Indian web developers?

I’ve looked at this in the past and I’ve just tonight relooked at the potential solution again. I need to hire a web developer to assist myself with some of my web projects.

I’m not convinced that domestic developers offer a higher level of skill and expertise. John Larsen was featured in Slashdot today with his blog “Why I will never feel threatened by programmers in India”. I have interviewed potential domestic programmer employees in the past, and well, I can say the experience was virtually identical to when I posted some job ads in India (bar the Indian vs Australian names). The experience seemed to reaffirm to me that 90% of the IT Industry does not know IT, which is a huge problem when I’m paying some ones wage by the hour. Ultimately I will need to train any employee into the worker I want them to be, and this process will take years. After their training period is over I need to be careful the employee is retained as the trend with the IT industry is to gain experience then relocate.

I am concerned by the Australian governments choices with worker protection, with my position the reverse of most Australians, as an employer I want as much control to fire and pay as little as possible to any employee. Of course other considerations like employee satisfaction come into play, but ultimately with all expenses included, outsourcing to India is only a fraction of the cost.

oDesk, Guru.com and Talents From India all appear to be good sources of career seeking with Indian employees. Average wages seem to range from $6 to $15 USD per hour. Hiring an Australian on the alternative would have a minimum wage of nearly $20 AUD per hour and the employee would receive all sorts of extra rights like paid breaks, sick leave, etc. – which Indian workers do not ask for. Ultimately you could employ 5 Indians for the cost of one Australian.

Its absurd and racist to believe Indians, or anyone else from a foreign nation, has a lower level of skills as John Larsen has suggested. India does have its own local economies, and its own booming IT sector which seeks the attention of big businesses like Dell, HP & Telstra. While India remains a 3rd world country, there surely are Indians who believe in “doing a job right” which can be encouraged with job guarantees, salary bonuses, and interest and concern about the employees comfort of living.

I’ve had a long reputation with an Indian domain registrar and have found them to be absolutely wonderful. At one point when I was purchasing large volumes of domains I signed quite a few ex-GoDaddy customers who found my resold service from the Indian registrar was of a superior quality.

I also have frequent dealings with Exetel who have outsourced their technical support and agent teams to Sri Lanka. While sometimes I find a “useless employee”, this doesn’t seem all that different from when Exetel operated these teams from North Sydney.

So some time over the next month or two I will definitely hire a developer from India to work with me. My immediate concerns are giving the employee “small time work” and convincing them they want to please me with their work for the rewards they will receive from it, before later working on to some bigger more important works (which are crucial to remain totally confidential). I’ve recently signed a programming job which is no trouble for myself to complete, however if I hand it off to an Indian employee, it will likely cost me about 10% of what the customer has agreed to pay.

I’ve felt this for a long time that the Australian Government really needs to make changes to taxation in order to make Australia economically appealing again. Instead our Government only seems interested in adding further taxes that will set our industries backwards for no real advantage other than to make up for the current Governments shortcomings at the voters expense.

2 thoughts on “Indian web developers?

  1. Bad news for you. ”You get what you pay for”. It’s in the article. Decent programmers cost. As for the really cheap ones.. well, it *really* helps to be able to do the job yourself, and to be able to project manage at the appropriate level.

    Problem is, outsourcing can cost you more than you expect. The upfront cost is only one of the factors.

    From the article, if the code is bad or wrong how much time does it take to redevelop? How much can you afford to lose, your own time, money or reputation, if shoddy work was sent back?

    I’ve been battling stupidity and apathy for a very long time. You can tired of it quite quickly.

    Best case scenario: hire the developer by the hour, estimate the hours, have your project plan ready, have the work *fully* specified, be online to answer all questions as soon as possible and ensure that code review is done.

    Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

  2. Thats basically what I was saying, but I don’t think its so much “you get what you pay for”. I really have the belief that anyone will require training etc. which when paid by the hour, the hourly rate becomes important.

    But yeah on my part the best way to deal with that is good management. I should probably post that article I was drafting called “Bad Management = Bad Results” but I was a little worried that my partners employer might read it.

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