justifying friedman

At my dad’s behest I had read Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, and was outraged when he said something to the effect of routine jobs being shipped out to India, while the smarter ones remain in the US. In fact, this was the underlying theme for most of the book, and the condescending tone just put me off.

However, of late I think there might be some truth in what he said. I work for an American firm with offshore offices in Poland, Bangalore and Sydney and thousands of other places. MOst of the software development, however, takes place in Dallas, Krakow (poland), Sydney and here.

Having interacted with a number of developers, what I’ve noticed is that in general, developers in the US office are much smarter than those here. And the difference is marked (removing outliers from both locations). In this context, what Friedman says makes a lot of sense.

Given that Indians are suppsoed to be generally smarter than firangs, was wondering about this discrepancy. One possible explanation is that in india software developers are paid much more than their counterparts in other industries while that is not the case abroad. Overseas, a career in software development is a choice that one makes for the love of development. Here, it is a choice that one makes because other professions pay much less than what IT does. And hence, there are a lot of developers here who are in it for money, for sustenance. People who may not have a natural aptitude for coding. People who may not love coding. But are in it for the money! It’s no surprise, then, that the average developer here is not half as smart as the average counterpart in America!

(Credits to Phalgun for collaboration on this post)

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