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Monday January 24, 2005

Is Ciber chief a hero, or just cheap?

According to this article on MSNBC.con, Ciber INC. has opened an application dev center in Oklahoma City. Here is the reason given:

the "Cibersite" is an effort to tap into the underused technology talents of workers in midsized American metropolitan areas, where labor costs and the cost of living are considerably lower than in tech hubs such as San Francisco, Boston or, for that matter, Denver.

uh, ok I can see that. So, I went to check out the job descriptions at this "Cibersite" (God they probably call their workers something dorky "cibermen" yikes!):

Required Experience:
•1-3 yrs experience Object Oriented technologies: .NET, Java, C#, C++, VB
i.e not entry level gm
•Basic Database Experience (SQL Server or Oracle preferred)
•Thorough understanding of Object Oriented Analysis and Design concepts required •Demonstrated success in full Development Life Cycle process
•Technical Degree preferred
Business Skills:
•Excellent Communication Skills (written and oral)
•Team Player
•Self-Motivated •Deadline Driven and Goal Oriented

Job Description:
Primary Responsibilities:
•Assist in the Design and Coding of new applications
•Provide break/fix and enhancement support to existing applications
•Provide support through the application Testing process (Unit, System, User Acceptance & Regression)

hmm, so far so good right? Hang on there. They pay is $30K -$40K annually
That's right, midlevel software design positions. $30K a year.

If you are retired and living in Florida, Ciber has a plan for you too! They want to "recruit retirees from Northern states who are familiar with older systems and want to keep their minds busy." I guess screw all the native Floridians who got dumped for H1B visa holders. Do they realize that the area the retirees live in has a cost of living similar to Boston? And why the hell would someone want to work for $30K, helping out an industry that dumped everyone who has knowledge of some of the older systems?

Does this guy really think he is helping out US techies?

05:45 am
Monday January 24, 2005
posted by gmminks

Friday January 21, 2005

Angry call center calls highlights our cultural differences

Here are a few interesting articles, about call centers, that highlight our cultural differences with people from India.

The first article is about that call from the angry DJs. According to a Wall Street Journal article quoted by this article, the problem with Americans is that we are "sadly accustomed to daily bombardments of such crudeness--not only on the airwaves but in the streets and most every venue of public life", and this is why Americans are not angry at the DJs. (I don't understand why they have to bring up Howard Stern in every article about this stupid call)

The second article is about some British-Indian people who went to India to work in the call-centers and were shocked to find out that people from England are nasty to telemarketers.

Now I did a telemarketing gig in college, and I went in there EXPECTING people to cuss me's sort of a given! But I was in college and desperate for some fast money. Sometimes you do what ya gotta do.

This article talks about how the call centers have to care for workers because "“The age of these executives poses a significant challenge to us. Young, carefree and with considerable money coming in, youngsters crumble under work pressure easily. And to add to that, if there is abuse, then they are totally shattered.”

But the people taking these jobs in India can't handle it when people are mean to them. That is crazy to say that these people, who are supposed to be the best at customer service in the world, cannot handle a few irate customers!

Maybe the reason so many people in India can't handle ugly callers is that they call centers there prefer to use college-educated people to do a job that is done here by mostly high-school educated people. They are using people from a higher class, who aren't used to people treating them like garbage.

05:45 am
Friday January 21, 2005
posted by gmminks

Sunday January 16, 2005

Martin Luther King Day

Tomorrow is Martin Luther Kind Day. Most people will remember Dr. King by rememebering his "I Have a Dream" speech.

While those words are inspiring and important, it is almost more important to realize what Dr. King fought for. Dr. King was shot in Memphis, where he had gone to support striking sanitation engineers.

In the last speech he ever gave, his I've been to the Mountaintop speech, he encouraged poor people to leverage their collective buying power against the corporations that were treating them unjustly.

Dr. King encouraged the African American community to take the following actions:

Now the other thing we'll have to do is this: Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now, we are poor people. Individually, we are poor when you compare us with white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget that collectively -- that means all of us together -- collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine. Did you ever think about that? After you leave the United States, Soviet Russia, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and I could name the others, the Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That's power right there, if we know how to pool it.

We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles. We don't need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, "God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."

And so, as a result of this, we are asking you tonight, to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy -- what is the other bread? -- Wonder Bread. And what is the other bread company, Jesse? Tell them not to buy Hart's bread. As Jesse Jackson has said, up to now, only the garbage men have been feeling pain; now we must kind of redistribute the pain. We are choosing these companies because they haven't been fair in their hiring policies; and we are choosing them because they can begin the process of saying they are going to support the needs and the rights of these men who are on strike. And then they can move on downtown and tell Mayor Loeb to do what is right.

