American vs. Indian IT professionals: Who is more employable?

May 27, 2010

James Maguire has recently written an interesting blog post where he first acknowledged the continued American dominance of technology but then he proceeded to note just how beleaguered the American IT professional is in the face of a brutal recession, stagnant wages, H1B visa holders who work for less and a growing trend towards outsourcing IT work to IT professionals in emerging markets. Maguire then noted the stereotype that American IT professionals have not kept up with the global competition and worst, they have been educated in a dysfunctional school system and are distracted by an indulgent American lifestyle.

Indian vs US IT professional
How accurate and widespread are these stereotypes? Maguire cited a 2009 speech given by Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies, to a New York City audience of about 50 customers and partners. In the speech, Nayar mentioned a recent experience he had with an American education official who wanted to know why his firm was not hiring in his state. Nayar’s answer: because most American college grads are “unemployable.” The reasons he cited:

  1. Many American graduates who want to enter the technology field are preoccupied with getting rich. In other words, they want to become entrepreneurs and have an IPO.
  2. They are not inclined to spend their time actually learning the “boring” details of technology process, methodology and tools.
  3. Most are just too expensive to train (or retrain).

Nayar also noted that both HCL and other employers want to have a much greater influence on the technology curriculum of US colleges and universities in order to make them more real-world and rigorous but for the most part, American education institutions aren’t receptive to such industry partnerships.

On the other hand, its not just American IT professionals who face negative stereotypes. After writing about Nayer’s speech in an article for InformationWeek, Rob Preston noted some of the negative stereotypes about Indian IT professionals, namely:

  1. Although highly trained and skilled, Indian IT professionals have difficulty moving beyond the documentation and specific responsibilities that they have been given due to cultural reasons.
  2. They tend to believe the written word without looking at it critically and without trying to improve things.
  3. Thus, the knowledge they acquire is limited and anything even slightly adjacent to something is considered to be out of a project’s scope. 

In other words, Indian culture and the Indian education system discourages original thinking. However, Preston is then quick to point out the accomplishments of Indian executives and entrepreneurs in the USA and the fact that India itself is teeming with entrepreneurs in every sector of the economy. 

Hence, we want to know what you our readers think. How accurate are the above stereotypes about American and Indian IT professionals? Are American IT professionals really unemployable for some of the reasons cited by Nayar? Or are Indian IT professionals just process robots incapable of original thought? Or are there some roles that American IT professionals are just more suited for and vice versa with Indian IT professionals? We would love to hear your comments and thoughts.


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One Response to “American vs. Indian IT professionals: Who is more employable?”

  1. American vs. Indian IT professionals: Who is more employable … | Indian Today on May 27th, 2010 7:18 am

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