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American Programmer Evolve or Die PDF Print E-mail
Written by Edward Aguiar   
Aug 12, 2008 at 03:16 PM

Russian Programmers still top talentEvery year, ACM, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, in sponsorship with IBM, conducts an international collegiate programming contest (ICPC) also known as the battle of brains.   Almost 2,000 universities from over 80 countries on six continents participate in this oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world. This year, the top 12 finalists include two US, one Canadian, one Chinese and eight Russian (including former USSR republics) universities.

The growth of the offshore development is no longer attributed only to lowering costs.  More and more companies are looking for highly skilled developers they just can’t find locally.  Unfortunately many American colleges are forgetting to teach problem solving approaches, put less importance on mathematics, including understanding algorithms.  Many IT departments are increasingly relying on the increasing power of hardware their solutions run to compensate for the decreasing quality of code.  The ICPC competitions demonstrate this. 

There is one area were the American programmer may find an advantage – their understanding of business.  This is an important advantage.  In fact, the lack of this skill is often the reason many of the offshore projects had failed.  But the development of commerce in Russia, China, India and other countries and the experience working on Western projects will provide them with the understanding of business processes and practices they need.

America needs to decide where it wants to see itself in the future.  It is to offshore most of the development to other countries, or is it willing to reinvest on more focused approach to teaching the art or software development.  The time to act is now.

Edward Aguiar is the Principle of Techdinamic Solutions located in Toronto Canada and St. Petersburg Russia. 
View his profile on LinkedIn

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