IT Employment

Sanity check: Is the U.S. shooting itself in the foot by limiting H1B visas?

H1B Visas are politically unpopular because they allow foreign workers to fill highly-skilled jobs in the U.S., but the truth is that they can actually help the U.S. economy. And, limiting H1Bs could could cost the U.S. its leadership in tech.

H1B visas are politically unpopular because they allow foreign workers to fill highly-skilled jobs in the U.S., but the truth is that they can actually help the U.S. economy. And, limiting H1Bs could could cost the U.S. its leadership in tech.

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I've heard lots of IT professionals whine about the H1B visa program and claim that it takes jobs away from U.S. workers. Unfortunately, that opinion represents a misunderstanding of the dynamics of H1Bs. It also contradicts the tradition that has made America a magnet for some of the most talented and innovative people on earth. It's a tradition that has been on display in its full glory over the past week at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and that gives us the perfect opportunity to talk about whether the U.S. can use that tradition to remain a technology champion in the decades ahead.

The Olympic example

Before we dig into the H1B visa program, let's talk about the overriding principle involved here. One of the ideals that has distinguished the U.S. from its inception is the concept that a person's individual success and destiny should be tied to their own merits -- e.g. talent, work ethic, and character -- rather than their birthright, lineage, ethnicity, or other connections to the past. It's the ultimate "What have you done for me lately" philosophy of self-determination.

While the U.S. still has plenty of progress to make in bringing this to ideal to reality on its own shores, the fact that this is one of its core ideals is enough to distinguish it --  even though the idea has definitely spread and been adopted by others over the past century.

The success of this philosophy has been as evident as ever at the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing, China. While the Olympic teams of most nations are very ethnically homogeneous, the U.S. team is made up of athletes from across the planet -- drawing on citizens descending from Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and more.

In the Beijing Games in particular, it has been fascinating to see the number of former Olympic champions from other countries who left to come to the United States to set up shop as coaches. Some of the most successful U.S. programs are now run by foreign nationals. This Olympics has also featured a number of international athletes born in other countries who are now U.S. citizens competing as Americans in the games, including several gold medalists such as Nastia Liukin, the individual all-around champion in gymnastics.

Simply put, the U.S. remains a hot spot for the world's most talented and innovative people because it still values merit above birthright.

The H1B visa debate

The H1B visa program allows U.S. companies to hire foreign workers to fill specialized jobs that require at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent. In practice, this is often used for technology workers, especially foreign students who get a math, science, or engineering degree in the U.S. and then decide that they'd like to stay here to work.

Unfortunately, a lot of hard-working IT professionals in the U.S. have heard about H1B visas and reacted negatively to the concept because of a misunderstanding of how the program is being used and who is being affected. Many of these IT pros were caught up in the vortex of the 2001 recession and its aftermath in which many companies cut IT jobs. Meanwhile, tech companies like Cisco and Microsoft were lobbying Congress to increase the number of H1B visas for foreign workers, claiming that they didn't have enough U.S. candidates to fill all of their job openings.

With so many IT pros searching for work, it rang hollow to many people in the U.S. that big companies needed to hire foreign workers to fill job openings. Thus, many of these companies were accused of simply wanting to hire foreign nationals for less money than experienced U.S. workers. The truth was much simpler than that.

When most IT professionals rant against H1B visas, they often think of H1B candidates working in the common IT positions they work in, such as:

  • Help desk technicians
  • Network administrators
  • Systems integrators
  • Technical trainers
  • Entry-level programmers

But, the jobs that H1Bs are helping to fill are usually the much more intensive math and science professions. Those job titles include:

  • Mathematicians
  • Computer Scientists
  • Computer Engineers
  • Software Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers
  • Chemical Engineers

These aren't the people deploying your new laptop or helping you hook up your printer. These are the ones designing the motherboard for that laptop and developing the smear-free inks for that inkjet printer. For these types of jobs, the U.S. is still not graduating enough American students to fill all of the open positions.

U.S. math and science education in K-12 continues to trail the rest of the developed world and in U.S. colleges and universities it is foreign students who show much more interest in the computer science and engineering programs. For example, according to the National Science Foundation, 61% of new PhD students and 42% of new Masters students in computer science in 2006 were foreign students. In electrical engineering, the numbers are even higher: 73% of PhD students and 55% of Masters students were foreign nationals

Thus, if U.S. technology companies want to hire the best and the brightest computer talent from American schools, they often have to hire foreign students.

Cisco CEO John Cambers -- one of the most outspoken proponents of the H1B program -- says that the kind of jobs Cisco is using H1B to hire are the jobs that help stimulate growth and create more jobs. He said:

"I would like to see [the U.S.] be more aggressive in terms of our immigration policy for people with college degrees, especially in high-tech that we expand the H-1B status capability, because each person that we bring to this country to put in engineering and high-tech generates two to three other jobs in my company, a good three to five jobs in the local economy ... Having said that, we're going to go wherever the talent is in the world, not as a labor arbitrage play but it is a focus on the war for talent and getting the best and the brightest around the world be a part of Cisco which we are clearly trying to do."

Of course, H1B has accumulated its fair share of critics and the whole program has become a political issue that is often lumped in with NAFTA and off-shoring as programs hostile to American workers. You can find the arguments and activities of H1B's opponents on places like H1B.info.

The argument most often used against H1B is that foreign workers are paid less and don't get adequate protections from the U.S. Department of Labor. I think that's a Red herring. Because these skills are in demand, if good workers aren't getting a fair wage then there are usually multiple companies willing to offer them more. The real issue behind the H1B opposition is usually a bit of unbridled nationalism.

Sanity check

If American companies are trying to hire foreign workers to cut costs by paying someone less to do the same work here in the U.S., they should be fined and punished. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if there are some companies who are trying to use H1B to get cheap labor. Most companies I know will pay workers as little as they can possibly get away with in order to keep costs down and profits up. There need to be good policies and protections in place for H1B workers, and they need to be enforced.

However, paying foreign workers lower wages is not the primary motivation for most big tech companies wanting to hire more tech talent with H1B visas. They simply need the brainpower to compete in the global economy. I've known many U.S. students with math, science, and engineering degrees and none of them had a difficult time finding a job when they graduated. In fact, almost all of them had at least three job offers on the table before they even finished senior year. Foreign workers with H1B visas were not taking their jobs.

True patriotism should drive the U.S. to hold onto its core values -- including its value of merit over birthright -- and keep America's leadership role as home to the world's great technology innovators. The H1B visa program, when properly administered, is the ally of that kind of patriotism, not the enemy.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

435 comments
LazloHollyfeld
LazloHollyfeld

at this point in time, h1b visas should not be issued or renewed. there are enough people in this country who are out of work to fill jobs. america is not the country of guaranteed fulfillment of your dreams.

