Giving Them Hell: John Miano on the H-1B Visa: Page 3

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In the face of Miano’s belief that offshoring isn’t cost productive – which runs counter to the growing investment in it – one wonders: how can hiring lower-cost developers overseas not be a cost savings? When a U.S. programmer makes, say, $78,000 a year, and an overseas programmer makes $18,000 a year, how can offshoring not boost profits?

“You’re assuming that programmers are fungible,” he says. “It turns out that there’s actually a huge variation in productivity among individual programmers.” U.S. developers may cost more but they offer a 5 to 1 (or more) ratio of greater productivity. Furthermore, due to cultural considerations, Americans programmers are quicker and better at understanding the needs of American clients. “That kind of thing is not exportable.”

In fact, Miano goes so far as to say that offshoring is a trend that’s dying – certainly an attitude that most experts would find flabbergasting. While he concedes that some limited projects will still be sent abroad – “it might be maintaining old mainframes and things like that” – its ceiling is limited.

“I think offshoring is big hype,” he says. “I don’t think offshoring is going to be big 10 years from now.”

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Taking Action

As part of his crusade for the American programmer, Miano monitors legislation, and he warns that industry lobbyists are attempting to push legislation that would ease or eliminate limits on H-1B visa caps. These lobbyists may attempt to work underneath the radar, he says. “The legislative guys are going to have to slip it in some other bill – they’ll never get this passed as a stand alone increase.”

Strong, concerted efforts are need to block this legislation, he urges. “Basically it’s a test of how well we can stand up to this. Whether their money and their influence can get it slipped into something, or whether we can block it.” He says the time for compromise is past. It’s a losing strategy. “There’s not going to be any compromise. Because every time we’ve seen compromise, the things for us disappeared before the end.”

He recommends that developers and other interested people who seek to influence the debate should join the Programmer’s Guild or the American Engineering Association. “Get involved with what’s going on. Because if this were to ever happen, it would be a serious train wreck.”

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Tags: outsourcing, H-1b, john miano, immigrant IT, IT tech foriegn

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