How Do U.S., Indian Developers Really Match Up?

Don Tennant

If we were to look past all the stereotypes, perceptions, biases and rhetoric, and dispassionately rate U.S. and Indian programmers, which group would we find to be the more highly skilled?

 

The results of what appears to be the first quantifiable study to address that question have been released by GILD, a social networking and career advancement site for developers worldwide. The key finding: Indian developers have better math and logic skills, and U.S. developers have better Web programming skills. Here are some of the particulars:

 

  • Indian developers outscore U.S. developers on analytical skills like math and logic by 11 percent.
  • U.S. programmers slightly outperform Indian programmers on mainstream programming languages including C (8 percent higher), Java (9 percent higher) and SQL (9 percent higher).
  • U.S. professionals score significantly higher on Web programming languages: 53 percent higher on advanced PHP; 27 percent higher on advanced HTML.
  • U.S. tech professionals are 33 percent better than their Indian counterparts at English communication skills.

 

The study was based on over 1 million examinations taken by nearly 500,000 developers. I spoke on Tuesday with GILD CEO Sheeroy Desai (who, in case you're wondering, is a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan), and he explained where the data came from:

This is data that we have collected over the course of the past couple of years. These are developers, users on GILD, taking our tests-the tests have all been developed by us. We've been developing these tests for a number of years, in different technology fields. We've worked with companies like Oracle, SAP and Sapient to prove that these tests are representative of how people perform on the job.

In GILD's announcement of the study, Desai stated that "America still holds a strong lead when it comes to Web development, but I suspect the gap will narrow over the next few years." I asked him what it is that makes him suspect the gap will narrow, and he said that assessment is based on what has happened historically:

Unfortunately we don't have the benefit of having done a study with the more mainstream programming languages, say, five years ago. But I guarantee you-and this is anecdotal, from my own experience-if we had had access to this data five years ago and done a similar study, we probably would have found that U.S. programmers were quite a distance ahead of Indian programmers on languages like C, Java and SQL. And today that gap has narrowed considerably. Through that experience, I believe that when it comes to newer technologies, five years from now that gap will have narrowed quite a bit as well. At the same time, I think new technologies will develop over that period of time, and I'm pretty sure U.S. programmers will have an edge with those newer technologies as they're developed. So it's really looking at what has happened historically, and predicting what I think is going to happen in the future.

That the gap has narrowed, Desai said, is attributable simply to Indian programmers having gained more experience:

More programmers in India over the last few years have been using the more mainstream programming languages like C, C++, Java. As more and more programmers come into the market, they get the opportunity to program in those languages, and get proficient. I still say the biggest advantage the U.S. has over India is that the U.S. has a lot more programmers in an environment where they're using these newer technologies. If you look at Web technologies, the reason there's such a big gap is that right now in the U.S., there are so many programmers in Silicon Valley, Boston and other parts of the country who are spending most of their time programming in these newer technologies. Whereas in India, people are still using more traditional technologies. Companies in India say they're looking for Java programmers. You come to Silicon Valley, companies are looking for [skills in] PHP and Ruby on Rails. So it's really a matter of how much practice people are getting.

I asked Desai if the findings of the study would indicate that jobs requiring skills in math and logic are best outsourced to India, while jobs requiring skills in Web programming are best kept onshore. He said he wouldn't make the distinction that way:

There are a lot of perceptions out there -- and I really think "perceptions" is the right word-about what programmers and developers in the U.S. are stronger at, and what programmers and developers in India are stronger at. What we are trying to do is really go past some of those perceptions, some of those myths, and look at hard data. We really believe this is the first study done by anyone that is this comprehensive. When we look at this hard data, what we have discovered is when it comes to math and logic skills, Indian developers definitely seem to outperform U.S. developers. When it comes to programming, U.S. developers are better. The fact is, for any given job, you need a mix of those skills. So I would look at this data and say, if you have jobs that require strong analytical skills and you're looking for more mainstream programmers, you probably can't go wrong in India. On the other hand, if you're looking at jobs that require a more creative skill set, and are more Web technology-oriented, you're probably better off sticking with the U.S.

So it seems that more than anything, the study lent credence to a lot of existing perceptions. Desai said none of the findings really surprised him:

I think it's fairly consistent with some of the perceptions that are out there. I think it was good to get some real hard data around it. I don't think most people will look at these findings and say they're dramatically surprising. I think all we have really done is quantify the gap in skill sets. And I think that's a good thing.


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Jun 29, 2011 1:05 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Dolores

More dirty linen on GILD:

"Through certifications, competitions and challenges, as well as real world professional experience, GILD's proprietary algorithms identify real skill and talent and offer an environment where technologists can connect with other professionals and employers, compare themselves with their peers and advance their careers. Headquartered in San Francisco, GILD has offices in Bangalore, India and Beijing, China."

Proprietary algorithms? Do they have one that picks out American nationality? Who can say what they have? Sounds like a great way to screen out Americans.