Geek3001
Geek3001

Is the person being replaced being too greedy, or are the employers being too greedy?

tomchiarello
tomchiarello

American companies are going "out of their way" to hire H1B Visa Foreign Workers and "do not want" to hire Americans. That is a documented truth ! There is tons of advertising for IT Jobs and tons of IT Jobs but American companies go out of their way to "disqualify" American Workers keeping to the "Letter of the Law" for legal reasons. American IT Workers might as well put a bullet in their head. It's easier than "looking for an IT Job".

ChrisTheta
ChrisTheta

"I???ve heard lots of IT professionals whine about the H1B visa program and claim that it takes jobs away from U.S. workers." Which it does "Unfortunately, that opinion represents a misunderstanding of the dynamics of H1Bs." I think you misunderstand the dynamics: Foreign workers come here on H1B visas, learn your job, then take it with them back to [fill in name of cheaper country here - usually India]. Not hard to understand. "It also contradicts the tradition that has made America a magnet for some of the most talented and innovative people on earth." Let's ignore this "Your poor, your downtrodden" blah blah blah argument about how it is the immigrants that made this country great. That may be true, but my ancestors came over on wooden ships, surviving weeks if not months at sea, before arriving poor and working their butts off to eat. They did not fly in for 3 months, learn the mechanics of a job, then fly back home to live like kings. This whole "this is what made America Great!" argument is bogus. It was the immigrants decendents that made America great. The H1B's worker's children will still be in India making India great. "It???s a tradition that has been on display in its full glory over the past week at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing..." If it was truly on display at the Olympics, we would have some Indian folks contracted out to finish off the swim meet for us. In fact, we could hire some Ethiopians to run for us, as well. Give an H1B to a Swiss skier or a German marksman and have them compete. We don't have enough runners to fill the job. So what is the role of the US Government anyway? The role of any government is to protect its citizens and to look out for their interests. How do H1B visas look out for our interests? If they are taking jobs away from us, then in fact they are working AGAINST our interests. And if they are keeping wages low because we have to compete against cheaper foreign labor, then that is working AGAINST us as well. If there were a true labor shortage, as the writer and some posters have said, then the way around that is to give out more scholarships to deserving AMERICANS. Or, by letting the free market take over and pay the "few" existing Math majors a pile of cash so that students entering our colleges see that being a Math major is where the money is (though I'm not really buying the argument that there are "just not enough math majors around" -- I've never met one in 20 years in IT -- and I've never seen a job posting wanting to use my extensive Calculus knowledge) I think the H1B question is an outcropping of two core beliefs of the opposing political parties: The "just not enough skilled people around" argument is from the Anything-for-Business Republican side. They look only at the short-term, only at big-corporate wallets and don't look out for the Middle Class. They would out-source the whole economy if they could get more campaign funds. The other side is the "Have to Mind Every Other Country's Business" belief of the Democrats. This side is the "We Are The World" side that won't be happy until there is no Third World, and every election held the world over has their stamp of approval. Feed Everyone, Give Every Child A Free PC, Give Every Person a Job and ignore anything going on at home. This side doesn't care about the Middle Class either. They want the H1B visas so we can export our way of life. This is misguided because the foreign workers aren't going to absorb much in the 6 months they are here stealing your job. The DEmocrats achieve their goal of uplifting other countries' economies by giving the money that should be heading your way to Bangalor, and pumping up their tax base. The Republicans do too, because these other economies increase their spending on material goods and put more money in their constituents' (Big Business') pockets. Neither party cares about us. We don't make a big stink about it, so they can keep the focus on issues like whether Roe v Wade will be overturned (here's a spoiler: it won't ever be overturned). So get rid of the H1B visas. If there really is a labor shortage (and there isn't), then train some students and give them scholarships. Importing people from India is a short term fix and doesn't help out even 1 US citizen. And US citizens elected these politicians. US First. And if the Indian folks want to move here permanently and become citizens like the rest of our ancestors, then great. The American Dream isn't in a Bangalor factory.

eric.ctwan
eric.ctwan

The fact is that the H1Bs don't take away american jobs. They help fill out jobs that Americans don't have enough qualified people for. The recent extension of OPT for Science & Engineering degree holders is great, but even better would be just let them have a H1B and take away the quote. - Eric Ledova - Job Reviews from Inside Employees http://www.ledova.com

Fangavella
Fangavella

If this were all true, then all the flood of Indian workers I see in our office would all be doing math/engineering design. Nope; doing the same work, for less, than other Americans that were tossed to the curb in previous layoffs. Company also has a 'diversification' policy - however, there is no 'diversity' - it is just an insular group of India folks who only associate with one another. High-minded claims are one thing; seeing the actual effects in the work place and over the years, is quite another. (Also don't care for the high-minded put-down of title; if you disagree with his premise, then you are at loss for sanity. The voices in my head say I'm very sane, thank you velly much)

slenderbone
slenderbone

Programmers, administriators and Enigineers with Bachelors in mathematics/computer science degrees should all be required to have a professional license to work in the USA the same as a PE, Physician, Lawyer, RN, CPA etc.. Creating standards and bariers to entry are the only way to stop flooding the labor market with cheap labor. It seems to me that when you look at the various states PE license boards that they are trying to develop standards but in this regard Computer Science is still a relatively new field. I think you would be required to pass the math and electrical exams but the trouble is the exams and standards for the specific career field parts of the exam. Arcitecture, electrical, civil and the many other fields of engineering have been around a long time and their standards are set. This is where you folk need to be foccusing your attention. Lower level helpdesk, tech support, hardware and copier repair could organize if they had the numbers to get the leverage they need to make demands.

gregbo
gregbo

The arguments put forth by Chambers, Ballmer, Schmidt, et al basically amount to a "he said, she said" back-and-forth. In other words, there is no agreed-upon criteria that would determine what constitutes "qualification" for a given tech job, or whether one individual is more qualified than the other. Unlike the healthcare profession, in which one acquires licenses to practice medicine and nursing through open, transparent processes, the tech industry has nothing. If you want to make arguments about how tech hiring should be like Olympic participation, the criteria for competing on USA Olympic teams is quite open and transparent. Everyone can see what the athletes are doing, and can make reasonably objective comparisons. Futhermore, there are methods of determining whether athletes are employing unfair advantages, such as steroids, and stiff penalties for doing so (such as expulsion from the Games). I'd also add that there are people who've had to train H-1B workers in the jobs they were doing well, only to see themselves replaced by said H-1B workers. The H-1B workers did not acquire these jobs through competition in an open, transparent process. Failure to employ openness and transparency in tech employment will just result in more of the US' brightest and best going into professions such as healthcare.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Even if you manage to get US companies to pay higher wages, they will still have to compete against those, who don't.

