US software engineer outsources his job to China

Jan 17, 2013
A woman uses a keyboard with keys illustrating both Roman letters and parts of Chinese charactures on August 27, 2010. "Bob" the software engineer was becoming a modern workplace legend on Thursday as word spread that he had secretly outsourced his own job to China and sat at his desk watching cat videos.

"Bob" the software engineer was becoming a modern workplace legend on Thursday as word spread that he had secretly outsourced his own job to China and sat at his desk watching cat videos.

The tale of Bob blazed across the Internet after being told in a Verizon security team blog post about the most "memorable" case investigators handled last year.

What started as a look into a mysterious secure connection from China to a US-based company's network ended with the discovery that a worker was idling away time at his desk while a Chinese consulting firm did his job at a fraction of his salary.

Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going at other companies, according to the blog post by Andrew Valentine of the Verizon RISK Team.

"All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually," Valentine said.

"The best part? For the last several years in a row he received excellent remarks. His code was clean, well-written, and submitted in a timely fashion."

Bob's quarterly performance reviews consistently described him as "the best developer in the building," according to Valentine.

Bob provided secure access to his company's network so Chinese consultants could work on computer code while he was at his desk, giving the appearance he was doing his job, the investigation determined.

Examination of Web browsing history showed that a typical work day for Bob consisted of surfing and watching cat videos online before going to lunch.

He spent afternoons at online commerce site as well as social networks and , and then end his "work" days with an email updating bosses on projects, Valentine said.

Verizon did not identify the company or the worker, describing him as an inoffensive, quiet family man in his mid-40s who had been with the company a long time and whom "you wouldn't look at twice in an elevator."

Explore further: Microsoft challenging US on overseas data

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User comments : 11

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IronhorseA
5 / 5 (3) Jan 17, 2013
I bet they made him a manager ;P
kochevnik
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 17, 2013
Aren't managers paid to outsource in any case?
VendicarD
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 17, 2013
Odd how corporations are permitted to do what individuals are not.

I guess that in America, some pigs are more equal than others.
Argiod
3 / 5 (4) Jan 17, 2013
LOL, it was just a matter of time...
After seeing how Romney made so much money outsourcing other people's jobs; I guess someone decided to cash in on it. Clever idea. But now his will workplace fire him and keep the company he outsourced his job to? Stay tuned: world ends at ten, news at eleven.
ScooterG
1 / 5 (7) Jan 17, 2013
We should outsource our climate change modeling. We could have a new and improved climate change model three times a week and still save a bundle.
FMA
not rated yet Jan 17, 2013
Few years ago or 10 years ago, companies outsourced the software to India but didn't hear much in recent days, why?
Grallen
5 / 5 (1) Jan 18, 2013
Because the outsourcing trend reversed and many of the jobs went back to their home country.

When something unexpected or infrequent happens then outsourcing will almost always fails you because your outsourcer usually make their profit by cutting your safety margins.

Foreign outsourcers are also usually poorly trained and deal with thing out of the ordinary. Not poorly trained in the technical standpoint; more so poorly trained on how to deal with the specific business they are working for. Not to mention turn over issues prevent people from ever attaining the level of knowledge about your company to be able to handle all the possible problems.

Companies that outsource will often notice a large drop in income months after outsourcing that far outweighs the savings. They often realize the mistake and switch back but will have to spend years getting their reputation back.

Sorry for the rant.
kevinrtrs
2.9 / 5 (7) Jan 18, 2013
If he outsourced and received accolades for his code then he must have been applying the strictest quality control to ensure that he got the results required - and then some.
I admire his initiative and courage to do what he did. I might not agree with him doing it via the company network but then that's probably because of limitations with setting up his own infrastructure at home.
As for it being a scam - one needs to look at the agreements signed with the companies. Did they allow for such an occurrence and he simply cashed in? As long as they got the results they wanted at the price they agreed upon, I don't see any problem with it.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jan 18, 2013
Did they allow for such an occurrence and he simply cashed in?

Software engineers always sign an NDA.
There's no way you're allowed to outsource your work to third parties without the express consent of the parent company and the legal eagles.
barakn
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 18, 2013
Please report natello's racist comment. Thank you.
Husky
5 / 5 (1) Jan 20, 2013
what a boss, as a fellow it worker subjected to managers ordering deadlines and "crunch time" to satisfy the shareholders i can barely suppress snickering about this.