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For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the better-than-working-at-walmart dept.

Businesses 174

dcblogs (1096431) writes The Census Bureau reports that only 26% of people with any type of four-year STEM degree are working in a STEM field. For those with a degree specifically in computer, math or statistics, the figure is 49%, nearly the same for engineering degrees. What happens to the other STEM trained workers? The largest numbers are managers at non-STEM businesses (22.5%), or having careers in education (17.7%), business/finance (13.2%) and office support (11.5%). Some other data points: Among those with college degrees in computer-related occupations, men are paid more than women ($90,354 vs. $78,859 on average), and African American workers are more likely to be unemployed than white or Asian workers.

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~50% have no degree... (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 months ago | (#47522549)

Around half of STEM workers have no four year degree, to me that is more interesting.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47522563)

That T includes the vast majority of degrees given out at community colleges.

Re:~50% have no degree... (3, Informative)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | about 3 months ago | (#47522647)

In addition, people with a B.S. or B.A. (or even M.S., M.A.) in a Non-STEM field. (I.E. English, etc)

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

NickGnome (1073080) | about 3 months ago | (#47523727)

That's not surprising. NSPE's president Samuel C. Florman in his 1987 book _The Civilized Engineer_ (amazing what you come across in a public library), wrote that in 1900 the engineering fields were split evenly between the college and muddy-boots factions.
...

10 years ago, in 2004 August, NSF reported that some 40% of computer wranglers, about 20% of engineers, just over 20% of all "science and engineering workers" did not have bachelor's or master's or doctor's degrees.

Some of the best software developers and sys admins and analysts with whom I've worked had degrees in music, classical languages and literature, psychology...

Let's see... nces.ed.gov In academic year 2011-2012,
57,406 US citizens earned degrees (bachelor's + master's + doctor's) in "Computer and Information Sciences" (down from a peak of 66,130 in 2004; total of about 1,4M since 1970), 102,214 in engineering (up from 71,492 in 2001; 3.4M since 1970), 348,881 in all STEM majors (up from 210,351 in 1991; 9.8M since 1970). In another 5-10 years, if the economy and STEM job markets were to improve considerably, some of those 1970 grads will be starting to retire, a very few have started to die off, but with life expectancies averaging close to 80 years that's going to be a minor factor.

Yes, after programming for a while, getting a CS degree can sometimes help fill in the concepts you may have missed scrambling through piles of references, on-line docs, and beginner books from the book-stores, but a great many without academic credentials already took some courses at university and have all that... up to the time they escaped into the real world, anyway.

Re:~50% have no degree... (4, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 3 months ago | (#47522605)

I've long said that the computing field is one where you can make decent money without a degree. I think a lot of that is due to how people in my generation started out tinkering in computers as a hobby and that mindset has still continued. Computer people value ability over certifications and degrees.

That being said, those pieces of paper open more doors (especially at larger corporations) than not having them. But it is quite possible to be gainfully employed at above median income levels without ever having taken any formal training in computer.

* I use the generic term "computers" to mean both the programming as well as the technology side. Whether that is coding in Java or Javascript or C++ or C# for programming, you can find someone that will hire you. For the technology side, it can range from desktop support to server admin or DBA. If you know what you're doing, other computer people will recognize that and respect you for it.

Re:~50% have no degree... (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | about 3 months ago | (#47522635)

Agree... I was the only programmer in my last department that actually had a C.S. Degree; one guy was an education major, one had a degree in chemistry (I guess that's a lateral move in "STEM" as a whole). One guy had no degree at all, and that guy was probably the best programmer of us all.

Re:~50% have no degree... (4, Insightful)

blazer1024 (72405) | about 3 months ago | (#47522799)

I used to be a programmer with no degree. I'd like to think I was pretty darn good at it... I knew several languages (C, C++, Python, Perl, Java, and several more) that I had taught myself. I did this for about 9 years, before I finally got a degree in CS, and then got a Master's in CS shortly afterward.

