Why America Should Open Its Doors to Immigrant Programmers

There is a drought across the U.S., and especially in Silicon Valley: there aren't enough programmers to meet the escalating demand for work. According to Paul Graham, programmer and founder of ViaWeb and Y-Combinator, the only way to secure America's position as a technology superpower is to open its doors to outstanding immigrant programmers.

For years, legal limitations have prevented firms from bringing in immigrant programmers. Some say that the US should instead train more citizens to fulfill these positions, but according to Graham, though this would lead to an overall increase in ability, this tactic wouldn't foster naturally exceptional minds.

Exceptional programmers are not only competent in their craft, but have a higher aptitude and interest in programming. These are developers who are inventive: "...it's easy to imagine cases where a great programmer might invent things worth 100x or even 1000x an average programmer's salary," writes Graham.

Simply considering probability and assuming an equal distribution to talent, the majority of the world's great programmers are in a 95% majority lying outside of the U.S., a country only holding 5% of the world's population. Some consulting firms have attempted to tap into this talent pool by offering cheap salaries and temporary work visas, but Graham believes that this type of employment is dishonest and should be stopped. 

As programming is becoming a universal knowledge, we should consider decreasing boundaries to allow great talent into the country before a dominant technological hub is formed outside of the United States. Graham believes this could be achieved by simply allowing a few thousand programmers into the country every year.

Original Article

Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Bill Doerrfeld I am a consultant that specializes in API economy research & content creation for developer-centric programs. I study Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and related tech and develop content [eBooks, blogs, whitepapers, graphic design] paired with high-impact publishing strategies. I live and work in Seattle, and spend most of my time as Editor in Chief for Nordic APIs, a blog and knowledge center for API providers. For a time I was a Directory Manager & Associate Editor at ProgrammableWeb, and still add new APIs to the directory every now and then. Drop me a line at bill@doerrfeld.io. Let's connect on Twitter at @DoerrfeldBill, or follow me on LinkedIn.

Comments

Comments(3)

OmerAbashar

This is not about programming, its about immigrants, there is plenty of programmers in the US already. This is about inventors people who think out of the box, wheather they are programmers or not but there for sure moslty immigrants, immigrants think out of the box because they come from poverty where you have nothing but your brain.

The best solution is to go to the immigrants in their own countries give them what they need and let them work there you have more successful results.

work

Programming is a useless trade.

The most unhealthy of jobs on the planet, it kills millions every year. Spare tire programming. Jello jelly bean developers, fat celluite coders, corn cheetoe puff rollie flab software engineers.

Software engineers make less money every year they WORK.

Programmers will work more, and get paid less every year. After five years, you are making miniumum wage, competing against everyone int he world.

Software is not a career. It is not a trade or skill.

You are not fullfilled. Life will be boring staring at a WALL your entire life. Go outside, See life. Why stay inside staring at a wall. They call it a window, when its just a flat wall. How boring a life to have become staring at a wall for forty years.

How miserable life can be, fat, ugly, unhealthy, your only communication is with your avatar. Doubt you will ever speak to anohter person or guy or girl. You are fat , non communication, non socialable.

You are a freak of nature, that never goes outside. You are very weird. Nobody wants to be around you but at least you have your wall.

Find a real job. a trade. Recession proof labor. Typing on a computer is data. We have enough data and entertainment for the world.

The lowest form of work is programming. ZERO fullfillment when you code only last a few years. The infinite and endless loops that can be created means you will code forever. You will NEVER be fullfilled. You can never be finished when there is no end. Your time on a computer will be a waste of life.

When you start to see your paychecks after a decade of hard work, it will be smaller. No raises. No promotions. The computer/software/internet/etc industry is lame, over saturated with talent. and the only thing corporations want in the end is cheaper labor. So you will always work for less money in the end wh8ile doing more.

How about learning an obsolete programming language for five years just cuase your company uses the language, then you go out into the world and find out the only people using it the one company.

ncrause

I've been a programmer for over 20 years and ... I agree with most of what you've said, except the bit about being fat, ugly and unhealthy (I exercise daily, and eat primarily fresh fruits and vegetables) and I do enjoy hikes (so the "never go outside" shtick is wrong).

But I completely concede that after a while, it's entirely unfulfilling. I wish I had rather gone into a skilled trade such as welding or something like that. Heck, where I live even fork-lift operators make more and work less.