The Issue of Outsourcing

The giant sucking sound heard by computer professionals across the United States is the transfer of computer related jobs, from service and support to programming and analysis, to offshore businesses. Business executives in the United States are making decisions to relocate many, if not all of the I.T. jobs in their respective companies to offshore businesses on the pretense of saving money. In the short term, these executives may encounter a boost in their accounting bottom line, satisfying the immediate demands of the stock holders. In the long term, the movement of jobs to businesses outside of the United States will be bad for business, and for America. With the employment opportunities for computer professionals looking bleak, less people are entering the profession of computer science. Furthermore, the drain of knowledgeable, experienced computer professionals will result in a weakening of the position the United States holds in the field of technology.

The controversial issue in the United States of the outsourcing of computer related jobs to offshore businesses is of particular importance to this writer as well as to the millions of experienced computer professionals across America. As an educated and skilled computer professional, this writer has experienced first hand the consequences of a business’ decision to outsource their I.T. needs to offshore companies. The opportunities available to experienced computer professionals such as me to obtain gainful, well paying, long term employment has been permanently affected. The loss of computer related jobs will further burden American tax payers by resulting in a lowering of the salary that is paid to skilled computer professionals. Furthermore, the computer professionals across America who are unemployed are often forced to accept lower paying positions in careers not related to computers due to a greedy decision by their employer to outsource their I.T. Needs.

Although this writer’s job has not been a direct victim of outsourcing, my employer has begun the process to transfer some of the grunt level programming and analysis work to a consulting business based outside of the United States. The computer professionals who are assigned to my employer’s development tasks have continually submitted work of a quality less than what is expected of those of us who work in the U.S. office. In an effort to clarify the standard and quality of work that is expected, several meetings have been held to discuss the concerns that my employers I.T. management staff had regarding the quality of work submitted by the consulting service professionals. After several attempts are made to obtain work of a satisfactory quality, the task is often reassigned to one or more of the in-house programming professionals. It is this writer’s belief that a substantial amount of time, effort, and money could have been saved by simply assigning the task to an in-house programmer to begin with.

This writer’s bias against the practice of outsourcing I.T. needs was formed through direct interaction with and observations of workers representing the outsourced businesses. The long term cost savings a business may forecast when a decision is made to outsource its I.T. needs may be prematurely inflated. This writer’s experience with outsourced services has indicated the skill level of the outsourced workers is less than that of their American colleagues. This will result in a substantial amount of time and effort spent to rework, analyze, or document any development that may be completed by the outsourced workers. In addition to work quality, there are numerous other barriers which affect the overall effectiveness of engaging outsourced services. These barriers include a substantial time difference, a verbal and written communication obstacle, technological barriers, as well as security, manageability, and the work ethics held by the outsourced workers.
As an open minded critical thinker, this writer is open to researching the reasons business executives may have for outsourcing their I.T. needs. The questions posed to the business executives may include a topic such as the reassignment or retraining of America’s I.T. workers to render their work more valuable. Additional topics may include the use of America’s I.T. workers as teachers to our outsourced colleagues to help improve their skill level and standard of quality that is expected in the United States.

The long term cost savings a business may forecast when a decision is made to outsource its I.T. needs may be prematurely inflated. This writer has identified that the skill levels of the I.T. professionals from offshore businesses is less than that of their American colleagues. America’s I.T. jobs are being shipped overseas at a faster rate than when the manufacturing jobs in the United States moved out of the country. This accelerated transfer of jobs has resulted in a large balloon of unemployment in the I.T. profession before the country’s system of checks and balances can make any necessary corrections. In the long run, America will suffer the consequences of the decision to outsource the I.T. needs of a business.

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