One thing this did for me is open up my mind quite a bit. I'm still a good programmer, but I now know programming isn't it. There's a lot more that goes on when it comes to developing good software, and though I could code up some pretty good stuff really quickly, now my code is better, more thought out, and most importantly, I am much more likely to ask the question "Is this really the problem we're trying to solve?" leading to actually useful code instead of neat stuff it turned out really wasn't what was needed.

In addition, I'm better at interacting with people. I used to have the attitude "This makes no sense to me, therefore it's stupid" and now I realize that maybe I don't have all of the information, there's something I don't know (this is key!) which would help me understand and realize my position isn't exactly right, and so I don't just get mad and storm off anymore when things don't make sense.

Getting a degree made me a more well rounded person... I found a love for history, music and literature that I didn't quite have before. I can have conversations that don't just involve the latest tech and video games. (though I still love talking about that stuff)

I guess my point is... a degree doesn't make a great programmer, but a degree can help make a better person (which is the whole point really... it's not to "learn a trade", it's to expand your horizons and explore the world and become a critical thinker) and so given the situation, I would likely lean toward hiring a great programmer with a degree over a great programmer without one.

Re:~50% have no degree... (5, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about 3 months ago | (#47522917)

I also do not have a degree, though I'm at year 13, and I've learned those lessons you said earning your degree taught you. It is good that you learned those lessons, but your conclusion is specious bordering on elitist.

I do have a large gap in knowledge. I made a great leap over a mountain of theory and low-level practice that I must fill in, but I (lucky for me) didn't need college to teach me humility and how to be receptive to learning (even when I "know" I'm right). The more I fill in that gap, the more I realize exactly how big that gap is, and strangely, the gap grows as it fills.

The point being: Though a university degree is how you reached... well... enlightenment, there are many paths. And if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523017)

Mod parent up please.

It's not a "degree" that teaches you anything. It's life and roadblocks on it. Degrees are nothing more than a piece of paper. Real knowledge is in books and I hope people do not require a degree to read.

PS. Yes, a university degree is useful, but you do not need a degree to gain same knowledge. It just requires *effort*.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523203)

Spot on!

Think of it as the division between knowledge and wisdom.
Anybody can learn some knowledge, but it takes experience and effort to turn it into wisdom.

A degree, or well-rounded education (no matter where it's from), can be like landing on both your feet.

If I meet a Buddha on the road, I tend to listen to her. If I'm bored, I just move along. No point in killing the messenger, or in other words, dismiss people just because they're engaged and enthusiastic. I rather enjoy being with enlightened people, not people dragging everyone around them down down down, below their own level.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47523233)

Real knowledge is in books and I hope people do not require a degree to read.

I think that's actually a big part of what many self-taught programmers are missing. It's not the lack of a degree that's the big problem, but the lack of having read any of the things that you would read when getting a degree. You could read them on your own, but many people don't.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 3 months ago | (#47523299)

Yes... I taught myself how to program before ever taking a class, but learning all the different data structures and techniques for design and development at school helped a lot; getting out in the real world helped cut the cruft and continue to learn what works, but education actually did help... and with this field, it's all ongoing education and development and new techniques and tools, but there's always the basics they were built on.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523685)

You sound like those people who think knowing how to write javascript on a web page means you understand Software Engineering. The degree doesn't teach you anything, your peers do. Your peers don't think like you and being around them means you learn how they think.

You come off sounding like a person who read how to speak a foreign language, but you've never spoken it with anyone else other than yourself and you think you sound like a native speaker. Some things cannot be learned except by interacting with others and that's what a good degree provides.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 3 months ago | (#47523253)

I'm at year 13, and I've learned those lessons you said earning your degree taught you.... but I (lucky for me) didn't need college to teach me humility and how to be receptive to learning

Yeah, I'm gonna say no. Humility, recognizing the depths of your ignorance, being open to new ideas, dealing with new people, being exposed to other things, etc. are all a continuum, not binary.

