[Commentary ] On Developer job security in Oz?
ilox at airnet.com.au
Mon May 19 13:37:13 CST 2003
Builder AU Community newsletter -- Monday May 19, 2003.
Welcome to the first installment of the Builder AU community
While talking to developers in the community today there is
one theme that just keeps popping up in conversation--job
security. After the dot-com boom, during which HTML
developers were earning up to AU$50 an hour, many
developers today are taking on jobs for salaries which are,
in some cases, half of what they used to earn.
That is, of course, if they are still employed. While this
could be seen as a reality check in many areas of the market
it is disheartening to see developers being judged solely by
the bottom line.
A prime example of this came when I was talking to a
recently redundant developer for a multinational company,
who was told "according to our ROI figures we cannot afford
to keep you". Being one of the senior software engineers,
who was up to date with certification and had an impressive
record with his customers was not enough. He later found out
that not only was his position outsourced to India, but so
were the positions of his entire team.
So where does that leave the Australian developers who
cannot find a job, even with the latest development
certifications (that do not come cheap) and who are
developing world class applications and software with the
most efficient methodologies? Are Australian developers just
not cheap enough in the current climate?
I'm not sure that Australian developers can ever be cheap
enough to compete on a purely monetary basis with their
counterparts in countries such as China and India. So who is
lobbying to protect local developers?
While the government has, to its credit, invested in
initatives to increase expertise in Australia, through
funding to start-ups and research, there is little being
done in regard to Australian developers being able to
compete at the bottom line in terms of wages
There is a considerable amount of money poured into the
developer community by some of the bigger vendors in
Australia to help developers and ISV's be competitive in
the global market. Although this is an investment that makes
their own products more attractive, what will become of
this investment if there is little support from the
government to make local expertise attractive financially?
Some might say in an open market this is just a fact of life
and we should be more competitive in other areas where there
is a more level playing field. This might sound nice in
theory but one has to wonder how much will it cost to re-
train the vast majority of the 200,000 developers in
What is your opinion of job security in Australia? Do you
think there should be more intervention to harness local
development and talent? E-mail us at builder at zdnet.com.au
with your opinion.
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