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Electrical Engineer Unemployment Soars; Software Developers' Rate Drops to 2.2%

Soulskill posted 1 year,9 days | from the guess-they-built-a-few-too-many-robots dept.

Businesses 419

dcblogs writes "The unemployment rate for people at the heart of many tech innovations — electrical engineers — soared in the first quarter of this year to 6.5%. That's nearly double the unemployment rate from last year. The reasons for the spike aren't clear, but the IEEE-USA says the increase is alarming. At the same time, U.S. Labor Dept. data showed that jobs for software developers are on the rise. The unemployment rate for software engineers was 2.2% in the first quarter, down from 2.8% last year. This professional group warns that unemployment rates for engineers could get worse if H-1B visas are increased. The increase in engineering unemployment comes at the same time demand for H-1B visas is up."

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One cause (5, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409039)

One cause for the lack of demand of electrical engineers is that the hardware design and manufacturing is located to cheaper countries. However this also means that the competence level of the existing engineers declines slowly since they lack the experience from production.

Re:One cause (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409089)

Who needs experience from production when patent trolls can innovate through the creation of patents.

Re:One cause (5, Insightful)

yope (656090) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409133)

I am an electrical engineer, and work in Europe. What I see here, is that the quality of engineers coming out of college or universities is declining at an alarming rate. The knowledge-level about basic subjects is embarrassing to say the least. If this trend is comparable in the US, I can fully understand why US companies prefer to look elsewhere for good engineers. The decline in quality here seems due to the lack of students really interested in electrical engineering and "complicated" studies becoming less popular. Colleges and universities here need to lower the level of "difficulty" to make the curriculum more attractive and gain more students. The result is catastrophic.

Re:One cause (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409331)

Which is more likely: every year past university you've gotten more experienced and knowledgeable and those kids fresh out of uni look worse and worse in comparison to you, or that the kids really aren't as good as they were ten years ago?

Re:One cause (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409359)

It is actually the later. Universities have literrally been lowering their entry requirements as they have not gotten enough applicants, the result is a subpar crop of students, yes there is still some good ones, but the overall average quality has dropped significantly.

Re:One cause (1)

servognome (738846) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409475)

Fixed it for you
Universities have literally been lowering their entry requirements as they have found they can get more money from more applicants

Re:One cause (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409403)

the quality of engineers coming out of college or universities is declining at an alarming rate.

Throughout history, every generation has believed their kids were dumber than they were. If you read editorial pages from ten, twenty, fifty years ago, you see the same rants about the world going to hell. Yet all the empirical evidence points to the opposite. Kids are getting smarter [wikipedia.org]. Engineering GRE and EIT scores are rising. There is no evidence that engineering graduates are getting worse, and plenty of evidence that they are getting better.

Re:One cause (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409551)

IQ has nothing to do with the knowledge specific to an electrical engineering degree.
Even in the few years I was in university I noticed them cutting subjects that had been taught for years,
and I myself did not have to complete certain courses that were mandatory before.

Re:One cause (2, Interesting)

crispytwo (1144275) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409427)

The education level across the board seems to be in steady decline here as well (Canada). It was, at one time too, my opinion that the training was the problem, but every so often there has been amazing people come through it as well. Thinking back to when I was in University, there were plenty of 1/2 quality people then too. And to be fair, we had a lot less to work with back then.

Now that I hire people, I'm looking for those 'gems', which tend to be rare. Then there are the 'experienced' people that don't have the current skills required to do the demanded work, and many have the attitude that they do not have things to learn, or are not going to bother. And they still expect top dollar. Then there are the young ones who don't have a clue and think they do. And expect 'roll-your-eyes' top dollar.

This brings me to a different but effectively similar conclusion:
1) The education system has always been mediocre, so when you are looking, it shows
2) Society has shifted toward people feeling more entitled than ever... Maybe it skipped a generation. Yes, that's actually it.
3) My perspective has changed, therefore scrutinizing others' abilities to a degree I've never done before. (This is major)

Since there are more people now (physical numbers, not ratio) that can't/won't do anything worth while, it is both daunting and depressing.

To touch on the idea that classes "lower the level of difficulty" is probably true in a way. I've heard that parents confront university and college professors regularly about their child's performance in classes and demand higher grades from them for their adult children. This is anecdotal evidence, but it would be interesting to find out if this is common-place. I can't imagine my parents becoming involved in my incompetence at that age... but, perhaps that's another story.

I think that it would be a better education system where students are permitted to enter and continue based on merit, not money. It is increasingly the other way around, it seems.

Re:One cause (3, Interesting)

servognome (738846) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409553)

Don't forget many classes grade on a curve. So the more idiots there are in the class, the better a mediocre student will appear.

I was an engineering major and there were a couple of people who most felt probably didn't belong, but we didn't care because the majority in class were very intelligent.
Then one semester I took an introductory astronomy class just out of curiosity. The class average after the first test (multiple choice even), was 55% - and those students would get a "C" because they represented average. I received 115% on that test. After that I realized how low the bar was to get into college.
So if you think your fellow engineering students are lacking in performance, just imagine how inept those sociology, anthropology, and other non-tech students are.

Re:One cause (1)

Casandro (751346) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409443)

Yes, but it's not like there is any demand for good engineers. Companies have learned that it's good enough to just re-package old technology.
Certain US companies have shown that innovation is not necessary for success.

