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Will plug and play software coding solve America’s Brain Gain problem?

There is a reason why Mark Zuckerberg and tech titans are keen on petitioning Washington to loosen up immigration rules-Americans just aren’t too keen on becoming software engineers and geeks. Seriously. There is something to the decades-long stigma of being a socially inept and sexually deprived nerd that steers many would be future Mark Zuckerbergs from an EECS or CompSci degree to Finance or Business Administration. Engineering has for many years been very unsexy in the US and it doesn’t appear to be shedding its image anytime soon. This trend continues despite the fact that starting Software Engineers often start with salaries north of $100,000. And that’s without the massive sign up bonuses and other perks. No wonder Zuckerberg is banging Congress’ cage to get more Indian and other engineers. This is short-sighted. The truth is outsourcing might be the way forward and there might not be any need to change current immigration laws and quotas to do so. Why? API-based software development.

Thanks to the rise of mobile apps, APIs have become very sexy and is now poised to be the preferred softare development platform. Instead of having to code features of an application from scratch, software developers only need to go through a menu of APIs offered by software as a service companies to cherry pick features. They then code custom solutions to fill in the gaps and slap on a custom front end. In fact, they even even offer the custom-coded solutions as APIs in their own right. Crazy, right? Well, API-driven software development lends itself well to overseas development with different teams working in a diverse ecosystem and trading code and functionalities online. There would be no need to import manpower since this model thrives when there are many different development teams competing based on speed, quality, and reliability. As a result, prices might go lower and quality might go up. Markets become more specialized and companies don’t have to weigh themselves down with the massive fixed costs of importing labor.

APIs might just revolutionize America’s immigrant landscape. This should not be a surprise since this technology might also revolutionize many other aspects of American culture and life.