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Software Career Paradox

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Software Career Paradox
2. Today's Top Story
    - Google Offers Free Web Calendar Service
3. Breaking News
    - IE 7 Security Update Picture Remains Muddy
    - MetroFi Wins Contract For Portland's Wi-Fi Network
    - Software Engineers Top List Of Best U.S. Jobs
    - Outsourcing Contracts Up, But Savings Questioned
    - Mobs Rampage In Indian Tech City After Actor Dies
4. Grab Bag: MySpace, Plus Google And Voice
    - The MySpace Economy (Rediff)
    - Google Gets Voice Search Patent (Techtree.com)
    - TDK Beats All Others To The Finish Line In Shipping Blu-Ray Media (DailyTech)
5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech
    - Review: Apple's Boot Camp: Macs Do Windows
    - The Traveler's Toolkit: 13 Essential Items For The Road
    - Going Mobile: A Buyer's Guide To Your Perfect Notebook
    - Review: Netgear XE104
    - Six Things You Need To Know About VoIP
6. Voice Of Authority
    - Save Lives: Debug Code
7. White Papers
    - Synchronize Your Supply Chain With RFID
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller


1. Editor's Note: Software Career Paradox

A report from Thursday indicates that software engineers have "the best jobs in America," as determined by a Money Magazine survey. Factors leading to this enviable designation included strong career growth prospects, high average salary, and potential for creativity. Other factors used in tabulating results, which reflected online surveys of 26,000 people, were stress levels, flexibility, and ease of entry/advancement.

While I'd certainly agree that developers have good earning potential and creative opportunities, I find the other results off base. I can't think of any career facing as much pressure from the domestic and offshore outsourcing trend. Time and again we hear that what companies are offshoring in particular is programming work. I think of U.S.-based software engineering jobs as being at a crossroads. Even the most skilled developers must be thinking hard about how to reinvent themselves, develop new skills, and find other ways to maximize their value to an organization, lest they become another statistic in the outsourcing wave. For the moment, software development not only isn't the best job out there, but it's also one of the most endangered.

And there's data to suggest that the outsourcing trend is only growing stronger. AT&T subsidiary Sterling Commerce had 80 employees in India in 2004; since then it has added 300 software engineers and will hire another 200 this year. Meantime, the total value of all outsourcing contracts worth more than $50 million signed in the first quarter of this year increased 173% year-over-year to $22.6 billion.

There's growing awareness, however, that outsourcing a project or an entire job function isn't quite as easy and painless as some outsourcing proponents would have you believe. The same report on the value of outsourcing contracts increasing so sharply also indicates that a goodly chunk of anticipated savings evaporates as a result of outsourcing's overhead.

I'm definitively not in the camp of IT career doomsayers. I view software development as a highly strategic, creative job function that's necessary for companies in all industries to automate functions, create new products, and innovate. The current stampede toward outsourcing will ultimately slow down as companies get a better handle on the aforementioned overhead issues and recognize that while some outsourcing makes sense, they also need to keep some of the best and brightest software developers in-house. I just hope the current outsourcing frenzy doesn't drive away so many talented people and future engineers that our country can't compete in this field over the long haul.

Please weigh in on the future of the software development profession at my blog entry.

Tom Smith
tsmith@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

IE7 Security Update Picture Remains Muddy
Confused users wonder whether recent patch updates apply to them.


3. Breaking News

Google Offers Free Web Calendar Service
Users can type simple phrases like "Leave work today at 5 p.m." that the system can interpret and automatically insert into the calendar. Google is working to link its calendar with Microsoft Outlook and other corporate software.

MetroFi Wins Contract For Portland's Wi-Fi Network
Under the plan, 1 Mbps service will be available at no cost. Higher-speed access will be free with advertising, or cost $20 per month for users who don't want advertising.

Software Engineers Top List Of Best U.S. Jobs
The job topped the list based on strong growth prospects, average pay of $80,500, and potential for creativity, according to the survey by Money Magazine and Salary.com.

Outsourcing Contracts Up, But Savings Questioned
The total value of all large contracts signed in the first quarter of 2006 increased 173% year-over-year to $22.7 billion, but companies aren't saving as much as expected.

Mobs Rampage In Indian Tech City After Actor Dies
The unrest in Bangalore forced technology companies to close for at least a day, out of concern for the safety of their employees and infrastructure.

All Our Latest News

Watch The News Show

In the current episode:

Jack Soat With 'News Or Not!'

Aaron Ricadela With 'Experience-Oriented'


4. Grab Bag: MySpace, Plus Google And Voice

The MySpace Economy (Rediff)
Tens of millions of people show up regularly at MySpace, News Corp.'s suddenly popular virtual hangout. That's good news for News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, who raised eyebrows by shelling out $580 million for the Web site last summer.

Google Gets Voice Search Patent (Techtree.com)
In a win-win for Google, co-founder Sergey Brin, along with three other persons, has been granted a U.S. patent for a voice interface for search engines.

TDK Beats All Others To The Finish Line In Shipping Blu-Ray Media (DailyTech)
TDK Corporation announced today that it has begun shipping Blu-ray recordable media to retailers across the United States. The first wave of media will include 25 Gbyte BD-R (recordable) and BD-RE (rewritable) media.


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----
Free Report Download: Linux Adoption
Learn how more than 300 business technology professionals plan to use Linux in their IT infrastructure in this recent InformationWeek Research report, "Linux: The Impact of Service and Support."

Benchmarking Tools
Take a five minute break and try one of the 18 research tools available from InformationWeek. They're informative, confidential, totally free, and just a click away.
-----------------------------------------


5. In Depth: Reviews And Personal Tech

Review: Apple's Boot Camp: Macs Do Windows
The beta version of Apple's dual-boot enabler allows Intel-based Macs to speak Microsoft's language for the first time.

The Traveler's Toolkit: 13 Essential Items For The Road
The pain of business travel can be offset by carrying exactly the right stuff. These 13 items will make your travel life easier, more entertaining, more secure, and just a bit more stylish.

Going Mobile: A Buyer's Guide To Your Perfect Notebook
When shopping for a notebook computer, it's easy to spend $1,000 more (or $500 less) than you should. Here's a guide to choosing the notebook that's right for you.

Review: Netgear XE104
You can simplify home networking with this 85 Mbps wall-plugged Ethernet switch, but not without some compromises.

Six Things You Need To Know About VoIP
Think you know VoIP? Think again. There are plenty of myths and misunderstandings out there. We talk to 30 experts who tell you exactly what you need to know.


6. Voice Of Authority

Save Lives: Debug Code
We're so used to looking at programming these days as a throwaway, low-cost skill. We discourage students from pursuing it, we outsource the basic tasks, and we routinely struggle with balky applications. Regardless of how smart any of this might be, we know we can live with all that. But the tendency to ignore commonsense requests to thoroughly debug code? Very bad idea.


7. White Papers

Synchronize Your Supply Chain With RFID
Driving efficiencies throughout your supply chain and increasing the velocity of items through the supply chain from creation to consumer is more than a business mandate today; it's a matter of business survival. If your North American company doesn't do it, your competition will. Brought to you by Datex Corporation and Symbol Technologies.


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