Particularly in Germany there's now also a problem of horribly bad management. This leads into anybody who can leave leaving, the rest that stays behind is sub standard and makes even worse decisions increasing the problem.

Re:One cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409649)

there's now also a problem of horribly bad management. This leads into anybody who can leave leaving, the rest that stays behind is sub standard and makes even worse decisions increasing the problem.

Kinda like the people of the USA

Re:One cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409455)

I visited my engineering math prof. from 20+ years ago and that's also what he said. Students don't want to learn from a chalk board anymore - they want to be entertained. They don't have the ability to focus ( or are too challenged by the internet and gaming ). When I asked for a more concrete example he stated that he used to give my class three exam problems to solve and the class today can barely do two of those same problems in an equal amount of time.

Re:One cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409609)

Back in my day everybody was a lot smarter!

Same situation here in Brazil (2)

Otiluke (703300) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409691)

I am an electrical engineer, and work in Europe. What I see here, is that the quality of engineers coming out of college or universities is declining at an alarming rate.

(Non native english speaker here, so cut me some slack on my awful grammar).

The same situation also applies here in Brazil. Worse of all, it applies both to engineering and computer science. I've been trying to recruit three junior java developers for over two months, but so far, haven't found a single soul that could:
* Knows what a Hash Set / Hash Table / Dictionary is.
* Knows how to use a LEFT JOIN properly.
* Knows how to explain what Model-view-controller is.

The salary? About US$ 30000/year, and yes - this is quite good for a starting position around here.

Re:One cause (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409367)

One cause for the lack of demand of electrical engineers is that the hardware design and manufacturing is located to cheaper countries.

My experience is that outsourcing software doesn't work well because it takes more effort to understand and integrate the work than to just do it yourself. But hardware engineering is different. Hand routing a circuit board, tuning an RF antenna, or designing a gearbox can be very time consuming, but once the work is done the results can be verified very quickly. So I am not surprised that hardware work is moving overseas much more quickly than software.

Re:One cause (1)

servognome (738846) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409387)

One cause for the lack of demand of electrical engineers is that the hardware design and manufacturing is located to cheaper countries

I wonder if it's an indication that the skill requirement of domestic engineers are changing. I haven't seen many issues with design or layout engineering jobs going overseas. I have seen the jobs for engineers responsible for field engineering, implementation, and test are going to where the production is happening.
It doesn't cost anything to send layout files overseas for building and testing, but it can be expensive to send boards built in another country to the US to test/debug.

Re:One cause (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409453)

^^^ This. The US has largely ceased to be relevant for any kind of electronics manufacturing beyond small-scale highly customized design. The problem is, getting from "working prototype" to "profitable finished product that can be profitably mass-produced" is rarely a small leap, and the farther you get away from the actual manufacturing process, the harder, slower, and more expensive it becomes to get to that point in the first place. In some ways, real-world electrical engineering of consumer goods subject to variable supply-chain quality is a lot like building construction... if you pretend that what's on the datasheet is guaranteed truth instead of a rough guesstimate with enough disclaimers to render it mostly worthless if it ever came down to a lawsuit, you're going to get burned... sooner, later, and multiple points in between. You HAVE to have EEs who intimately understand the product right there next to the assembly line who can notice when something seems to be drifting beyond what they'd planed on and yell 'stop' before 10,000 items with $660,000 worth of parts end up in a landfill.

No, that's not a hypothetical example. I was involved with a project where that's exactly what happened. We got what appeared to be an insanely good deal on RGB LEDs (~60 cents apiece, back when they used to cost almost two bucks apiece in thousand quantities), pre-tested every last one of them to confirm they actually worked, and didn't realize until after they were all assembled that about 15% of them had their blue and green pins swapped (or more likely, someone at the factory misloaded a bin of elements when the modules were assembled). It never even OCCURRED to us that something like that could actually happen, so when we tested them, we just checked all 3 pins to make sure we got 3 different colors. Fortunately, I was able to rewrite the firmware to swap the blue and green pin bits and came up with a way to retroactively reflash the microcontrollers in-situ (the original plan was to flash the MCUs before soldering, so the boards themselves had no test points or provisions for connecting them to a programmer), but it was pretty scary for a few days.

Now, imagine that you're a large-ish American company with American designers that tries to outsource the actual manufacturing to a company in China, only to discover that the prime-quality Japanese capacitors you built the prototype with aren't quite the same as the cheap-shit Chinese capacitors that it was actually built with (the Japanese caps might have allegedly been marked for 10% tolerance, but were probably more like 0.7%... the Chinese caps might have been 10% off on their best day in history, and if the circuit really needs better than 20% tolerance... well...the fun has only begun.

The farther manufacturing moves away from the design team, the more handicapped the design team is going to be in the real world when it comes to actual manufacturing. If they never get to SEE people trying to build the circuits they designed, they're likely to do things that someone who might have even been required to spend a week or two working on the assembly line would realize are likely to compromise its manufacturability. Under the best conditions, if the designers are in the US and the assembly line is in China, just about any problem is going to end up taking at least 2-3 days to resolve due to time differences alone.

Re:One cause (1)

nametaken (610866) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409745)

It makes me wonder why this still works for companies like Apple.

Meanwhile, I price out a few PCB's at four shops, all ten minutes from me in one of the largest industrial parks in the US. It's nearly ten times more expensive to order them from next door, even if I drove over there and picked them up. I mean, that includes the cost for the Chinese to pack them, put them on a cargo ship traveling across the pacific, and delivery from the west coast to the midwest by air, truck, and foot.

