What's Behind The Tech Brain Drain?

from the improve-the-education-system dept

In a good followup to yeseterday’s story about the H1-B visa program says that the debate over the specifc program is missing the point. The real thing to worry about is the fact that jobs are moving overseas not just because it’s cheaper – but because the people are smarter. Other countries have invested heavily in their education systems when it comes to technology, and built up strong skills in certain areas. The US meanwhile has fewer and fewer students getting technology skills in college. Of course, I’m not sure the solutions mentioned will help all that much. A better “marketing” program to convince high schoolers that tech is the way to go? Every other story these days is about how the tech industry is struggling. That’s not necessarily going to convince too many students to go towards tech. Also, I worry about convincing people to become computer scientists if that’s not what they really want. It doesn’t do people any good for them to end up in jobs they’re going to hate. However, I do agree with his other suggestion. Forget the H1-B program for the very best foreign students and speed up the process of getting them a green card. If the very best people in technology aren’t from the US – but want to be – then we ought to do everything to make that happen.

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Comments on “What's Behind The Tech Brain Drain?”

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Randy Crawford says:

Inadequate basis for the author's conclusion

Nowhere does the author substantiate his claim that foreign IT folks are superior, nor that they need to be. Numerous articles by others have documented the income disparity as a clear motivator in moving IT work overseas. When a firm can hire an employee for 1/4 (india) to 1/10 (china) of the cost of a US engineer, it matters little whether the foreign worker is *superior* to his US counterpart. The reduction in cost is an overwhelming incentive in itself. Superior talent is unnecessary.

The Dirty Tech says:

Re: Inadequate basis for the author's conclusion

You hit the nail on the head. They do this because it immediately affects the bottom line. While the opposite, keeping the work here, actually would have a better effect on the bottom line in the long term. (Yet, they tell us not to worry about our 401k’s losing money because it’s for the long term investment. Oh, the irony.)

Excuse me now, I have to go make a million $$$ today, for tomorrow I may die.

dorpus says:

As usual

This kind of scare-talk article is filled with half-truths. Yes, plenty of manufacturing and “research” facilities are opening up overseas; but only for the less profitable work for products that have already been invented here. Yes, the majority of engineering PhD’s go to foreigners; but most of those foreigners stay here.

If foreign companies start designing new generations of chips faster than ours, do basic research more advanced than ours, then we would have reason to worry.

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