Offshoring fears excessive, author says

Fears that offshore developers will take jobs away from North American counterparts are being overblown, charged a keynote speaker and noted author at the recent Software Development Conference & Expo West 2004 event in Santa Clara, Calif.

Responding to an audience member’s question, Steve McConnell, chief software engineer at Construx Software Builders Inc. and author of the book, “Code Complete,” said the need for software development is still growing. While acknowledging that some may see him as Nero fiddling while Rome burns, McConnell, said, “I’m not all that concerned about offshoring.”

Even if 100 per cent of Indian development resources were focused on the U.S. demand, there still is a labour shortage for developer skills, he said. The years 1999 and 2000 saw a spike in demand related to the Y2K and technology boom periods, he said. Yet while both phenomena went away simultaneously, the result did not produce a 15 per cent unemployment rate, McConnell said. This, he said, “is suggestive of just how strong the demand for technical skills really is.”

The repercussions of offshore development will be felt more at the executive level “because a lot of the initiatives I’ve seen are really very na

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