Friday, February 25, 2005

The good, the bad and the ugly

disclaimer: I am living in a developing country and I am working for oversees customers so keep this in mind while reading the following. This post is not about advocating offshore development model either.

A bit too often for my taste, I encounter on the Web the statement that "third-world" developers are inferior to that of USA or, say, Germany. Just to illustrate my point, here is a quote from a recent thread on JoS business forum:

I find (on average) that off-shore coders know one or two programming languages and how to implement things in them specifically. I find (on average) that on-shore coders [ that get disgusted with and leave RAC] are the kind that are multi-talented and flexible due to this.

I see little reason trying to fight this legend and it's sort of natural to see this point of view emerging. It's convenient for those who feel resentful by this trend and gives some kind of moral satisfaction. People in general are lazy and our mind usually tries to absorb ideas in a way that doesn't alter an existing picture of the world much. And so it sticks.

Plus, there are always plenty of people who tell the horrors about how bad the source code was that these "code monkeys" produce. And if it's not bad then it must stolen from some GPL product googled off the web. Rendering the developers not simply unprofessional but practically unlawful.

And yes, there there are indeed plenty of supportive cases against the "code monkeys" so calling this a legend is probably a stretch. But a simplification it is. And yet, to throw in some anecdotic kind of proof, the worst code base I've dealt with was handled to us from "on-shore" and the best programmers I have the luck to work with were sitting next to me.

To repeat, I'm not to defend offshore model in general. It is inefficient and currently viable only because of the peculiarities of the world's economic and drastic changes that were made in the last 50 years. But people are just that - people. There are cultural, historical, economical and other differences, but they are minor and has little inherent impact on one's professional abilities. Of course, these differences do impact the opportunities one may have to realize himself.



Blogger dariaspop said...

I agree with you totally. The market is already working on getting things adjusted. The cost of on shore development is coming down, offshore is coming up and communications are improving. I think the whole thing is protectionist bitching. If first world developers were actually that much better than second or third then their jobs would have never been threatened. Quality first world workers will watch the market and adapt. The others don't count in my opinion. Hesitation is death and so is the inability to adapt. I feel no more pity for the developer who is unable to adapt than I do for someone who started coal mining last week. They will both be out of work soon and they will try to blame everyone else for it.

7:45 PM  

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