Please remember this struggle, especially if you are fortunate enough to have tommorow off. Remember that Martin Luther King had more than an empty promise of hope. He was a man that had a plan to fight injustice.

He was killed the day after he gave this speech.

There are mp3s of his speech on this page. It's very powerful.

08:49 pm
Sunday January 16, 2005
posted by gmminks

Thursday January 13, 2005

The end of IT as we know it?

Ran across this article. I think it makes some good points, but don't forget that the business process architect and relationship and change management jobs that are mentioned can be outsourced too.

Opinion: The end of IT as we know it

By Tony Baer

Anyone who was listening to a session titled “The End of the IT Department” at October’s Gartner Symposium might have concluded that Gartner finally bit the bullet and admitted that IT no longer matters.

According to Neil MacDonald, a Gartner vice president who pieced together the research cited in the session, the IT organization will shrink about 85 percent over the next decade. Combine that with analysts’ predictions that IT spending is growing at only a fraction of Gartner’s 25-year running average, and it’s easy to conclude that IT is disappearing, and that you should visit a career counselor.

Maybe you regret that IT hasn’t delivered projects on time or met budgets. Maybe your company thinks that you are the problem.

Guess what? Even if IT’s performance were stellar, fate wouldn’t be any different. The real story is that solutions such as business process management, business intelligence and reporting, and performance management are growing more powerful and easier to use. Once those tools are implemented, the business people who use them become more self-reliant. Back that up with advances in service-oriented architecture, and that routine customer account query may no longer require a DBA intimately familiar with CICS transactions if you wrapper it as a service, or assemble it as part of a larger one.

Then, consider advances in data center automation, reducing the need for admins to perform routine infrastructure monitoring. Finally, add virtualization, where chunks of computing power, network bandwidth, and storage can be commandeered as if they resided on one machine at a single location, and it soon becomes apparent that what we have on our hands is a new Industrial Revolution.

According to MacDonald, automation is likely to claim about 80 to 90 percent of IT operations jobs, 40 to 50 percent of help desk and support staff, and roughly half of all application development and maintenance. Much of what’s left would be outsourced. At the other end of the spectrum, only about 10 percent of strategy and architecture tasks are likely to be automated.

Overall, this should boost IT productivity by a factor of 10, MacDonald concludes. We’ve all heard about the promises of automation, along with the vast economies of offshoring. Automation will increase, but admins will focus on higher-level service quality issues. Offshoring may increase, but if you conduct iterative development, you’ll still need local bodies who know the people and the business.

MacDonald emphasizes that IT is not going away. The business units will absorb about 60 percent of it, and what’s left will focus on enterprise architecture and technology strategy, because somebody needs to keep their eyes on the horizon.

IT professionals are well situated to compete for roles as business process architects or relationship and change managers because they are not tied to one organization, which enables them to see the bigger picture. However, as tools get easier to use, expect strong competition from business process owners and domain specialists.

The IT organization might evaporate. However, to paraphrase Mark Twain, whoever predicted IT’s demise exaggerated.
10:57 am
Thursday January 13, 2005
posted by rickrob

Sunday January 9, 2005

What's up with us

The posting here has been light....we are all working....we all have kids....

and we all have been totally worn down by the sheer scope of this problem. So, as we see things that bear mention, we will throw them up here. I am sure as things start happening with Senator Hart's bill (here in MA) we will be posting action alerts and such.

In the meantime, you may want to check out the following stories:

  • To get an idea about what I mean when I talk about how big the problem of importing workers to do everything in the US, check out this site. Now, it could definitely use a site makeover, but there is a ton of info there about Compete America's campaign to control the global labor market for IT workers. Click all the blue links. It will blow your mind.

  • On that same note, if you are having a hard time landing a job, please check out this article in about interviewing. I know my company is going crazy looking for tech workers, and I am afraid to say not many folks make it through the interview process. Maybe you need to take a fresh look at how you are presenting yourself to prospective employers?

  • To keep up-to-date on the H-1B issue, visit

And as always, we are always checking our email, so holler at us

07:00 pm
Sunday January 9, 2005
posted by gmminks

Saturday January 8, 2005


This blog keeps up with Federal Legislation:

This blog is about how technology can change politics:

05:06 pm
Saturday January 8, 2005
posted by gmminks

Saturday January 1, 2005

Tsunami relief resources's tsunami relief page

05:55 pm
Saturday January 1, 2005
posted by gmminks

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