gridley
gridley

I have been following this discussion for the past few days and it has been enlightening. Especially the concept of Republic vs Democracy, It was also nice to see input from from individuals from countries other than the United States. The general consensus seems to be that the H1B visas are hurting the US economy. That in itself I find hard to believe, we have always looked to immigrants for new ideas. What is hurting this country is the abuse of this program. Hiring H1B visa holders to replace American workers for non-technical jobs just to lower wages and costs for American companies is a sham. I also found it interesting to see the sponsored links that accompanied this discussion, were from companies or individuals to promote this atrocity, but, I digress. It's not the immigrants with their H1B visas that are hurting this country it's corporate greed. And it has transcended the American economy aided by our elected representatives. Every piece of legislation passed in this country is done so because corporate lobbyists have lined the pockets of our congressmen to enable their special interests. The examples are NAFTA, the Tax Codes and the Bankruptcy Reform Act. Accountability is what it all boils down to and the American public needs to start demanding their elected officials start representing them and not whoever contributes the most to their pocket. Their is no problem with the H1B visas, it's upholding the intent of those laws. It's time to start writing your congressmen and demanding action. If we continue on this path we will lose much more than just a few jobs.

bobc4012
bobc4012

No - plenty of qualified people in this country aleady. The GREEDY CEO's just don't want to pay the money.

je_wilson
je_wilson

So you must depend on a pay check from an multinational corporate to profess these views. Have you ever actually held a tech job, or visited the serfs at the multinationals? With this is the kind of limbaw-shill that will finish wrecking the U.S

Ike_C
Ike_C

On paper qualified people are more readibly available in other countries. One big problem that we have in our country is that technical IT training is much too expensive. Similar training in other countries is affordable. We are not able to train our people fast enough because many cannot afford it, and companies are no longer as willing to help pay for it.

sandersonsite
sandersonsite

hahahah - what cracks me up is that you all live under the delusion that the US is a leader in Tech.... The US is a big consumer in Tech - and some good stuff has come out of the US I am not trying to debate this - but the percentage of stuff that comes out of the US compared to the percentage that comes out of other countries..... Hahhaha....Leader...muahahahah (evil laugh)....now I know how Bush got elected....you guys are getting leader confused with Mediocre...(Dubbya is Mediocre on his good days) But for a second assume that the US is a leader in tech and not just a great big consumer.... Back to the topic though - I agree with the OP. I think you have the wrong idea what a H1B visa is for, and how it works. All that rubbish about wages and slavery...you think someone bright enough to get a Bachelors degree is going to get to the US, see that they are getting paid substantially less than others in the same field and not just find a different company to sponsor them? Once your in the country, looking for another job becomes much easier - you can attend interviews for example....And the H1B visa are for skills that are in shortage....so presumably these highly skilled workers would be able to shop around a little as the demand is greater than the supply for their skills...... Companies know this so they will price their salaries / wages accordingly. You guys live in THE capitalist society and yet sometimes I think a lot of you forget what Capitalism means and how it works. J

VMtheVM
VMtheVM

I am an H1B worker in US and here's what I have to say to all this discussion: 1. H1B's aren't a burden to the US society. They come here to study in US universities (usually), without scholarships, and save money to pay it off and eventually help their family. I see nothing wrong in that. They pay taxes and eventually most of them have to go back to India too. If all foreign students move out of US universities I wonder how they will survive. 2. Granted some H1Bs are morons and I have seen some too, but I have also seen Americans like that. That generalization is wrong. 3. Also all H1Bs don't work for lower wages. I have seen alot of them make well over six-figure salaries. Even I don't make that bad either. 4. American's aren't lazy but I have seen quite a few who become too comfortable in their jobs, coming at 10 leaving at 4. If you have young bright people willing to work more and for cheaper salaries there's nothing wrong in the company preferring them. 5. Having said that I have also seen LOTS of H1Bs make fake resumes and get into jobs and at times the clients do end up hiring them based on their performance at work. So what do we do? First ensure all H1Bs have a sort of entrance test (IQ may be) so that you have people who actually deserve to be here. And then, do background checks. All consulting companies hiring H1Bs need to prove the experience of them candidates and clients company should verify this as required by law. And last given preference to those people in the H1B allotments who have higher education be it in US or abroad. Also, all H1Bs don't leave miserably so please stop generalizing things. If America is what it is now it's because they had the brightest and hard-working. Lets the ones that fit the bill stay here, while others can go back. And yes, US doesn't need to increase H1Bs. Even I am worried when I see others H1Bs working at low rates and faking their experiences. It's hard on the honest, hard-working foreign workers too!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

1. Most young Americans don't have what it takes to do the work. (ability) Can't even make change. 2. Most American schools can't, won't or don't teach the needed skills. (training) Home room study anyone? 3. Most young Americans discipline, they all want to be rock stars etc. You tube or as I can it boob tube 4. The only way the US is going to get the right stuff is to get it off shore. Case in point: I once had to hire for a team and the few Americans that could even do the work all thought they should be paid more than the company president, work when the felt like it, play video games at work and show up looking like a dock worker. I told HR that I could file the room with kids from some other country that would, show up on time, work at least a full day, appear in a suit and tie if needed and for the most part wouldn't have "social problems." They would also work for a reasonable salary. I did and pissed off a whole company worth of Americans, but I got the job done right, on time, on budget and with the least amount of disruption. Until America is willing to look at itself with an unsparing eye to put it's house in order things won't change and will probably get worse. Americans will probably end up taking in the world's laundry to pay the bills.

maggie_t
maggie_t

Twenty years ago the quality of these workers was much higher than I'm seeing now. The English language skills actually existed, the IT understanding was more rigorous and they were better trained. Now, I have to ask and cross-interrogate to get to the answer because the worker always says 'yes': Is the abend in this program? - yes. Where is the output? Oh, the abend is over in this program instead - yes. Is the missing data in the input file - yes. Let's have a look, oh, it is not in the input file - yes. Let's back up, where did you last see the missing data? and so on. It's driving me nuts! I can't take on his work but he can't do it himself. This guy - like all the others - is touted by the contract company as a 'senior level developer' - a gross exaggeration. And it would be suicide for me to try to get this guy removed - either job-wise I would get booted in the next RIF or I would have to commmit ritual suicide because of the next one I'm stuck with. I've seen too many bosses snowed by the contract company rep. I've also seen too many bosses who ASSUME that someone with that 'background' automatically has the smarts to do the job - when they hear that 'yes' they think it's true! And yes - there is a LOT of hiding behind the language issue, a LOT of excuses. We're getting scammed, out projects are being affected and we're being taken for fools with money. Get me someone better than the local run of the mill developers and I'd be happy. What I'm getting are workers who are hard to communicate with who can't do the work. Face it - these are NOT the best and brightest and we should NOT be holding jobs open for them. I would LOVE to hear what they have to say about themselves candidly. I want to know how they can sleep at night knowing what frauds they are.