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Jun 29, 2011 1:07 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

"He added, 'There is currently a shortage of software engineers in the US, especially in Silicon Valley.  This is the first study that has hard data on the quality of engineers across the US andIndia and provides a clear guideline for what type of skills companies should outsource to India, and what they should continue to source in the US.'"

More shortage shouting.  That's familiar.  Any executive that has this study printed out on their desk is exposing their company to the liability of discrimination lawsuits.

These guys do this every damn time.  It's how the lobbyists operate.  They want to make a point, create a study.  NFAP did their racist little study and now GILD - whoever that is - is doing theirs.  All to back their political or business agenda.

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Jun 29, 2011 1:12 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

Didn't America undergo many painful civil rights battles precisely to AVOID the kind of sloppy thinking that sees people as categories instead of individuals? First the desi companies want to roll back 100 years of Aemrican labor rights progress. Now they want to digitally remaster the caste system and share it with us. No, thank you!

And it took me maybe 3 minutes to find this stuff. It was out in plain sight. Why are people being fooled by this pseudo-scientific bilge?

Maybe the out-of-work American techies should consider a second career: selling bridges in Brooklyn to the people who buy into GILD? They sound like soft touches to me.

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Jun 29, 2011 1:23 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

"Didn't America undergo many painful civil rights battles precisely to AVOID the kind of sloppy thinking that sees people as categories instead of individuals? "

I grew up in the south.  We are very tuned in to racism - we went through it first with slavery and next of course civil rights - and a very bumpy healing process. 

We in the south have a stereotype of being racist because of our past - and certainly racism does still exist in the south - but I would say that on whole we are some of the most racially sensitive (meaning intelligent) group of people on the planet.

The reason is because we confronted racism and stereotypes directly.  We need to confront the GILD "study" for what it is.  Their intent may not be to stereotype, but that is still the result.  We also need to move beyond quack-science.

By the way, was any of their research peer reviewed?  Is this a "study" in the academic sense or a "study" in the corporate sense?  I'm sure that Vivek Whadwa would have been glad to review it for them.

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Jun 29, 2011 1:29 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

The notion of judging the value of human beings according to factors such as race, nationality, ethnicity, etc. is bad enough. The implied advocacy of routing or rationing professional opportunity according to these factors is nothing short of evil.

This type of thinking has no place in America or in any other modern, enlightened nation. 

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Jun 29, 2011 3:49 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

Guess you were right.  Looks like we discussed it without it turning ugly.  Took a closer look at that other thread also - they didn't do too bad.

Hope in humanity +1

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Jun 29, 2011 3:56 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

Yea, but the other side never really showed up.

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Jun 29, 2011 9:40 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

"If we were to look past all the stereotypes, perceptions, biases and rhetoric"

I think I'll just observe this one as it unfolds.  Make a side bet though - I doubt this can be discussed for more than a few comments and certainly the entire thread without people looking at stereotypes, perceptions, and biases.

I really view this type of research with skepticism.  Even in your interview the group's CEO couldn't discuss it without injecting perceptions into it:

"But I guarantee you-and this is anecdotal, from my own experience -"

I'm not going even try.  This discussion is impossible to have without it turning ugly.

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Jun 29, 2011 9:56 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to R. Lawson

It will be interesting to see. Regardless, I strongly disagree that the discussion is impossible to have without it turning ugly. We have it in our natures to either rise above the ugliness or sink into it. It's our choice. We may well choose to sink into it. But rising above it is not impossible.

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Jun 29, 2011 11:00 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says:

As a programmer who has used C/C++/Objective-C for nearly 20 years, I find this all very amusing. As someone who has written 18 commercial software products in C-based languages (including at Apple & Sony), I can tell you that Indians are hopelessly clueless in those programming languages. Some don't even know what the syntax means ("what are the stars for?"). Then there's this line:

"That the gap has narrowed, Desai said, is attributable simply to Indian programmers having gained more experience:"

Yes, they gained more experience by flooding into the US and taking programming jobs formerly occupied by Americans, and deliberately keeping Americans out of those jobs.

Indians largely ignored C-based languages since they didn't get into the game in large numbers until around 1998. That was right when the internet hit and they assumed "IT" meant web stuff.

C is not a new technology. It was invented in 1970 at Bell Labs as the language used to write the first UNIX operating system. C++ has been around for 17 years or so. Objective-C 22 years. So being very old languages, why aren't Indians as proficient at them as Americans? Because Indians didn't really get into the act in 1998 and at that time the buzzwords were web technologies. Now that Apple and iOS (and .NET) have forced C-based languages back to the forefront, Indians are, in fact, scrambling to catch up.

But C-based languages are a whole different ball game than web langauges or even Java. In Java there is no memory management to worry about. In most web languages there isn't either - they are basically interpreted scripting languages. C-based languages are much harder due to the need to manage memory and the fact that they produce compiled binaries in which one bad line of code can crash the program.

I've worked with Indians since the invasion started in 1998. They are horrible at C-based languages. For large scale desktop apps written in C-ish languages, they can't do it. I know - I get hired to go in and clean up the unbelievable messes these people create.

