Boeing’s 737 MAX Software was clearly flawed, and the mystery of why is slowly unraveling. New comments from the company’s engineers suggest that the fault lies with lower-paid workers.
Boeing had been laying off its own experienced workers and hiring temps, mostly from India, to work on the software. They were only making $9 an hour and didn’t have much of an aerospace background.
In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.
The coders from HCL were typically designing to specifications set by Boeing. Still, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code,” Rabin said. Frequently, he recalled, “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”