I understand that things are very different in large quantities, but it sure doesn't seem like manufacturing is going to come back here any time soon.

Re:One cause (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409527)

Exactly. This happened to Mechanical Engineers in the 90's. Probably to Manufacturing Engineers the decade before that.

In general, if you're NOT in some sort of personal service or protected by a substantial regulatory barrier (law), your job will be subject to "global averaging" at some point.

It's not all that complicated. The world won't get really interesting until everyone's been exploited evenly. :)

Re:One cause (4, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409771)

One cause for the lack of demand of electrical engineers is that the hardware design and manufacturing is located to cheaper countries.

Can't be. Those are the jobs we're keeping here in the US because we all have $75k degrees. The low skill jerbs go to Asia and we keep all the high paying jobs because the Chinese are magically incapable of EE.


Remember: Education. It's the future.

Reads like a press release (2)

NitWit005 (1717412) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409053)

This reads like a press release from IEEE-USA. It doesn't sound like they have any clue why the employment numbers have changed, but they want to complain about visas.

Re:Reads like a press release (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409175)

but they want to complain about visas.

Well, who doesn't?

But seriously, why do they always want to single out engineering to artificially stuff the talent supply with imports? For example, it's obvious from the quality of our current congress that this country has a severe shortage of qualified candidates for public office. If they weren't flagrant hypocrites, they'd pass a law to issue visas to thousands of foreign politicians so that they could come here and compete for their seats, and in the process strengthen America's competitiveness and increase the quality of its laws.

Re:Reads like a press release (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409209)

Meanwhile, CEO salaries are off the charts. We need to bring in some highly qualified CEOs from other countries where they're used to working for less than $1 million a year.

Re:Reads like a press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409251)

I often wonder if those who rant about excessive CEO salaries wouldn't gladly accept the same salary if they were in a position to receive it. I suspect 99-99.9% would and gladly, too.

So what if it's supposedly greedy to take what the marketplace will pay for your talents. More power to 'em.

Re:Reads like a press release (0, Flamebait)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409289)

I often wonder why the hell they rant about what a CEO earns at all. Usually they make that much because they did something pretty damn original that sets them apart. Take Larry Page for example.

I think if people spent more time thinking about what they could do to increase their pay rather than worry about what somebody else makes, they'd probably earn more.

Re:Reads like a press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409351)

Libertarian capitalist bullshit. Not everyone can be a CEO, so your solution doesn't work. You are advocating that people game the system and get paid stupid amounts of money for doing fuck all. And then you wonder why the economy is fucked.

Re:Reads like a press release (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409587)

Quite likely. But everyone can't make more. While there is growth, the pie at any given moment has to be divided among the actors in the market.

The US goes the route of everyone carving off as much as they can and fuck the other suckers who starve to death. Some less savory countries care off large slices of the pie and give to people for services rendered under the table. Europe in general takes the position that while good ideas and hard work should entitle you to larger slices of the pie, you don't get to grab so much of it that there's nothing left for anyone else.

The latter position is the best one. That way, we tend to get a larger pie next year so long as the fucking bakeries (ie. banks) don't run off with the whole pie first.

Re:Reads like a press release (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409683)

Sure there are CEOs who got there through doing "something pretty damn original that sets them apart". But so many of them are just charismatic business school alums who are well-connected and really good at schmoozing and giving speeches. For every big tech company with a star CEO who "gets it", there are at least 100 tech companies with CEOs whose knowledge of the company doesn't go much deeper than the stock price and which sales guys are the best to talk to about their favorite sports teams.

Re:Reads like a press release (2)

mhh91 (1784516) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409737)

Larry Page is going to drive Google to the ground, IMHO.

Talent is leaving the company because they found themselves being forced to work on a product they weren't passionate about. (Hello, G+!)

So no, I don't think he knows how to be a good CEO like Eric Schmidt who made Google what it is today, which makes him unworthy of both the title and money.

Re:Reads like a press release (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409523)

It could be the way that CEO's board hop and grant their buddies outrageous salaries in return for the same. It could be that they keep getting offered increasingly stupid amounts of money while everyone else's pay is stagnant. Perhaps it's the way they get a 'performance bonus' even when they have clearly steered the company onto the rocks. It could be the corporate raider types who deliberately pump up the stock just long enough to cash out before the inevitable crash and STILL get offers for another job when they deploy the golden parachute. Perhaps it's because just a single year's salary would be enough to support a middle class lifestyle for a lifetime. It could be the way that when a company is struggling, they tell everyine they must tighten their belt, then they go have a lunch on the company that costs enough to feed a family of 4 for a month.

Take your pick.

Re: Reads like a press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409677)

The trouble s that lots of CEOs are from OS and none of them care about USA or its workers. We need more CEOs that have worked their way up through the ranks in the industry and knows the true value of locally trained staff.

Re:Reads like a press release (2)

servognome (738846) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409723)

CEO salaries track the S&P 500 pretty well, which is their primary job duty. They aren't all evil, they are just the ones who benefit the most from a broken system.