Scatcatpdx
Scatcatpdx

Quick, where was Women's all around gold medal wining gymnast Nastia Liukin was born? Need a hint: http://www.nbcolympics.com/athletes/athlete=621/bio/index.html She is the perfect H1B example. First, the only way she got on the team was to beat out hundreds of aspiring native born American Gymnast. Second not all American gymnast hold the skill level she has. Ones ability to perform is based on physical and psychological factors that are different from one person to the next and not easy substitutable. If we play the entitlement game as the H1B detractor, we have to allow a lesser performing native born gymnast fill the spot on the team before we could ever allow Nastia. The important fact is not ever IT engineer or scientist performs the same. Knowledge is sticky, that is not easy transferable from one person to another. It is conceivable that persons of skill level, personality, intelligence and other factors would make it impossible for a native to substitute for an H1B engineer or vice versa. To prohibit a company to not hire the best person to fulfill the job is a travesty and hurts us in the long run. Populist entitlements such demand American be hired first is an invitation to meritocracy and violation of rights of the company to trade with whomever the company wishes to. There is no such thing a right to a job.

arignote
arignote

You need to be a US citizen to be employed in the federal government. However much of the IT work is being outsourced to ?Beltway Bandits body shops?, contracting companies that don?t have to hire US citizens. In at least one department of a contractor that I know of, the staff has changed from about 8-10 with a diverse mix citizens and immigrants, to over 20 H1B Indians. Many of the new staff are not qualified and don?t get training, so the answer to any problem is they need more staff. The problems: Government staff is losing skills by not performing the work ourselves (we get the paperwork). Government staff has scapegoats for bad projects. I once had a manager tell me to stop programming on a project in which I was team lead, so he could point the finger at the contractors if something went wrong. The government pays around $200k/year/contractor. The contractors don?t get nearly that much. Government staff is background checked, finger-printed and have to swear to uphold and defend the laws of the United States. No such requirement for contractors that sometime have access to sensitive information. About half of the contractors don?t work on site. The solution: Put government work back in the hands of government employees. Use fewer on-site contractors to supplement work. That way it?s easier to weed out the bad ones. Pay decent wages to the contractors. ? Less incentive to hire slaves.

~Atheria
~Atheria

This is most eloquently put cblake. What you need to do is clean this up a bit (edit just slightly for misplaced capitals and garbage symbols that came across on my computers -- yes plural) and then sent it with all of our signatures to Congress! The politicians AND the "heads" of corporations are greedy, non-communicative slugs who should be LISTENING to this forum if they want to stabilize this country's economy. This argument (for and against) is THE reason why America is sliding down a slippery slope to economic absurdity. I will sign this as a petition! Or... what we really need is a unified voice which has been traditionally "voted down" by fearful IT people all over this country - a UNION. The last piece of this puzzle is free and business sponsored training for anyone and everyone who shows an interest and aptitude for IT in any capacity. In some MIDDLE SCHOOLS A+ has been taught for over five YEARS and it's stuck! From there those kids have a basis upon which to build some very work valuable skills. Training, no outsourcing and unification of IT professionals are all parts of the same puzzle that have not been properly and postively addressed. atheria@*nospam*gmail.com

megabaum
megabaum

Good post! I agree, the role of our government IS in fact to protect and serve its citizens =). It's astounding that we have to debate something that is so fundamental to our value system in the USA. Ugh! This is a basic principle, which has been dismissed due to $money and greed. Let's not forget that US citizens are $paying for the government to function resonsibly and in the interest of it's citizens =) Simple concept. However unfortunate, the US government and the WTO representatives from the US, are not protecting us; in fact they are doing the exact opposite, they are knowingly sacrificing US jobs for $$campaign dollars and corporate profits! This is painfully obvious to the majority of folks discussing these issues. Even my mom, a house wife of 40 years, "gets it". She does a better job then Jason, forming a reasonable conclustion. Just last night she said: "Our companies are shipping manufacturing overseas, using the cheap labor to make products and they don't have to pay taxes to get the products back into the US... and that's not fair!". Sometimes it really is that simple. It's going to be an interesting 4 years! *We've got the Doha Rounds sitting on the table, ready to be restructured by our next president. So, our success is going to depend much on whether or not Obama IS who he says he is. Is he really intelligent enough and willing to gain an understanding of these issues? And more important, is he REALLY willing to stand up against corporate interests $$$$, the WTO, and other politicians and restructure the H1B/L1 program in the US? We can only hope that we're not going to get "more of the same" with Obama. He claims that he doesn't have to answer to corporate interests and he wants to change the way Washington works! His management of the H1B issues is going demonstrate whether or not he's going to keep his promise. Right now, based on what I'm seeing, Obama isn't going to change the way Washington works; he isn't who he says he is; and he isn't going to address the H1B issues that we discuss on this board. Unfortunately, we're going to have to do much more as citizens, if we want solve the H1B issues. After November, if the Doha Round agreement is approved (as is), the US will allow an "unlimited" amount of H1B/L1 workers enter the USA. **And we think it's bad now?? It's going to be a disaster...if this goes through. In the meantime, we've got Michelle Obama and her speeches about how we'll give Amnesty to 12,000,000 + illegal immigrants in the USA. Wow, more "cheap labor"... what a deal! IF YOU WANT TO HELP: Go to NumbersUSA, sign up and send faxes to the congress/senate! www.numbersUSA.com As far as this article goes... it doesn't make any logical sense and it's fundamentally flawed. Jason uses bogus examples, such as the Olympics, to try and support his theory that we "shouldn't limit the number of H1Bs in this US". I question his ability to connect the dots, or form formitable conclusions around any of these issues! ~ Good post!

gridley
gridley

If you believe that H1B visas are not taking away American jobs then you have been wearing blinders for much too long. Just do a search on how many jobs Tata Consulting has replaced American workers with their H1B visa employees, just to name one company. There are thousands of available IT personnel, the catch is no one wants to pay more than entry level and the number of entry level has dropped because college students have seen the exodus of IT jobs to offshoring and enrolled in different majors. This whole farce has been orchestrated by big business to cut wages - plain and simple and the American government has been complicit.

mike
mike

Why not advertise the jobs to our country of 300 million people? You'd be surprised what Americans can do when someone gives us a chance. Mike Rothschild, Bright Future Jobs

lcarliner
lcarliner

If there is such as shortage, how come I/T professionsals who are being displaced by H1-B holders from Tata Consultancy being required to train their replacements as a condition of receiving severance benefits? This is not unlike concentration camp victims of World War II being forced to dig their own graves. Why is Elaine Chao smirking the other way while this is happening? This requirement really constitute prima facia evidence of fraud and deceit and both Nielsen Media and Tata Consultancy need to be prosecuted under fraud and racketeerin laws!

rkfairchild
rkfairchild

This is definitely a reality. Other industries have been dealing with it for quite some time. It really starting hitting IT hard after the triple whammies in 2000 and 2001, including some very greedy and criminal CEOs/CFOs. But when a highly skilled IT worker has to train his replacement (actually they are incented to with $$$ so they know it's coming) and then is laid off with a mortgage and a couple of kids in college, you have to believe there is a problem. You have to admit there is a problem before you can find a good solution. Limiting H1Bs (not eliminating) is one reasonable thing to do, but it certainly isn't the complete answer. Companies use H1B's to an excess because it is easy, quick and cheap solution to a problem they participated in creating in a critical part of the US economy.

barretalexander
barretalexander

The H-1B visa program allows American companies and universities to hire foreign scientists, engineers and programmers. Unfortunately, H-1B law lacks adequate safeguards to protect US workers from being displaced and is abused to provide cheap labor. Although requirements say employers must pay the "prevailing wage," numerous loopholes mean there is little real-world wage protection for either US citizens or the H-1B guest workers. Moreover, employers almost never have to certify that no qualified U.S. workers are available before hiring an H-1B. Certification is nearly an automatic rubber stamp. Congress needs to increase domestic worker safeguards, tell the Department of Labor to stop rubberstamping H-1B applications, and resist pressure from corporate lobbyists to double the annual H-1B visa limit. Immediate Calls and Faxes Needed to Help Stop H-1B Increase Posted Sunday Sept. 16, 2007 With press attention focusing on the Iraq and the illegal alien amnesty, some Senators are planning to sneak an H-1B cap increase into the defense appropriations bill this week. This is a well planned attack. Earlier this month, 13 state governors sent a letter to Congress asking for more H-1B visas. Additionally, skilled immigrant groups are scheduled to march on Washington for more H-1Bs and green cards this week. Take action on Sunday Go to NumbersUSA.com and send these faxes: Tell Congress to resist H-1B increases Your governor is pushing for major H-1B increases Take action on Monday Telephone your Senator and make these points: 1.) Tell your Senator NO H-1B INCREASE. Tell him that the H-1B has hurt your professional career with stagnant wages, job-loss and under-employment. 2.) Ask your Senator if he or she remembers the "Jobless Recovery" that lasted until March 2004. That's just 3 years ago! The same companies that are now asking for more H-1B workers were laying off thousands then. Remind him that the Senate's huge H-1B increase in 2001 made a bad recession even worse. Let's not make the same mistake by increasing the H-1B count again. 3.) Warn your Senator that many economists now believe another recession is likely because of the mortgage crisis, and the job market may already be deteriorating. In August 2007 the economy lost 4,000 jobs, yet 160,000 new jobs each month are needed just to keep up with new entrants to the job market. Call the capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (877) 762-8762. Who represents me?

jkameleon
jkameleon

It's the normal course of events. Every industry was new, exiting, and glamurous at its beginning, and every industry eventually matured. IT is no exception. When railroad was introduced, salaries of engine drivers and firemen were higher than railway CEO salaries, for the dangers they were allegedly facing. Lokomotives were new and unpredictable beasts back then, and their driving was undoubtfully mysterious and creative work. Nowadays, this profession everything but glamorous. Same thing happened to pilots and air traffic controllers. No amount of striking could stop the commodization of their jobs, even without offshoring. Textile industry was probably the most sophisticated, hi tech industry in existance while it was in its adolescent years. It undoubtfully had its share of geeks, who were inventing, maintaining and programming such machines http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_loom It brought enormous economic advantage to the then British and French economies. Nonetheless, it was offshored all over their vast empires, local geeks be damned. The same thing is happening to the IT industry now, and there is no way of stopping it. IT is no longer new, it's no longer hi tech, no longer exciting, no longer creative, no longer glamurous. It became part of everyday life, just like the railway or air traffic. Young people already know that (http://www.mndaily.com/photo.php?photoID=36764) as well as many rank and file employees. Universities have yet to face the new reality. The only thing that could, and should be done about this is to silence the shortage shouting brigade (http://www.zazona.com/SHAMEH1B/Skunks.htm). Shortage shouting is world wide phenomena, it's not just about American H1B visas. The main culprits are universities trying to maximize their tuition income, and industry, which, of course, prefers surplus of talent. Shortage shouting is not necessarily planned. When profit margins get thinner, and IT companies start to struggle, the most handy excuse for falling short of expectations is talent shortage: "We couldn't met our business goals, because we could't fing the RIGHT (with 20 years dotnet experience that is), and affordable talent". Once repeated often enough, it starts to echo through the mass media. IMHO, this is the main reason why talent shortage shouting always reaches its feverest pitch just before the recession. Now, consider this. Getting a college degree (or any other education for that matter) requires fair amount of effort, time, as well as money, even in countries with state sponsored education. There always are opportunity costs. Education is an investment. Time, money, and effort young people invest into their education are later to expected to be returned through higher paying jobs. Directing young people into certain studies just to create "deep affordable talent pool" (this, for example http://www.gizmag.com/robots-reinvigorate-computer-science-classrooms/9773/, or this http://eng.plakaty.ru/posters?cid=4&id=1975) is, from the moral point of view, no better than two cent stock pumping and dumping boiler room operation, and it should be treated as such.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Who cares which thrall developed/invented something and where. What matters is who owes the invention, who owes the intellectual property. And that's neither me, neither you, nor that H1B vishalmasih guy, nor anybody else around here.

ulelea2
ulelea2

"Having said that I have also seen LOTS of H1Bs make fake resumes and get into jobs and at times the clients do end up hiring them based on their performance at work. So what do we do? First ensure all H1Bs have a sort of entrance test (IQ may be) so that you have people who actually deserve to be here. And then, do background checks" In my experience it is always the Americans making up the fake resume information and if you were to look at cases in the media you will see it is usually Americans that do that type of stuff every one form CEO?s to deans/presidents of schools and colleges. And then they mess up along the way leading to someone looking into their past, so no they do not get hired on by clients because they really cannot cut it in the long haul. When I joined my current company they did everything but look in my underwear, poke and sniff, however at the time they had NO policy in doing background checks on US citizens. So what happened? They hired people who said they had PhD's, PharmD's, MD's etc and NO ONE checked them out. So guess what happened this year after several embarrassing incidents occurred? They started doing back ground checks for all the Americans and people started dropping like flies. So far this year about 15 people have been let go/resigned/left for lunch and never returned/escorted out by security all for lying on their resume. And those are only the ones that I know about because I worked closely with them. And my company only has about 700 employees. Your suggestions of IQ testing for H1Bs is insulting and indicates that you think that by merely being born in this country makes one more intelligent and more qualified for a job than a non citizen. Why not test everyone if you think that?s the way to go?

Brett.Blatchley
Brett.Blatchley

Though I have had some bad experiences, I have also had some good experiences with foreign workers. If we could get around the "bad actors," whether they are foreign, domestic, managerial, or technical, we would all be better-off. (Sadly there is no quick and easy way to do this.) I think a lot of the comments here reflect the frustration of people of good-will who cannot do much to mitigate the actions of the "bad actors."

mihel
mihel

While there are bad apples in every barrel, I seriously doubt that all the American technical workers (if they were actually "experienced" tech workers, and not local teenagers)wanted to do was "play video games at work and show up looking like a dock worker". I do agree that worker productivity and loyalty has seen a drastic decline, but, is it possible that the decline could be as a result of managers, like yourself, being so readily willing to displace tax-paying Americans and hire foreign workers for the sole purpose of a better bottom line. I beleive that employer's loyalty to the worker died many, many years before the workers loyalty and dedication to the employer did. All that aside, I was just wondering how many zeros your bonus check contained after replacing your American workers with foreigners?

jkameleon
jkameleon

1. I wouldn't know about that, I'm not an American. I doubt American youth could be that bad, though. Your opinion sounds pretty much like an old man's rant. 2. The usual excuse of a businessman, whose business is about to go underwater. Global economic situation, today's youth, bad weather, everything but his incompetence. 3. Young people are not stupid. They know where the money is, as well as where the money isn't. 4. This is the only point where I partially agree with you. Things are generally done better offshore. Reason for this is simple. Techies from overseas are far more enthusiastic and dedicated to their work, because they can see future for themselves in their profession. Techies from developed world can't. > They would also work for a reasonable salary. Ha!

Brett.Blatchley
Brett.Blatchley

That may be where the newst American workers are, but I seriously doubt that that is where most of the people here are.

Brett.Blatchley
Brett.Blatchley

I've run into this too, years before the outsourcing craze. I was the technical and project lead for an embedded system that was to be used in Mexico. The machine we designed was a state-of-the-art system to read and sort irregular documents. It employed image processing, AI, OCR and realtime control. However, it's outputs were designed to be fed to a tabulating data-processing system. Well, the tabulating-end was conventional applications programming, and should have been simple. However, the Mexican nationals who wrote it coded the application as a single, huge, cascaded if/then statement. It was slow and very brittle code. But it was still conventional code. Interfacing to our new machine involved the inclusion of a simple "input" statement (which we implemented for them). Well, in the end, after 18 months and almost 2 million dollars of development, the nationals complained to their boss that THEY could not maintain OUR code. Of course, they were never supposed to maintain the AI/OCR/realtime code -- they were app "programmers" and we were systems peoples. Nevertheless, they convinced their boss that they couldn't use our machine because it was too complex for their software. All through the 18 months, we have been getting "yes" "yes", "no problemo." My colleagues and I were completely blind-sided by this, and we came to see subtle signs of outright deceit (this new machine would put some M-nationals out of work). I think that without a very clear communication channel where people on both sides have an almost native grasp of each others' language, you are in danger of show-stopping issues and outright sabotage.

megabaum
megabaum

Richard B, So based on what I'm reading, I'm thinking you probably don't understand the H1B issue, as it relates to the US "techie industry" today. This issue is specific to H1B/L1 "temporary" workers, with NO specialty skills, who are assuming US jobs for 30-60% below the standard $rate/salary. So, here's the deal in a nut shell and thus the reason that the Olympics and Nastia Lukin are "sucky" examples: 1) Gymnastics really has nothing to do with the "techie" industry, which is what this article is supposed to be about. 2) To further educate you and Jason, Nastia Lukin became a US CITIZEN in 2000! On the flip side, the H1B program (a.k.a. Nonimmigrant program) that Jason is talking about applies to non citizens and NON-IMMIGRANTS -e.g. H1B temporary workers- so this has nothing to do with Nastia Lukin and her family who realized US citizenship in 2000. Their family and their talents are wlecome! 3) Shawn Johnson's coach, Liang Chow, is also a US Citizen. He is also welcome here. Along with Nastia, he also has absolutely nothing to do with the H1B, Nonimmigrant program in the US. 4) Since Olympic careers are for US citizens only, Nastia would never have come the US on an H1B Visa in the first place! Again, H1Bs are 'temporary' workers and Nastia has nothing to do with the H1B program. She and her family clearly moved here, in hopes of becoming US citizens and sharing in the American Olympic dream! The USA embraces the talents of US citizens and legal immigrants today; Nastia is an example of just that and the doors are open for special talents, no matter where they come from. 5) As a hypothetical, suppose that Nastia's father came here on an H1B visa, to coach gymnastics. Even if this were true, and I'm not sure if it is or not, this would one of the few scenarios where the U.S. would be smart to approve an H1B Visa, as recruiting this type of talent represents the spirit and the purpose of the H1B program. 6) The entire Olympic analogy is further ridiculous since the largest beneficiary of the H1B Program, being India, doesn't even participate in the Olympics. It doesn't get much weaker than that. So the Olympics is simply the most illogical example a person can use, when discussing the impacts of H1B workers on the "tech" industry. It's also quite silly to use Nastia as an example as to why we should not limit H1Bs, since she has nothing to do with the H1B program. Basic common sense, for those who understand the H1B program. It's also illogical for Jason to insinuate that a cap on H1B's would reduce our capacity to enjoy beautiful talents, like Nastia Lukin, since she is actually an example of how we can recruit talent, even with our current H1B cap. >So John uses an example that actually works against his own argument; it's actually pretty ammusing =) In fact the Olympics is arguably a 'non-example' since it has nothing to do with the H1B program. The US Olympics organization recruits talent from US citizens, not the H1B labor pool. And -even with a cap on H1B visas-, the USA is obviously able to embrace special talents, like Nastia Luckin =). Bogus article, bogus examples, sorry. Go USA mk.

