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Reversing the Loss of Science and Engineering Careers

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the hiring-for-the-future dept.

Businesses 375

walterbyrd writes "In response to the alleged shortages of qualified American engineers and technology professionals, numerous initiatives have been launched to boost interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and to strengthen STEM education in the United States. Unfortunately, these programs have not proven successful, and many blame the laziness of modern students, the ineptitude of their teachers, poor parenting or, when there are no other excuses remaining, they may even jump to moral decay as a causative agent. However, the failure of STEM is because the very policies that created the shortages continue unabated. This is not a uniquely American problem. The best way to increase interest in STEM degrees is by making certain that STEM careers are actually viable."

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Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

hambone142 (2551854) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358957)

I don't believe there is an engineering shortage in the U.S. If there were, engineer's wages would be increasing. They are not. I work for a very large computer company and wages have been pretty much stagnant for 10 years here. The real "problem" is there is a shortage of cheap engineers. Ones like those in India and China. US companies are hiring overseas like crazy and reducing employee count domestically.

Re:Engineering shortage? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359059)

this...

The only way to get a raise these days is to company jump. Oh and watch out for the age barrier.

If there were a real shortage wages would be increasing to make it more attractive and many older workers would not be passed over.

Its not the late 90s anymore folks. You will have to make yourself stand out to be hired.

Re:Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359179)

Its not the late 90s anymore folks. You will have to make yourself stand out to be hired.

Or, you can just do what today's smart kids are doing, and avoid the field altogether.

It's actually a pretty good field if you're a people person, and really like schmoozing and sitting in meetings all day. You just have to struggle through all the hard engineering classes, get an MBA to go with it, then struggle your way through the first few years of work experience as an engineer while you develop your contacts and work your way into management, then work your way up the management ladder. The sky's the limit there; you can go all the way up to CEO if you're a really good schmoozer (though to be CEO of a really big company, you'll probably need a degree from a more prestigious university, but for the lesser companies this isn't necessary, any old MBA will do).

But if you're a technical person, are not that great at chit-chatting and bullshitting with people while playing golf, don't like sitting in meetings all day, and actually like doing technical work, engineering's not a very good field.

Re:Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359195)

Geez, go work for a small company. I have about 1 hr of meetings per week and work with my hands (not just typing keys) daily.

Re:Engineering shortage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359309)

I agree. I work for a small company. No stagnation of pay and tons to do that is interesting. Problem is the numbers if hours...

Re:Engineering shortage? (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359537)

Way to miss the point. You're never going to get, working as an engineer at a small company, the kind of pay that you'd get as a middle manager at a large corporation. Plus, your career is over when you're 40; managers don't have to worry about that.

Of course, the downside is that you do little of value and you sit in meetings all day when you're a manager, but so what? Bring your laptop/smartphone and play games and claim you're answering emails, and then enjoy the cash after work is over (while the engineers you supervise are still hard at work into the evening hours to meet the unrealistic deadlines you set).

Re:Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

snotclot (836055) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359061)

Why study engineering?

1) Hardest course loads through college (excepting perhaps hard sciences and premeds).

2) No girls in classes (5-14%, falls as engineering major gets harder (ie electrical))

3) No girls in companies you will end up working at

4) Facebook friends list is 80% men, most of friends are men. Great if you are networking, crappy if you are trying to network to find the perfect gf/wife. Other majors make balanced set of friends naturally through classes. Their networking, as a result, is exponentially easier.

5) You end up working at a multinational company that pays you less (much less) than finance, law, BUSINESS. Argh. Note that business, finance, and law types went through the OPPOSITE of #1-#4, meaning they end up knowing way more girls, earning more, and having had a better life.

6) Yet, you feel as if you contribute way more to society than money movers, patent leeching lawyers, and smoothtalking male/female bimbos/bimbettes.

You tell ME how f*** up engineering is.

You ask why I do it? Because I love analysis, creating, designing, and doing.

Re:Engineering shortage? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359155)

Oh god, if only I wasn't an AC, I would modup the crap out of you.

Re:Engineering shortage? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359205)

You forgot the work is boring. Who wants to do a boring job? Good thing I can stream RT.com or radio or audiobooks to take my mind off the mind-numbingly dull work. I tell my family the more boring the job, the more you get paid, because few others want to do it.

By the way my pay has gone up. It's about 2.3 times larger than in 2001, though it requires moving around the country (no settling-down and raising a family). I'm surprised to hear people say their pay has stagnated.

>>>Facebook friends list is 80% men

Aside - Someone actually *criticized* me because most of my facebook friends are girls. I'm sorry but how is that a drawback??? He answered it's probably because I'm stalking women. (sigh). I pointed-out to this induhvidual that my liberal arts college had 2 girls for every guy... hence lots of classmates who are female and still friends today. (He then disappeared.)

Facebook flamewars are the worst - tons of dummies.

Re:Engineering shortage? (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359585)

By the way my pay has gone up. It's about 2.3 times larger than in 2001, though it requires moving around the country (no settling-down and raising a family). I'm surprised to hear people say their pay has stagnated.

It has stagnated. After about 10 years of experience, a typical engineer's pay is frozen. You managed to mitigate that to a certain extent by making certain sacrifices, namely probably being a contractor and moving around a lot. Companies, with their shitty management, are constantly becoming desperate to build headcount for some project or another, so they'll hire a bunch of contractors for 6-12 months to work on that project and then get rid of them. The pay can be very good, plus you don't have that problem where you're pushed to work unpaid overtime to meet unrealistic deadlines (or, if you do work overtime, you get 1.5x pay, so you can really make bank), but the downside is that you're a hired gun with no real roots anywhere and you can't have a family, as you said. The managers you work for don't have this problem; they get to go home at 5PM to their nice house (which you could afford with your pay, but you'd be stupid to buy because you probably won't be living in that city in 2 years) and their family, while you go back to your efficiency apartment or residence inn and play with yourself.

Aside - Someone actually *criticized* me because most of my facebook friends are girls.

