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Wanted: IT Professionals to Create an Industry

There’s no getting around it. I live in the Bahamas and it’s about time I start accepting that fact. And one of the items that’s been on my to do list for a while now, nestled between "Lose ten pounds" and "Fix the hole in the drywall" is "Drag this country into the 21st century."

There is no software development industry in the Bahamas. And there should be one. It’s criminal the opportunity the country is wasting by not trying to create one. Not only do they have reliable high speed internet (I’ve heard tell they have a direct line to some main Internet thing-y in Miami via a big cable along the ocean floor), but there are at least three US cities that are less than an hour and a half from here by plane (although admittedly, they’re all in Florida). And there are other regular direct flights to New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, Calgary, Toronto, and London, which are the cities I know off the top of my head.bahamas-freeport

These are only the advantages for companies that might be interested in investing in remote workers based in the Bahamas. For the worker himself/herself, I don’t think I need to dwell too much on why you should consider it. For the government, it means an influx of young professionals with lots of disposable income who won’t be stealing jobs from locals but will be spending money locally.

So, after getting a bit of a kick-start from someone who will remain nameless because the power cut out during our conversation before I asked permission to name-drop him, the wheels are in motion. The goal: work with the government to encourage IT professionals to move to the Bahamas to work remotely and to encourage companies to invest in said IT professionals.

What that entails, I’m not quite sure. I didn’t do that well in the "IT industry planning for third-world countries" course in university. Perhaps it means first upgrading the government’s systems (or, in some cases, installing them since a lot of them are still paper-based). Maybe it means streamlining the process for getting residency permits. Or setting up a network to help people get accustomed to a place where Starbucks closes at eight. Or creating a registry of qualified tradespeople that haven’t screwed people over in the past. Don’t rightly know, just thinking out loud.

Now to be sure, there are many reasons why the fantasy of living and working in the Bahamas is different than the reality. But given what I’ve seen of the weather in western Canada in the last two days, I have a feeling any arguments I make against working here will fall on deaf and/or frozen ears. If, after reading this post, you want to help me on my quest, contact me directly and I’ll give you an honest run-down.

In any case, a prospecting e-mail has been sent to the deputy prime minister who I’m fully expecting will ignore it. It’s more of a courtesy because I have a back-up plan that is more direct and more likely to get results. (Hint: The adage "it’s not what you know, it’s who you know" is practically baked into the constitution here.)

In the meantime, my task for each of you is to give a long, hard look at where you are living and working.

Take your time…

Kyle the Patient

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  • Introlost

    I’d be interested in a 2012 followup to this post.

  • http://www.tyronedavisjr.com Tyrone Davis

    I’ve been saying this for a while now. They (we) need to start focusing more on technology than just being a service oriented economy like hotel workers, casino workers, bank tellers, etc. I say we because I’m still a Bahamian citizen; but I’m a U.S. resident and live in FL. So, its quite intresting hearing this from your perspective. I would entertain a part-time position in the Bahamas only if I can work remotely while in the U.S. I love my country. Like you, I’m a software developer, so I don’t think working remotely in this technology age is a big deal.

  • http://david@gwynn-jones.com.au Dave GJ

    @Peter R.
    Yes if you’re a ‘permanent resident’, not sure about limited term working visas e.g. ‘457’ visas.
    The website should have info on that.

  • http://www.peterritchie.com/blog Peter Ritchie

    Australian universal health care: does that include non-citizen residents?

  • http://galavants.blogspot.com Virgil Dodson

    Hi Kyle, right now, while it’s 12 degrees Fahrenheit in Kansas, your ideas of working in the Bahamas sounds very attractive. I’ve often wondered myself why more development shops have not popped up in exotic places, especially as the Internet is more pervasive and available anywhere.

  • http://david@gwynn-jones.com.au Dave GJ

    Hi DonXML,
    I hear you – only last night I watched a forum on the PBS NewsHour with about 12 NJ ppl talking about health care – some guys were paying $13,000 p.a. for health care!!!! I pay almost exactly 10% of that and that’s optional so I can get dental, optical, a faster hip replacement etc – if I had an appendix or car crash or whatever then I’m covered by the public system for all the important stuff.
    Sign up here: http://www.immi.gov.au/immigration.htm
    Good luck!

  • http://www.donxml.com DonXML

    Where do I signup? I’m so there. NJ is overrated 😉

  • http://david@gwynn-jones.com.au Dave GJ

    The Bahamas sound very nice but if you want to “work in a hot country and receive the salary of cold one” come to Australia!
    We have 3.something% unemployment rate, a universal heath system, good coffee (no need for starbucks although they’re here trying) a huge skills deficit and lots of niiiice beaches just a bus ride from work esp. if you live in Sydney like me.

  • http://dotnet.kapenilattex.com Jon Limjap

    Ironic as it may sound, I live and work in a hot country (the Philippines — rest assured my employer isn’t stealing work from your company) and my salary is chilled (not “cold” enough, but affords a better than normal lifestyle) but I also want to work on the beach. The capital and all the major cities with an IT industry to speak of are just too… crowded.

    I want to move to Puerto Princesa City in the island of Palawan. It’s the only city I know of that’s really pushing eco-tourism instead of urban development, but the internet and cable services are good in the city proper. But alas, there isn’t any IT industry there either.

  • CV

    Count me in!

  • http://www.peterritchie.com/blog Peter Ritchie

    I think you’d have a huge hurdle with the “soon come” attitude in the islands with most high-tech workers…

  • http://www.opgenorth.net Tom Opgenorth

    You’re just saying this to tease me after hearing about the weather today, aren’t you? Deal me in. Message will be incoming.

  • The Other Steve

    Have you considered introducing curfues to the country to force folks to stay inside six months out of the year?

    This is how IT is promoted in Canada, northern US, Finland, Sweden and so forth. :-)

  • http://chadmyers.lostechies.com Chad Myers

    Kyle, I need a place for my wife, 4 kids, and myself to stay for awhile. Got an extra 3 rooms in the bungalow? Homeschooling helps out a lot in this department, as I’m guessing the school system there isn’t the greatest (not that the US is much better in this regard).

    I just need to convince Jeremy Miller and we’re all set.

  • http://blogema.wordpress.com Emanuele

    Yeah! It would be great work from that beach! I’m ready to come!!! :-)

  • http://www.fauberdemo.com/rankings.html david fauber

    I’m down.

  • DaRage

    You just want to work on the beach, aren’t you? me too, having just came back from cube, couldn’t stop thinking if i can work in a hot country and receive the salary of cold one.