Outsourcing

Advice for a tech whose job is being outsourced to India? What IT specialties are hot right now?


TechRepublic member dannyHK, a support tech from Hong Kong, recently posted:

"I am having my job outsourced to India. Is there such a thing as a career in IT anymore or is it a cheap, value-less, commodity now? Should I look at another area? Seems like Management or Sales are the only safe options these days."

In response, tplumley, a support tech from Great Britain, wrote:

"Agree with you totally... I've already thought about a change of career and I'm already 99% sure I'll have to do it before too long."

However, elrico-fantastica, a network admin from Great Britain, mentioned that "these things tend to go in cycles" and said:

"Look at the call center trends that followed the outsourcing surge. At first companies saw the cost savings as the best deal so outsourced all their call center needs to India and the surrounding countries... Now if you watch the TV you will see adverts for insurance companies and banks taking the time to mention their call centers are now local to the country they are covering. It seems with everyone outsourcing to India the companies offering English speaking staff are becoming more popular..."

While it's true that there has been plenty of backlash against offshoring and even some companies that have closed oversees units and brought jobs back to the home country, there's no doubt that offshoring is still having a major impact on IT, as revealed in Info-Tech Research Group's recent study on IT spending. That study showed that many enterprise IT organizations are saving operational money with offshoring and then reinvesting that money in new technologies. That trend could potentially create some new, higher-level IT jobs in the process.

Hot IT specialties

I think that there are still a lot of opportunities in the tech field and so I would recommend that dannyHK consider sticking with it. Here are some IT career paths where I see a lot of opportunities at the moment and into the foreseeable future:

  • VoIP integrator
  • Database administrator
  • Database developer
  • Project manager
  • IT architect
  • Embedded/mobile developer
  • Small business IT consultant
  • Digital home integrator

Your take?

What advice would you give dannyHK? What IT specialties do you see as being hot right now? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

11 comments
jasonhiner
jasonhiner

In response to a support tech whose job is being outsourced to India, I listed the IT specialties that I see as being hot right now: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=495 What advice would you give to this support tech? What IT specialties do you think are most in demand?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Bus. analyst anything with "Quality" in the name. Yes, I know about the old saw about anything with 'quality' in the name is the same as being sentenced to the 8th plane of hell. The fact of the matter is that with outsourcing comes a brand new set of problems that have created a need for QA staff. The needs range from 'tweaking' the mass produced outsourceware, to ensuring that requirements have been met, to on-site support, to adding features and interfaces to existing software, to generating reports on same. I say this because my route back into IT has been through this venue. Other specialties with some job security are: Multi-discipline specialists: The odd "combo jobs" that are reqed more and more these days. Any combo of legacy tech + current tech has a real and marketable value. MAINTENANCE CODER: This is the plumber of IT, it's dirty work, but always in demand and will be until the day Micro$oft delivers a bug-free OS. Forensic IT specialist: as criminals become more high-tech, law enforcement needs to catch up. Anything involving security or security clearances: see previous. Lastly, anything that requires an on-site presence. If your job is NOT on the wire, your job is not on the line.

highlander718
highlander718

I agree with the listed specialities, less the "integrators" I don't see anyone making a living out of those. VoIP is largely implemented and supported by the big providers, and digital home integrator ... either the market is still not ripe or usualy there are few people that would spend the money to make a professional installation ... just my opinion. But, to the point, I think that the jobs that are hands one will obviosuly have to stay, while programmers and call centers will go more and more to remote locations. So yes, I see definitely network administration, general IT support, management in medium size companies, IT on-site support, IT & project Management, Business Systems Analyst and support (including database admin and development)

lavr84
lavr84

In Moscow a salary of IT specialist is between $20 000 and $40 000 a year. In USA much larger, but in Moscow outsource is used extensively too. Company can hire 3-4 men in Satarov or Novosibirsk (province capitals) instead of 1 employee in the capital. I wonder how many people can be hired in Vietnam/India/China at the same amount of money? Now to work as a programmer is to compete with millions people in Asia. They have approximately the same level of skills, but their salaries are several times less. The company where I work has outsource in Saratov and in some Asiatic country, 80% of programmers was outsourced. If it lasts a couple of years more, there will be no programmers in the Moscow office at all.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Regardless of who writes the code, it will need to be documented. It doesn't matter if the developer is from Bayonne or Bangalore, they'll take the secrets of the inner workings of their code to the grave.

Jack-M
Jack-M

Network Administration is one of the hottest areas to be in. If I was starting over I'd make it my specialty. I'd also take Spanish and Indian language courses.

minda
minda

I think hunting out "hot" IT specialties is only delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, any job that is performed completely on its own, without constant ongoing interaction with the rest of the company can be separated out to a different, lower cost location, such as India or just over the border from the support tech in China. So the only way to IT job security in the long term that I can see is indeed to seek out jobs which are integrated in the company's other functions and, ideally strategic planning. And that does mean management. Project management, as mentioned by another poster, would be a good place to start. I can't speak for Hong Kong, but in the United States, I see a growing need for people who can communicate effectively with technical staff, executives without technical expertise and, ideally, legal staff as well. I think people who can speak these three "languages" fluently will be in high demand and pretty immune to having their jobs outsourced. Best, Minda Zetlin The Geek Gap www.geekgap.com

Gary.Cooper
Gary.Cooper

I would suggest programming. There is always a need for applications programmers. I would also suggest to learn Project Management. Read about PMBok (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Becoming conversant in Spanish and/or Indian languages can be a great way to distinguish yourself. Another option: Chinese.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

that's good advice. Techies that can talk and understand business and legal jargon tend to become invaluable (climb the ladder quickly if they desire) in most organizations. However, it's still true that certain IT specialties present the biggest opportunities to make your mark right now.

elrico-fantastica
elrico-fantastica

my brain just cant handle languages, give me something electronic and Il make it sing for you but the second I need directions in another country im useless. must be different parts of the brain.

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