The McDonaldization of the IT Industry - BrainDump
To American IT workers, "offshoring" has become synonymous with "unpatriotic" and "unemployment." But for people in China, India, Singapore, and other countries where the corporations are moving their operations, "outsourcing" and "offshoring" are good news. "If it's the case that you're still in a developing country, you are one lucky person and should just stay right where you are."
It started in the late 1990’s, when IT work was still exploding. And of course, there was also the Y2K issue scaring the pants off of the government and every major corporation, as well as the common citizen. Since there was a shortage of skilled workers in the country and the gloom and doom of the millennium clock was clicking away at light speed, companies had to ship jobs overseas in order to prevent a major catastrophe. At the same time, one and two-year IT schools were popping up like McDonald’s, aiming to churn out as many domestic IT workers as possible to handle to explosive growth in the industry and deal with the Y2K bug.
A perfect example of how desperate the country was to create IT workers relates to a fellow from my childhood days. There was a guy in town who was usually drunk and rowdy, getting into fights, and wrecking his car after a night of binge drinking. For the sake of this story let’s call him Danny Cooperton. One morning I was leaving the coffee shop heading to work where I managed a web services company. I see a guy staggering across the street at 8 am. Once I made it to the crosswalk, I realized it was Danny.
“Danny, how are you?” I asked.
“Oh, hungover man. I’m messed up,” said Danny, his eyes sloshing around in his head.
“What are you doing these days?” I asked.
“I’m an IT worker. I just got out of school,” he said.
America had built up an IT work force consisting of a sizable portion of people like Danny. Many were unemployed people being retrained with government funding to take on the needs of the IT demands of the future. Too bad the bureaucrats didn’t see what was just around the corner.
Boom! Crack! Pow! As soon as the country had created a McDonald’s IT workforce, the whole thing exploded. When stocks declined in the beginning of this century, CEO’s had to make moves to get shareholders back in the game. All that was required to create a mass exodus of high-tech jobs was for one major player to save millions by shipping those jobs to people in developing countries, like China and India. (For the Americans reading this, people from those countries were the people in your computer science and math classes in college that would typically score 110 points on the test in which you scored a 72.)