The biggest problem in the world is that there exists a certain class of "people" called corporations that don't need to worry about national borders. Humans have a large number of restrictions on where they can live and work, corporations do not.
Companies are making record profits, and thus rewarding CEOs, because they can get money from anywhere on Earth. In fact many US companies generate more revenue from outside the United states. Humans are shackled to their own nation and can't reap the rewards of an expanding global economy the way multi-nationals can.
A few of my engineering friends who have been lucky enough to find ex-pat jobs live like kings. Foreign countries place a high value on their qualifications and experience. Unfortunately, those opportunities are limited because no country wants foreigners to come in and take away their jobs.

Re:Reads like a press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409547)

This might explain a little.

seems that the big software companies are trying to push thier costs lower.

Duh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409057)

Why bother hiring engineers over here when more and more of the design and fab work is being done on the other side of the Pacific?

The time of gadgets is gone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409097)

If you're not at a Maxim or Intel of the world, you're probably not doing chip design. If you're not one of the few engineers working on then you're probably not doing system level design (or not getting paid much). If you're strictly labeling yourself as an EE, then you're probably not doing robotics or anything else control/software heavy. And, most importantly, if you're not in China or India or from china or India, you might be unemployed!

But, it could be claimed that those bottom 7% really are the bottom 7% and just aren't that great at it. I've met many EE's that were entirely worthless, even management thought so.

Lol...captcha: cathode

The current bubble is a software bubble (5, Insightful)

erice (13380) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409105)

All those startups writing mobile apps and creating cloud based services need software engineers.

They don't need electrical engineers.

Needing electrical engineers implies building hardware. Investers don't like hardware. It takes too long. It cost too much.

That leaves only established companies for the hardware engineerr and they are more interested in the profitablity of existing markets then in creating new ones. Hense, not a lot of hiring.

Patent troll bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409151)

Better to make hardware (high cost high risk, easy to attack with patent trolls), outside the USA. You can always cut out the USA market if you get bogged down by the trolls.

It's about protecting investment. Whose going to invest in all that hardware and all the prototypes, if they can't even be sure they'll be allowed to sell the product at the end of it.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (0)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409225)

Okay, lets say there is an actual bubble, and places are hiring, how do I get a position? I've tried online job boards, and I'll find 300 technical recruiters who say they're thoroughly impressed with what I have on my resume, but I've only ever had three interviews in the past 10 years from these people. There has to be a better way. On paper, I should be in demand, I've programmed my entire life and can make Android and ios aps.

All I've figured I can do is try and write my own games and be entrepreneurial. Is now a good time to spam out resumes again?

My Resume if anyone is interested. [goodnewsjim.com]

As far as entrepreneurial things not listed on the resume, I'm currently at the tail end of a system to play Game Master Driven RPGs(GMDRPG) online with friends. I believe my system has a lot of critical features ROLL20 doesn't have. I think tomorrow or the next day I'll be recruiting people from reddit.com/r/rpg to play. I'm kind of wondering how a public RPG session is going to play out even though I have features to allow people to observe if I get over 8 players. It took me several hundred hours of coding to get this far.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (1)

erice (13380) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409259)

Okay, lets say there is an actual bubble, and places are hiring, how do I get a position? I've tried online job boards, and I'll find 300 technical recruiters who say they're thoroughly impressed with what I have on my resume, but I've only ever had three interviews in the past 10 years from these people. There has to be a better way. On paper, I should be in demand, I've programmed my entire life and can make Android and ios aps.

Come out to the Newtech Meetup [meetup.com] and similar regular events. Specifically watch for the "Shout Outs" but also just talk to people. Backend database is actually in more demand than front end app development but both come up.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409263)

I wouldn't hire you. Separate your bible thumping from your professional life. I wouldn't tolerate it.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (2)

mooingyak (720677) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409385)

I'm feeling randomly charitable, so....

your resume is not terribly good. I don't know if it's a plus in the gaming industry, but if you're looking for any other kind of software job, putting 'Professional Gamer' as your top skill isn't going to help you much.

But that's not nearly important as your vagueness.

Worked as main programmer

What does that mean? Did the rest of the team report to you? Were they only on the project part time? Were you the architect for the project?

Designed an elaborate back end tool to edit maps

elaborate how? All I know from reading that is that it edits maps. What makes it special?

The chunk of your resume to go into the most detail on is whatever you've done most recently, as that's usually what will be read first. Give specifics, and give something that you WANT to be asked about. All I can glean from what you wrote is that you were in some way involved in writing two games over the last three years.

Also, if you ever get the chance, be the interviewer (or one of the interviewers). My resume writing skills got much better once I started sitting on the other side of the table.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409481)

I gave the same guy some advice on a similar posting... I think the guy just needs to put some time to polish his resume and website up... I just updated my own resume as I'm starting a new job hunt.. and was feeling bad about my 2010 jQueryUI based site.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (0)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409493)

Thank you for the resume advice. I know my resume is bad, but I am not a bad programmer, in fact, I'm exceptionally good at it with strengths in complexity of design and speed of development. I don't like the term Rockstar because it implies I have lots of bad habits and that I need special treatment, but I'm most definitely top talent who isn't asking for top talent salary.

What I gather from your resume advice is a key glimpse of insight. For the longest time I kept being told to keep the resume to one page, and I struggled to be able to fit all my information on one page. But what you taught me,"I must elaborate" brought me to thinking that I can fit hypertext links after almost everything in my resume, and have a website elaborate as much as I feel like! I thank you greatly for this as it is the #1 resume advice I've gotten in the past 10 years I've been seeking employment.