That said, you may be advanced for your age. But you seem to think that means you crossed the finish line early. What it means is, if you don't squander it, you can go much farther.

I wish you luck.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47523457)

Not a continuum, a balance.

e.g. Don't be so 'open minded' that your 'brain falls out'. Don't let a confident huckster stampede you just because you're not an expert in what (s)he claims to be.

Treating it like a continuum implies the worlds chumps are in a good place. They are not.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523725)

Most people surround themselves with other people like themselves. A good degree will surround you with people that are smart but NOT like you and they think differently. You will also learn things that you normally would not learn because it does not interest your or is obscure information, but is still useful for critical thinking. You will learn something other than knowledge, which is more important than knowledge. Anyone can obtain knowledge. But then again, most degrees are from crappy institutions that won't teach you anything.

Re: ~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522931)

Good. Talking about computers and games will brand you an outsider forever in all the social circles that matter. You don't want to be a rejected loser, don't you?

Re: ~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523695)

in all the social circles that matter

That matter to whom?

You don't want to be a rejected loser, don't you?

In the eyes of people that don't care about the same things I do? Why should I care what they think? Let them think what they want; I don't care.

well rounded cool but not at today's price levels. (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#47523211)

well rounded cool but not at today's price levels.

In the past when you where able to work part time and go to school without big loans all of that well rounded stuff was ok. But now days the costs are to high and people need to learn more hands on skills in IT in school. Why should be forced to take an PE class at a cost that is way more then BUYING a 2 YEAR fitness club membership.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523411)

I suspect that having your experience prior to going to college made a difference. Too many of the students who come straight to college just want to get their tickets punched and lack the maturity to see the value of the experiences you expressed. I far prefer to deal with students who have been out in the world and recognize the value of what we do as compared to those who just want to stare at facebook, pay the tuition bills, while burning time talking to mommy until they graduate.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47522653)

I've long said that the computing field is one where you can make decent money without a degree

Overall, software development is one of the few engineering fields where you can learn on your own without paying up front through the nose for oscilloscopes, CNC machines etc., and without attending an institution that would let you touch their gear either.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47523353)

I've long said that the computing field is one where you can make decent money without a degree.

That also used to be more true of the economy as a whole, but I think that would be a super-risky plan for a young person starting out today. An ever-higher percentage of applicants have a degree, raising the bar.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523505)

That being said, those pieces of paper open more doors (especially at larger corporations) than not having them.

I've worked for a number of large corporations that, by policy, won't hire anyone with less than a bachelors degree. The type of degree doesn't matter so much. Art History plus a good resume of relevant experience is fine.

Then I meet people in their 30's and older who have the experience but no degree. Why not?! They're making enough now to easily afford the cost. Just do it!

Re:~50% have no degree... (2)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | about 3 months ago | (#47523555)

I've found that while a degree can help you get entry level at a higher position, after a few years, competence catches up pretty quickly on compensation.

As a hiring manager, I've been fond of the "smart, get's things done" criteria - http://www.joelonsoftware.com/... [joelonsoftware.com]

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47522617)

Both the accountant and solicitor I use for tax, conveyancing, etc, have a BSc as their first degree.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522621)

That's not at all what the data says. It says half of STEM graduates work in STEM. It could still be the case that 100% of STEM workers have STEM degrees.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 months ago | (#47522663)

There is more data in heaven and earth then is listed in the posted article.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#47522763)

That's not at all what the data says. It says half of STEM graduates work in STEM. It could still be the case that 100% of STEM workers have STEM degrees.

