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