Saturday, February 14, 2015

Silly Talk About "Quality Foreign Programmers"

As usual, Norm Matloff has the goods.

...In my experience, a substantial portion of computer science students, including foreign Master’s students (the industry lobbyists’ favorite group; see below), “just don’t get it.”  It is usually not as blatant as the above “file type” example, but of very serious concern.

This point is directly relevant to proposed legislation now in Congress, in which a common provision would give special visa and green card deals to foreign STEM graduate students at U.S. universities.  The rationale for this is that these are supposed to be the “good” H-1Bs, the ones whose addition to the U.S. workforce raises the overall quality.  But the reality is just the opposite:  As shown in my research and those of others, the average quality of the foreign CS grad students is LOWER than that of their American peers.  (I do have to add, as always, that there are also some really brilliant ones, whose immigration I strongly support.)

All this matters — a LOT.  Not only are the foreign worker programs reducing job opportunities and wages for American software developers, the programs are also resulting in BAD CODE that affects each and every one of us.  The IT disaster in the rollout of Obamacare is a perfect example, very expensive (including in terms of Obama’s political capital), harmful to many who were most in need of it, and reportedly due to incompetent programmers, said to be largely H-1Bs....

But the Usual Suspects--who are "conservatives"--will vote to allow their own constituents to lose their jobs.

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