"In Software Industry, a Passage to India"
Boston Globe (01/20/03) P. C1; Kirsner, Scott
Software programming is set to follow the pattern of the textile industry in the United States as the low-end, hands-on work of coding gets done overseas. But, just as with apparel manufacturers today, design, marketing, and retailing operations are likely to stay here, according to experts. Forrester Research estimates that almost a half-million U.S. tech jobs will be siphoned to other countries by 2015, mostly to India. A number of companies in Massachusetts are already making the switch, in part because of the general tech slowdown. Shikhar Ghosh, founder of e-commerce pioneer Open Market and former Massachusetts Software & Internet Council chairman, is currently selling the assets of Verilytics, his most recent effort. He decided to hold onto his company’s 20 programmers in India while laying off workers in Burlington, Mass., because of simple cost reasons. Whereas each U.S.-based worker costs the company $10,000 per month, the entire Indian operation, including rent, costs Verilytics just $25,000 per month. PTC, the largest software firm in the state, has over 200 Indian programmers in Pune, but vice president of research and development Rich Butler says overseas programmers in general are less productive than those close to the company’s corporate base, and that complex development projects are better done in the United States. However, some firms are looking overseas for high-end skills as well, such as GGA Software in Cambridge, which keeps a staff of 120 in St. Petersburg, Russia, working on statistical modeling, drug discovery, and other scientific applications. John Russo, who heads the computer science department at Wentworth Institute of Technology, says his school is re-positioning its curricula to make sure its graduates know skills valuable for the future, such as how business and IT intersect.
"Where the Girls Aren’t"
New York Times--Education Life (01/12/03) P. 35; Stabiner, Karen
Opinions are divided as to why computer programming is unpopular among girls: One camp subscribes to the theory that girls are socially conditioned to avoid computer science, while another reasons that they are naturally disinclined toward the field. "The wanting to know how things work, that’s often what boys want to know," observes Hope Chafiian, director of technology and curriculum at Spence. Westover School principal Ann Pollina estimates that women account for fewer than one-third of all computer and information science bachelor’s degrees, and just 18 percent of advanced degrees; the ratio of male computer programmers to female programmers in industry is four to one. Girls’ reluctance to study programming could threaten the U.S. domination of the programming industry, according to Kurt Schleunes of the Marlborough School in Los Angeles. He believes that a lot of women are put off by the Advanced Placement curriculum, and suggests that it be revamped so that it is more girl-friendly--such revisions include a de-emphasis on mathematics and a greater concentration on practical applications. Pollina thinks that the computer curriculum must undergo a similar user-friendly retooling, and also believes the number of female computer science graduates could improve if their adult peers change their expectations. Yale freshman Kaitlyn Trigger, who studied under Schleunes, says that girls must learn programming if they are to have a successful technology career.