The Global Search For Brainpower

A shortage of programmers is hobbling technology growth

As a headhunter, George Van Derven has an unlikely connection: Russia's former state airline, Aeroflot. Not that Van Derven trades in pilots, airplane mechanics, or surly flight attendants. But in a former career, he sold a computerized reservation system to Aeroflot and came to know the talented programmers stashed in the back offices. When Aeroflot broke up into regional carriers in 1992, Van Derven promptly tapped its old brain pool. Now, as president of Alternative Technology Resources in Sacramento, Calif., he's mining a rich lode of programming talent and busily dispatching it to understaffed computer departments throughout the Western world.

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