IT jobs disappear, gov investment in innovation needed

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Mon Nov 3 15:53:10 PST 2003


This came across >HTech the other day...  worthy of comment in a more 
generic sense, namely:  one of the pundits quoted here is Ed Yourdon.  
Oh ye of little memory!  IIRC, on midnight December 31, 1999 Ed was 
hiding in a hole in Montana waiting for the world to end, and had been 
screaming at the top of his lungs for some while about that.

jb

--

Who'll develop tech's 'next big thing'?

By JACK KAPICA
Globe and Mail Update


POSTED AT 7:35 AM EST  Thursday, Oct. 30, 2003

The high-tech industry is waiting for the Next Big Thing to revive the
economy, but when it does arrive, it may not come from the United
States, Canada or Western Europe.

Developments in communications have developed to such an extent that the
next generation of inventors - after Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Bill
Gates - are more likely to be in Bangalore, Karachi, Beijing, St.
Petersburg and Manila, says an analyst with the Arlington, Mass.,-based
Cutter Consortium.

In fact, Cutter Consortium Fellow Ed Yourdon warned that the trend has
been in place for some time - the recent global economic boom, and the
associated high-technology boom that prevailed all through the 1990s,
may have been delaying factors in the migration of
information-technology jobs to India and other centres.

"I think that many of the jobs that are shifting overseas now from the
United States are never coming back," Mr. Yourdon said. "Just as nobody
seriously expects shoe manufacturers, textile companies or even
automobile companies to shift from Mexico and Asia back to the United
States.

"That's particularly true for the low-end IT jobs," he said.

Mr. Yourdon made his observations Wednesday in the course of a plea to
the U.S. government to stimulate the creation of new jobs in high
technology, to create a situation similar to the "seismic shift" of the
early 1990s. That's when corporate interests moved from mainframe
computers running third-generation programming languages, to
client-server technology (PCs with GUI-based workstations).

"Let's assume the economy recovers, some brand-new high-tech 'killer
app' will excite the business community in much the same way that
client-server technology did a decade ago," Mr. Yourdon said. "If that
happens, I predict that there will be a lot of 40- to 45-year-old
client-server programmers and even some 30- to 35-year-old Java Web
programmers who will find themselves unable to make the transition
quickly enough to keep their jobs from being taken by the brand-new
generation of college graduates."

The biggest threat, he said, will come from rising Asian high-tech
areas.

"The next razzle-dazzle technology may be created in Bangalore," he
said. "It could be created in Karachi or Beijing or various other parts
of the world, too, but Bangalore now has venture capitalists. That, in
itself, is an ominous sign.

"Some of the traditional U.S. venture capital firms are shifting their
investments from Silicon Valley to India. And from personal experience,
I can tell you that Bangalore also has some very hungry, very ambitious
entrepreneurs."

He said that there are "plenty of low-paid programmers who will maintain
old COBOL programs as long as you want them to," and that the next
generation of Indian IT professionals firmly believes that the United
States no longer has a monopoly on innovation.

"And if they're right, which they may well be, then the IT industries of
the United States, Canada, England, Western Europe, and other advanced
countries are really in trouble."

(c) 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.



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