There's freaks and mental cases anywhere you go. You have to learn to ignore them.

my liberal arts college had 2 girls for every guy (3, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359613)

You went to Surf City Tech?

Re:Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359291)

3) No girls in companies you will end up working at

This isn't true. It depends on the company of course, but in my experience, at the large companies (like Intel), there's tons of women.

However, 1) all the women in engineering are married, and most of those in arranged marriages (i.e., if you're a white male, you're not even eligible to date them even if they were single; big culture barrier). 2) the rest of the women are in HR, marketing, finance, etc. So you'll see them occasionally in the hallway, or in the company cafeteria, but you won't see them much in your work areas or even your wing of the building. Heck, they might all be in a separate building.

At the small companies, there might be a few women, but they'll be older and married, and working as the HR person or receptionist or the owner's wife (yes, this was a real position at my first company; I'm not sure what her official title was). That's if you're lucky, lots of small companies don't have any women at all.

4) Facebook friends list is 80% men, most of friends are men. Great if you are networking, crappy if you are trying to network to find the perfect gf/wife.

Exactly right. IME, if you're an engineering major, you better make some time in your busy college schedule to find a wife before you graduate. It's just like how people used to say women went to college to get their "MRS degree", except these days it's reversed as there's more girls in college these days than boys. Make sure you pick well and don't get stuck with a girlfriend you end up breaking up with after you've left college and entered the workforce, because suddenly your choices of available single women has dried up.

6) Yet, you feel as if you contribute way more to society than money movers, patent leeching lawyers, and smoothtalking male/female bimbos/bimbettes.

Totally disagree. This one completely depends on luck, and maybe a little on your own choices. If you go to a big multinational (since the pay is generally better), chances are very good that whatever project you're working on will be shitcanned because it was a crappy copy of a competitor's product, or it wasn't well planned, or they screwed up execution and "missed the market window", or there was a competing project within the company that got chosen instead, etc. Even if it does get out the door, how well it succeeds in the market is anyone's guess; it might be the next iPhone or Facebook, or it might be the next OS/2, or it might be the next Pontiac Aztek. If you end up working on some revolutionary product that becomes a giant hit and changes the world, count yourself lucky. It's quite likely you'll waste your entire career doing nothing of real note, and nothing you worked on will be remembered by anyone.

Re:Engineering shortage? (3, Insightful)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359297)

+1 Cathartic

Re:Engineering shortage? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359329)

Yeah, but when your girlfriend is as much an engineer as you, LIFE ROCKS!

Re:Engineering shortage? (-1, Flamebait)

Jeff1946 (944062) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359427)

As a Phd chemist, I believe the hardest major is chemical engineering. Not only do you need to study chemistry but also master subjects like heat and mass transfer.

Re:Engineering shortage? (1)

errhuman (2226852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359713)

Silly, chemical engineers don't know chemistry :P

Re:Engineering shortage? (1)

errhuman (2226852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359725)

Gah, chewed off my "/chemist_troll" html tag

Re:Engineering shortage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359455)

And it's people like you who will continue bring down the wages of engineers. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just your life decision. Nevertheless you have to admit, you are working in direct OPPOSITION to the market incentives placed before you.

Re:Engineering shortage? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359507)

It goes further too. Not only is he working in opposition to market forces, but if I were CEO of a company, I would rely on people like that.
I would rely on people who would stick to engineering regardless of the pay incentives (or lack thereof), in direct opposition to market forces, due to their own personal
preferences. I could make a mint off these people because they would continue to do the tough engineering work without the necessary pay incentives. I could consistently
underprice the true value of their skills because they remain in the field due to personal preferences.

Re:Engineering shortage? (2)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359457)

Some people value science and engineering more than girls.

It's quite more fulfilling to engineer something than to have sex with a shallow woman.

Re:Engineering shortage? (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359515)

Seems like most of those problems can be solved through engineering. A sexbot. For mankind.

Re:Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

Corporate T00l (244210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359519)

Your #1-4 do certainly match my experience. Your point #5 though doesn't seem to be borne out by the facts.

The notion that engineering majors make less than finance and business majors isn't borne out by the statistics. Law is an unfair comparison since that's an additional 3 years of expensive professional degree tuition, although their new-graduate employment numbers aren't doing that great.

Let's compare stats. Here we have have an undergraduate business program, hyped as being in the top 20 undergraduate business programs (pay close attention to the mean base salary and % employment numbers):

http://dyson.cornell.edu/undergrad/careers.php#placement [cornell.edu]

Here we have an undergraduate engineering program, also hyped as being highly ranked, at the same university, for the same year:

Computer Science: http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/resources/career_services/students/statistics/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=78827 [cornell.edu]

Electrical Engineering: http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/resources/career_services/students/statistics/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=78828 [cornell.edu]

Now, the business degree majors do have their data updated for 2011, the engineers are only at 2010, but take a look at the 8 year trend reports to satisfy yourself that the numbers are relatively stable:

http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/resources/career_services/students/statistics/postgrad_reports.cfm [cornell.edu]

Undergrad CS majors are making 28% more than the undergrad business majors. Electrical engineers are not doing as well as the CS majors, but still better than the business majors.

The majority of business majors end up in just as boring and dead-end jobs as the majority of other majors. You can't look at the high-flying business and finance guys on Wall Street and think that those guys are "typical" for business majors any more than you can look at Bill Gates, Gordon Moore, or any of a whole range of tech company CEOs and execs, and think that they are typical engineers.

Mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359109)

If there really was a shortage then wages would rise.
Rising wages mean more people try to get into that field.
We're still hearing about the "shortage" but wages aren't going up.

Instead, there are a lot of companies lobbying Congress for changes in the H-1B visa program to get more cheap engineers from overseas.

It's about profits. Not a shortage of engineers.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359705)

If there really was a shortage then wages would rise.

What makes you think wages are not rising? To tell the truth, when I looked around the web for good statistics on historical wages I did not come up with much. Anybody have some links, for say, salaray trends by IT segment in the US over the last 20 years?

