Is Software Eating All the Jobs?

 In Entering Foreign Markets, Industry News

Software engineering jobs are moving all over the world

Do you share the perception that software engineering jobs are moving east? Is India, Vietnam, Ukraine, Estonia…. taking all the software development positions?

Apparently not.

The headline for this post is taken from a blog post by Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch.  She has written an interesting post observing that there are still a shortage of programmers in the US and especially in Silicon Valley.

I attended a seminar last week and listened to Charlotte Mark, head of Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen in Denmark. They employ around 500 software engineers. Five years ago they had 80 positions they could not fill. Around 16% of the head count!! There was simply not enough of the talent they needed available locally. They embarked on a project of recruiting outside Denmark. The project has been successful and they now have more than 40 nationalities working in Vedbaek, just north of Copenhagen.

Omada, Danish software company, has applied the same approach and has a diversity of nationalities in its’ 80 people headquarter in Copenhagen.

Microsoft and Omada are moving the talent to Denmark!! The Danish salaries are known to be the highest in the world. Why don’t they outsource the work?  Well, if you are not familiar with the idiosyncrasies of software engineering you should read the book “The mythical man month” by Fred Brooks.  The book was written in 1975! It will give you enough insight understanding that splitting software development over several locations (and cultures) is a substantial challenge of its’ own. From a productivity point of view it may be a better business decision to get everyone in the same building and pay the Danish salaries.

At the same token we have a client in the Baltic, who is running out of software engineering talent.  Believe or not, but they are considering setting up a software engineering satellite outside Estonia.  The availability of software engineering talent is being eaten up by Skype (who has a R&D center in Tallinn) and a bunch of other successful near-shoring operation not to speak of the demand from local businesses.

It seems as software jobs are moving in all directions, but the sum of it all may well be that “Software Is Eating All the Jobs Too”.  Learning the noble art of software engineering still seems to be a solid foundation for a merry life.

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