The fact that this poster made this bad of a mistake in mathematical reading comprehension, and three other people already responded to his post without mentioning the mistake, shows why anyone with proper math training can be successful in almost any profession. People even marked the post as Insightful and Interesting when it was really just Ignorant.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 3 months ago | (#47522757)

Some things need domain knowledge especially in programming but also at some level with mechanical engineering things. They can't do everything but a gear head that lives and dreams of cars might have better ideas of how to mount a suspension on a frame than a 4 year mech eng grad that has been taking the bus their whole life. An artist that is a competent coder might be more useful working on Maya than a computer ninja that doesn't understand the workflow of an artist. Similarly for medical software, accounting etc. Things that are themselves their own professions sometime need the coder that is a hack X but they also need the X that is a hack coder.

Not all degrees are 4 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522787)

Mine was 3 years. BSc Mechanical Engineering, graduated in 1975.
Been writing software ever since and will do until I retire next month.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523113)

More to the point, jobs are often advertised in ways that anyone with "just a STEM" degree would not be qualified anyway.

What really needs to happen is the requirement of a Degree or experience must come with a posted salary in the job listing, otherwise there's really no point in requiring a STEM degree at all, because someone who has been doing STEM stuff for 10 years will still know more than the person who has just the STEM degree and no experience. 75% of the stuff you learn in school has no practical application in reality, and most of the time you will be doing just the 25% part of the things anyone can be trained on the job for anyhow.

Like I have never worked a job requiring STEM because the job requirements often want asinine things that someone with 30 years of experience might have, but not someone who is fresh out of university. Forget it, I'll take the crappy call center job that pays more.

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523221)

How many of those with a stem degree work at the Big M?

Re:~50% have no degree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523315)

I have no four year degree! I dropped out in Year 2 after not learning a single damn thing in Computer Science. By Year 4, I was making $70k [in 2002] while all my college friends were making, well, $0 and accruing $20,000+ in debt.

Now, on year 16, I'm making $200,000 W2 in PHP and loving it.

Re:~50% have no degree... (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 months ago | (#47523569)

Around half of STEM workers have no four year degree, to me that is more interesting.

I'm one of them. I guess some poor SOB slaved away on a STEM degree while I took 3 years of fine art. Then I took his job.

What about those of us who aren't sure anymore? (4, Informative)

NecroPuppy (222648) | about 3 months ago | (#47522585)

My degree is in Computer Engineering, with some Master's work in Comp Sci...

And these days I mostly work system accreditation. That is, certifying that a given system is secure. I do relatively little of the tech work, but push a lot of paper.

Re:What about those of us who aren't sure anymore? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 3 months ago | (#47522773)

How does pushing paper ensure a system is secure?

Re:What about those of us who aren't sure anymore? (5, Informative)

NecroPuppy (222648) | about 3 months ago | (#47522793)

It's all the documentation on the system. Because it's not just enough to say "yes, we've secured it", we have to write it down.

It's all paper trails, man.

Re:What about those of us who aren't sure anymore? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 3 months ago | (#47523077)

I feel your pain.

Re:What about those of us who aren't sure anymore? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47522939)

How does pushing paper ensure a system is secure?

You've clearly never worked in security.
You can never fully secure anything. All you can do is shift liability away from your business.
You need to reduce the chances of a breach to the point that the number that occur and lead to lawsuits costs you less than the effort to make it more secure.
You could technically require every customer to drive down to your main office in person and show ID before logging in... but what would that do to your business?
Secondly, procedure is everything. How do people handle data? What is the process for updating a router? LDAP? the VPN? etc?
90% of security is writing bulletproof process. 9% are the people that follow that process. 1% is HR firing people that don't.

If you just hire "Security people" and expect them to act "securely" you're just asking for trouble.

Re:What about those of us who aren't sure anymore? (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 3 months ago | (#47523097)

>You've clearly never worked in security.
Quick! Someone is wrong on the internet.

Incomplete data (5, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 3 months ago | (#47522599)

As usual, jumping to conclusions with incomplete data.

First, why analyze the percentage of computer and math degree holders who hold an IT job? Why is a mathematics degree automatically equivalent to a CS degree?