Americans have a 20-40 year lead on Indians in C-based languages. That's not going to change anytime soon because Indians missed the party and this stuff takes years if not decades to truly master.

At any rate, the study confirms what Americans have been saying all along: in programming, Americans are better than Indians. Maybe we should just ship all our accounting jobs to India and leave the programming to the people who created programming.

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Jun 29, 2011 11:05 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

Here I go getting sucked in

Let's assume that the study didn't have it's own stereotypes or biases injected into it and that we can take findings at face value and as fact.

First, they study is old, so let's also assume that it was done yesterday to get that issue off the table.

Now that we have these timely and unbiased facts, what do we do with it?  My bet is that the differences between Indian and American developers is insignificant in any area you look.  We have an edge on speaking, they have an edge on math.  At the end of the day it probably all balances out.

I really think it is best to focus on the economics because we can start doing studies on eugenics - measure brain sizes and IQs across race and culture - and my belief is that it's a dangerous and risky path to follow.

Once we determine what race is the most intelligent, well then next we can assign value to that.  Obviously people with the most intelligence should be considered the most.  So let's make their vote count more.  Let's pay them more.  Let's give them special rights.

We tried this experiment pre and post-slavery - even had the 3/5 compromise.  Instead of 3 slaves equaling 5 whites that could be applied to whatever the data uncovers. 

I see studies like this as very dangerous in a multi-cultural society.  The scientists might conduct them with good intentions, but the results can be explosive.  Do we want to open Pandora's box?  I'd rather keep it closed.

We live in a world where most people believe that the Earth and humans were created no more than 5000 years ago, despite science to the contrary.  Until we learn how to peacefully solve our problems I'm quite happy with most people living in the dark ages.  They can't handle the truth (without a violent response to it) so let everyone go on believing whatever makes them feel warm and comfy inside.  Ignorance is bliss.

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Jun 29, 2011 11:22 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

The study doesn't mean anything. It's whether or not an individual has the talent and drive. Should we write off an entire country because of test results from a small subset of the population? Should we open up the job market of one nation to another on the basis of such data? No, all the way around. It's just not relevant, even if it's accurate, which it probably isn't. Did you take the test? Me neither.

Should you have to be the best programmer in the world to get a job programming in America? Of course not. Even if that were possible to quantify, you only need to be good enough to do a great job.

What if you have 100 very very good programmers? Do we sort the ones to interview based on desi surnames? (Guess what, some places do)

Stereotypes represent lazy thinking. Of course, the purveyors of global labor arbitrage love stereotypes when they seem to work for them and their profit margins. Watch the human traffickers jump on this.

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Jun 29, 2011 11:55 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Dolores

Don, what are the motivations of releasing this study?  Groups like that (not academia) don't release information unless they are trying to make a point.

What is their point?  What do they want us to do with this information?  How do they think we should apply their findings?  They must have some hidden agenda.  What is it?

I think they should do the same study but using caste in India.  See how well that goes over.  No, I don't really think they should do that - but you see my point as to how controversial it would be.

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Jun 29, 2011 12:07 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

This part is really interesting:

"When we look at this hard data, what we have discovered is when it comes to math and logic skills, Indian developers definitely seem to outperform U.S. developers. "

If that were true, and I won't speculate as to if it is or not, it's really quite ironic because Indians have taken on more of the programming tasks and Americans have taken on most of the analytic tasks at companies who jumped on the offshoring bandwagon. 

Those corporations were pushing American developers to be become analysts onshore because they wanted to send those development jobs offshore.  So if the findings are true, each party are doing tasks they are alleged to be least capable in.

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Jun 29, 2011 12:35 PM Jason Jason  says: in response to R. Lawson

I agree, Lawson. And there could be a point there in favor of H1B in this observation that you made - that there is a push to tilt this balance to get the job done by folks that are supposedly good at what they do. That is, bring in H1B workers here to get them to do the analyst work they may be better at ??

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Jun 29, 2011 12:37 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

Well, just to drive home my point that this conversation can't go well once you add more than a few people:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2011/06/developers-us-vs-india.php

Same topic, different website, mixed nationalities going at it.  Enough foot-in-mouth disease to go around for everyone.  I added my traditional "can't we all just get along" post. 

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Jun 29, 2011 12:41 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Jason

The decisive factor as to whether a person would be good at analytic work is whether the INDIVIDUAL is good at analysis and logic. Nationality is not a sufficiently precise predictive factor for this. Bringing in H-1Bs from India because we think they have an edge would slam the door on our native talent. (like it already has) I told you that the human traffickers would be all over this, well here they come!

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Jun 29, 2011 12:42 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Jason

"That is, bring in H1B workers here to get them to do the analyst work they may be better at ??"

And stop sending the programming jobs offshore?  LOL.  I'll take a pass on that.  See, I knew someone would try and use this to gain some political advantage. 

You missed my point entirely.  I don't think we should use this information to make business decisions, political decisions, or any type of decision.  I think it is subject to broad interpretation and if we go down that path we are going down a very slippery slope.

