditional operation. This brings us back to the protection issue again. If the government "protects" industry by preventing the companies that outsource a core strategic asset like tech, then those companies will not fail as fast as the market would have them.

Our system is one of capitalism, yet there are those who would destroy the system by introducing additional corporate welfarism. Let those who have the skills and knowledge thrive; dont give those who cant or wont do what it takes to make it in todays environment a "fair shake" because they cant be bothered to run their business as if it must make a profit.