Before suggesting insufficient programmer numbers, we need to examine why managers fail to set policies to obtain good code practice. I have seen too many who do as little as possible to satisfy external contract demands for good practice and completely miss the point that good programming design and practice produce good, reliable code needing far less maintenance. Perhaps it all comes to the point of a great need to motivate employers to use good Software Engineering practice in their own interest. Then perhaps the employers can find means to motivate employees to follow their lead." John Speth, of Coherent Molectron, offered this response: "I agree completely with your #include column in the May 2007 ESD magazine. I have one problem your article. You seem to accept the tool vendors' claims that their tools deliver exactly what each programmer needs. It's just not always true. When tool vendors deliver automatic code generation tools that are truly as flexible as manual code generation tools, software engineers will start to use them regularly. For example, my only serious exposure to automatic code generation tools is Cypress' PSOC Express. It's an impressive tool and it works as advertised. The problem with it is that it might not be easy or simple to deviate from the rigorous design infrastructure that the tool imposes on the programmer." Finally, Juan Aranda-Alvarez, a software developer for Wirespring Technologies, says: "I'm a Linux programmer. You know, for a long time I thought that you only needed vi, your code and the Makefile. Then comes Eclipse (and the vi plugin for eclipse of course), and totally changed the way I work. CVS integration, Debugger integration syntax tools, etc. I haven't use any code generation stuff yet, but the tools are definitely here. And the cool thing, I can still use vi :) but I do feel more efficient." Feel free to keep the dialogue going. I welcome all your responses, regardless of whether you agree or not. Richard Nass is editor in chief of Embedded Systems Design magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. Reader Response
I think that the people getting upset about there not being enough jobs in the US are some of the same people that rank themselves at or above average on the software skill level poll. We can't have 86% of programmers at or above average. These people need to critically assess their skill level and maybe they will see that the engineers over seas might not only be cheaper, they might be better at developing code. Although this is not allways the case, I'm sure that it does apply more often than not. -anonymous Golden Valley, MN
Hi fellow engineers, I am one of those that are eating the lunch of the American engineers. I am employed by a firm in India and I do projects for American clients. It's so sad to see the multinational corps rip the American economic system with this outsourcing mess. Wonderful comments earlier about first laying off people, then importing cheap labor from other countries, kids in US no longer taking engineering etc. I really feel for you all. In my shoes now, I have a nice job because of all this. However, in the future, India could become too expensive, and then the jobs could move somewhere else. The greed and the unrestricted power of these corps is amazing. I encourage the American engineers to be vigilant about the latest happenings (not just being entertained on the idiot box for 4 hours everyday), talk with their legislators, be actively involved in courting public opinion and fight for their jobs. I really don't think there is a natural serious 'dearth' in the number of programmers there. It's like the following scenario: a person sets fire to a house and then calls emergency. This is what the MNCs do with their outsourcing and now asking for more H1-Bs. Engineers....unite...and be a force to reckon and guide your destiny. Don't believe the crap propaganda spited by these corps in the papers -Kenneth Mathews Madras, India
As a European, I am quite amazed at the recent development I see in the U.S. I see the new immigration bill (read "amnesty for illegal immigrants") that will hurt low-waged Americans big time and goes against any law-abiding people in the free world; I see H1B visas given by multinational corporations to low-cost countries for short-term profits (this will hit the American middle class); I see an ever-expanding military budget for funding a senseless war at the cost of more sensible investment in technology or education; I see a trade deficit that mostly finances America's biggest future challenger: China. While Europe is by far not exempt from mistakes, I feel as a European citizen much more protected by my country and Europe as a whole than an average American probably feels. First, my company cares about me; second, if I get fired, which still might happen, the state will care about me; third, I do not have tons of enemies around the world because my governement has not engaged in a senseless war. And, yes, we do outsourcing, but when we need it, not to simply cut cost at any price. We go to Eastern Europe so as not to finance tomorrow's competitors from India or China, who will make no prisoners. All the money that flows to Eastern Europe will flow back to our pockets one day unlike the money that goes to China or India, which just builds competition. I have not been in the U.S. for the last 3 years; instead I have been several times to Asia. Not by personal choice but because my company wants me here. The last time I went through U.S. customs I had to wait 2 hours in queue and go through an random search (for drug, terrorist, or what I still do not know). Back in the 1990s, I never experienced such inconvenience. It is easier to go to China nowadays than to the U.S. Well, do I miss America . . . -(Name not published by request)
The conversation continues . . .
Mr. Nass, I must admit that I was greatly disappointed by your ignorance of the topic of your article in the May 2007 Embedded Systems Design magazine. You obviously are not a software engineer in the field or you are the boss of a company trying to get more H1 Visas to undermine the American workers. To the contrary of your propaganda, there is a surplus of quality programmers in America. You have just been brainwashed by the rhetoric of the rich and our current regime. What is happening is that corporate America whines that there are not enough workers. Then Mr. Bush doubles (or more) the H1 Visa plan to allow more foreign workers into the country to work at a much lower salary than the average American needs. Take it from a person in the field, there is a huge surplus of programmers and software engineers in the field. Try to find a job out there. You won't. Every time you look in the news, some company is laying off a few thousand engineers. Tell me, if there is a need, why are so many getting laid off? Also, the few jobs that have surfaced are in other states, contract only, and pay far less than what the engineer was making before. Instead of discussing the facts, you have just gone and proliferated the propaganda that this regime keeps lying about that the economy is "strong and growing" just because profits are up and the average American continues to make less. That is not good for the country. -PSB New Jersey
I consider statements such as "Programmer Shortage" extremely offensive to the legions of excellent software engineers that can not find employment. Microsoft gets over a 100,000 resumes a year and only offers jobs to about 1,300. Microsoft has no problems finding the employees that it wishes. Even worse, is the H1B program which allows companies to bring in low cost foreign imports displacing qualified Americans from their jobs. I often advise young Americans to ditch the scientific and engineering fields due to the extremely poor job prospects and concentrate on the more lucrative fields of law and engineering. -Stephen M. Hohs