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I Outsourced My Homework To India!

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Birmingham (England) - Birmingham City University officials say as many as 1000 students are outsourcing their homework to coders in India. The students attend or have attended universities and A-School (Britain’s equivalent of the last two years of a US high school) and outsourced homework as simple as a minor coding project to full-blown post-graduate dissertations. Birmingham officials say students sometimes paid as little as $10 for homework.

Birmingham City University have been monitoring outsourcing websites since 2004 and say the cheating is almost impossible to detect. This makes sense because programming is much more structured than say writing an essay — really there are only so many ways you can write a function or program.

It’s easier than you might think to get your homework outsourced. A quick search through Google brings up several companies and perhaps the most prominent one — with the most common sense name — is rentacoder.com. Operating on an auction system, students and companies place ads describing the coding project and programmers then bid on the job. The lowest bidder wins. The university claims that students pay from $10 for a small homework project to $200 for a dissertation.

Companies have been outsourcing their coding for years and it was only a matter of time before students started using the same systems. Of course, you can argue that students who outsource their homework overseas are only hurting themselves when they finally get a job. We can only hope that employers give a comprehensive interview that tests coding skills, but unfortunately some organizations are primarily concerned about whether the applicant has a degree from a prestigious college or university.

Outsourcing of IT homework is just a small part of a growing trend to sending services overseas. Recently several U.S. newspapers have outsourced their copyediting to India and the Philippines. In many ways this makes sense, because of the time difference newspaper reporters can send their stories to India where it will be daytime. The stories will then be edited and sent back in time for the printing presses to run.

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  • 2 Hide
    chewbenator , June 26, 2008 10:45 PM
    That is terrible. I struggled through two computer science courses before switching out of it, and the coding projects are THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you must do in the courses. They are really only hurting themselves when students do this sort of thing. Though they might get the grade, once they get the job it's only a matter of time before they are found out and won't get another chance at landing another job in that industry.
  • 2 Hide
    alfrido , June 26, 2008 11:12 PM
    thats why the third world are catching up on the western countries its really bad to hear this. Even the word outsourcing brings tears in my eyes.

    Lazyness of westerners
  • 3 Hide
    cyprod , June 26, 2008 11:28 PM
    Clearly the author isn't a programmer. Only so many ways to write a program, psh. At my school they detected cheating by diffing your parse tree with every other parse tree for the last 5 years. If it wasn't adequately different, you failed. Then of course theres code obfusication, see how unmaintainable you can write your code.

    Two things are sad about this, first, programming isn't that hard. I went to school for computer engineering with my specialty being VLSI and ULSI design. Couldn't get a job in that so I got a job as a programmer because it was a hobby of mine with only a minimal amount of schooling in it required for my degree. They tested the hell out of my coding skills in my interviews and I got the job with next to no formal schooling. (Granted they did higher me for test, but transfered me to software fairly quickly)

    Second, 10 bucks!? I just told one of my indian friends I work with to tell his buddies back in india to charge more!
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , June 26, 2008 11:36 PM
    this is typical especially from the U.S. outsourcing in the U.S has taken the place of slavery in the U.S or can make the assumption they are the same thing
  • 0 Hide
    NarwhaleAu , June 26, 2008 11:43 PM
    Maybe they can start outsourcing their brains as well.
  • 1 Hide
    pocketdrummer , June 27, 2008 12:18 AM
    Maybe jobs will start hiring based on skill rather than some piece of paper someone paid for. Degrees don't really mean shit. I know plenty of people who didn't go to college that outsmart people who did.

    With a little luck, these cheater won't be able to maintain a job and will quickly realize how stupid they are.
  • 0 Hide
    Joe_The_Dragon , June 27, 2008 2:10 AM
    pocketdrummerMaybe jobs will start hiring based on skill rather than some piece of paper someone paid for. Degrees don't really mean shit. I know plenty of people who didn't go to college that outsmart people who did.With a little luck, these cheater won't be able to maintain a job and will quickly realize how stupid they are.

    No people like this end becoming PHB's.
  • 0 Hide
    DXRick , June 27, 2008 6:30 AM
    This will just fuel the drive of companies to outsource their IT to India as well. They might as well pay the real programmers to do the work, especially since they will do it for less than US programmers.

    Having been a programmer for 19 years, I can't imagine how someone who can't do the work themselves could possibly get a good job anyway and keep it.
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    clay12340 , June 27, 2008 1:35 PM
    Captaincharismathis is typical especially from the U.S. outsourcing in the U.S has taken the place of slavery in the U.S or can make the assumption they are the same thing


    That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Outsourcing and sweatshops are two different things. Outsourcing is absolute genius for the person doing the work. They make a pile of money compared to the rates of pay they have available. $10 might sound like very little, but when you take into account the exchange rate and cost of living it isn't bad at all for a simple assignment. Not to mention it would probably take someone competent very little time to do.

    The only group that gets hurt in outsourcing are the people who live in the areas and have the skills that companies are outsourcing. Exchange rates and cost of living work against those people. Which is pretty awesome for someone like me who is a programmer in the US...
  • 1 Hide
    sapphireforever , June 27, 2008 1:39 PM
    For people who outsource their homework, how are they going to deal with midterm and final? When I was in school, part of test was to ask you to write the a program or a piece of program on paper.
  • 0 Hide
    pilotman28 , June 27, 2008 2:47 PM
    pocketdrummerMaybe jobs will start hiring based on skill rather than some piece of paper someone paid for. Degrees don't really mean shit. I know plenty of people who didn't go to college that outsmart people who did.With a little luck, these cheater won't be able to maintain a job and will quickly realize how stupid they are.


    A four year degree doesn't just say "hey look how smart I am" it also shows you can stick to something for 4+ years and finish. It's a sign of character and determination to an employer. Only 26% of people who start college finish. There's a reason why it's that low because the drive to finish it must be there and an employer wants to see that.

    In the gov't contracting world, where I work, the contracting company can charge the military more for you if you have your 4-year degree so obviously they're going to want that.

    You may say some smarter people you know don't have degrees and I probably know some dumber people than you who do however they were able to commit to something rather difficult and finish it. If it was about smarts I'd be making more money than 98% of the people in this world just for being a Mensa member but I don't.

    Get a degree or quit putting down the people who have more fortitude than the other shmucks who don't. If you have a scholarship to pay for your school that 4-years can almost ALWAYS guarantee you about 4K-10K extra starting salary.
  • 0 Hide
    greenmachineiijh , June 27, 2008 8:02 PM
    Something most people do not know is that it also goes the other way. My wife did contract work for proof-reading, editing, programming, etc. and every day she got requests from American, European, East Indian and Asian Students for her to go over their work and have the documents ready and formatted as a dissertation, thesis or similar fashion.
    In the end, EVERYONE is lazy.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 8, 2008 12:42 PM
    As an INDIAN i understand the frustration you had behind this word outsourcing. Companies should look for the people who are talented which results in good money and growth, instead companies in US looking for cheap talented engineers who can work 24/7 and save company money. Cause of this outsourcing India’s GDP just increased to 3% we can survive without this term. Hope i didn't offended anyone.