Thursday, November 09, 2006

Musings on Bill Gates, the IT Shortage, and Globalization

I've taken an interest (by necessity) in the globalization of software development (and corporate life in general) so I read with interest "Bill Gates Says West Not Supplying Enough IT Talent" by James Kilner of Reuters. Bill Gates was speaking in Moscow and is quoted as follows:

"Worldwide, a lot of the developed countries are not graduating as many IT students as they were in the past, which is kind of ironic as it does mean it does increase the opportunities."

"There is a shortage of IT skills on a worldwide basis. Anybody who can get those skills here now will have a lot of opportunity."
If you follow the link above to the story about Gates and look at comments posted at the bottom, they were mostly bemoaning the fact that I/T jobs in places like Russia, China, and India pay a lot less than the US and other Western nations. They attributed the "shortage" to a shortage of people willing to work for low wages.

I was probably as nervous as anyone else about the globalization of software development a few years ago. Since then I guess I gotten past my fears. On my best days, I have embraced the idea. On my worst days, I guess I just try to make the best of it.

It does appear to me that CIOs are taking the cost savings of global resourcing and using it to fund additional projects. If they had a budget 5 years ago to do 4 major projects a year then today they are using a similar budget to execute 5, 6, or even 7 major projects. These "extra" projects are often the ones that are the most fun to work on. They would have been "stretch" projects that never got funded in the past. One change that has happened, however, is that those of us in the US are having to play more of a leadership role vs. doing the "heads down" coding.

Another anecdotal piece of evidence that the sky is not falling. I've done some interviewing right here in the US for college graduates. Are we taking just anybody? No, we are being selective. But this is quite an improvement over just a few years ago. We're hiring both overseas and in the "high wage" countries.

By the way, see the Oct 31st article "IBM Plants New SOA Development Centers in India, China" to see that this trend is only accelerating. This is not about using global resources to maintain old code. This is about investments in the latest and greatest SOA technology... and doing it with talent from around the world.

"It's all about business model innovation—giving clients the ability to rapidly change business models by building applications with reusable software components," said Sudhir Sastry, leader of the IBM SOA Solutions Center, in Pune.

Key to the initiative is IBM's WebSphere Business Services Fabric—based on technology IBM recently acquired when it purchased Webify Solutions, Sastry said.

Back in September 2004, I got to make a trip to Bangalore, India. I saw an office building for almost every big-name tech company while I was there. Here's a few samples from my personal photo archives. They aren't great pictures as they were taken through the window of the taxi I was riding in.

First Oracle

  • Next Intel
    And finally Microsoft

    Copyright © 2006 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

    The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.

1 comment:

James McGovern said...

Opportunity is an abused word. The west would train more IT folks if opportunity meant increased job safety and more pay with less headaches than other professions.

You shouldn't amplify such things without talking about both sides of the perspective.