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RE: Re: OT -- Boston Globe job listings

From: Stephane Faroult <>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 08:49:30 -0800
Message-ID: <>

>When I worked for Oracle's custom development group
>I worked on a large
>conversion project that employed about 350
>consultants (150 from Oracle).
>They had a number of foreign consultants on the
>project. About 1 in 10 had
>technical skills that were above mediocre, but they
>worked cheap. The code
>they produced was a mess and we at Oracle wondered
>how much time / money
>would have to be spent after the fact to clean up
>what the company got on
>the cheap. You get what you pay for. I have dealt
>with offshore technical
>Oracle staff and have found them to be cheap in
>cost but very poor overall
>in the quality of what they delivered. Companies
>will wake up to this
>sooner or later.

I basically think like you but I don't believe that offshore programmers are *inherently* worse than onshore programmers. I have lately been reviewing European as well as Indian code and in all honesty it was harder to tell which one was worse than the other; the 1 in 10 ratio you mention is more like a general rule. Productivity may be different though, but I hardly think positively of churning out bad code faster. I rather attribute the poor quality of some offshore developments to two factors, and in this order : 1 - It's dreadfully difficult to produce good code when you are far from your end-users. Specs are rarely perfect, and when all of your energy is absorbed by trying to make sense of what you are coding, quality comes a distant second. 2 - Cultural factors make it difficult for somebody raised in Asia and working in Asia to improve on the sometimes shoddy specs provided. Language can be a barrier, pseudo-code is slavishly turned into actual code (hmmm all those nice PL/SQL cursor loops), and if the management asks for something then it must be followed - you cannot make management lose face. I have recently seen a (grossly) grammatically incorrect error message in the specs popping up exactly the same in the code.


Stephane Faroult

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Author: Stephane Faroult

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Received on Thu Aug 14 2003 - 11:49:30 CDT

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