Lets put this all into perspective. There are two sides to this story. You have IT management who is looking to control costs while not hurting quality and performance. On the flip side you have the IT professional who wants the security of a job, but wants to maximize their earning potential.
(I know job security ha ha.)
The employee could decide to become a freelancer on their own or be forced into it when IT employee jobs dry up. But then how will they compete when the global workforce is driving rates down?
For every $40 rate in Argentina you can find 100 similar profiles that charge under $15 per hour in Eastern Europe and India. There is limited earnings potential and even more limited security because your time between contracts could be significant.
This all leads me to the conclusion that the age of IT employees is coming to an end. IT management will control their work force based on the ebb and flow of projects needs, while cutting costs and not having to deal with HR related costs and issues.
Plus: no more annual reviews to write!
What about the average US-based IT employee? Im beginning to see a creek, a boat and no paddle.
Do companies have a responsibility to take into consideration the impact of outsourcing local economies? Id say public companies do not. They are slaves to the bottom line.
My advice to the employed IT worker is to start taking your future seriously and find ways to make yourself as indispensable as possible to your employer.
Become an expert in your employers business, while staying current on the changing technologies that will impact your employers systems or are critical to your companys industry. The more you are involved in requirements gathering and design, the harder it will be to replace you with someone not intimate with the companys business practices.
As for you heartless IT managers (I know you all arent heartless!), dont forget the drawbacks of outsourcing to this extent.
You will lose significant company business knowledge and historical context, and thus be possibly doomed to repeat mistakes that would have been avoided by a seasoned internal employee. You also will face support challenges when production goes down and your Argentine coder isnt available.
More important, you could sacrifice the competitive advantage of innovation to others who grow and nurture talent in-house talent that eventually grows into IT managers who will themselves be forced to make really hard decisions (and be heartless?).
I believe they would make better decisions because they are employees instilled with company values and history, and not some outsider found on a Web marketplace the same marketplace where a companys competitor could acquire the same talent.
Yep, Id suggest IT managers think long and hard before putting a nail in the coffin of IT employees. You may just end up burying yourself in the long run.
Eric Spiegel is CEO and co-founder of XTS, which provides software for planning, managing and auditing Citrix and other virtualization platforms.