As lead programmer, I was the architect for the engine starting from absolute scratch. The only things I didn't program on that game(feel free to play it) were the menus and inventory. I even was co-game designer although as you see it is a tribute to Gauntlet. The game was mainly designed to be a tech demo which would spring board us into making a Flash MMO, but the people working with me got busy on other projects and didn't want to go forward with it.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409573)

"Thank you for the resume advice. I know my resume is bad, but I am not a bad programmer, "

If you know your resume is bad, why haven't you fixed it? People can seriously spend less than 1 minute on a resume, if they read it and find something they don't like, they stop reading and go "next". Listing progamer right at the top there is going to put off almost anyone who isn't a game development house, and even then being a progamer isn't exactly something that is going to impress a lot of them.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409733)

If you're trying to stuff a bunch of stuff in your resume and find its too long, you're doing it wrong. Your resume is a quick summary of your most relevant experience and abilities for the job in question. The purpose is to make you stand out in a stack of other candidates. Detail in a web link isn't going to do that. The resume needs to be compelling on its own before a hiring manager is going to even bother with your URLs.

You have all the wrong kinds of details on your resume already. For example
  * "Learning: Can pick up any high level programming language and be skillful rapidly." -- Self evaluations mean nothing to me.
  * "Unique puzzle game. It takes a moment to learn, but it is fun, and has strategies." -- Your evaluations of your own work don't mean much to me, especially when they're so subjective.
  * "Eagle Scout and Order of Arrow" -- As someone who worked my ass off to make Eagle, I agree that you're justifiably proud. But that was ~15 years ago. Surely you've accomplished something since then, no?
  * The Best Buy thing is irrelevant to any software engineering position. Not only is it noise, but I wonder why you left after three months.

Also, if you're applying to jobs outside the games industry, you use too much gaming jargon. I don't know what a "Tekken style" game is.

My advice is to scrap the whole thing and think about the kinds of jobs you're applying for. Build your resume around showing objectively and concisely how you're a good fit for those positions. Massage it a bit for each job. Ditch the objective and write a cover letter explaining what you would bring to the table at that particular job. Find someone who is good at this stuff to edit this all mercilessly.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (2)

anyaristow (1448609) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409563)

It's apparent both from your resume and your post that any conversation with you turns into a discussion of gaming. If you're serious about this post and if this is a real resume, consider removing most references to gaming and see if you still have a page of useful info to write. Describe your experience in terms of technologies, skills, projects and business results.

Programming for someone else is about solving someone else's problems. If you've never done that, or if you don't even want to do that, then you have no real experience to offer.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409307)

And with the open hardware movement, standards developed by orgs like IEEE, and standardized software frameworks (Windows, Linux, ARM, Android, the list goes on), the hardware is the becoming the easy part aside from the very basic core architectures (CPU, buses, communications).

S/W engineers are scare because there aren't many in this coming world of highly complex systems integrated with hardware. There's a lot of s/w developers, but that's another discussion.

Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409457)

I like your attitude that the hardware is the easy part. I've made a lot of money over the past two years cleaning up messes created by people who thought they had the hardware down because hacking something together with an arduino was easy.

Who needs electrical engineers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409119)

Engineers will be where the manufacturing is -- in China. Want a job as one? Easy -- learn Chinese, get a passport, move to China. Want to make money in the West? Get a degree in "business" or "marketing", do some aggressive self-promotion and, if lucky, get funding from the Internet.

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409155)

It really depends on your volumes. If you're putting out millions a year, yeah, you're stupid to not go to China. If you're doing something on the order of tens of thousands of units per year, manufacturing in the US is still pretty viable and probably preferable. There's plenty of interesting (and profitable) things being done at that scale, even if it's not the kind of thing that gets written up in Wired every issue.

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409205)

Yeah, yeah, we've all heard about Lady Aga and Sparkfan. However, they also manufacture in China, and their Chinese manufacturers sell their junk for a quarter of the cost and with free shipping. So, while there are some niches left still, these will erode, sooner than later. The long-term option for you is to move to Texas, study patent law and hope the US can still maintain enough military edge to help you collect your fees. Alternatively, start many startups and many blogs and hope one of them gets funding. Unfortunately, by the time you'll want to retire, you'll have only the hope left.

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409245)

they dont design in china

the chineese couldnt make a grilled cheese sandwich without seeing one to copy from

the only thing the chineese is good for is to be a toxic wasteland, and disposable people that no one cares about, not even their own people

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409295)

Hahaha, "they dont design in China". Don't make me laugh. "They" don't design -- they, as the whole US industry, market shit that has been developed by H1B visa holders in exchange for residence. Read the US patents of the past three decades. Most of the names that appear are those of Indians and Chinese. While the pay was good in the US (mostly on the account of abusing its post-WWII "superpower status", i.e. skewing the global economy so that US profited from it unfairly), the brain drain was US-ward, so the smart people were working there. Now that the world is changing, the "Americans" with Chinese and Indian names will remain in China, and in the US you'll have the lawyers. Which will gradually turn into ambulance chasers -- until the ambulances stop moving for lack of maintenance.

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409415)

If the H1-Bs that I've seen are representative of the whole, I wouldn't touch their designs: it's pure shit.

-- green led

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409447)

Hehe, because with your established track record as certified by your impeccable credentials, you seem uniquely qualified to judge the quality of design. Wanker.

