Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Open Source Developers More Satisfied in Their Jobs?

There is a very interesting conversation that has been taking place on the Apache mailing list over the last week. Grant Ingersoll is trying to collect feedback from engineers that either develop or utilize open source software. He is interested in learning whether or not they are happier in their position than engineers that are working with closed sourced software. Therefore, do open source engineers gain more satisfaction from their accomplishments? Do they have a feeling of contributing to the greater good? As a result, are they more engaged than their counterparts working with closed source software? It is a very interesting question to say the least. And, one that companies should pay attention to in the recruitment and retention of their employees.

One of the responses that summed it up best was from Michael McCandless. Ultimately, he stated that even though he has worked with both open and closed source software, he inherently felt greater satisfaction from his work with open source software. He went on to post a link to a YouTube video that puts together a nice illustrated story of why people that contribute to open source software are more satisfied in their job. It is very entertaining, and the artist is quite good.

Ultimately, I concur with the videos assessment. If you empower your employees and their work results in assisting other people achieve a goal, it is an uplifting experience for the developers. It becomes a commitment as opposed to a job. The end result is more satisfied employees that contribute to a successful organization.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Staffing Firms Lose H1-B lawsuit

I had written a post about this lawsuit when it was first filed. It appears that these technology staffing firms have lost their battle to continue utilizing H1-B visas for contract work that they have available. A full update of the ruling can be found here.

This ruling will play a significant role for the future of contract staffing. What will happen with the positions that these contractors have to vacate? Will they be filled by U.S. citizens or Green Card holders? Will the positions move offshore so the current contractors can continue in their positions? It would be very interesting to know the end result.

As much as I disagree with the way that some of these consulting firms have operated, whereby they take up the allotment of H1-B visas without having suitable work for each visa participant; I am also fearful of another wave of positions potentially moving offshore. And, the possibility exists of losing much needed technical workers that prefer to remain in the United States. I know this can be a sticky subject depending on which side you fall on, but it goes without saying that in future years we will need to continue to import talent that we lack internally in the United States.