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#4315: Computers, Hoover responds to Ballard (fwd)

From: Hoover, Julie H. <Hoover@pbworld.com>

	Linda Ballard writes, No, Sean, on this one I think Poincy is right
on target.  A strong math
> background is necessary in order to make sophisticated computer use a
> reality ...  And on top of that, the valuable computer programmers
> have broad background in whatever it is they are programming.  
	Think a program to develop strong widespread computer proficiency in
Haiti is a wonderful idea.  

	There are many well-paying jobs in this industry beside computer
programming.  (And actually, think there are probably many Haitians who have
the skills Linda says are needed for programming too.)  

	My own company (a 7000-person international engineering/planning
firm) employs hundreds of people for a wide range of computer-related jobs
including computer repair, web site design, troubleshooting assistance,
various project control tasks, financial analyses, IT functions, CADD
operation, etc. etc. etc.  Competition for people with even basic computer
skills is unbelievably intense, and there are many jobs which can be
performed off-site  in a place like Haiti.  Out-sourcing such work to other
countries will be increasingly attractive to global companies such as mine
as we lose the battle to fill our staffing needs in the U.S. 

	 Why shouldn't Haiti, where workers are known to be resourceful,
loyal, and diligent, and labor rates would be less than that paid in the
U.S., (and no, I'm not recommending exploiting anyone, just maybe paying
$20-30k as a starting salary instead of $60), enter the competition for this
work?  Believe Haitian companies offering computer services to  U.S.
companies would do very well indeed.  Their market would be vast.  (Wouldn't
this be a nice way to replace, at least in part, reliance on assembly-line

	I've introduced several Haitians to the computer here in New York,
and have been unfailingly impressed at how easily they adapt, conquer the
basics, and quickly surpass me in proficiency... after I coax them into
overcoming their initial resistance.