I'm not going to use this study to make any point, other than we shouldn't use the study to make points with.

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Jun 29, 2011 12:55 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to R. Lawson

Uh, Don, here's the REST of the quote.

According to Sheeroy Desai, CEO of GILD, 'GILD's study of over 1 million skill tests shows the dramatic advances coming out of India, where in some cases engineers are clearly rivaling their counterparts in the US.  America still holds a strong lead when it comes to web development, but I suspect the gap will narrow over the next few years.'

He added, 'There is currently a shortage of software engineers in the US, especially in Silicon Valley.  This is the first study that has hard data on the quality of engineers across the US andIndia and provides a clear guideline for what type of skills companies should outsource to India, and what they should continue to source in the US.'

Now we see what the real motive is for this steaming pile of junk science. Yes, let's stop seeing people as individuals.

Hey, Desa, I've got some bad news for you. America doesn't have enough jobs to make the third world happy. And we don't have enough bridges for all the Americans to sleep under once the desired displacement of us by y'all is done.

This study is so deeply flawed, I can't wait till real scientists have a look at it.

Sorry, junk science has no place in real discourse.  Anyone who fell for this should hang his head in shame.

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Jun 30, 2011 7:49 AM Sheeroy Desai Sheeroy Desai  says: in response to Dolores

Hi all, thanks for the passionate and thoughtful comments. I feel it is worth clarifying a couple of points on how and why the study was conducted. Firstly, GILD is a platform for developers to test their skills and see how they rank against their peers. The tests we use are accepted by large technology companies as a true test of skills and acumen.

Analyzing the results of the more than 1million test taken showed us a few interesting things, including some differences in the average results from developers/programmers who are based in India versus those who are based in the US. This could be a result of many factors - experience, training, opportunities. It makes sense that professionals engaged in certain crafts more than others will become more proficient at them.

There is no suggestion that race, color or creed play any part in this study, or in people's abilities. For all we know a good percentage of those who completed the test in the US are from an Indian background. Or Chinese, or French, or Australian for that matter. Any suggestion that these factors play a role in a person's abilities is at best ignorant, and at worst highly offensive.

We are interested in the skills of professionals as individuals, which is why we built GILD - to help people understand how good they are and stand out from the crowd, regardless of who they know, which school they went to or where they live. It is the ultimate meritocracy. And there is no room in a meritocracy for stereotyping or racial profiling.

I hope that makes sense and clarifies any misconceptions.

Sheeroy Desai, GILD CEO.

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Jun 30, 2011 9:01 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Sheeroy Desai

Thank you for the explanation Sheeroy Dasai.  My concern is not necessarily with GILD or the study at face value, but with how certain groups will use this in a way that are (in your words) at best ignorant or at worst highly offensive.  I was very careful to craft my own words so I didn't fall into that trap, but I expect that other groups may not be so careful.

I am a bit apprehensive to condemn GILD or Mr. Desai for the study itself - their deserving of condemnation really depends on what their motives are.  My condemnation will be reserved for those who misapply the findings or engage in offensive behavior as a result of it. 

Mr. Desai, what are the motives for releasing this study?  What does GILD want us to do (or think we should do) with the information?  How should it be applied?  What business (or political) decisions would you make as a result of it?

Your response to those questions will help resolve the issue in my mind.

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Jul 1, 2011 1:54 AM FedUpWithBloviating FedUpWithBloviating  says:

This article is one big andecdote of conjecture -- with very little hard analysis thrown in.  And how many people really program in C or C++ anymore?  Most people are either doing C# or Java.  I don't put much stock in some south Asian making wild statements like these.

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Jul 1, 2011 2:36 AM Brian D. Brian D.  says:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if this data is coming from GILD's own users and tests, then the data source is inherently biased...

As an engineer in a Silicon Valley startup I see GILD as a website for two types of people 1)unemployed people or people in less than desireable jobs (for GILD's job search) and 2)Big company employees that use GILD (eBay, Oracle, Sapient, etc..)

I can guarantee you're not getting a statistically accurate profile of engineers whether Indian or American from this site's users.

I don't know what the statistically correct results to this study would be, but from my experience with outsourcing development, the overhead alone with managing the relationship will cost far more than the gains in supposed "math and logic skills" and cheap labor.

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Jul 1, 2011 2:52 AM codemonkey codemonkey  says:

The most interesting thing about this study is a pakistani guy doing a study on american and indian programmers -possibly trying to create friction?

