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Computerworld Philippines, March 14, 2005

Offshore devít mart growing; RP software developers eye 2005 gains

by Melba-Jean M. Valdez (Associate Editor, Computerworld Philippines) Paul Krill (Writer, InfoWorld US)

OFFSHORE software development, already considered the bane of US-based programmers, is growing stronger, according to officials at Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp. who spoke at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference held in San Jose, California last week.

While this may be bad news for American software developers, this should further encourage their Filipino counterparts who are experiencing a windfall from the outsourcing wave sweeping the IT capitals of the world.

Although growth in the United States is somewhat flat, programming is taking off in areas around the globe ranging from India and China to Mexico, Spain, Brazil, and Vietnam, said Matt Thompson, director of Sunís Technology Outreach & Open Source Programs Office. Other areas of importance he noted include the Philippines, Malaysia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Right spot

Joey Gurango, founder and CEO of Webworks OS, a Philippine-based software development company, said the year 2005 holds a lot of promise for the local software developers.

"With the software market increasingly focused on the Asia Pacific region Ė which †† is the fastest growing software market in the world Ė it makes sense for the software development business to move to the Philippines," said Gurango in a column he regularly writes for Computerworld Philippines.

Gurango believes the Philippines is well positioned to ride the outsourcing wave. "The software development outsourcing is a bright spot that will continue to shine for many years if we invest our resources properly," he wrote.

According to Gurango, one of the best indicators that the Philippines is indeed an important player in the outsourcing space is the existence †† of several small- and medium-size enterprises that have focused strategies and niche markets, enabling them to become very successful in the outsourcing space within only two to three years after their founding.


For his part, Sunís Thompson said: "I've spent the last 15 quarters every quarter going to India. I've been in China six times." "India and China are our two biggest investments," he added. The cost savings gained by moving development outside the US has been well-documented of late. But Thompson noted that costs now are rising rapidly in India.

Thompson stressed the quality of programming overseas. "The stuff they're putting out is really good," he said. IBM, while also leveraging developer programs in the United States, is working with schools in India and China, said Gina Poole, vice president for developer relations at IBM.

"They're very excited about preparing their students to be the most competitive in the workplace," she said. All is not lost, however, for US programmers, Sun and IBM officials said. IBM's Kathy Mandelstein, director for worldwide marketing in the company's ISV and Developer Relations program, said while base coding jobs are moving offshore, software analyst and architect positions need to be closer to the actual business, in the US.

UN's Thompson stressed competitiveness.

"I believe there will always be a job market in this country as long as we are globally competitive," he said. US developers must compete on the basis of skills, innovation, and invention, he added.

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