Lee Becker's Assignment 8

Employmentment in a Globalized World

I have a little concern about the future of computing as a viable field of study and work. While there may never again be a software gold-rush like was witnessed during the dot-com era, I have little doubt that computing has the potential to create new markets and new sources of jobs and employment. This report has confirmed much of what I have heard and experienced myself. In particular the economics is unproven for all situations. While countries like India, China, and others are quickly ramping up the technology track, they are still being hired to serve more local needs. Often the overhead associated with off-shoring means that rewards may not be reaped for several years or product generations. Given Wall Street's affinity for quarter to quarter gains, the idea of total offshoring of software related jobs seems far from fruition.

The portion that most should take away from this report is that low-end, general jobs will be the ones most likely off-shored. This is the nature of business in general. The future of computing jobs is centered around combining computer science with other domain knowledge or into interdisciplinary endeavors. In that sense I agree with the reports suggestion that CS education needs to evolve.

On the otherhand, I disagree with the assessment that universities have been too slow to react to the effects of offshoring. Curriculum at universities should not be tied solely to the prospects in the labor market, but to bigger issues. If schools become too quick to react they run the risk of transforming their programs into trade/vocational programs and will leave their graduates ill-equipped to handle change on their own.

With respect to my concerns about off-shoring, the computer science department at the University of Colorado, should require an area of special interest or minor outside of computer science for all undergraduate students. This policy should not be required of graduate students as it may be too heavy handed to encompass all areas of research.

On a side note, I was intrigued by this reports mention of increased traffic congestion, imbalance of wealth distribution, and breakdown of traditions and cultures. These issues are rarely discussed in domestic discussions o off-shoring, however I feel it is important that we understand the large impacts of this variety of globalization. For what end do we hope to achieve this constant push forward technologically? Perhaps we need to look at this less from a competitive point of view and more in terms of net gains and goals.