Re:Engineering shortage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359135)

I don't believe there is an unskilled labor shortage in the U.S. If there were, laborers' wages would be increasing. They are not. I work for a very large smartphone factory and wages have been pretty much stagnant for 10 years here. The real "problem" is there is a shortage of cheap laborers. Ones like those in India and China. US companies are hiring overseas like crazy and reducing employee count domestically. FTFY.

Re:Engineering shortage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359139)

Wages don't increase because of the H1-B style programs. Why should they pay us more when they can whine to their bought-politicians and get the limit increased for work visa's?

Re:Engineering shortage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359169)

It likely depends on the region as well. In the SF bay area, unemployment for software engineers is at an all-time low, while the rest of the job market in the region is one of the highest in the nation.

Re:Engineering shortage? (4, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359279)

There's certainly a shortage of engineers that are US citizens. If your small company can't afford the lawyering for H1-B, greencard, etc, it can really suck to find anyone remotely qualified.

And at least in software, once you have 5+ years of experience, the field does pay pretty nicely (as long as you keep your skills up to date!). But junior engineers are so much easier to hire abroad for next to nothing, so it sucks to be a US college grad unless you're in the top few % of talent such that the top few % of companies will hire you (Google et al have the budget to overpay for new college grads, and can keep them long enough to benefit from training them - not true of most companies.)

Back in the days when people actually stayed at companies for a long time (and loyalty went both ways), it was an easy sell to management to take the loss in hiring a junior engineer and training them up, because both the company and the employee would be around long enough to recoup that loss. But now neither is true - unless you have a name like Google, a junior engineer will likely leave as soon as he's not junior, and even if he doesn't there's a good chance the company will go under or be acquired.

I know it's fashionable to blame the evil corporations for everything, but realistically there's been a structural change in the industry that it hasn't adapted to yet - there's not a model to follow yet! It has always been the successful leading companies in the field that took the hit in training the majority of junior engineers, but today those leaders only do that for a very small slice of top talent, and no one has filled that gap.

And the fair result may be that being a junior engineer just pays crap, because you're competing in a global market. I think a lot of engineers would be OK with that if US companies would actually make low-wage job offers to US citizens, instead of just blindly looking abroad. Heck, my first development job paid significantly less than a "fresher" in India makes, and I got by! But companies don't seem to do that.

Even so, you're still much more likely to find employment with a degree with "engineer" in its name than a degree with "studies" in its name.

Re:Engineering shortage? (1, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359637)

I think a lot of engineers would be OK with that if US companies would actually make low-wage job offers to US citizens, instead of just blindly looking abroad. Heck, my first development job paid significantly less than a "fresher" in India makes, and I got by! But companies don't seem to do that.

They don't do that probably because those junior engineers will start looking for a new job the minute they've signed the paperwork to work for these companies, and as soon as they find something that pays $1/hour more, they're outta there. And for very good reason: a typical college grad these days can expect, thanks to skyrocketing college tuitions and costs, to be $100,000 in debt when they graduate with their BS*E. It's pretty hard to pay back a $100k (or even a $50k) loan, and have money to live on, if you're only getting paid $20k or whatever. It's even worse if the company is in a city that has a higher cost-of-living.

You mention "freshers" in India; Indian engineers (living in India) are notorious for jumping ship as soon as they get a job offer for slightly more than their current rate.

Re:Engineering shortage? (3, Informative)

sr8outtalotech (1167835) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359317)

It's called labor arbitrage, seeking an absolute advantage in labor costs. There aren't that many incentives for a career in STEM fields. These observations are from the SF Bay Area. My friends engineering company started new engineers (EE) out at $40k. Landscapers, maids, postmen, garbage collectors and road crews all make more (get paid for overtime) and they aren't trying to pay off student loans.

Re:Engineering shortage? (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359405)

Other than the richest 0.1% of the population who is seeing wage increases these days? It's called the wage productivity gap and basically, everyone who isn't running companies is getting screwed, it's not just engineers. The wealthiest 1%, 0.1% and 0.01% are getting wage increases sure (though more the top 0.1% than 1%, but anyway)

http://currydemocrats.org/in_perspective/american_pie.html from 2007 and obviously slightly biased but it has a couple of good figures on it. Pay since about 1988 has been significantly decoupling from productivity, and where has it been going? Right, not to the people at the bottom.

Therein lies the crux of all of the problem for people who aren't in the upper class in the US (and to a lesser extent everywhere else). If you worked more productively you would get more money, but not so much anymore, since someone else will work for less.

Engineering, and CS are still good programmes (yes, english spelling) to be in, since you still get more money than other fields generally. The other sciences are sort of a crap shoot, if you can't get a PhD, or can't get a technician job they're really bad to have done, but otherwise they can work out ok. The problem is that a construction worker with no education past highschool will make as much as a degree in biology or physics will during say, a post doc, and the scientists will have needed 10 years to get to that point, where the construction worker starts out close to that.

Re:Engineering shortage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359549)

There is no shortage of engineers, but these is a shortage of good engineers. Engineering is a unique field in that often your top engineers can be 10x as productive as a normal engineer. Bad engineers can even cause negative productivity as a whole. Unfortunately, you really can't teach someone to be a good engineer. Being a good engineer is not about learning, but rather problem solving. Making logical connections between bits of information and debugging until a solution is found. I find this ability is usually ingrained in a person rather than taught. It typically shows in how people do at advanced math. Most people with this ability self-select to be engineer and what we don't need is people without this ability going into the engineering field.

If you have this problem solving ability, engineering is a good way to go. Move to silicon valley and you start at 100k out of college, you will always have a job (likely 2 or 3 offers).

Real Reason (-1, Troll)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358975)

People are lazy and would rather slug through an average education and career knowing the government will make sure they get a certain average quality of life than try hard and likely fail, either because of competition or because the corporations have all colluded to decide not to reward valuable labor.

uhmm most STEM jobs are govt jobs (0, Flamebait)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358999)

either they are direct govt employees, or they are employed by companies that exist maily because of government contracts.