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (1)

serbanp (139486) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409711)

Read the US patents of the past three decades.
Most of the names that appear are those of Indians and Chinese

Pure Horse Manure. Very few electrical-design related patents are granted to all-Chinese (and virtually none to Indian-sounding names). Today, yesterday, last year, ten years ago etc.

Top-notch Electrical Engineering requires a certain kind of mindset incompatible with the fast-n-loose approach of certain Asian nations. You would find much more Software people coming from these areas than EEs.

Fact is, good EE skills continue to provide job security in US and partially in Europe. Freshmen have a double handicap to overcome: lack of experience and lower-quality training. The biggest threat to us is the insane race to the bottom..

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409293)

That's not actually what I was talking about. Catering to the "maker" crowd at those volumes is all fine and well, but that's not the only thing in that volume range. A lot of government, defense, and industrial stuff is, though. And with the defense stuff, good luck outsourcing to people who can't even get security clearances.

Re:Who needs electrical engineers? (2)

siddesu (698447) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409339)

You think defense doesn't get outsourced? Apparently the MIC doesn't think like you do. According to almost everyone in the industry, outsourcing in defense is common, increasing and the scope is widening over the whole range -- from design to manufacturing. http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2011/January/Pages/OutsourcingUSDefenseNationalSecurityImplications.aspx [nationalde...gazine.org] http://www.defencetalk.com/outsourcing-services-helps-defense-aerospace-reduce-costs-27510/ [defencetalk.com]

Stop spreading FUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409135)

We all know that these lies are being spread in an attempt to make Obama look bad. Your agenda is obvious.

Unemployment has gone down significantly since he has occupied the Oval Office, and any "statistics" that say otherwise are just falsified documents that have made up numbers that were produced by the GOP. The very suggestion that President Obama might be the cause of this alleged problem offends me, and it should offend all of you.

Slashdot is no longer "news for nerds", but rather, it is "news for racist conservatives".

Stop trying to make Barack look bad. It only makes Slashdot look bad.

I can't believe you guys would even allow this to show up on this site. Obama is the best President. I'm going to take some aripiprazole and go to sleep now. I can't deal with this nonsense.

Re:Stop spreading FUD (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409525)

I really can't tell if that's a joke or not... I don't think these are lies.. the news about software devs definitely isn't bad news... as for Unemployment, it's been pretty level (not good) for over a year now.. and honestly has as much to do with congress as anything.

Being critical of *anyone* in a government office is pretty common, and if it offends you, then you are either too sensitive, or too stupid to care. It didn't bother me any more when GW was president as it is now that the big O is in office. Hell, probably the top two presidents in the past 40 years have been Reagan and Clinton, both of which got plenty of criticism.

Stop making senseless statements and comments without the nerve to even login first.. it makes the country look bad.. look, you've made our entire country look bad.. it's really sad that you did that. (/sarcasm)

Follow the Digital Harvest Trail (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409143)

Come to Australia for a few months optical splicing work.
The locals need help with that.
Depending on the election outcome years of corroded copper maintenance work could open up if your skilled.
Cable slides out, cable slides in .... cable slides out, cable slides in... crushed duct.

Re:Follow the Digital Harvest Trail (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409361)

"Cable slides out, cable slides in .... cable slides out, cable slides in... crushed duct."

Two strokes?

*runs to wife*

"See I told you it's normal!"

They sure deserve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409157)

Black in HOT in AC and GROUND in DC?!

Be carful what you read in this article. (5, Informative)

ErstO (1696262) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409161)

Although Electrical Engineers may include Electronic Engineers, they are really two different disciplines, Electrical Engineers typically work the construction trades, building and power transmissions. Most engineers involved in integrated circuits, digital circuits and most of the new tech innovations, are more Electronic Engineers then Electrical Engineers. The high employment rate in Electrical Engineers is mainly following the low employment rate for all the construction industries. Grads with a degree in the Electronic Engineering fields ... even with no work experience will have no problem finding work, at least here in CA.

Re:Be carful what you read in this article. (3, Informative)

erice (13380) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409231)

The high employment rate in Electrical Engineers is mainly following the low employment rate for all the construction industries. Grads with a degree in the Electronic Engineering fields ... even with no work experience will have no problem finding work, at least here in CA.

By "CA" you must mean Canada because in California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) this is not remotely true. Engineerig jobs that don't require experience are nearly myth. Listings are few and require quite specific experience.

Re:Be carful what you read in this article. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409273)


I graduated with a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering 3 years ago in the middle of the GFC. I studied, live and work in Melbourne, Australia. When I graduated there appeared to be very few Electronic Eng jobs about so I ended up in telecoms. I'm wondering if you could detail the sorts of jobs and tech firms that you are talking about in Electronic Eng? Unfortunately I am not in a position to move countries (family commitments) but I am looking to move jobs soon and I'd be very interested to see whether the same sorts of positions are available around here.


Re:Be carful what you read in this article. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409287)

That is not even close to being true. Currently working my way through a degree in EE and.. no. Each thing you listed is a subset of electrical engineering. Something you would get a minor in while getting your EE degree.

Hardware costs too much to make (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409167)

so nobody makes custom hardware for in-house use. You buy off-the-shelf hardware.

Software is a lot cheaper to make so a lot of companies hire developers and make their own.

Re:Hardware costs too much to make (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409227)

"You buy off-the-shelf hardware"

which just appears with unicorn farts and magic right?

