Expert Opinion: An open letter to Bill Gates

Michael wrote an open letter to Bill Gates. Michael is a smart guy.

(…), unless things have changed drastically in Redmond while I’ve been away this past year, your technical employees (and those of other companies; this is not unique to Microsoft) put in far more than 40 hours per week. It doesn’t matter how interesting that work is; I submit that there is something wrong with an industry that expects its workers, as a permanent state of affairs, to work more than the accepted standard work week. And I think students agree with this and are voting with their feet.

That’s about it. I think that Michael is right that the long hours is probably the main reasons why women won’t go into IT.

How are we going to fix it? It seems that the best way to fix things is to do exactly what students are doing: just don’t enter the profession. As fewer people come into it, there will be more pressure to offer better jobs.

Outsourcing won’t do it. Massive temporary visa programs? We don’t have those in Canada, but the USA should probably do away with them and they probably will, if only for security reasons/paranoia.

I’m really hopeful that in 10 years, IT jobs will be much better. High end jobs will be 40 hours jobs at very good salaries. IT is simply too important to society and the challenges are too great not to have our best people working there.

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