Letters

Foreign influx not sole cause of US programmer troubles

The Oct. 14 article "Endangered species: US programmers" is right on the mark. I am a programmer who has worked for top US software firms. I see explicit H-1B hiring preferences, rampant age discrimination, and colleagues humiliated by being forced to train their Indian replacements. I see countless projects shipped overseas because the current US government encourages this behavior through corporate tax breaks and unchallenged currency manipulation from India and China.

Adding to the problem is the Bush administration's underfunding of necessary education to train American children to be competitive in a global economy. This trend is quickly spreading to other fields as well, portending a difficult future for America's intellectual capital and standards of living.
Steve Jones
Bend, Ore.

I own a four-year-old, 15-person educational software consultancy firm, Roundbox Media, that was built from the ground up in November of 2000.

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Because we strive to hire the most talented, experienced, and passionate people in their field, we have grown consistently every year. Our combination of efficient production and creative thought allows us to compete with most offshore companies.

Articles generated by people not directly involved in the industry lose sight of the software consultancy relationship in action, and will eventually bring about the change they portend. Fewer and fewer students are turning to technology as a viable place to find a job. As we lose intelligent workers in the field of technology, so we lose our last grasp and control of the technology we create.
Justin Beals
Atlanta

I've been in the technology industry for about 20 years, and I own a small software company in Austin, Texas. I must say I am growing a little tired of the stories about the "poor American programmer." The $60,000 annual salary mentioned in your article seems like a decent and honorable wage, but we are continually approached by programmers looking for a "required" compensation of $75,000-$85,000 or more. And we are a small company. Most seem to expect the same wages as were paid during the late 1990s and many of them have no experience with newer technologies such as Java.

I have programmer friends who have been "out of work" for years. The mentality I'm seeing all too often is, "If I can't get what I want, I'd rather not work." Lucky for them their spouses do work - in high tech.
Kelly Hayes
Austin, Texas

Women's progress, Saudi style

Your Oct. 15 editorial, "Let Saudi Women Vote," does not reflect the genuine reform Saudi Arabia is experiencing. As measures have been taken to encourage women to participate in the coming elections, the Saudis are taking every necessary action to include women. However, to ensure fair and balanced participation by women in the near future, we need to be educated, enlightened, and trained to appoint the suitable representatives.

Elections are only a means and not the ultimate goal of our desire to serve our unique Saudi society. With our inexperienced backgrounds in representative institutions, Saudi women need to identify and organize their rights, agenda, and approach for trustworthy and wise outcomes for our community.

Our recent Saudi National Dialogue was a great opportunity to make more officials and public figures more supportive for our prospective unrestricted community contribution. Applying the step-by-step strategy is our intention for the next phase.
Nourah Abdullah
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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