Re:Real Reason (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359011)

In short, you say people suck, governments suck and corporations suck. Where do you go from there?

Re:Real Reason (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359651)

Well, government's responsible for policing the corporations, because they're the only ones with that power. And government is accountable to the people, and elected by them. So if the people suck at electing a decent government and the corporations are running amok, the only alternative I can think of is to move to another country.

Re:Real Reason (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359049)

Nope. There isn't anyone that won't try to have a rewarding career "because the government make sure they get a certain quality of life." If someone isn't trying to be successful in life "the government will take care of me" is certainly *never* the reason. Even the think tanks that spread this bullshit propaganda know it isn't true. No matter how many times it's repeated it still won't be true.

Re:Real Reason (1, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359293)

Nope. There isn't anyone that won't try to have a rewarding career "because the government make sure they get a certain quality of life." If someone isn't trying to be successful in life "the government will take care of me" is certainly *never* the reason. Even the think tanks that spread this bullshit propaganda know it isn't true. No matter how many times it's repeated it still won't be true.

You typed this out knowing full well the utter sloth that pervades all of American society.

Re:Real Reason (5, Informative)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359097)

So its either race with the rest of the rats in a rigged maze or you are "lazy"?

Personally, I think that America has devalued intelligence, knowledge and hard work to the point that I can hardly blame someone who opts out. The "problem" that the powers that be are struggling with is that they want well-educated, well-trained (on someone else's dime, thanks) employees to work for returns that people of these qualities can figure out don't justify the effort.

So they futz around and do other things, some productive, some not, but that at least match rewards to effort.

Make engineering (or teaching etc.) a job worthy of a quality person's time and you will get an abundance of quality people. Make these careers a drag that requires a tremendous amount of risk and personal investment with the near guarantee that you will be screwed over within 5 years and you will only get people who think they can game the system.

Re:Real Reason (1)

travisco_nabisco (817002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359219)

In a recent Wired article, Feb issue perhaps, there was a short one page feature on how across history the geniuses that made major strides came in clusters. The analysis was that great strides in a field are made when there is a focus and priority put on it, which we appear to be missing in the Engineering disciplines right now.

The final observation was that we are fostering a huge nation of geniuses, they just happen to be geniuses in sports.

Re:Real Reason (-1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359475)

So its either race with the rest of the rats in a rigged maze or you are "lazy"?

Personally, I think that America has devalued intelligence, knowledge and hard work to the point that I can hardly blame someone who opts out. The "problem" that the powers that be are struggling with is that they want well-educated, well-trained (on someone else's dime, thanks) employees to work for returns that people of these qualities can figure out don't justify the effort.

So they futz around and do other things, some productive, some not, but that at least match rewards to effort.

Make engineering (or teaching etc.) a job worthy of a quality person's time and you will get an abundance of quality people. Make these careers a drag that requires a tremendous amount of risk and personal investment with the near guarantee that you will be screwed over within 5 years and you will only get people who think they can game the system.

No, the options are:

Try real, real hard and be a big success.*

Try real, real hard and end up no better than the slugs, but with more stress and a heavier workload.

Realize that the odds of making it big are so fucking against you (for reasons that are mostly out of your control) that you may as well make the best out of the situation by being a slug. Do just enough to be average in education and career and you'll be all but guaranteed an average life. Everything from diet to tv watching to credit card balance. The market and the government cater to the masses, so short of winning the lottery the most efficient (quality of life vs effort put in) path through life is to be at the tip of the bell curve. There is very little realized benefit to paying your bills on time buying only as much house as you can afford and, in general, being responsible and productive. The average American has less than $5000 in savings. A responsible person (such as myself, I admit it, I'm one of the suckers) will have enough to cover 6 months of unemployment as well as some for unexpected major (but reasonable) expenses (health issues, auto repair, moving expenses, etc.). Someone just to the left of the bell curve sits on $0, or even a negative amount, but will spend and get just as much as someone just to the right of the bell curve who keeps $10,000 in a simple savings/checking account (since it's the most fluid). When the people a little on the left of the bell curve can rely on food stamps, WIC, section 8 housing, tax breaks, cheaper utilities, and the mass market pricing to their means (so they can all have a smart phone), they'll get about as much quality of life as someone a little on the right. So yes, people are lazy, but no, they're not wrong to be lazy. If anything, it's the hard workers that are the suckers.

*Odds of winning 10,000,000:1, if you have connections with someone who's already "made it" in the field.

Of course nobody is interested in STEM. (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39358991)

SEED is similarly not of interest to the average college student.

Once we start programs promoting BUD, then we'll see some results.

Re:Of course nobody is interested in STEM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359017)

What's BUD? Besides weed?

Re:Of course nobody is interested in STEM. (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359063)

"Besides"?

Re:Of course nobody is interested in STEM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359051)

SEED is certainly better than STEM

Oh stop it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359025)

There's no shortage of employees. There's an oversupply of cheap credit and a shift from compaines doing their research in-house like they used to do around WWII to 1970s-ish, to now where the government subsidizes education so universities can become free R&D for companies.

University has gone from something only a few people should do to something like a cult. You have to go because everyone else has.

Looking back... (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359029)

Don't the booms in STEM careers seem to come around times when the regular person finds more interest in them? Make them interesting again and people will flock to them. Glorify worthless endeavors and people will flock to those. How many children chose to go into engineering fields because of the space race? I'm betting a lot. How many today are instead following in the footsteps of modern celebrities and other people and groups that the media puts on a pedestal?

Maybe STEM just needs to be cool to Regular Joe again.

</mini soap box>

The program was engineered poorly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359031)

So it's clear, they did not find top quality scientist and engineers to design the initiatives to boost interest.....let me guess, a bunch of damn lawyers designed them?

