September 13, 2007

Will Your Job Be Outsourced?

If you believe the media, it’s a no-brainer – the answer is yes. It’s the end of the US economy as we know it, factories are closing, jobs are going to India and China – the US is losing its edge.

Obviously there is a flip side and arguments are being made which state that more jobs are being created as a result of outsourcing. Some jobs are being lost or relocated but the global economy is helping companies reinvent themselves and create new avenues for challenging the talent pool.

So what is the reality? For a US based software developer or system analyst or team lead – what does this mean? Is this race to jump on the outsourcing/offshoring bandwagon something which will impact you? In my mind it’s not a question of will it happen? – It’s a question of when will it happen?

Certain roles are more at risk since they are easily outsourced versus others. These roles are around the basic IT service levels. Roles associated with core development (programmer and tester), infrastructure management, data conversion, technical documentation, help desk, application maintenance etc. are prime targets for relocation. As IT vendors mature their offshore based delivery models, this trend will start to encroach on other roles in the area of requirements analyst, domain experts, QA analyst, implementation experts etc. Eventually the overall application delivery cycle could be outsourced with minimal participation from the client IT organization. Are you impacted by this shift in the industry? It depends. Depends on how you answer the following questions –

  • What value do you provide to your enterprise?
  • Why are your skills essential for your organization?
  • What do you bring to the table that cannot be easily outsourced?

Though questions – which need honest answers. You may not like the answer but it would be wise to undertake this exercise. It’s your career and job which will be affected with this change.
If you don’t like the answers then what? Reinvent yourself! IT as a discipline is still more art than science. There is no one way to produce software with one set of technologies. There are innovative approaches to solving business problems. IT is changing the way we live and interact.

When you look at the inclusion of IT solutions in our everyday lives – you realize that it’s not all about programming. The challenge is to increase productivity, create innovative products and services. You should be part of the approach that solves true business problems. To become part of the approach you have to invest in yourself. Invest in application of technology and its usage, understanding the business domain and its interaction with the customer, new improved methods for software delivery – you have to find the niche that allows you to leverage your background and grow beyond where you are today.

You are ultimately responsible for your career and its growth. Understand the paradigm changes in the IT industry and align yourself with the new model. The choice is yours - success or obsolescence.

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