Saturday, July 15, 2006

Head Counts

Considering the per square feet density of desi programmers and testers in my current workplace, one would find it impossible to believe that these jobs are now extinct in the US and are almost completely outsourced. Some other places I have consulted in the recent past had likewise a mind boggling number of them - and all of these are well regarded Fortune 500 companies. I wonder where Gartner et al go to get their numbers and make predictions.

Most often these are offshore resources of the outsourcing vendor brought onsite to fulfill supposedly "tactical" objectives. The client usually has no role (or interest) in the interviewing and hiring process of these individuals. Their requirement is more like " 5 testers and 10 programmers required for 10 months onsite to work on X project at $xx an hour". The vendor goes about procuring the 15 bodies and ships them over to the client.

Barring a few exceptions, the average competence levels of these resources, is seriously appalling. The less said about their people and social skills the better. They herd close together, speak only when spoken do, have no desire to gain any business domain awareness, work very hard and very dumb, are bot-like about following instructions and obsequious to a fault.

When their 10 months are up the vendor usually carts them off to another client looking for a supply of programming/testing bodies. In a booming job market for mature IT professionals in India, the vendors take the time and effort to scrape at the bottom of the barrel to round these folks up. They naturally pay them in proportion to their worth.

Given the poor quality of work they provide (even if for very cheap) I find the incentives of paying ten low cost, low performing resources instead two high-end, expensive ones hard to fathom. I am yet to see an example of outsourcing done right and paying off long-term.


SF Gary said...

I don't know which part of the country you are in but out west, here in Northern CA its pretty evident. There's a whole lot less of even the Desi programmers. They prefer to stay home and most say its the quality of life. I have a lot of friends in the Valley and these are highly qualified people who are afraid that even their high level jobs will migrate.

Heartcrossings said...

I have to say things are different in the South and the East - the two parts of the country where I seen the hordes of desi programmers and testers.

So what do desi programmers do for a living if they stay home ? You can have only so many Indian grocery stores per square mile...

ggop said...

Huh? Did I misunderstand? I thought when SFGary said "they prefer to stay home" I interpreted it as work offshore?

Heartcrossings said...


I took a short-sighted view of home :) I think you're right home = India and that would make sense. I must have been thinking of the programmer turned grocery store owner in my neighborhood when I wrote that.

SFGary said...

ggop had it right, I meant back in Desiland. Imagine a cook, driver ( who the hell can drive there anymore) and dare I say a servant so you don't have to handle all the daily miseries, clubs and friends, aahhh, life can be good.

However on the other hand one has to put up with the intrusions of an extended family, constraints of "society," and of course the incredible heat.

Heartcrossings said...

Back in Desiland they have sanitized (if possible hermetically sealed) compounds where the American life is replicated as closely as the sweltering heat, chaos and noise will allow.

So there is manicured lawns, white picket fences, trick-treating on Halloween - the works. The kids attend NRI schools and the parents socialize only with their own caste (i.e. US citizen returned home to India)

Sounds like a super-stifling existence to me. Maybe that is "quality of life" to some.