ccbp
ccbp

All things were equal. However, I think in many cases it is simply a matter of cost cutting, regardless of whether your skills and talents are the best fit or not. I think that companies must invest in their employees. It's like a marriage, you don't find the right one and live happily ever after. That is a myth. You work together and grow together and develop deep and lasting bonds. I think in far too many instances, that is what is lacking from the workplace these days. In the long run, the companies that cut cost no matter the price, will be hurt, but I wish they would save themselves and the employees who want to do a good job for them the pain. Each side sets up the "opposing" side's argument and strikes it down. Unfortunately it is not that simple. Some companies really do need the H1B workers they hire and some are simply trying to drive down tech costs even as tech becomes more and more vital to the day to day operations of just about everything. Clearly the bottom-line benefit of commoditizing tech can be seen. In the meantime, good qualified people are under and unemployed and waiting for the market to balance does not pay their mortgage or motivate them to do their best. Sure none of us is really entitled to anything are we? But it's a lot easier to grasp and own that concept when the shoes with holes in them are on someone else's feet. There are also lots of people out there who want large salaries for doing as little as possible which means the business will suffer and again, in the long run people will loose their livelihoods. They are like the people who feel it is OK to cheat the insurance company because they can, they are only thinking of themselves. It needs to come to a balance point for us to move forward. It goes too far to one side and then the other. I just hope the oscillation calms down enough to make real progress before all the fun and creativity is sucked out of the profession. In that scenario no one wins. Right now we seem to be stuck in a bad scenario where each person looks out for number one. They have to after all... The sad thing is that if they had each other's back, they would both go a heck of a lot further.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Olympics is race to the top. Competing at who's gonna work for less is race to the bottom.

lcarliner
lcarliner

When I worked for a contractor to the Environmental Protection Agency, the citizens requirement and security screenings were in effect. (1985) What has happened since? Louis. . .

wcrosby
wcrosby

They know Americans can't do the job, because they don't want them. Little problems like having to pay 401ks, giving vacation days, or not being able to keep them indentured make them unsatisfactory to the typical corporate manager.

jackie40d
jackie40d

I started from school and was OVER QUALIFIED for a long while as I knew stuff about programs they did not have . . So I started doing my own business and its now buy as hell some days . . I wish I had more hours in a day so I could sleep I had to download some drivers for a computer as the person whom had it deleted stuff here and there and soon not a lot worked ! So she is just going to be a POWER USER not Administrator. .

lcarliner
lcarliner

It is time for that smirk to be wiped off of the Secretary of Labor's Elaine Chao's face! It the claimed purpose of H1-B visas and all of its cousins is to fill shortage, then why, oh, why is the requirement for training one's replacement allowed. A good way to call the cheating company's bluff would be a requirement that the person assigned to provide training be given a four year employment contract at comparable adjusted pay as a condition. If the H1-B visa is being used honestly, then there is no need to fire the trainer. Elaine Chao continues to look the other way and smirk while this wholesale fraud continues. Moreover, her Labor Department continues to every bureaucratic trick in the book to deny badly needed job loss assistance training and transition help!

jkameleon
jkameleon

Or is it just usual hype IT industry is so full of? Even if IT actually is critical part of economy, this doesn't have to reflect positively on the treatment of its employees. I'd rather say it's exactly the opposite. There is no need for people, who work in the critical industry to be happy about their jobs, creative, or innovative. They should, above all, be expendable, so that no single one of them can bring any substantial portion of it to a halt.

dreron
dreron

Is that who use it? Who sell it? Who made it? Who designed it? or just plain old capitalist way: Who is making money with all off the previous... US have been spreading the free trade all over the world; why are you so surprised with it?s logical consequences?

jkameleon
jkameleon

There is no such thing as a "long run" it IT That "long lasting bonds" between employer and employee are thing of the past either. Any kind of bonds, as a matter of fact. Gone for good in the 1990s. IMHO, this is the dumbest piece about IT management ever written http://management.silicon.com/careers/0,39024671,39179632,00.htm Quote: Grassroots innovation, venture capital and new ideas stemming from the creative minds of young talent is the key to the success of UK technology in years to come. That future is being compromised by an overzealous, disloyal and over-capitalistic IT working community in the UK. Whicever moron wrote this, obviously wants capitalist labour market populated with communist workforce.

Scatcatpdx
Scatcatpdx

Your competition has under cut you. Sorry.

crlee311
crlee311

Our Senators (who are looking out for all of our best interests) just had a vote and decided to NOT extend eVerify. They want to hire illegals with bail-out money to help lower our unemployment rate...

arignote
arignote

That's what outsourcing is for! The contracting companies break the law for them. There is poor government oversight of contractors. For some government managers there is no incentive or oversight, they can get a job with the contracting company after retiring. The bottom line is the government does not save money on lowered paid workers.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Unless the contract specifies that employees must be US citizens, the requirement is and has always been that the individual must eligible for employment in the US. the only requirement I am aware of for government contractors is that they must use the E-Verify system (http://tinyurl.com/6228ey) to confirm employment eligibility.

lcarliner
lcarliner

Thanks to the Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts Supreme Court, non-citizens are denied all scintilla of whistle blower protection rights! Bad bosses are like a virtually undetectable cancer on an organization because of their ability to manipulate and conceal critical information that should flow to upper levels. Buy the time that the damage has been detected, the spread has reached an untreatable state. Slave labor building mission critical systems, such as medical therapy devices (like radiation emitting machines, heart pacemakers), air traffic control systems, stability control systems for automobiles, trucks and buses, should be items of deep concern for the public at large. Videos posted on YouTube by the Programmers Guild detail techniques used to manipulate the truth to deny U.S. citizens jobs and lie their way to be granted fraudulent H1-B visas and other similar permits while Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, the wife of Mitch McConnell, the wife of Senate Republican Minority leader, continues to smirk and look the other way.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so! ;) Your post = right on mark!