STEM's Weakness in today's economy (5, Informative)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359041)

The problem with STEM jobs is that they involve actually doing things rather than directing them to be done: the lowest rung on the ladder. Nevermind that the skills required to perform these tasks are far more specialized and difficult to attain than those required by their managers. US students may have sensed that STEM careers are for suckers and are best outsourced; you need only compare the financial state of two equally intelligent 50-year-olds--a scientist and a businessman--to see why.

Most STEM careers are not worth the effort in the US. The ones that are combine technical skills with entrepreneurship or pure luck.

Re:STEM's Weakness in today's economy (2)

frisket (149522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359627)

The problem with STEM jobs is that they involve actually doing things rather than directing them to be done: the lowest rung on the ladder. Nevermind that the skills required to perform these tasks are far more specialized and difficult to attain than those required by their managers.

Most management is actually an overhead, because they don't do anything productive. Some actually hinder the company from functioning properly. A few actually do the job productively, but not many, IMHO. If that was expressed in the company accounts, things would look very different.

Re:STEM's Weakness in today's economy (2)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359649)

Those company accounts definitely work against us. In the "make a product for 1 dollar and sell it for 5" business model, we're paid out of the $1 and "they" out of the $4.

Unless your one of the few (2, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359043)

who are truly passionate about it, whats your incentive? average pay? 40 18+ hour days with no days off? spending weeks at a time away from home and family while being anally examined by a customer?

who doesn't want a part of that?

all nationalism is utterly stupid (4, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359065)

every article written about 'the decline of american labor x' needs to wake up and realize that 'american labor x' ceased to have meaning when corporations became globalized. NYSE is not the New York Stock Exchange. it is NYSE-Euronext, with its tentacles in pies all over the world. They can have their headquarters anywhere. Companies like IBM are not 'American Companies'. They are companies that happen to have a lot of managers in the United States, but they really don't need to.

There is only one 'STEM labor supply', and it covers the face of the Earth, and that is where corporations and governments get their labor from. We are all in the same boat. The only way to 'save American labor X' is to save global labor x, and that means fighting against corrupt, repressive governments like China, where STEM people are thrown in prison if they criticize the system.

Re:all nationalism is utterly stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359167)

1) arrest all the top executives and put them in death camps
2) we have the biggest military in the world. lets use it and go after these fuckers internationally.

Re:all nationalism is utterly stupid (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359407)

The NYSE is still the NYSE because the EU nixed the merger.

Re:all nationalism is utterly stupid (4, Interesting)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359467)

Focusing on hiring Americans is as close to organized labor as we're going to get in my lifetime.

Supply and demand (5, Insightful)

jpobst (262199) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359069)

It's simple supply and demand.

Anyone who is smart enough to do STEM is also smart enough to get an MBA for a lot less work, and have 10x the earnings potential.

When CEO's making tens of millions say they can't find engineers, they really mean they can't find engineers for what they want to pay them. If you start paying engineers like executives, management, or sales, you'll have plenty of people stepping up.

Re:Supply and demand (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359395)

MBAs are a losing proposition except from the most elite schools. Executives/management get money only if they work their way up, and sales tends to pay lousy unless you are actually bringing in a lot of business.

Re:Supply and demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359411)

After the Engineering MS I did the MBA. It was like "where's the beef?"

Re:Supply and demand (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359461)

Your absolutely right. However, while some people go in to business to make the world a better place; the majority go into business to make profits. And provided you are able to get your business off the ground, you probably want the best employees for the cheapest amount of salary you can pay them so you can maximize the amount of profit you can keep (i.e. pay yourself).

I'm not saying this is good or bad, its just an observation that generally has panned out over the years.

Shortage of students? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359071)

I have a 4 year physics degree, with 3 years experience working in a III-V semiconductor research lab, and I've been trying to find a job in science and engineering for the past 3 months. The problem here is that there is a shortage of entry-mid level jobs. Everyone is looking for 5-10 years experience.

Re:Shortage of students? (2)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359397)

I have a physics PhD with two postdocs (5 years total) at prestigious universities and am trying to find the right industry job, and it seems to me that a lot of companies are only hiring 22 year olds that they can pay less than $35k/year to.

That's only half true to be honest. I have geographic limitations, and if those vanished there are plenty of interesting jobs. Are you sure there aren't for you also?

Re:Shortage of students? (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359717)

Out of curiosity, what are your geographic limitations? For a lot of careers, you have to go where the jobs are, to a certain extent. Certain industries tend to congregate in certain geographic areas (not necessarily just one, many times there'll be several). So, for instance, if you want to be a petroleum engineer, there's certain places where there's a lot of those jobs available: Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, etc. So if you're dead-set on living in Maine because your family is there, you're simply not going to find a job, and you were stupid to choose that major. (I'm assuming there's no oil in Maine.)

Similarly, many engineering professions only have a good supply of jobs in major metro areas. So if you're dead-set on living in Bumpkinville, Wyoming, because all your family is there, again, you're stupid to choose that major or to even go into college for a professional degree. You should have just skipped college and gone to work at the local feed-n-seed store or Piggly Wiggly.

If you're dead-set on living in one specific place, you need to choose your profession around this limitation, and the industries available there. If that means working at the feed-n-seed because that's the only thing in that small town better than McDonald's, then you need to pursue that. But if you're really interested in working in a certain industry, you need to go where that industry is located, and give up on geographic limitations. Of course, there's middle ground; if the industry is only located in one place, then you either need to go there or find a different profession/major. But if the industry has many locations (like how electronics and software are big in Silicon Valley, RTP, Austin, Seattle, plus a bunch of other large metro areas), then even if you hate one of those places, you still have others to choose from and can afford to limit yourself to a certain extent.

Shortage of track record... (3, Insightful)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359439)

In my experience, the problem you are observing with STEM career track is a systematic problem.

Often the folks that are coming into industry from graduate or post-graduate university are looking for a job where they can apply their newly minted skills (let's call that a mid-entry job for argument's sake). Most managers in industry are looking for people that can help them work out problems and are willing to hire smart people and throw them on the job to learn (let's call that an entry-level job for argument's sake), or folks that can help them that are already skilled in the industry who already have lots of experience (let's call that a job for an highly experienced person). Which is basically what you have observed.

