Wired on outsourcing

Very informative and balanced article in Wired this month on IT outsourcing to India. Check out The New Face of the Silicon Age.

And therein lies the opportunity for Americans. It’s inevitable that certain things – fabrication, maintenance, testing, upgrades, and other routine knowledge work – will be done overseas. But that leaves plenty for us to do. After all, before these Indian programmers have something to fabricate, maintain, test, or upgrade, that something first must be imagined and invented. And these creations must be explained to customers and marketed to suppliers and entered into the swirl of commerce in a fashion that people notice, all of which require aptitudes that are more difficult to outsource – imagination, empathy, and the ability to forge relationships. After a week in India, it seems clear that the white-collar jobs with any lasting potential in the US won’t be classically high tech. Instead, they’ll be high concept and high touch. [Wired]

I agree with the author–It hurts that some folks are losing their jobs as a direct result of overseas competition. But, this is the new deal so let’s adjust. I know hardcore programmers may not feel the same way, but I get more enjoyment out of the “high concept and high touch” aspect of IT than sitting down and cranking out low-level code for months on end. If other countries can do a higher quality job “…at the wages of a Taco Bell counter jockey” then that’s how it should be.

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