Then we get leaps like the pay gap between men and women. Most likely it's the usual thing: comparing men and women of the same age, without accounting for the fact that the women took more time off for child-rearing, worked part-time, etc.. Compensate for these things, and watch the pay gap disappear.

Why do many people with STEM degrees not work in STEM jobs? They apparently count management and education as non-STEM, even if these people are managing STEM projects or teaching STEM courses. That already accounts for the two biggest groups.

The rest of the conclusions are just as shaky. This appears to be a crappy study, deserving of no attention whatsoever...

Re:Incomplete data (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 3 months ago | (#47522723)

Why do many people with STEM degrees not work in STEM jobs? They apparently count management and education as non-STEM, even if these people are managing STEM projects or teaching STEM courses. That already accounts for the two biggest groups.

Precisely, agree 100%. At my college, they had a Mathematics degree inside of an education program. Obviously everyone with that type of a degree are going into the education field. And a degree in IT Management... Although it has IT in the name, is not a STEM degree! A "STEM degree" does not always equate to a "STEM job".

I guess the person who did this study's statistics did not have a STEM degree.

Re:Incomplete data (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 3 months ago | (#47523547)

Statistics is an Applied Arts degree.. {The art of making numbers support your argument when they don't}

Anyway tfa doesn't have enough information on how they classifying STEM and non-STEM businesses and positions to draw those conclusions.

The largest numbers are managers at non-STEM businesses (22.5%), or having careers in education (17.7%)

This does not explain how businesses are categorized or if education encompasses all education or excludes the obvious teaching STEM courses.

Re:Incomplete data (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 3 months ago | (#47522741)

As usual, jumping to conclusions with incomplete data.

First, why analyze the percentage of computer and math degree holders who hold an IT job? Why is a mathematics degree automatically equivalent to a CS degree?

Then we get leaps like the pay gap between men and women. Most likely it's the usual thing: comparing men and women of the same age, without accounting for the fact that the women took more time off for child-rearing, worked part-time, etc.. Compensate for these things, and watch the pay gap disappear.

Why do many people with STEM degrees not work in STEM jobs? They apparently count management and education as non-STEM, even if these people are managing STEM projects or teaching STEM courses. That already accounts for the two biggest groups.

The rest of the conclusions are just as shaky. This appears to be a crappy study, deserving of no attention whatsoever...

Well, it was really surprising that people who get STEM degrees don't go on to become musicians, actors and entertainers.

I thought the Brian May, Tom Scholz and Msai Oka was pretty common. Thanks to this study I now am more informed.

The whole STEM stars was a lie!

Re:Incomplete data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522749)

No, the "management" category in the article specifically includes only non-STEM management. As regards education, the article itself is vague, but tracing down the references [bls.gov] suggests that STEM teaching is included as a STEM career (as it damned well should). So much for your "two biggest groups".

I dunno where the IT job part came from.

The men/women pay gap issue is a good point, but it's hard to keep people from tabulating such these things. Statistics are like opium, and tend to dull people's minds momentarily to obvious criticism.

In conclusion, I have only one question: are you one of these 5.5% of unemployed STEM niggers the article mentions?

Re:Incomplete data (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 3 months ago | (#47522829)

Perhaps you're right about managers, but that wasn't my impression, nor is it the impression of the authors of the Computer World article: "Rothwell points out that Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, would both be classified as non-STEM managers by the Census". They may not be technical managers, but their technical background is entirely relevant to the management duties. Lots of people in roles like that.

I imagine it's much the same for education. As an example, I am faculty in a business school, but I teach technical courses (programming, etc.) within that school. I expect the fact that I work for a business school means I would be counted as non-STEM.

Dunno what planet your last question came from - bizarre. Maybe re-read your posts before pressing the submit button?

