The following is from the April 9, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Tech workers, get ready for offshoring

Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Many American information technology jobs have been sent to India, China and other parts of the world. But just how bad is the offshoring situation?

Worse than you'll ever know, asserts Ron Hira, co-author of the 2005 book Outsourcing America: What's Behind Our National Crisis and How We Can Reclaim American Jobs. . . .

"It's imperative that you manage your career and plan for displacements now," said Mr. Hira. "The government is not coming to help anytime soon. And the fate of workers no longer figures into corporate decisions."

College placement officers are sharing this advice with graduates entering the IT job market because it's a matter of survival. "The U.S. will graduate 300,000 engineers this year," says Troy Behrens, director of Southern Methodist University's Hegi Family Career Development Center. "India and China will graduate 3 million."

Reid Varner is one of those 300,000. A senior computer science major in SMU's school of engineering, he's interviewing for jobs and will graduate in May. Mr. Varner says that the offshoring phenomenon did lead him to "hesitate a bit" when he chose his major, but he's been passionate about design and technology since he was a kid. If anything, the specter of offshoring has spurred him to work harder.

"I'm taking more courses than are required, I've done extra projects for professors, and I'm spending a lot of time in the career center," he said. He's targeted internships, and now jobs, that will allow him to get into the "proprietary, patentable stuff" he believes is less vulnerable to offshoring.

Eric Fultz, a senior majoring in computer engineering and math at SMU, says that his exposure to offshoring through his internships has convinced him of the need to develop management skills as well as engineering expertise. He has taken courses in the engineering management program, including engineering entrepreneurship, project management and technical writing.

"That's been a huge help," he said. "That has helped broaden my horizons beyond the engineering scope."

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