My previous post brought up an interesting, and hopefully not overly discussed, conversation topic: outsourcing software engineering to India.
This topic has been hot for the past number of years, and I think I fall in the minority when I say that I am not against outsourcing to India if the market in India can produce the same quality software products that are being produced here at a fraction of the cost.
I am not saying that I hope to have my job outsourced to India. What I am saying is that in a world where I believe in free markets, when competing for business, the company that can offer a product or service of equitable quality at the lowest price should win the business.
If I am unable to compete with the engineers from India, should I be angry with disloyal American companies who outsourcing? If my salary is much higher here than it would be were I living in India, should I fight for laws to prevent money from flowing out of our economy and into another? As a local consultant, am I offering services that can be easily replaced with foreign labor? Should I, instead of trying to stop open competition, figure out a way to offer a service to US companies that cannot be outsourced?
And if the implementation of a design spec can be outsourced, can the initial analysis also be outsourced? How about the project management? Are there things that we, as software engineers living in the United States, can offer that cannot be outsourced? Should we, as an engineering community, focus on growing our unique skills and ensuring our place in the world market?
So the question is this: can India offer the same quality software end-product that a local consulting company can offer at a lower price? I am leery of the possibility because on the projects in which I work, constant communication with my customer is paramount to success. I wonder how the communication barrier is overcome when dealing with an implementation team that lives in another culture. I am curious if anyone out there has experiences, good or bad, with outsourcing software engineering to India.