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Americans make reverse commute — to India

Attracted by the chance to get invaluable experience at the cutting edge of the technology market, more young U.S. workers are taking jobs in India. NBC’s Campbell Brown reports.

Nate Linkon graduated from college last year with a business degree and a lot of offers.  But he made an unusual choice: to pack his bags and move 9,000 miles away from corporate America to Bangalore. In his view, there’s no better place to beef up his résumé — even though the pay is much lower.

“Yeah, I kind of look at it like a career trajectory,” said Linkon, 22, of Milwaukee. “You do this and you set yourself up for bigger things than you would making four times what I make now in Chicago or New York.”

U.S. companies have been sending jobs overseas for years — 130,000 already in 2006, according to Forrester Research, which analyzes the technology market. It projects that the number will rise to more than 3.5 million by 2015.

But now there’s a twist — U.S. workers are taking jobs in India for what they see as a long-term investment in their future. And Indian companies are recruiting them.

A mutually beneficial arrangement
“We don’t think doing things in India is a loss to the U.S.,” said N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder and chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd., an industry leader in outsourced software services. Nor, he said, does he think doing things in the United States is a loss for India. Almost two-thirds of Infosys’ revenue is generated in the U.S. market.

Murthy, 59, is lobbying students at the Stanford Business School, where he is a member of the advisory council, to come east — way east — to Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley. With its Microsoft-like campus, Infosys provides support to big U.S. companies like Best Buy, Circuit City and even Microsoft. (Microsoft is a parent company of

“To add significant value to corporations from a country like India is an exciting opportunity,” Murthy said, “and to be part of that opportunity is one of a kind.”

Infosys’ profits are three times those of its U.S. competitors. One of the main reasons is salaries. The employees here — the software engineers — make about a quarter of the salary of someone doing the same job in the United States.

Still, a growing number of Americans are looking to Bangalore, where their money goes a lot further. This summer, 100 new U.S. graduates will start as full-time engineers at Infosys, with 200 more to arrive by the end of the year, part of a total staff expansion the company projects to top 50 percent this year.

Like Linkon, they are willing to take lower pay to get the hands-on experience they believe will make them more marketable when they return to a job in the United States.