I'm tired of H1B politics (5, Insightful)

Ion Berkley (35404) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409187)

As a 25 year chip/hardware engineer, the last 18 of which mostly as a hiring manager in Silicon valley at bleeding edge small and medium sized companies I can say categorically that it's never been easy to find engineers as I good as I wanted to find, and I don't recall it ever being worse than it is right now...I have people asking me left and right for IC and H/W people and I have non to recommend to them. My experience with H1B's is at odds with much I've read on here and elsewhere...and it leads be to the conclusion that there is abuse of the H1B system in roles such as the IT service industry, but in R&D taking the pick of the worlds best people is the life blood of US innovation, it always has been and it continues to be. I don't know what the IEEE's agenda is, but I can say absolutely that there are incredible opportunities available and apparently no-one who can legally work in the US who have have what it takes to hold them down.

Re:I'm tired of H1B politics (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409255)

Perhaps the problem is that everyone wants experienced engineers at a good price, but nobody wants to train them. They sit through four years of terrible college curriculum that will be lucky to have them design and produce even one project (that might not even be genuinely practical or profitable) and then we all wonder why there just aren't any good X, or Y, or Z left in the field. As the older ones retire, there's no younger blood to take their place, because training the next generation has never been a priority in industry, and the colleges sure as hell aren't replacing that kind of bond.

Re:I'm tired of H1B politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409681)

I know it's a long term solution, but how about companies actually start to pay their top engineers? Nothing sparks interest in engineering studies like the engineer next door driving his new ferrari. Now it's the lawyers and MBAs that drive nice cars, guess which career looks better from the viewpoint of someone pondering what to study? They will get disappointed in reality, because there will be way too many of them eventually. But that's what it looks like right now.

Learn to code (2, Interesting)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409191)

If you have done the work to become an EE you should know how to code fairly well already and given the current need for skilled software developers you can probably get hired doing embedded systems work in any of the North American technology hubs quite easily. It may not be your preferred line of work but its a living wage until and work experience to tide you over until the wave of change sweeps across the industry.

Re:Learn to code (1)

Solid StaTe_1 (446406) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409279)

It's always been my standpoint that in order to be a competent EE, you need to have intermediate coding skills. Unfortunately it seems that most graduates pick one side or the other. An EE graduate with no SW skills is no better than a technologist and will have a pretty tough time finding work.

Re:Learn to code (4, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409321)

Hmmm, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to code the stuff I learned in: Microwave Measurements, Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems, Optoelectronics, Antenna Theory and Design, Semiconductor Processing, and Microelectronics Packaging.
I guess I could always fall back on my first year C programming class. I'm sure there are plenty of companies who need somebody to make their embedded device say "Hello World"

At 2.2% rate we need more competition (2)

greg_barton (5551) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409195)

At an unemployment rate of 2.2% we could use the competition of H-1Bs. (I'm a software engineer myself, so I have a stake in this.) With that low of an unemployment rate we'll start getting unqualified people entering the field just to get jobs, much like what happened during the late 90's tech boom. Yes, the H-1B program can be abused, I've seen it myself many times. But these are actually the conditions where it works.

Re:At 2.2% rate we need more competition (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409237)

dont equate your text hacking with skilled professions that take more than a readme to complete

Re:At 2.2% rate we need more competition (2)

Skapare (16644) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409303)

Then join me in pushing for the H-1B program to be made less abusable by allowing the visa holder to change job any time they want and work for anyone they want, who is willing to hire them. They would have to pay back the visa costs that were paid by their previous employer, prorated for the remaining visa period, plus statutory interest. Their new employer could cover that.

Re:At 2.2% rate we need more competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409401)

Join you where? On an internet forum?

Re:At 2.2% rate we need more competition (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409545)

I'm also in favor of a $100K/year USD salary floor for H-1B visas. If there's really a need, then the salary should be that hi... we're talking trained, technical employees.. if you're offering that much, and can't find local workers, so be it... hire foreign.

Re:At 2.2% rate we need more competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409505)

You sir are a fucking idiot. You probably think because the unemployment rate went down last month that more people are working.

Re:we need more competition -- Naive at best. (2)

humblepie (650771) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409539)

I have over 30 years working on the cutting edge of software development, at some the the leading companies in the field, in Silicon Valley. I have difficulty in restraining myself from challenging your credibility, so I'll focus on what you said. It is economics 101 that if there is a shortage of engineers, salaries should be increasing, until supply meets demand. There should be a lot of movement of engineers from company to company as the competion and salaries increase -- this isn't happening -- salaries remain flat. As you've read here, and elsewhere companies like Google and Apple have agreed not to seek to hire engineers from each other, eliminating competion in engineers and salaries. I know H1B software engineers working 60 to 70 hours a week, just so they can keep their jobs. Senior engineers, like myself and others I know, who have modern and even cutting edge skills, are sitting out, because we won't take the low salaries. I'm offered salaries in the neighborhood of the same salary I was making 20 years ago. I code and do research everyday, because it's what I love to do, not because I'm getting payed any longer. What's needed in not more H1B's but for the industry to stop manipulating the market for engineers and set the market free to work. I've been at this long enough to realize it won't happen -- the industry leaders will continue to manipulate the market, hold down salaries, abuse H1B's, and demand an increasing supply -- because they can. I and others I know, aren't employed, and aren't counted in the 2.2%, so the rate is higher. In my long career, I've never collected unemployment, so how would I ever be counted as unemployed, by the Labor Department?

