Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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3/13/2006
01:16 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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Careers: You Vs. Offshoring

IT pros have to live segmented lives. As business people, they need to accept offshoring. It's a viable business strategy, and opposing it makes as much sense as being categorically against just-in-time inventory. But as individuals with careers on the line, they need to view their entire IT careers as a stark battle against offshoring--constantly assessing the risk of their particular job being moved, and positioning their skills and roles to guard against that.

IT pros have to live segmented lives. As business people, they need to accept offshoring. It's a viable business strategy, and opposing it makes as much sense as being categorically against just-in-time inventory. But as individuals with careers on the line, they need to view their entire IT careers as a stark battle against offshoring--constantly assessing the risk of their particular job being moved, and positioning their skills and roles to guard against that.InformationWeek's cover story this week is just the latest burst of offshore momentum, with IBM consolidating all the development for one of its key initiatives in Bangalore. It provides a good chance to start a conversation: What career moves are you making to protect your IT career against offshoring? What strategies are working for you that your peers might also benefit from?

Some won't like the assertion I started with--that, on the job, there's no point opposing offshoring. My point: Offshoring isn't the right answer for every problem, but it makes sense for some. So being known as the anti-offshoring/outsourcing guy/gal in the office would seem to damage one's credibility--and maybe cut one off from opportunities to advance from offshoring/outsourcing, like moving into a role coordinating and managing such work.

But even for people who take that practical stance, I think it's OK--wise--for individuals in developed markets to assess an IT career starkly in terms of its position against offshoring. David Foote, head of research for the IT HR consultancy Foote Partners, puts it plainly in saying IT hot jobs today are defined by how "offshore-resistant" they are. He puts them in three categories: enabler jobs, customer-facing jobs, and infrastructure jobs.

So what offshore-resistant career strategies are working out there? Is anyone feeling more offshore-resistant than they were a year or two ago?

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