Of course there are some jobs for folks that work on advanced projects that require more than entry level experience, but perhaps less than highly experience level. Maybe that is some type of "entry-mid" level job you might be interested in?

Here's the dillema. If you were a hiring manager, would you promote someone that you've seen working on an entry-level basis for a few years to that new advanced project, or hire what we like to call a new-college-grad++ for that position? Well, I can tell you that NCG++ had better knock my socks off before I'd take the risk to hire that person over promoting someone that I know is a smart and a hard worker. That's because hiring new folks is really a crap shoot (sometimes you win, sometimes you lose). Also, if I hire the NCG++ from outside, an inside person that I might have promoted might decide to take off to another company and we'd lose the institutional knowledge that came with that person as they walk out the door to a competitor. As a result, some of these positions just aren't open to outside folks.

Basically, it sounds like you are trying to "retrack" a STEM career from academia to industry. That's is one of the problems built into the system. Mid-career track in academia generally involves lots of publishing and research (which tends to be in one narrow area if you are only doing something for 3 years) where industry tends to value generalized knowledge or dotting "i's" and crossing "t's" on problems on its mid-career folks.

The only advice I have is that if you want to re-track your career at mid-track, you need to get data points on your resume where it shows you can dot i's and cross t's and have lots of general field knowledge (not 2-years of papers in a very narrow area). If you don't you probably have to wait it out until you get 5-10 years of experience at something specific where you can qualify for a highly experienced job in that more narrow area on its own merit, or you can take an entry level job and hope to wow someone. Sometimes that works too. In most successful companies, it doesn't often matter at what level you are hired in, as long as the company lets the good people bubble-up (and most successful companies have this attribute in common). Good luck.

Shortage of bona fide job offers (5, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359691)

There's a lot of dishonesty in the job market. Qualified job seekers are rejected all the time.

When an employer asks for 10 years of experience in 20 different languages, systems, applications, and platforms, that could say they don't want to hire anyone. They actually want to hire a cheap foreigner, or the boss's nephew, and are just going through the motions to satisfy the letter of EEOA requirements. They've already found their man, and just copied his resume to the job posting. If the position goes unfilled, then they can complain that there aren't enough qualified applicants no matter the real reason it wasn't filled. In a bigger company, there could be internal politicking going on, with one department using the hordes of hapless job applicants to send a message to other departments. It could also say they have to ask for that much so they aren't buried under resumes. Which of course happens because contrary to what they claim, there is in fact no shortage of qualified job seekers.

To add to the fun, there are the head hunters throwing out bait, to harvest resumes.

And job seekers are pressured to spin and exaggerate to the max without quite lying (wink, wink). Quite common for a good programmer to pick up a programming language quick, then apply for a job that asks for 10 years experience in it, and if hired, pull it off because as we all know, programming ability is not language specific.

Another factor that shows there is no shortage of qualified people is that employers can demand that new hires "hit the ground running". In other words, applicants are expected to bone up on whatever specific technologies are wanted on their own time and dime, rather than spend a month training. Employers don't train people anymore. They've externalized that cost, and gotten away with it, demanding that schools and applicants do that. They complain bitterly that schools don't educate people right, which too often means they were educated instead of trained for a specific position. And they're quick to moan about the waste in spending money to train someone who is just going to leave them. Whether or not it's fair or appropriate, the job applicant is expected to come in already knowing many of the arcane specifics of whatever oddball setup they use.

change can only come from the top (4, Insightful)

Phantom Gremlin (161961) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359087)

The decline of engineering as a career in this country is primarily because of two groups: a) top management and b) government policies. MBAs control top management, lawyers control government. Nothing will change until and unless those two groups understand that things need to change.

I'm not optimistic.

Re:change can only come from the top (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359417)

The decline of engineering is primarily because of a structural problem; you need a finite number of them, and after a certain point more don't really do much (not criticizing engineering at all, that's how EVERY field works).

Because there is no money in STEM... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359093)

Simple answer. Almost all "hard science" is completely outsourced to other countries who can do code for pennies on the dollar compared to US hired. Need something done domestically? H-1Bs are easy to get with "secret requirements".

For people heading to college, there is really only one lucrative major if one doesn't want to be in a tent at some Occupy convention with some sign asking where one's job is, waiting for the next Pike to give them a faceful of pepper spray. That would be law. If you can do programming or IT, you can sit through the classes, get your JD, pass the bar, and have yourself an actual profession, not a job. Law isn't going to be outsourced anytime soon.

There are two ways to make money in the world: Make a bigger pie, or take a piece from someone else. The pie isn't getting any bigger in the US with zero technology advances, the fact that China kills any US industry that seems promising (solar? Hack the US companies, slurp up the trade secrets, then dump the panels for cheaper than they can be made. A PRC victory achieved), and the fact that the US politicians are more interested in "terrorists" and political infighting than actually doing anything to advance the countrey. So, might as well take your pie from others and make a living somehow, because we are in a phase of history of "everything has been invented", and this isn't going to change much for the next 20-30 years.

I know this isn't something /. people want to hear, but you have to go where the money is, and both government and industry have their back turned any US-based engineering. So, you have to change and go with what makes the cash, and that's law.

Re:Because there is no money in STEM... (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359429)

Law is a terrible profession to go into right now. Only graduates from the top 15 or so schools are getting jobs that require a legal education.

simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359103)

replace meathead tv programming with shows like Cosmos.

Job availability is a big deal (4, Informative)

Tragek (772040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359105)

Being only a few hundred kilometres from major oil deposits, I see tonnes of people graduating from my institution with Petroleum engineering degrees. Do the majority of these people have a undying passion for the subject? Nope. The jobs are available, and they pay excellently, without having to risk fingers as a rig-pig. It's a smart choice.

I would be curious though to see the employment rates across the US for degrees. Are there engineering degrees for which there is demand, and how does that break out of the overall statistics presented in the article.