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Jul 1, 2011 3:19 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says: in response to Dolores

India, Inc. and its IT lobby NASSCOM have been maliciously slandering and lying about Americans for over a decade. They need to do this in order for their own people to be able to work. Americans were sitting here quitely and nicely building the IT industry long before Indian conmen ever got involved. Then the dot-com boom hit in the late 90s and India wanted to take over the industry and grab the $. So NASSCOM hired DC PR firm Hill & Knowlton in 1998 to start pumping "worker shortages" stories into the US media. They continue to do so today. Since Americans invented IT long before India ever saw a keyboard, India requires the use of huge amounts of propaganda in order to continue to operate here. They have created this hige fiction that Indian IT workers are somehow geniuses. Meanwhile they come here and beg American IT workers to train them before they take their jobs. TRAIN THEM. Then even after training the companies all these Indians work for go under or are severely damaged. GM, Fannie Mae, and Boeing just to name a few were all booming until they hired large numbers of Indian workers. Others did too, such as Lehman and Bell Labs, which never recovered and are now destroyed. Americans are the greatest programmers in the world. The Japanese tried to take over software in the early 90s and failed miserably and the Japanese rarely fail at anything. So what is actually going on is that millions of incompetent Indians have taken over IT jobs previously held by their American creators, but the Indians get the jobs based on NASSCOM PR and hype, not any real capability. America has been conned on a grand scale. And that's why the economy is in the toilet. India is harvesting our economy and producing very little in return.

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Jul 1, 2011 3:24 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says: in response to FedUpWithBloviating

"And how many people really program in C or C++ anymore?"

Lots do. Ever hear of iOS and Objective-C? You're not writing iPhone apps in Java, that's for sure. What cave have you been living in for the past 4 years?

If you are writing some Windows app or server backend you might use C# or Java, but iOS is the hot technology now and to use it you need Objective-C. And I am not a south Asian. I am a native American with 20 years' industry experience.

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Jul 1, 2011 3:39 AM fivefamous fivefamous  says: in response to Brian D.

"from my experience with outsourcing development, the overhead alone with managing the relationship will cost far more than the gains in supposed "math and logic skills" and cheap labor."

Ok so now you are suggesting the entire corporate world who are doing this are really stupid?

Till now allegation was they are not fair and doing wrong things for their own profit. Now you are saying not only that, they are really stupid and less profitable.

Cool!! One more step forward to stop offshoreing and H1.

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Jul 1, 2011 5:24 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to fivefamous

It's the economy, stupid. The economy is telling us very clearly that Bozos are running corporate America :P

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Jul 1, 2011 5:52 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Sheeroy Desai

Mr. Desai: you were quoted here (http://www.techjournalsouth.com/2011/06/u-s-developers-behind-india-in-math-logic-but-shine-at-web-programming/) as saying this: "He added, 'There is currently a shortage of software engineers in the US, especially in Silicon Valley.  This is the first study that has hard data on the quality of engineers across the US andIndia and provides a clear guideline for what type of skills companies should outsource to India, and what they should continue to source in the US."

It's hard to imagine anything that would put a bigger smile on the faces of Indian job seekers. This remark is a clear call to redirect certain types of work and career opportunities from American workers to Indians.

The fact is that IT, and many other modern skilled professions, were pretty much invented in the west by westerners. For the past decade America has been putting its talented people out by the curb on trash day. The ongoing boom in adult college and technical education shows that Americans are not lazy and that we have been diligent about striving to improve ourselves and keep up with changing times, but it hasn't done us much good because of foolish trade policies enacted to help our nation's rich get richer.

For you or anyone to claim that there is any sort of shortage of any sort of skill in America is defamatory. I'm using a legal term on purpose here. Defamation is not just insults, it's the kind of insults that make it hard for a person to earn a living and live in their community. That's what American technical workers (IT, engineering, etc.) have been subjected to for over a decade now. And your quote above is yet another example.

There is no shortage of any sort of talent within the US. What we do have is a surplus of highly skilled labor that is now jobless or seriously underemployed. We have several million educated and highly skilled workers who were done out of not just their jobs, but their entire lifetime career paths, based on the "shortage" lie that was used to unseat them from the middle class. Between the ever-hungry American rich class, and the mass of third world job seekers, American workers are being ground to dust.

Stop libelling and slandering American workers. There is no shortage and there never was.

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Jul 1, 2011 11:45 AM tired of the rhetoric tired of the rhetoric  says: in response to Dolores

"The study doesn't mean anything. It's whether or not an individual has the talent and drive. Should we write off an entire country because of test results from a small subset of the population? Should we open up the job market of one nation to another on the basis of such data? No, all the way around."

Amen...what a waste of time and money this survey is, not to mention any uproar that may result. Why continue the discussion, and I use "discussion" very loosely here, when the vast majority of those who participate seem entrenched in their views and nothing constructive seems to come from it? Some are in it to rant about the H1-B abuse and others to heap abuse of their own on fellow humans, big business, corrupt government, provocative bloggers, and any number of other targets.

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Jul 1, 2011 12:58 PM Peter Schoenster Peter Schoenster  says:

Actually, these tests are imho a problem. People from anywhere simply get trained to pass a test. They have little passion for IT as a whole, they just need a job. This is true for all people from any country. They pass the test and consulting companies then contract them out as "developers". That is definitely not the term as defined by Eric Sink http://www.ericsink.com/No_Programmers.html . But I think you need that mentality everywhere. Way too often you get a group of trained folks of any nationality who cannot see beyond their small cube.

