While searching ELance.com I noticed that companies from developing countries, such as India and Pakistan, were snatching up a lot of the freelance jobs at a low pay. How are foreign countries affecting web design and development jobs in general?
The bottom line is this:
If you love programming, do it regardless of the economics involved.
If you are only interested in programming to make big coin, there are lots of other profitable careers out there that have the potential to make you happy.
Above all, stop stressing about what is happening in Ukraine and India. Find your bliss in the work, not the paycheck.
There aren't foreign countries, or we all live in foreign countries. I prefer to think of us as of one global community.
Now your dichotomy is obviously rich vs. poor countries. To this matter the following applies.
The kind of work which requires mechanical execution according to a plan is often outsourced as you well know.
The complex work where a variety of competences is needed in one individual including social and communication skills is not going anywhere. That is what you must target. If your only selling point is some PHP coding skill then you won't be able to compete.
Broaden your services portfolio.
Try first on a technical level. While some people only do the frontend and have fear of coding and the others are hardcore coders but dislike databases you can learn to become well versed in all of those areas. You'll master the frontend, get advanced knowledge in programming languages and then good understanding of relational databases.
Then you take it on to the next level. Learn time management, quality control, process, visit customers, learn to deal with their requests and keep them happy. You'll learn an industry you're developing software for.
Then step after step you'll accumulate skills and experience making it impossible for elance coders to compete with your entire package.
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A lot of it is a decoy. It's not necessarily cheaper to hire code monkeys in India, and eLance is a place where you're going to get the wrong impression.
On eLance, you go hunting for a dirt cheap code grunt to deal with a very specific task.
If you rely on it or similar sites to build a complete application from the ground up, expect a big ball of undocumented spaghetti that is full of security holes. I wouldn't even know where to begin with, were I to elaborate on my horror stories or those of relatives.
The simple fact in my experience is this:
There are good coders in developing countries. There really are. Those that do charge real money for their work. It might be slightly less than what you'd make in a developed country, but keep the overhead of communicating with a non-native English speaker in different time zones in mind.
The rest of them are unimpressive. They deliver code ranging from very ugly to absolutely atrocious. Working with them is akin to pouring money down a bottomless pit. Don't take my word for it, just peek into SO's recent PHP questions: scan for questions from new users whose name make it obvious they're from India or Pakistan, and shed a tear for the poor souls who hoped to save a buck.
My personal take on the matter is that the whole question of developing/developed countries is going to be moot very soon (in fact, I think it already is, even though the old idea is still clinging), so your question, for me, has more to do with how to react to the constantly changing landscape of the web (& politics). I will try nonetheless to answer the question as originally asked.
I live in a developing country. We are snatching jobs at 50% (possibly much lower) than what you would charge your client in the US (Unrelated side note: Note that even with that, we aren't making good money at all (even compared to the GDP here), but it allows us to live).
What does this ultimately means for developing-countries coders? Only good things, I guess:
Hope my answer provides some insights.
This may not be the answer to this question, but it may be an answer for the user786621. Dont tell like "Lack of skill to get employed". First try to learn a programming language very well if you have any doubt ask in stackoverflow. And try to get a job in any local companies. Dont think that Indians and pakistanis are working for low wages. It may be a low pay for you but with that pay they can be able to live a luxury life.. So dont think anything about the developing countries, try to get a job as soon as possible. all the best.
From the perspective of developed countries, developing countries are doing two things in this space: