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A bit offtopic -- about my country

I stay from India.  Can someone tell me your experiences with Indian programmers with regard to technical skills?

I would welcome both positive and negative things. 

If someone has outsourced something to India, please tell me how your experience was.

Thank you

Karthik

s.karthik
Thursday, December 20, 2001

I have never outsourced a project to india myself, but I have worked in two companies that did, and when I asked these people, they agreed that they'd never do that again.

The main complaint seems to be that the programms (or
the code, respectively) were mechancially made, like out of a programming tutorial, without any sign of insight what the programm was for.

In a case, there was even a worker assigned to throw away some indian code and programm it from scratch.

René Nyffenegger
Thursday, December 20, 2001

I don't think the country in which a company is based has any relation to how good the company is...

At the company I work for, we had some development work outsourced to an Indian company whose engineers came over to work on our site.  We got rid of them after about 6 months because they were not being very productive.  Some of them didn't seem to have even written code before...  A lot of their code was either not used or rewritten.

However, this bad experience did not stop us from outsourcing work again, to 2 different Indian companies.  This time the results have been OK and I don't think anyone has had anything bad to say about them.

David
Thursday, December 20, 2001

The most brilliant programmer/analyst/thinker I ever worked with was Indian. We parted company many years ago and I'm still thinking about the conversations we had.

OTOH, there do seem to be a lot of poorly trained Indian contract programmer around. The do seem to come from the 'consulting' companies who's main credo seems to be "use our programmers, they're cheap."

As with any ethnic group, the distribution of good/bad programmers is probably a bell curve. Because of the H1-B situation (which mainly seems to be used for Indian programmers) the visibility of poor programmers is probably magnified.

Jeff Pleimling
Thursday, December 20, 2001

We outsourced a bunch to Hyderabad when I worked at Juno. 

I agree that you can't decide how good a company is, based on where they are located.

We had a guy named Raj in Hyd who was one of the best programmers I have ever met.  I think Juno ended up helping him move here to work for them.

And of course, there were other people who wrote crap.

But the main problem with using any programmers from another country to write code is that they aren't in your office.  Its bad enough when an outside consultant is messing up your stuff - at least you can call them between the hours of 9 and 5.  When the outside consulting is sleeping between 9 and 5 it can make it take that much longer. 

Then again, maybe you're more productive because you have people working on the code 24/7.

Michael Pryor
Thursday, December 20, 2001

I don't think nationality is an issue here. I think the problems people have described above with outsourcing to Indian programmers apply to any outsourced project. Communicating your requirements is often difficult. Outsource programmers will (probably) follow your requirements specs very literally, for better or worse. Inhouse programmers probably have a better understanding of the problem to be solved (different than the "requirements") and the communication/feedback loop is much shorter (and without worry of extra charges for additional features).

chris
Thursday, December 20, 2001

I agree that nationality is no issue here. But the issue
is that many, many people kept telling us european programmers that indian programmers are so clever
that it needs three europeans to do the work of one indian programmer. It was sort of a relief when it turned out to be a myth.

René Nyffenegger
Thursday, December 20, 2001

Thanks  for all your responses. Both Good and Bad.

I suspected that not many would have positive experiences. There are good Indian companies,Resonable ones and bad ones.

Problem is that because of the lure of money, there have emerged a lot of smart operators out to make money.

This lessens the credibility of my country.

s.karthik
Friday, December 21, 2001

Karthik,

Madhu Menon
Friday, December 21, 2001

"This lessens the credibility of my country. "

Yes, but people are not hiring your country, they are hiring you, or they are contracting with the people who employ you, or whatever.

If they are contracting with your company they will be looking for results rather than where people live.

And if they are hiring you, would you really want to work for someone who bases their opinion of you on what part of the atlas you point at when talking about "home"?

Robert Moir
Friday, December 21, 2001


If they have loads of those green paper with some presidents printed on it, sure I do :-)

Leonardo Herrera
Friday, December 21, 2001

Karthik,

As a fellow Indian, I don't think your question is fair.

"Are Indians good programmers?" makes about as much sense as "Are Americans good programmers?". The answer to both is "It depends."

Being technically competent is not a function of your country, but your education, skills, and experience. You can have good and programmers anywhere in the world.

Due to the so-called "IT boom" in India, many fly-by-night operators opened up "computer training institutes" in India and milked people out of their hard-earned money. In return, they taught them very little. What could a person learn from 6-8 weeks of studying C++ for 2 hours a day?

That resulted in several inept people entering the software industry. These people couldn't get jobs in higher rung software companies that had tough entry criteria, so they ended up in companies with lower standards instead.

Thanks to the demand for software services, all type of Indian software companies flourished. Companies that hired the bad ones (usually based purely on cost) got bad service, but that doesn't make ALL Indian programmers bad. As you can see from replies to this thread, people have had both good and bad experiences with Indian programmers.

India's educational system places a lot of emphasis on maths, which tends to make some of us a little more suited to the software engineering profession, and there are Indians who're really good, just as there are Indians who don't know their programming fundamentals.

Quality depends on whom you hire, not what country they're from.

Madhu
http://madman.weblogs.com

MadMan
Monday, December 24, 2001

It is becoming quite "fashionable" to outsource the building of a software product to companies specialized on that, that work in remote countries making use of relatively cheap labour. In the States most of it seems to be outsourced to India, but here in Europe, eastern europe companies are getting most of the development contracts.

There are a number of very good reasons, apart from the strictly financial, to do that. Former revisionist governments of eastern Europe did a very good job at providing free and high quality education for all. Most engineers from Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Hungary, etc. are VERY well trained, very skillful and in my experience most of them get the job done within a resonable budget. Of course, the fact that "software construction" is becoming a well stablished industry in those countries makes oportunists of all kinds start crap companies. But if you know were to go, you should be safe.

The problem I see with outsourcing is that most of this teams work with fixed specs, and deliver nothing but what you ask for. The fact that they are in a remote location complicates communication, so they have to stick to the given specs as close as possible. Removing all possible creativity from software development. Most of the time, they stick so faithfully to the specs that there's a lot of hardcoded stuff that makes the application very unflexible. But it does exactly what was asked to do.

If you are willing to trade off, flexibility for money, outsourcing might be an option. I happen to believe that most outsourced development projects become a nightmare to maintain.

Beka Pantone
Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Also offtopic -- an Indian colleague of mine complained that programmers in Europe didn't work close together, which I found odd because there's probably more of a team atmosphere in Europe than in the US.

He mentioned that Indians would put their heads together more to solve problems.  Is this true?  I am not sure if I should interpret that as unhappiness with this particular company, or a really objective outlook.

Roger Hobson
Wednesday, December 26, 2001

My experience involves a company not reading the requirements, showing me an unfinished piece of work telling me it's finished, not meeting deadlines, not telling me of the problems they were having (someone walking out on them and taking out a machine in the process), then when I finally took over and looked at the code, it was terrible and done in aspmaker (software to create admin systems automatically), then finally when for 3 days myself and a colleague took it over to finish it, we met their UK rep and told him the invoice should be considerably lower... they logged in, dropped all the tables and binned all the files. 

We had backups of course, so not the brightest thing to do. But all they could say was "where's my money" ...sorry, no complete product, no complete payment, and after that little stunt a court case may follow.

Would I outsource to India ever again? Yes, but not on something important like this at first.

Anon.
Friday, May 28, 2004

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