jkameleon
jkameleon

> Want to see how critical IT is to the economy, go to a bank, and ask the teller for some of your money. But tell him/her not to use any computer systems to verify your account information. Two words for the outcome: Good Luck! Want to see how truck drivers are critical to the economy, go to a supermarket, and try to buy some stuff not delivered by truck. Good Luck! ... No luck? So, truck driving really is critical to the economy. But does truck driver job satisfaction matter? God forbid! Satisfied or not, innovative or not, willing or unwilling- they must deliver in order for economy to function. If IT really is that critical, the same logic should apply to it as well. I emphasize "should", because trying to actually apply that logic in IT is... ummm... well... another matter. > No need for people that are innovative in a critical industry?!?!?!? Steam engines....screw 'em. Assembly line manufacturing...forget about it. Printing press...who wants to read a book, anyway? Pneumatic/hydraulic braking systems....BLAH. Magnetic tape storage...why bother? Of course there is need for a couple of people to be innovative in any industry, but only for a couple, not all of them. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of employees should not be innovative at all. The only thing smart, innovative people working at assembly line can invent are new methods of monkeywrenching.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...element of this post I remotely agree with is the part about not allowing any one single element of a company to grind the operations to a halt. Unfortunately, to a certain extent, you can only mitigate the threat so much; through things like col-locations, hot sites, division of authority, etc. Want to see how critical IT is to the economy, go to a bank, and ask the teller for some of your money. But tell him/her not to use any computer systems to verify your account information. Two words for the outcome: Good Luck! No need for people that are innovative in a critical industry?!?!?!? Steam engines....screw 'em. Assembly line manufacturing...forget about it. Printing press...who wants to read a book, anyway? Pneumatic/hydraulic braking systems....BLAH. Magnetic tape storage...why bother? Want to see how important employee satisfaction is to a firm, check out the Fortune 500 sometime, and then cross-reference that against the list of Best Places to work. You may be surprised!

jkameleon
jkameleon

Generally, this is not the guy who actually did the inventing.

jkameleon
jkameleon

At my age & burnout stage I just love my wheels spinning. Damn! I still don't understand how could I possibly lasted in this profession that long.

ccbp
ccbp

Hey thanks, Regardless of whether I agree or like what you said, it was a thoughtful post and I can definitely see the pragmatic value of a lot of what you say about "how things are". I guess I have always been at a disadvantage by being a golden rule type of guy. I'm not saintly or anything, just not cut throat enough to be a real success. I think a lot of tech types share some of this with me. We like doing things the right way technically because you feel good and creative when you solve a problem in a way that is extensible into the future and where possible, has forward reaching value. I've largely seen this translate into honesty and forthrightness in dealing with people as well. No not all tech workers are honest, but I think they tend to like honesty for the most par,t because ambiguity (in the data at least) is a discomforting thing to techies, we know it will bite you down the road. The 1990s were insane, and people took unfair advantage of people who didn't know any better. Some did know better and flushed the money anyway because it was making TONS of short term cash, stock value or both. It seemed like you could slap up a website, have a terrible business plan and someone would throw a million bucks at you. The times were heady, but I knew they couldn't last. I'm actually glad we corrected from that manic phase, the crash could have been a lot worse. I do not make the long term decisions for my company but I care anyway, because those decisions have a large impact on the general climate and affect the day to day workplace dynamics. The "good old" days may be long gone, but I miss and will always try to revive working with a team of others towards a common goal, trying to do the right things along the way and being passionate about our output as individuals. Once I do not care, it is time for me to leave my job. Without passion, without doing my best, I am spinning my wheels and there is very little I hate more than spinning my wheels. It might not make me a business success, but it is just part of who I am. I've been a lot happier since I decided to work with passion and let succeeding take care of itself. If it works out, great, if not, I am smart and I'll find another path. Anyway, I think that hiring foreign workers is fine as long as they are paid the same and are being hired for the stated reasons. If they are being hired just to save money short term and practices like those mentioned in the video clip are being used to keep qualified workers out, it will swing back around in a bad way for those involved. Yeah I am just an old fashioned type I guess, I think in the end doing the right thing morally is also the prudent thing to do.

jkameleon
jkameleon

> Didn't you mention that IT is actually a race, a race to the bottom? "Race to the bottom" is political & economical phenomena. It happens everywhere, not just IT. Google it up, and read more about it, if you are interested. Jason Hinter & friends here are actually a race to the bottom advocates. They are encouraging us to participate in "Working for peanuts" Olympics. Whoever collects the money we fail to make during this competition, will be better off in short, as well as long term. > I think if you bring back the long run, Don't expect it to be brought back anytime soon. Long-term thinking requires faith in the future, and above all, trust. These things are very easy to undermine and convert to cash, but next to impossible to restore. In IT, they went to hell a long time ago, during dotcom boom in the 1990s. > It's inconceivable to me that so many think in these terms. You better concieve it, because short term thinking is the best possible strategy for a salaried tech employee. You won't work for the same company long enough to see any long term consequences of your actions and decisions. You probably won't even stay in tech profession that long. Tech careers seldomly last more than 10 or 15 years due to burnout, age discrimination, and economical factors. The strategical and long term problems your profession is facing are not yours to deal with, neither to care about. Business is not yours, profits are not yours, so problems are not yours either. Leave them to someone else, to someone who's paid far better than you. If you make a technical decision, which is detrimental on the long run, you can usually get away with it. For example, if you are pressured by workload and deadlines, you can always burden your employer with so called "technical debt" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_debt) without any consequences. On the top of the IT hirearchy is usually someone with MBA, law, or economy degree, someone, who doesn't understand technology. Even if management cares about anything but quartely bottom line, it's unable to connect causes and consequences when installments come due years later- if they come at all. Last but not least: Banish the thought of any moral scruples you might have. The company you are working for doesn't have any either. Self interest should be the highest value for all sides involved.

ccbp
ccbp

I see what that person is saying but it's a cop out to say, this or that decision I make is not my fault, it's an industry problem. I get the bigger perspective they are trying to bring, but it's still basically flawed. If you own a company and treat your workers poorly, you are doing the wrong thing, even if it is an industry standard, and you should be called to task for it. That's part of the "long term" I am talking about. People need to think about the consequences of their actions, both the employer and the employee, without starting there we just end up stuck in a morass.

ccbp
ccbp

...is that as you state, there is no long run. That's the core of the problem in many areas today, not just IT. I think if you bring back the long run, you solve lots of problems. I'm not saying to stifle innovation, or be lackadaisical about your business, I'm saying make wise, forward-thinking decisions as opposed to quickly putting out fires. Didn't you mention that IT is actually a race, a race to the bottom? With longer term thinking that would not need to be so. People are so worked up to make some decision yesterday, they make stupid decisions that ends up costing them more over the "long run" which pitifully in today's business climate is what a quarter, two? It's inconceivable to me that so many think in these terms. A well thought out plan is still likely to be better than a hastily conceived one even if it is second to market. There are exceptions, of course, but I think overall, that is the case. All you have to do is look at any number of "then came" companies that took an existing product, did it better and lasted longer than the innovator. We still desperately need innovation, but we also need wisdom and good practice.

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