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My parents complain about me choosing a career in IT instead of business since most companies outsource IT nowadays. I always thought IT/Desktop supports are the ones who got outsourced, but it seems programmers are being outsourced to India as well.

I need to choose the most secure area (less affected by outsourcing) in order to convince my parents. Which areas in IT are mostly affected by outsourcing?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, GlenH7, MichaelT, Bart van Ingen Schenau, amon Sep 29 '14 at 20:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Oh, this question again... – Ciaran Nov 5 '11 at 1:02

Short Version:

Pick the one you're best at, and polish your skills and CV till they glow. Even if SysAdmin is more stable than Programmer, great Programmer is more stable than Lousy SysAdmin.

Long version:

Couple of caveats:

  • No job's secure unless you perform well at it

  • There's not a job in existence that some idiot won't try to outsource. Hell, Britain once deported children in welfare to Australia to save money.

  • Outsourcing is generally avoided in the area the company actually works in. An insurance company might outsource software development, a software company that does that is making itself redundant in the long term.

  • Outsourced programming is generally reworked locally once delivered, so there are always jobs available there.

With that said, and this is just an opinion based on limited experience:

Defence and Government jobs tend to be a bit less willing to let people go because of potential bad publicity. But they're also prone to larger than average failures because they're unwilling to admit failure.

The Financial Industry pays well but is very much "hire and fire" in its treatment of employees. You can make good money during the good times, but be prepared to live off your savings occasionally.

Big software-focused companies(Microsoft, Google, Bloomberg, Amazon etc.)work you very hard but probably offer the best pay to stability ratio, as long as you can handle the work. Same with software consultancy (eg Accenture or DeLoitte)

The Gaming industry has the worst rep for long hours, poor pay and arbitrary layoffs.

It's important to remember that stability is relative. Adequate programmers with a few years experience can generally find someone to hire them. You may simply find that you move from one job to another.

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+ 1 agree with everything you've said - matches my experience over last decade to a tee. – Jeremy Thompson Nov 5 '11 at 2:28
"Outsourcing is generally avoided in the area the company actually works in." - you're right about that being the right thing to do but you'd be surprised how many companies do that and play this game to its inevitable conclusion. There are also variations on the theme, e.g. opening an office in other countries. – Guy Sirton Nov 5 '11 at 3:18
Sure, hence point 2. Opening an office in another country is not really the same though, as that often just means you have to fly over every so often. – deworde Nov 5 '11 at 8:52

The answer is very simple. Become a beast at what you do, become irreplaceable. Two important points, the world will be a more competitive place and people will have to learn the hard way that cheaper is not always better.

If you are another average Joe with the average skill set and passion, I wouldn't hesitate to find someone else for the job, regardless the profession or skill required.

So again, become a beast at what you do, and have a passion for it. I tell you from experience, it is hard to become good at something you don't like, unless, you have a natural talent. But passion will always be important.

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Not only irreplaceable, become indispensable! – KK. Nov 5 '11 at 7:54
@karunesh any programmer trying to become 'indispensable' should be fired immediately. you must always work in a way that anyone can pick it up from where you left. your way reduces the bus factor of a project. – Wildling Nov 5 '11 at 8:52
@Scrooge agree indispensable can be more of a liability rather than a asset. Einstein is irreplaceable but he left such research and documentation that has helped other scientist continue his research and works. – Rick Rhodes Nov 5 '11 at 17:49
@Scrooge : yes, one shouldn't intentionally make things so no one else could figure them out. But that is vastly different from being the guy on the team who made the project happen because they were so good. I suspect that is what is meant by indispensible. – Wyatt Barnett Nov 5 '11 at 19:07

I need to choose the most secure area (less affected by outsourcing) in order to convince my parents...

Thia goal is not setup accurately. Outsourcing should not scare you. There 1000s of jobs every day specially if you live in USA.

Unless you want to work in the same company for 40 years (which is not a realistic goal), you should not worry to much about this.

Have skills, and you will have a job.

Amongst the things you should consider in your career is:

  • Do I like the job?

  • Your suitability to the career

  • The income expected over the years

  • What do I do after x years doing this job

  • What skills will I require to keep the job and to move to another

  • Would I be able to acquire skills in this area?

To answer your specific question, System Analysis, Business Analysis, Data Modeling, Process Modeling and Senior Development jobs as well as Project Management jobs are usually not out-sourced since they require that you face the customer.

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My parents complain about me choosing a career in IT instead of business since most companies outsource IT nowadays.

Who do they think manages those outsourced employees? You can always get an MBA later. Besides, there is no surplus of good software developers. The current US unemployment rate for technical workers is 3.3%.

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All these are great answers. I'd also like to add as a developer who has concerned parents:

I've been at it for 5 years professionally and haven't had a problem finding or switching jobs (I feel for those who do, the economy stinks). There are PLENTY of opportunities out there, just hone your skills, be awesome at what you do and while your parents my have fair concerns, recognize parents can be wrong sometimes and no job is safe. Do what you're best at.

As someone who has dealt with outsourcing, also keep in mind it's becoming more expensive, primarily due to the demand for wages and the HUGE amount of work it takes to refine the requirements enough so that it can be performed by a third party. It takes a special kind of relationship and effort to make it cheaper in the long run and companies are starting to recognize that.

Also, take an interest in what you are building and really understand the business side of it if the culture allows it. This is something you would definitely have over an outsourced solution if you were good at it.

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In my experience all areas are. Here is the order of most likely to go:

  • IT helpdesk support
  • Development
  • QA
  • System Admins - but they are vanishing with the Cloud Computing trend

"the most secure area (less affected by outsourcing) in order to convince my parents..."

  • management (and by that I mean having skills like joelonsoftware and all the links provided)
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I would switch QA & Development in your list. QA is far more likely to be outsource in my experience. The last thing you want to do is outsource the in depth technical knowledge that comes from actually developing the software. – Jimmy C Nov 5 '11 at 12:00
However, if the dev is outsourced, they may want to keep QA local to be sure that the thing actually works – Casebash Nov 12 '11 at 11:40
System Admins aren't so much vanishing as setting up Cloud Businesses where they get all the control and get paid twice as much... – deworde Mar 9 '12 at 21:03
@JimmyC I was writing this based on UAT being conducted by the business, in many organisations the users are usually are the QA testers. – Jeremy Thompson Jun 23 '12 at 7:33

Business is pretty much related to IT. I don't get the idea why your parents doesn't like you to be involve in IT. As a matter of fact, Business nowadays move forward because of IT. Well in the end, it's up to you if you. In any field you choose, its a matter of what you want than what they want for you.

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