High Five: Meet John Miano, Founder Of The Programmers Guild - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy

High Five: Meet John Miano, Founder Of The Programmers Guild

John Miano launched the Programmers Guild, an advocacy group, in 1998, concerned about foreign workers replacing programmers like himself. Miano earned a law degree in 2005 and is building a legal practice suing companies that violate H-1B rules by hiring foreign workers without considering U.S. job candidates.

John Miano
Founder of the Programmers Guild

Interview by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee
Photograph by James Leynse

John Mian, Founder of the Programmers Guild

After 18 years of computer programming, Miano decided in 2002 to go to law school. It was testifying before Congress against raising H-1B quotas and being frustrated by tech- industry lobbyists that made him shift careers. "Five of the eight [witnesses] were lawyers," he says. "Unless we fight this issue legally, we'll lose."

Miano sold his Piper Dakota single-engine, four-seat plane to help pay for law school, but especially to avoid the aircraft's annual $15,000 maintenance costs while hitting the books. "Other law students got choked up when they heard about the plane--not because I sold it, but because they were racking up huge loans for their tuition."

American programmers shouldn't just complain about their jobs disappearing. "Get a backbone and stand up," he tells IT professionals. "Don't train the H-1B replacements your employers bring in. Get up and walk out."

If you want job security, "become a plumber or electrician. They're paid well and require skills you can't offshore."

Miano, 45, enjoys playing classical compositions on the ivories. "I'm a music snob," he admits. But he also thinks musical talent runs through techie veins. "I've never met a good programmer who doesn't play an instrument."

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