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2) I found this report to be very informative, although only partly reassuring. Prior to reading the article, I was not particularly concerned about "off-shoring" affecting me personally. My plan has generally been to live and work for at least most of my life in the USA, doing some sort of research in IT, either in academia or in industry. I assumed that software engineering jobs might be off-shored, but not usually research positions requiring a higher level of education. According to the article, however, "Today, global competition in higher-end skills, such as research, is increasing." This could have both positive and negative impacts on my career, although it seems likely to have a beneficial effect on IT in general: "A freer worldwide market in research means that potential funding for IT research can more easily be targeted to those that can most effectively and efficiently create research results. ....There is little doubt that this is good for the field of IT and for the world as a whole; however, while we gain as a group, there can be individual losers."

Fortunately, the article does recommend a course of action to follow in order to protect one's career, such as, "...obtaining a strong foundational education, learning the technologies used in the global software industry, keeping skills up to date throughout their career, developing good teamwork and communication skills, becoming familiar with other cultures, and managing their careers so as to choose work in industries and jobs occupations less likely to be automated or sent to a low-wage country." I have always enjoyed traveling to other countries, learning about other cultures, and especially learning to speak other languages, and as such I feel that I can maintain an advantageous posture with respect to a globalized IT research market.

3) I agree strongly with the article that globalization is beneficial for the field as a whole. The more opportunities that we have for global cooperation and communication, and the more brains we have around the world focusing on research, the better. I feel that the article may, however, be missing the big picture. Of course this is a bit beyond the scope of the article, but the whole discussion presupposes relative normalcy with respect to global population, natural resource availability and global climate change.

Scientific estimates of the carrying capacity of the planet tend to be between 10 and 20 billion humans. Given that we are already at about 7 billion, and that the population has been doubling approximately every 40 years, we should be reaching a rather dire situation soon, and certainly soon enough to affect my long term "career plans". I would like to know how a global natural resource shortage (ie. lack of food and fresh water) will affect the global economy. Will it lessen the dominance of the world's superpowers? Or will it mostly affect poorer countries? What will happen to the infrastructure of world trade and communication in the face of mass famine and energy shortage? Will countries even continue to invest resources in research, or will most people be more concerned with more basic needs? It seems customary to presume the continuance of normalcy for the indefinite future, but an study that attempts to predict long term behavior of the global economy should at least address the impending resource shortage and its related implications.

4) Our department might improve the chances of its students by enabling and encouraging communication between CU Boulder student researchers and those in foreign countries. This could be done through an exchange program organized with several foreign research institutions. The exchange program would need to be large enough to accommodate most Ph.D. students.

Last modified 23 October 2007 at 3:35 am by danknights