I Outsourced My Homework To India!

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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  • chewbenator
    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.
  • alfrido
    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
  • cyprod
    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!