Behind the 'Bad Indian Coder' -An ongoing debate about the quality of outsourced code prompts a look at the country’s

Nov 1, 2019 20 Comments

https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/280636/

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An ongoing debate about the quality of outsourced code prompts a look at the country’s precarious economic and educational picture.

It started, as many deep philosophical Reddit debates do, with a one-line statement, “Got a contract to fix some outsourced Indian PHP code,” accompanied by an image macro of Toy Story characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear gazing off into the distance. “Security flaws,” the overlain, blocky white text reads. “Security flaws everywhere.”

Code from India can be truly awful if you work with most companies,” another Redditor said. “A lot of them treat programming as a task to be completed with numbers and fire those that can't work fast enough, rather than a task requiring quality where people are educated to avoid mistakes and fired only as a last resort.”

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TOP 20 Comments
  • Amazon az5
    You get what you pay for. Body shops in India neither train nor pay handsomely for software development. Developers from top tier companies in India are no different from those in US though.

    If you start hiring programmers at minimum wage jn US, result isn't going to be any better.
    Nov 1, 2019 3
    • Travelport / Eng buttnpushr
      Peanuts and bananas. Really makes you think doesn't it @Amazon
      Nov 1, 2019
    • Amazon az5
      Let's talk when you are worthy to get these free bananas :)
      Nov 1, 2019
  • Cisco
    🦙 Alpaca

    Cisco

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    I am the Alpaca. DM me if you want to cuddle.
    🦙 Alpacamore
    Business people don't understand what coding is, they think an outsourced Indian programmer is as same shit as a L5 Googler, that's why it never makes sense for a business man to run a software company.
    Nov 1, 2019 3
    • Cisco
      🦙 Alpaca

      Cisco

      BIO
      I am the Alpaca. DM me if you want to cuddle.
      🦙 Alpacamore
      I am just giving a simple example, hold off on flexing your intelligence and relax.
      Nov 1, 2019
    • AT&T MsdR32
      Well, they probably are not terrible.
      Nov 1, 2019
  • Autodesk ratts
    The problem is it depends on where you outsource. Companies do just fine with Indian offices (Google, Microsoft etc.) where they hire developers who are actually good and pay them enough money. But then there’s companies like TCS, Infosys, Capgemini and many more who are just body shops. They try to hire the lowest talent in the market (sometimes people who have never coded before in their life) so that they can pay less. The code you’ll get there is obviously going to be shitty. And this is not a country specific problem. I’ve worked with contractors from south east Asia (Singapore, Philippines, China), Europe, Israel, Canada and South America. Usually how much you pay for a job dictates how good of a work you get in return.
    Nov 1, 2019 5
    • Autodesk ratts
      No I don’t disagree. But I am saying the practice is way too prevalent everywhere that doesn’t have formal requirements for a job description. Consulting companies (the big 4) get multi million dollar contracts and bill their clients for “consultants” that have no prior experience in the related field all the time. The same is with software “consulting” companies within the states. They may not be large, but they exist. Therefore I support the idea of some kind of licensing.
      Nov 1, 2019
    • Autodesk ratts
      And to be the devils advocate, these outsourcing firms would not be making so much money with substandard quality code if there were viable alternatives. As much as we’d like to shit on Indian coders in India, a lot of non tech companies / government in the us would not have had a tech infrastructure without them. Cost isn’t the only thing that comes into play. Due to ever evolving tech, there’s a constant need to keep a lot of infrastructure up to date. It requires a lot of man power to deliver huge projects in a timely fashion. Microsoft silverlight for example was released in 2007 and has already been deprecated. How will you find people to migrate the huge systems that were built on it when all the engineers here want to work on nodejs and react. That’s where these companies thrive. Not at the forefront of innovation, but in places where no one else wants to go.
      Nov 1, 2019
  • LinkedIn bBNa56
    When people don't have to take ownership of code, you get shitty code. It doesn't matter what country they are from.
    Nov 1, 2019 0
  • JPMorgan Chase / Eng (๑•﹏•)
    I see this example in Chase everyday where bad Indian consultants are brought up as engineers and then they just crank horrible code without much knowledge with no test cases or sometimes very little test cases which never fails and then defending what they are doing is great.

    They just know enough to put the glue together without asking any questions. It's not just the mindset in India, You can easily find this mentality in middle tier or lower tier software houses, banks and hospitals where there is a need of someone developers.

    The pay isn't that bad but the consultants hired and lobbied, are told not to question their boss, they write bad code, then defend it and then be hired full-time. The pay isn't ofcourse Google or Amazon level pay but still a great start yearly income of atleast 120K or even more. Bad culture. Have seen this in atleast 4 to 5 different companies.
    Dec 12, 2019 0
  • PayPal DanScm
    I believe issue is with the quality not with the country, Bootcamping coders are also of the same quality as witch companies
    Nov 1, 2019 0
  • Amazon SDE III
    There’s another problem with outsourcing in general: people write code that they won’t have to maintain for years to come. And it shows.
    Nov 1, 2019 0
  • Amazon vosH01
    Some engineers in India might write bad code because of the culture there but I also think some engineers in the US complicate things way too much to the extent that their projects are never delivered.
    Nov 1, 2019 0
  • Amazon primalApe
    Any company that thinks it can save money on cheap outsourcers in long term will end up paying double money on neverending maintenance costs and eventually redoing the work properly. There is an ancient saying about this effect: “Frugal pays twice”
    Nov 1, 2019 0

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