Ok, here´s a little rant. I keep on reading the whining about IT outsourcing to India (note that I don´t live in India and don´t do outsourcing jobs) by US IT workers, and you know what? They are a bunch of brats who believe they are special.
They are not.
Hell IT workers in general are not. Those of you who have managed to make a living with it for the last 10 or 15 years, and want to keep your standard of living, learn a new skill, because it´s all downhill from here.
Let´s start with the outsourcing complaints:
- They only move the jobs to India because it´s cheaper: Duh. Perhaps if you had bothered learning basic economics, you´d have seen it coming.
- The Indian companies are doing a worse job: The answer is: maybe somewhat, and it doesn´t matter.
Work in a capitalist economy is a simple transaction. You get money, you give up a piece of your life and effort and productivity.
Now, if you charge less, you can often get away with producing less, within reason. Besides, the IT outsourcing is only starting, come back in 5 years and we can have a reasonable measure of how it went. The companies that are coming back after a year can just as easily go back to India in another year or two, and viceversa.
It´s globalization of labour, just like making baseballs in Haiti. I bet the first Haitian baseballs sucked, too.
- It´s not the same because it´s skilled labour: it isn´t. You live under the mistaken idea that IT work is somehow difficult. Let me tell you: it isn´t.
Here is the real problem:
Programmers spend their sweat tryong to make things easier: well, IT is way easier than it was 10 years ago, and it is getting easier all the time.
While there will still be a role for the superfreak who can hack the really hard stuff, 99.9% of IT workers are no such a thing. In fact, 90% of the really bad IT guys still manage to make their systems survive. And when they can´t, they call a freelance that´s smarter and charges more.
Most of you guys, had you been born in 1880, would be train engineers. That was a profession that required great skill and was respected.
However, it was never quite as respected as IT, because of the prejudice against manual labour, and it never went so low as IT will go because there is a limit on how simple an engine´s "interface" can be.
The required skill set of a IT worker nowadays, while wide, consists of simple stuff. Practical networking is not really hard at all, system management is both getting simpler, more centralized (and thus easier to hire from a company, or to automate), and less frequent.
Hopefully, software reliability will improve, and thus disaster recovery requirements will become simpler to manage, as will contingency plans.
Look at it this way: the only reason why IT skills are needed is that development has been lacking. But development is monotonously growing, nothing is forgotten in that branch, so IT work is steadily reducing.
On the other hand, the Internet boom mistakenly lead a generation into the IT field, producing a huge glut on the market.
So, the size of the IT worker market is reducing, and the offer is growing... bad news for you.
But why don´t IT workers see this?
- They overestimate themselves, and underestimate other professionals.
Mostly, they believe that because others don´t understand their work, the others are dumber and they are smarter. Hello? You are probably dumber than 90% of the lawyers, and 95% of the doctors out there, and you don´t understand their jobs, either.
The computer guy that says stuff like "how can he understand it, he´s a lawyer?" is cliche... and a sure sign that the computer guy is a moron.
- They overestimate their work´s importance
IT guys are about as important as the cooling and heating guy. Less if it´s too hot or too cold.
Sure, computers are necessary for many jobs. So is power and a timely coffee cup. IT guys are labour. Skilled, yes, but just labour. And remember, there are 100K guys in India willing to do it cheaper.
I have seen people working with a DOS based system, without much trouble, without any IT assistance (except a timely computer vaccuming) for 15 years or so.
- Sense of self-entitlement
Who says you deserve a USD70K pay? The market. If you don´t agree that you deserve it, you are SOL. When the market pushes the number down (and it will), you will still be SOL.
Oh, sure, you will have temporary aids by the government, who will probably put some trade barriers of some kind or another. Eventually, those always fail (look at the US steel industry).
The funny part here is, of course, that most IT guys claim to be libertarian, even to like Ayn Rand. Well, that´s always easy when there´s money, aint´it? Well, I bet in 10 years most of you will be eating crow for what you say about unions now.
A bit long, but here´s the short version: You are going to become skilled factory workers in the next 10 years. Get used to it.