"STEM" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359113)

Is "STEM" really a homogeneous economic bloc? The author of this article seems to treat it this way, talking about various different fields interchangeably, but I've never seen statistics comparing different types of "STEM" jobs.

Supply and demand (5, Insightful)

MetricT (128876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359141)

I can't find someone who'll sell me a Corvette for $10. That must mean there's a Corvette shortage...

The MBA's, pols, and lobbyists that run our society can't seem to understand that supply and demand applies to other people as well. If the reward for several years of grad school were equal to the risk and cost, you'd see more people in STEM. That's why they went into finance, because that's where the money was.

When the scientists and engineers make more money than the MBA's running the company, I'll imaging you won't have any problem finding them. (And I have both a MBA from a top 25 school and 12 years in high-performance computer. Guess who makes more around here...)

When you say something is unimportant, and yet treat it as unimportant, people are smart enough to see through that.

Re:Supply and demand (1)

MetricT (128876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359191)

I meant to say...

When you say something is *important*, and yet treat it as unimportant, people are smart enough to see through that.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359153)

Stop making STEM educated people compete with disposable Asians. Germany does this with aggressive trade regulation. Domestic demand for STEM will increase and wages will increase. STEM becomes attractive and students will appear.

Of course, things that involve STEM labor will cost more... and we can't have that. Income disparity might stop growing.

Re:Simple (3, Interesting)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359453)

Germany also has a pretty vibrant high-tech manufacturing sector, which requires people with all sorts of different skill sets. Part of the reason there isn't much demand in the US is we don't do much manufacturing any more, at least not on a per-capita basis.

other industries are protected by the govt (5, Insightful)

stanjo74 (922718) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359157)

Most jobs in a service economy are protected in some way by the government, with the exception of engineering jobs. Anything in medical, law, finance, accounting, etc. is protected from fierce international competition by local and federal rules and regulations.

So, unless one's heart is really into it, why would anyone consider a career in engineering and science?

Follow the money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359177)

As an engineer or scientist, one can earn $30,000 to $50,000, or maybe $150,000 if you work very hard, are much more able than the average scientist or engineer, and are lucky. That is, until you're 45 - then you are put out to pack bags, pump gas or supersize people.

In the financial industry, some one with a bit of intelligence can reap $50,000 to $150,000 in junior posiitons and $1,000,000 to $50,000,000 or more in senior positions.

Why would anyone smart enough to be an engineer or scientist want to be one, given the disparity how societies wealth is distributed?

Re:Follow the money... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359363)

The financial industry is lucrative for only a very small number of people. If you don't go to a small handful of MBA programs, you ain't getting on Wall Street. And entry-level financial industry people are going to start at $40k to $50k if they're lucky, and can work for many years without getting much higher.

A lack of respect? (1)

Kylon99 (2430624) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359233)

Perhaps people sense that companies only respect the financial jobs these days as upper management is only concerned with pure dollars and cents. Anything to do with engineering is beyond their ability to manage intangibles and thus barely tolerated and utterly replaceable.

And so if you ask me, would you get into a career where management wouldn't recognize your work and threaten to replace you? Or would you go where you are respected... for raking in the money.

(Of course, I'm not really interested in that, but you gotta admit it's a huge draw.)

Maybe the problem lies with the universities? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359257)

Has anybody tried making the hard science university experience less of brutal and life consuming Darwinian struggle??

Some Niche Engineering Jobs Needed (2)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359275)

I work for a major semi-conductor company in Silicon Valley (California USA), and we have been desperately looking for talented micro-controller firmware software developers and/or hardware engineers that are proficient with wired data-link protocols (UART, SPI, I2C, 1-wire, ISO7816-3, etc.) for nearly a year, and offering a 6 figure salary.

All of the applicants I came across, are either desktop/server developers that have no clue how to develop for a MCU with only a few kB of RAM and EEPROM, or an old school hardware engineer that is not familiar with the above mentioned wired data-link protocols.

If anyone is interested, please send me a PM.

Re:Some Niche Engineering Jobs Needed (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359383)

In my youth companies would hire a talented engineer out of school and have him work with an experienced designer in the field to develop skills in a technical specialty such as this, and hang on to him for dear life once the skills were developed. Now the idea is that these specialists are just spring up to meet need and can be let go the instance such needs are fulfilled.

Well what happens is the skills don't get developed that way, and nobody is interested in going $100,000 in debt to get what amounts to be a temporary job.

Re:Some Niche Engineering Jobs Needed (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359495)

Well heaven forbid you actually train someone to do it. That's why you can't find anybody, every company wants instant gratification with no work.

Re:Some Niche Engineering Jobs Needed (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359721)

I work for a major semi-conductor company in Silicon Valley (California USA), and we have been desperately looking for talented micro-controller firmware software developers and/or hardware engineers that are proficient with wired data-link protocols (UART, SPI, I2C, 1-wire, ISO7816-3, etc.) for nearly a year, and offering a 6 figure salary.

So find someone with a clue and maybe some experience in related areas (e.g. kernel or device driver development), and hire them. I've done microcontroller firmware and had to bit-bang both SPI and I2C, and neither one is rocket science; I learned on the job from the data sheets. Stop looking for the purple squirrel -- the candidate who has exactly the experience you need on the tools you use -- and start hiring people who have the basic skills. This is still difficult, but it's a lot less difficult than looking for the niche candidate who probably already has a job with your competition.

(I'm on the wrong coast and am currently employed doing something else, sorry)

ugh (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359305)

The problem with STEM is the same problem with all white collar jobs: Our country and our planet just do not need nearly as many college-educated professionals as it produces. A lot of the entry-level (but previously somewhat lucrative grunt work) can now be done with computers, and ubiquitous communications networks quicken the work that does have to be done.

STEM grads don't have it nearly as bad as architects or lawyers these days but I'm sure they'll get there.

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359343)

The difficulty of a STEM education will keep it from getting as bad as architects and lawyers. It may get worse, just not that bad.