Re:we need more competition -- Naive at best. (4, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409653)

I'm approaching my 20th year in the tech industry, so I've been around the block a few times. Tech workers are abused because we allow ourselves to be. Unfortunately that will probably not change for a generation or more, maybe never. We give employers the power to abuse us. The industry manipulates because it can, because we let them. They will not stop out of the goodness of their hearts. Maybe a bit more abuse will be necessary to wake us up. Maybe nothing will be enough. Who knows?

Well, Just Like Many Fields of Employment (4, Informative)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409207)

Its hard to get talent.

I work for a small electronics company doing mid sized work for stupid large companies, I work in the engineering department, I do not have a degree in EE, I am a computer science guy with 4 years of EE in high school, and nearly 2 decades of hobby experience, I have professionally written for 2 websites in hobby electronics, and I was hired after 2 interviews (age 34 btw).

Its taken a couple months and dozens of interviews to find another teammate that can at least keep up, let alone bring new and interesing designs to the table... and when your self thought tech can stump a 4 year EE graduate with a simple constant current 317 question (which is commonplace in our applications), that also doesn't know shit about a spreadsheet in order to present his ideas in a mathematical form, then yes, the chances of you landing a job dramatically decreases.

Re:Well, Just Like Many Fields of Employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409393)

"Its hard to get talent."

No it's not, it's just that the LM317 is not as central to the rest of the world as it is to your corner of it.

Crazy people think that they are the only ones that are sane. Never forget that.

Re:Well, Just Like Many Fields of Employment (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409473)

there are plenty of analog applications in the world, not everything is ran from an i5 and fiber optics

Re:Well, Just Like Many Fields of Employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409431)

Its hard to get talent.

Wrong. It may be hard to get talent with the salary you offer, but if you're willing to pay the price you can get it.

Re:Well, Just Like Many Fields of Employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409467)

heh when a graduate cant exercise a skill provided to them from a 2 year GE degree then they should not be asking for high wages

Re:Well, Just Like Many Fields of Employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409731)

Righ. I might not be able to answer your simple 317 constant current question right of the bat. I do remember 317 is a super simple adjustable regulator, i've used them somewhere, but if I have to use them again I'm going to need to look at a datasheet. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure you'd have hard time answering a simple question about atmel FPGA pins. I mean, how hard can it be to name the power pins on it, there are only a couple of hundred pins, you could even guess.

An alternative hypothesis is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#43409267)

A lot of people who were trained in Electrical or Electrical and Computer Engineering are going into software instead.

I started my career in embedded systems and then shifted to software and we have 2 other ECEs at my company who used to do embedded systems who now do mobile software engineering.

Technology is a rocky career (1)

Tablizer (95088) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409389)

The bottom line is that technology is volatile and that makes related careers volatile. I remember after the Dot-Com crash things were rough for unemployed computer programmers on the west coast.

I took up rag-tag consulting jobs for a while to pay the bills. My experience with legacy programming languages saved my ass. Newer programmers didn't have such to fall back on and many turned to other fields. (Ironically, I was often turned away from "dot com" jobs before the crash because I was seen as a bit too old. I didn't look the part of a "dot-comer", having a bit of a square IBM/accountant style to me.)

Save up during the good times because they may not last. Boom and bust is the new normal.

Companies don't want to take the time/$$ to train (5, Interesting)

asm2750 (1124425) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409433)

If you look at most entry level jobs for EE's, and Computer Engineers they want applicants to have 3 to 5 years of actual experience on products like VxWorks, Synopsys, ActiveHDL, Cadence, etc. No company wants to take a fledgling American EE graduate and help give them the skills/training needed to do their job well and build loyalty. They expect their hires to be laying gold eggs from day one with no help, have 3 or 4 internships under their belt.

I got my MSEE last year, and all I am getting offers for are contract jobs that only last 3 to 18 months.
Sure the pay is okay, but what happens when that pool dries up? Would you like moving from job to job always stressing out if you are going to get another contract when the current one ends?
What if you get sick? You have to buy your own health insurance plan when you work under a contract. That might, or might not be expensive, and might not cover everything.
How about additional training to make yourself marketable, and able to do the job faster/better? With how companies act today, don't count on it. Most contractors also expect you to be an expert in the area you will be working in.

I would be happy to take a pay reduction for the first year or two just to get into an actual design job that has job security, and offers a constructive environment. R&D would be even better but, even I know the limits of my skills.

Maybe it's time for engineers to start their own small side companies or, maybe it's time to encourage a tradesman program where experienced EE's show new EE's how things are done, and train the skills needed to do the job.

Demand for H1b programmers reasonable (0)

locater16 (2326718) | 1 year,9 days | (#43409761)

There's a notion in most sane economists theories that there's a "good" level of unemployment, that if the supply of employees dries up to much things will start to slow down. After all, why work hard when you know someone else will hire you once you get out?

The target most often cited as "good" is around 5% unemployment (actual, counted unemployment without people "giving up"). While that's still too high and probably says something about a bias of economists, it's still a good notion fundamentally. And 2.2% may be starting to push the limits for a single category. Even if you disagree, it's no wonder that Google and MS and et al. want more H1-B visas and are collaborating against you, they need to stop paying you so much so they can save more for the poor CEOs!
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