Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sha na na na, sha na na na na

Fig. 1: A strong contender for January's worst news graphic

Information Week says that employment prospects for "IT pros" will not be so bad this year, and even suggests that some companies are actually considering paying more money. Well, that's something to try if you've tried everything else, I suppose. I love the poorly-done graphics that came with this one-page article, one of which is shown above. If you ever tried to explain passive-aggressiveness at the job to someone, this graphic could be a good start. Technically, someone did deliver the graphic they were asked for...

Computerworld also has a warm, fuzzy feeling about 2006. Here's a summary of the 12/27 article, "What Tech Skills Are Hot for 2006?"
Contrary to the widespread fear that offshoring initiatives are bleeding the U.S. IT job market dry, 2006 is shaping up to be a banner year for technology hiring. Through 2005, only 5% of U.S. IT workers had lost their jobs to offshoring, while job postings on for developers, project managers, and help desk technicians all rose by 40% or more from January to September of 2005 compared to the same period a year earlier. A recent survey found that the four most sought-after skills in 2006 will be application development, information security, project management, and help desk skills. Most of the jobs going overseas involve basic coding, enabling U.S. companies to catch up with their backlog of projects, which has increased the demand for developers with Java and .NET skills.
(NB: I did not write the summary; it is from the ACM, which also has a little more on specific job areas. )

On the other hand, if you have an H-1B visa, then the current job situation is a little bit closer to indentured servitude. H-1B visa holders are paid at 75% of the average salary for programmers who are US citizens or residents. If you lose your job, you must immediately leave the country. Also, you are required to stay with the original company for six years. It hardly matters what the law says (it requires parity in salaries). The economic temptations are just too much for the business, and the individual programmers, chiefly Indian, Chinese and Filipino, are in an impossibly poor bargaining position.

The H-1B situation is wrong on many levels, yet it will continue for the forseeable future. As frightening and destabilizing as outsourcing might be, particularly for comfortable, middle-class professionals like myself, maybe it's a viable path for these other countries to raise their standard of living adequately. I hope so. This is going to be a difficult century.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charts from Hell! I am so offended by bad graphics.

Saturday, 07 January, 2006  

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