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Jul 2, 2011 1:09 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

Well, let's see. I did question him on the second half of the quote you posted. If the only thing you can hook all of this on is that I didn't go into the whole shortage thing in this post, then I'm comfortable. I will say this: If you ever feel that there's something in a press release that I should have raised in a post and didn't, that's legitimate and completely fair. If you're suggesting that I deliberately refrained from addressing any particular quote that you think is important as a means of furthering some agenda or trying to hide something, then I find that a little insulting. If you're not suggesting that, then I apologize for the leap.

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Jul 2, 2011 1:17 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

Well, I was feeling insulted by your question, so let's call it even. Tempers are bound to flare on the subject of jobs in times like these. I remain totally blown away by his conclusions about his data. As someone once said, his conclusions are not even wrong.

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Jul 2, 2011 1:22 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

Fair enough. Time to get out and enjoy the day. Happy Fourth to you and yours, Dolores.

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Jul 2, 2011 1:31 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

Yes a happy Fourth to you too.

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Jul 2, 2011 1:38 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don, Let's face it. First generation Asian Americans never quite cut off the umbilical cord of their mother countries. So, yes, while they become citizens of the US, they never quite become part of the American culture. Indian Americans go home to India to go through an arranged marriage VS date and marry here. Outside of work, they only socialize with other Asians. They never really learn anything American beyond what is necessary for their jobs. Also, I know Indian parents always have a backup plan in the event the Draft is back. They would be shipping off their children to their home countries to avoid them being drafted.

I was at T. C. Williams High School in Alexadria, VA recently to attend an Odyssey of the mind competition.The Asian parents were only worried about how their kids would perform at the competition.They had no clue as to the significance of that particular school, although they lived in the area for more than a decade.

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Jul 2, 2011 7:40 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to hireamerican

You know, some of the qualities I look for in a testing authority are objectivity, political neutrality, and freedom from social agendas. Too bad GILD just blew it. Asians must think Americans are dumb as dirt in that I guess Desai figured we couldn't look up quotes and put two and two together.

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Jul 2, 2011 8:33 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

'Asians must think Americans are dumb as dirt in that I guess Desai figured we couldn't look up quotes and put two and two together.'

Mr. Desai is an American. I made that clear in my post. Is he less American than you are because he came from Pakistan?

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Jul 2, 2011 9:04 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

Go ahead and jump on that if it makes you feel good. The fact is that a major gaffe by a supposedly professional testing authority got exposed here.

I sometimes wonder about the loyalties of recent immigrants, as many of them cling to affinities with their homelands that were unthinkable for my immigrant ancestors back in previous centuries. What I learned from my own genealogy is that men right off the boat from Germany registered for the draft and even sometimes were sent back to fight against Germany. They knew that freedom isn't free and stepped up to the plate as Americans, even when it put them in harm's way. They did not act as a fifth column once they got here.

More recent immigrants, by contrast, often distinguish themselves by keeping hyphenated attitudes and leading hyphenated lives.

Have you gotten around to asking Mr. Desai about his motives for issuing the quote you didn't publish, but I did? Please get back to us about that when you do. It might be interesting.

Don, thank you for showing us why we American tech workers should not trust GILD. I'll stick with Prometric, thank you.

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Jul 2, 2011 10:42 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

Come on, Dolores. Here's the quote:

'There is currently a shortage of software engineers in the US, especially in Silicon Valley.  This is the first study that has hard data on the quality of engineers across the US and India and provides a clear guideline for what type of skills companies should outsource to India, and what they should continue to source in the US.'

The shortage question is an open one, and one that can be debated endlessly in circles. There's nothing controversial or 'gotcha' about that. No one needs a 'motive' to have arrived at the conclusion that there's s shortage. If, to borrow your phrase, 'it makes you feel good' to go back down that rat hole, have at it.

I had a limited amount of time with Desai, and I picked the statement from the press release that I considered to be the most controversial for him to explain-that Indian developers would catch up with U.S. developers. If I hadn't cited that one, it would have been far more legitimate to jump on that, and I suspect you would have. I also asked him about the outsourcing dimension, and his response is in my post.

The irony in all of this is that the study found that U.S. programmers are better than Indian programmers, and by a much larger margin than Indian developers were found to have better math and logic skills than U.S. developers. And yet this guy is still cast as a disloyal immigrant with a hidden agenda. It's mind-boggling.

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Jul 2, 2011 10:55 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

No it's not mind-boggling. He specifically said that the current data, as-is, could be used to plan outsourcing strategies. It's right there in black and white (ok, pixels).

Go ahead and cast me as a racist, nationalist, nativist, bigotted whatever-you-wanna-say, but I thought his remarks might be detrimental to the careers of American workers, especially if hiring managers and C-suite guys put the same spin on his "data" as he did. As such, they might even rise to the level of "defamation per se."

He called it 'hard data' (which it isn't, it barely rises about the level of anecdote, and you know what they say about that), and that his data "provides a clear guidline" about what sort of work Americans should give away to India. That's what he said. I just copy-pasted it.