Re:ugh (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359465)

Well, first of all, I don't think architecture is that easy (though I am not an architect, but I have discussed the curriculum with some). Getting a law degree and passing the bar is not that difficult, though being a good lawyer is very difficult. In any event, honestly, STEM majors aren't quite as hard as STEM people like to brag about. I did some substantive coursework in STEM subjects at both the undergrad and grad level and they could be challenging but were not as bad as some STEM people like to pretend.

Native MD's In the UK (2)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359401)

For an informative glimpse into the future of STEM in the US, look to the MD profession in the UK. Public policy removed financial incentives from the doctors and students wised up quickly. Today there are very few native-born physicians in the UK; they all come with modest financial expectations from countries with a lower standard of living.

Physicians can't perform their jobs from abroad. Scientists and engineers, however...

Salaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359435)

As long as you can get 10 (or more) times more money in the financial sector, a lot of high professionals will go there. Also today, STEM topics are nerd territory in the public opinion. The bad connotation decreases the number of potential candidates for those jobs.

Top US college majors - a thought (2)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359441)

Top US college majors are 1) Business 2) Social sciences and history 3) Health professions and related clinical sciences 4) Education 5) Psychology 6) Visual and performing arts.

How can one say that health fields are not a form of applied science? Business has a reasonable amount of math in terms of finance and there is plenty of statistics in business process management such as six-sigma. [wikipedia.org] Social sciences are of course a form of science, and even educators need to learn about the science of childhood development and scientific results about what works in the classroom.

The truth is that there is a large demand for professional businesspeople, health professionals, and educators in the US.

On the other hand, I think most people would not be studying social sciences, history, psychology, or art if these majors did not receive significant subsidy either directly from tax dollars in state schools or indirectly in government loans (that end up not getting paid off). If students had to pay the full way on these majors up front, they would pretty much vanish!

Passion (5, Insightful)

ocratato (2501012) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359489)

Most of these solutions seem to be getting the cart before the horse.

Back in the early '70s, in Australia at least, you could get a university education almost for free. The result was that students studied what they had a passion for without worrying too much about what career they would end up with. The lucky ones got the careers they wanted, others with a real passion started businesses, and the rest ended up as teachers where they taught with that same passion.

Now a universtiy education is so expensive that it must be carefully tailored to where the good paying jobs already are. The passion has been lost, and along with it the good teachers and the innovative engineers - like those that started Sun, HP, etc.

Society has to put the investment back into education if it wants to get the rewards. Give the kids that education and they will go out and dream up new businesses that we cannot even begin to imagine.

Stanford CS enrollment all time high (cyclic) (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359513)

Stanford computer science enrollment of undergraduates more less tracks IPO fever in SIlicon Valley with peaks in the late 1990s and now [stanforddaily.com] . The same trend was observed at MIT. In both places 85% of the undergraduates are US citizens and 65% are women and/or minorities. This seems to say that quick money is the draw.

In the ivies 20% to 40% of undergraduates take jobs in financial services, with the number directly tracking the salaries offered in these fields too. The mid 2000s was a peak, late 2000s a low.

Conflict of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359557)

The government is mostly led by lawyers. They have no desire for competent people who want things to work. They certainly don't want people who understand anything or can run numbers.

Instead, they endow legal schools to create more of their own kind.

Because degrees are important? (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359599)

I don't understand why we place so much value in a system which is obviously meant to make money more than it is to educate. It is an abomination that job availability discriminates upon the boundaries of how much in debt the candidate is willing to be rather than upon merits of their knowledge. Academy is a life-long pursuit, and some people simply do not learn in rigid environments. Even for the ones that do learn well in a public school or a university, most of their eventual useful knowledge is gonna come from where? That's right: life experience.

Fuck the system.

Can't Have your Pi and Eat it Too (4, Insightful)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359619)

The government complains about a lack of scientists and engineers as it continues to cut funding to education across the board at the state and federal levels.

K-12 schools can't afford to give their teachers cost-of-living raises or even hire new, competent teachers in some cases. Colleges are raising tuition year after year despite overcrowding because attendance is up but funding is down. Schools in general have trouble keeping their labs and equipment up to date due to budget cuts as well. Less money for science and math teachers leads to fewer students pursing science and math in college. This leads to fewer science/math professionals, including fewer good teachers. And so on . . .

When a government begins attacking education - banning printing presses, burning books, defunding schools, demonizing teachers' unions - its because they want a stupid, docile populace. If you're raising sheep, don't expect to get anything more than wool out of them.

Re:Can't Have your Pi and Eat it Too (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359675)

Really? You think lack of education is the biggest problem?

Not lack of jobs for STEM people?

America has no shortage of creativity (1)

ben4528 (2588219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39359701)

Engineer proffesion is not one of them.

Not economically viable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359719)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX4b_rhT0nU [youtube.com]

This is the main problem with STEM careers. They are not economically viable.

No entry level jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39359735)

Entry level jobs for STEM were in decline 20 years ago.

I went to a top engineering & science school, and have watched the careers of me and my friends.

Most of us have had less than a year or two working in our fields, then got IT or programmer related jobs in the 90s bubble. Some instead became stay-at-home parents.

One got an actual science job vaguely related to his field, got them to pay for a PHD and made money at it.

My sister actually managed to work in her field most of her career, but to do it she had to be self-employed about half of it, and willing to work for private consulting firms and the government some of the time.

Seriously though. The class of 1988 in my college were largely wasted. Maybe 20% actually used their specialized training directly. The rest of us parlayed our critical thinking, analytical training and problem solving skills into completely unrelated careers. (and had to learn people skills on the job, although at least my college was difficult enough that we actually learned teamwork just to graduate)

There are far, far fewer jobs in STEM open to a graduate with no experience than there was in my day. Companies have outsourced most entry level jobs and aren't willing to provide training or apprenticeship paths to more sophisticated jobs. Then they whine that there isn't anyone to do them.

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