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War and peace

Readers sound off on the Game Master’s column about war, and throw in a healthy dose of reality about the whole job situation as well.

Your article,”War! What is it good for?” was one of the most perceptive things about war I have ever read.

When I was about nine years old, during World War II, for some reason I had this idea: Why not appoint one person from each side to fight it out and have the winner decide who won the war? Some kind of international decision maker could decide the winner, and then we could just fight “virtual” wars.

Then there would have to be the follow-up game, “Peace.” — E. Jackson, [email protected]

In your column, “War! What is it good for?” you compared the United States Army’s training method to those of Hezbollah. In what parallel universe does this remotely make any sense?

The U.S. military exists to defend the American people and their interests. Hezbollah exists to kill innocent Jews and other Westerners. The former fought and some died to preserve your right to say the most outrageous things. The latter strive to snuff out your right to be anything but a militant Shiite Muslim.

Your words insult anyone who has ever served in the U.S. military (and their families). Freedom is wasted on the likes of you who are unwilling to pay the price to maintain it (or support those that do). –Michael Scheele, Seattle, [email protected]

I agree with your assessment of the offshore situation (“Patriot act”). Offshore outsourcing will continue and most likely will grow.

Unfortunately, in your article you recommended that persons should consider training to move into security, project management, or PC repair. The number of security staff and project managers in this country does not necessarily increase with outsourcing and in many cases, it decreases. Even if these job figures increased, the number of people losing their jobs in the run-of-the-mill IT slots far exceeds the number of openings in both security and project management combined. PC repair is growing and for those that have a technical slant, it is worth considering.

There seems to be a plethora of good project managers available to manage offshore development, with years of experience and in-depth knowledge of specific industries. Training to compete with this group seems at best to be a long shot.

I have been in IT for over 30 years and have watched it mature. I have never seen this kind of sustained downward pressure in this industry before. Offshore outsourcing always would have made sense; it was the lack of infrastructure that kept onshore IT safe. The rise of VPN technology and the Internet have changed the equation rapidly.

Most outsourced individuals that I know are moving out of IT altogether (usually only after months of looking). Those that can, retire, or semi-retire, followed by secondary career paths in teaching, sales, and small business start-ups. The golden days of programming are over and probably will never come back.

I used to talk young people into careers in IT. I now talk them out of it. Service, sales, soft science, teaching, and healthcare all appear to be good. IT, accounting, call centers, processing centers, and manufacturing are all at risk.

The unintended/unexpected consequences in this country of this global revolution will be the reduction in the number of MBAs needed here, the dwindling readership of tech periodicals, the reduction in the amount of needed office space, the consistently higher percentage of unemployed workers. This will be offset, of course, by an increase in all of these things offshore.

I think the areas to move into are those that can take advantage of fulfilling the needs of the people in third-world countries that are quickly becoming first-world. Unfortunately, these needs tend to be in the areas of fast food, cell phones, and satellite TV–all of which pretty well covered. –Tim Winking, [email protected]

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