His remarks that I (and not you) quoted were at best unprofessional and irresponsible in this times, and at worst - yes - anti-American. But who cares about that any more?

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Jul 2, 2011 11:11 AM Dolores Dolores  says:

Where he was born is not the deciding factor. What's in his heart and mind - that's another story. (As well as his legal status) Two of my great grandfathers were born in Germany, yet I have their WWI draft cards in my ancestry.com file, not just their citizenship papers.

Of course I wouldn't say that someone born somewhere else is less American than me. What are you accusing me of? What would I have to be to fall into that trap? What are you imagining about me and other American job activists? That we come here from Stormfront? That we dress up in bedsheets? Where do questions like this even come from?

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Jul 2, 2011 12:36 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

Well, Dolores, this particular one came in response to your statement, 'Asians must think Americans are dumb as dirt in that I guess Desai figured we couldn't look up quotes and put two and two together.' So let's not pretend that the question, in response to that statement referring to an American of Asian descent, was somehow out of line.

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Jul 2, 2011 12:55 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

I'd like to see you question Mr. Desai as vigorously on that quote I posted as you do me and my homies on this side of the aisle. What was he thinking? Can you imagine the CEO of an outfit like Pearson Vue saying, "Here's some of our data. Let's use it to argue in favor of offshore outsourcing." I sure wouldn't willingly take a test with them after that. Did he understand he was speaking on the record? Wow.

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Jul 5, 2011 4:29 AM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to hireamerican

Hireamerican,

You are being a hypocrite here ... when Europeans first occupied America, they wiped out the indigenous native Americans and claimed their land and other assets. How fair was that to the American Indians? Which native American custom did you all adopt to 'blend in'? Also, Americans with Irish background still stick to their Irish roots like 'St. Patrick's Day' et-al, Americans with a German ancestry go ga-ga over 'Sauerkraut' and German Beer during 'Oktober Fest', etc, (I can go on and on, but you get the point). There's nothing wrong in sticking to 'tried and tested' customs that has worked for years. The concept of dating is alien to most South Asians and rightly so - you don't see that many South Asians' marriages ending up in divorce or don't see many South Asian guys knocking up teenage girls and vanishing from the scene forever. However, I do agree that South Asians (and Indians in particular) need to do a better job of blending in and adopt some of the 'good' American customs.

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Jul 5, 2011 4:39 AM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to Wakjob

Wakjob,

I am sure it's your frustration over some past 'perceived' misdeeds of Indian programmers that has caused you to vent in this manner ... otherwise, no one in their right mind would accuse low-to-mid-level Indian IT guys for the colossal failure of such American behemoths such as Lehman Bros, GM, Fannie Mae, Boeing, etc. Especially considering that IT budgets normally do not constitute more than 10% of a company's revenues, the impact of Indian developers/other IT personnel towards the fortunes of these companies seem far-fetched. These companies failed for a variety of reasons, but blaming it on a narrow bunch of Indian IT people is plain dumb.

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Jul 5, 2011 6:16 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to IT_Manager

The things you mention are part of the culture, and not the US culture. People will accept celebrating Diwali as part of the overal culture here.

All Indian girls that grow up in the US do not want to marry Indian boys. Why? Cuz they see how their fathers treat their mothers. So they don't want to get stuck in the same situation, forever and ever. So much for the low divorce rates :P

You mean, you don't a guy in the US  throwing acid on a girl's face if the girl rejects him :P.

As for Europeans, American Indians etc etc, that stuff has happend every where, all over the centuries. Aryans pushing the Dravidians south...does that ring a bell?

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Jul 6, 2011 1:06 AM who knows who knows  says: in response to hireamerican

As per your theory a few incidents should be treated as culture then

how about the news (http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110703/ap_on_bi_ge/us_unemployment_insurance_fraud)  that "$17billion benefits swindle last year alone" from unemployment insurance, so can we consider this is american culture which every immigrants has to practice ?

And about news on Casey Anthony, is this the general american mom's culture ?

How about Mikchale P Fay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_P._Fay), is he called as sample for american teen culture ?

Is Bill Clinton represents all married person's culture in US ?

Stop picking remote incidents and history to project as a country culture.

As long as a person not affecting other's personal life every one is entitled to follow his/her own culture,religion or way of life and it is protected by constitution. You have no legal rights to expect others to follow your culture no matter how best your culture could be. How about respecting your own culture of respecting others culture (no matter how much you disagree with it).

Better stay with the topic of discussion (as for as this blog How Do U.S., Indian Developers Really Match Up? ) instead of going all the way out and keep showing your ignorance and fill this blog with your trash talk.

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Jul 6, 2011 1:56 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to IT_Manager

I seriously doubt you are an American citizen :P.

If you are, then why did you become one if you so despise the culture of the country? Are you here just for the money and riches that the US offers? Big surprise :P!!

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Jul 6, 2011 1:57 AM Hireamerican Hireamerican  says: in response to who knows

If you do not like what happens here or the culture here, go back. Don't let the door hit you on your way out :P

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Jul 6, 2011 2:22 AM who knows who knows  says: in response to Hireamerican

If you can't understand what I said then you need to revisit your comment and my response.

