Is modeling good for your career?

The modeling process can lift developers out of the details of writing code into the more strategic realm of understanding business problems, process flows and end-user requirements. By giving developers a more prominent and valuable role in the business, can it also protect their jobs from being outsourced to lower-cost coders overseas?

There's no guarantee modeling will save your job, but it certainly can't hurt, according to users and analysts who follow the development world.

"The jobs that require high client touch are the ones where you're getting the conceptual ideas of the application from the business user," says Glenn Stout of The Revere Group, an IT consulting firm in Deerfield, Ill. "The developer or the business analyst that can model and describe those high-touch concepts would perhaps be more valuable on the client's site" rather than outsourced or offshore.

Knowledge of modeling might make a company's in-house staff more valuable, and might reduce the pressure to outsource by lowering the total cost of ownership for applications, says Richard Soley, CEO of the Object Management Group. However, it could "be a great boon for outsourcing by making it easier to share an application model between an architect in Europe or the U.S. and a developer sitting in Bangalore or Costa Rica. The jury's still out."

Forrester Research Analyst analyst Carl Zetie agrees the long-term effects of modeling on outsourcing aren't clear. But he notes that the most common complaint about IT departments is that they don't understand business users' needs. "If you learn to model, if it helps you to better capture (and) to demonstrate to the business that you've captured their requirements, then it's good for you and good for the business," he says.

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About the Author

Robert L. Scheier is a freelance technology writer in Boylston, Mass.