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Jul 6, 2011 3:11 AM Hireamerican Hireamerican  says: in response to who knows

Okay now I understand. I am sorry for my previous remark!

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Jul 6, 2011 3:14 AM ctrl alt del ctrl alt del  says: in response to IT_Manager

Ironic that 'IT manager' here first generalizes about apparent slovenly American customs of boozing, smoking, hedonistic partying and in general trying to illustrate us as lazy and slovenly why closely following with a statement that acid throwing is just a 'one off' incident.

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Jul 6, 2011 3:52 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to Hireamerican

I do not care enough to go back and read.....if you have issues with the culture, no one is forcing you to be here. You can leave.

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Jul 6, 2011 4:15 AM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to hireamerican

Oh yeah? So I should show you my passport or naturalization certificate now to prove it? And yes, I came for the bug bucks! Just for the same reason that the Brits occupied the rest of the world at one point of time (or the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, the Portuguese, etc).

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Jul 6, 2011 4:56 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to IT_Manager

And they got chased away....just like you are now:P

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Jul 6, 2011 8:44 AM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to hireamerican

hireamerican,

The Indian girls who grow up here (second-generation) are indeed trying to 'blend' in to the American culture (exactly what you insist Indians are not doing). It takes a while for any immigrant group to change the core culture and native customs with which they have grown up. As far as the Indian girls rejecting their parents' choice of bridegrooms, it is easy to see why: these girls are exposed from the very beginning of their lives to the 'decadent' western culture of dating (multiple partners), boozing, drugs, partying, smoking, etc, and think that's all life should be all about and NOT what their parents' version of a 'good' life should be. Hence they reject their parents' safe choices.

Don't take isolated incidents of some wack job jilted lover throwing acid on a girl's face and generalize it. Similar or worse (rape and murder) incidents happen here in the USA too.

Don't even try to educate me on Aryans and Dravidians ... you obviously are not qualified to talk about Indian culture.

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Jul 6, 2011 8:45 AM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to hireamerican

You are just a frustrated, jealous, (probably unemployed) American resorting to name-calling and stooping to low levels. I don't want to stoop to your levels ...

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Jul 6, 2011 8:57 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to IT_Manager

Hmmm...You were the one that started the name calling...according to you, all Americans are low level people. So why do you want to stick around with people like us :P

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Jul 6, 2011 9:50 AM hireamrican hireamrican  says: in response to IT_Manager

If the culture here is of not good standing with you, then get out. You are not welcome here.

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Jul 6, 2011 9:56 AM hireamerican hireamerican  says: in response to IT_Manager

India has the Devadasi system, where young girls are dedicated for life to religious temples, and serve the needs of the priests and the heads of the community :P

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring02/Chattaraj/index2.html

Most rape cases go unreported in India, because the rapist with money can get away with anything....even with murder.

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Jul 6, 2011 10:52 AM Everest Everest  says: in response to IT_Manager

"As far as the Indian girls rejecting their parents' choice of bridegrooms, it is easy to see why: these girls are exposed from the very beginning of their lives to the 'decadent' western culture of dating (multiple partners), boozing, drugs, partying, smoking, etc"

Is that why Indian kids don't mingle with anyone else ? Do you really think every get together involves sex, alchohol and drugs ? How do you know anything about a culture which you are not part of ?

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Jul 6, 2011 12:45 PM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to hireamrican

Who the f?&% are you to tell me where to go? I am a US citizen and I can be anywhere in the world I please. If you can't take constructive criticisms then go hide in a cave, you caveman!

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Jul 6, 2011 12:46 PM IT_Manager IT_Manager  says: in response to hireamerican

Yawn !!! Yeah, keep digging up obscure stuff from the pits of the internet ... I don't have time to reason with people like you.

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Jul 13, 2011 5:40 AM Bhat Bhat  says:

US Developer's big advantage is backing of universities who are active in research.  US developers are good in product design where as Indian developers are good in only coding.  Since most of the Indian companies including US companies operating in India work on services model, they lack in research and innovation.

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Aug 21, 2011 3:26 AM Luke101 Luke101  says:

Though, India has a stronger education system - America has a very strong economy compared to India. Which means programmers have corporate experience. But Coporations are known to recruit Indian programmers heavily like facebook and google.

http://akorra.com/2011/08/14/10-interesting-firearms-history-facts/

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Oct 5, 2012 6:39 AM offshore Software Development Services offshore Software Development Services  says:
What the meaning about this post, I mean why you compare Indian and American developer? Reply
Apr 23, 2013 1:35 PM Sebastian Sebastian  says:
The problem is that, Indian developers maybe good, but their mentality is 180 degrees opposite of the American. They don't adapt well. I also noticed that once Indians get into the projects, they take over and don't let others in. They're also very sneaky and close-minded.. America has gone through many civil right movements and that has revolutionized Americans, but sorry, Indians weren't part of that. They weren't part of anything that US went through.. They cannot be trusted! Reply

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