Re:Incomplete data (1)

_anomaly_ (127254) | about 3 months ago | (#47522819)

Yeah, the first thing I thought of was: how many people who graduate with any 4-year degree stay in their field of study? Without having anything to compare this to, how do we know that the numbers for STEM graduates are abnormal?
I would guess that those figures for the STEM graduates aren't too different from any other field.

Also, it would have been more meaningful if they had limited the time after graduation. For example, if 50% of STEM graduates were working in an unrelated field 10 years after graduation, I'd say that says a lot more than just "currently". Seems to me a significant number of people "retire" from their main field of study and then take on another, completely unrelated, but more satisfying job in their golden years (i.e. retiring from a management position to work at a golf course).

Re:Incomplete data (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47523397)

Yeah, the first thing I thought of was: how many people who graduate with any 4-year degree stay in their field of study? Without having anything to compare this to, how do we know that the numbers for STEM graduates are abnormal?

But everybody knows that people with degrees in Communications and Political Science aren't going to work in those fields (if they even exist). But to get a job that requires "a degree" (of any type), going through an EE or physics program is hardly the most efficient route.

Re:Incomplete data (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#47523707)

But why does it have to be the most efficient? I know a woman who took software engineering. After she completed her degree, she went to teacher's college, and ended up becoming a teacher. To be a teacher where I live, you need 2 things. A bachelors degree, and to graduate from teachers college. For the most part, it doesn't matter what discipline you get your bachelors degree in. For her, at the time, it was interesting to take software engineering, and it gives you something good to fall back on in case you can't get in to teacher's college, or you decide you don't want to be a teacher, or if the number of jobs for teachers goes into decline. It's a much smarter path than taking an English degree, and then for some reason you can't get a job as a teacher, and you end up with a degree that doesn't help you get a job either.

Re:Incomplete data (3, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47522977)

> First, why analyze the percentage of computer and math degree holders who hold an IT job? Why is a mathematics degree automatically equivalent to a CS degree?

Computer Science is ultimately a branch of mathematics. That much should be obvious to anyone that's been through a decent University program.

Re:Incomplete data (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47523239)

And mathematics is ultimately philosophy.

Practically, CS should be considered Engineering. Which is ultimately the union of business, applied science and art.

Re:Incomplete data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523609)

BS, Philosophy is Mathematics without a garbage bin.

Re:Incomplete data (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 3 months ago | (#47523383)

There are lots of missing data from that article. Do we have access to the actual survey? It seems very biaised.

If I become a high school math teacher, I am not holding a STEM position. But clearly I am using my training. Same goes with any kind of teaching job. It is very likely that these people are actually using their training.

If I manage at a non-STEM business, that does not mean that I do not manage STEM workers.

Counting business/finance as non STEM worker is ridiculous. Finance companies have been hiring math and CS PhD for years. Likely they are also hiring college graduates as well.

obvious (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#47522615)

That's because they keep getting people on foreign visas to do the work cheaper and not hiring expensive Americans. I can't imagine the workload gets done at the same rate considering the language barrier. Maybe the industry will get a freaking clue just like call centers did. They're all back in the US because as it turns out, paying someone $3/hr in India to take phone calls that take 3x longer is the same as paying someone in the US $9/hr to make the phone call 3x faster. Only one of those two pisses off your customers so now all the call centers are back here in the US. Hopefully they realize that hiring American STEM workers has a lower total cost vs work done than hiring overseas workers.

And for the other half (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47522625)

Their degree is in Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Do you want fries with that?

Men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522689)

Its natural that men are currently being paid more then women. When 75% of the positions are held by men, a higher percentage would have worked years longer then a women.

Re:Men (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47522759)

Logical, but probably not the case; surveys matching career stage and field put the male-female wage gap on the order of 10%, which is in line with these results. (I forget the exact amount; it's likely to be a little more.)

Re:Men (2)

McFly777 (23881) | about 3 months ago | (#47523295)

Logical, but probably not the case; surveys matching career stage and field put the male-female wage gap on the order of 10%, which is in line with these results. (I forget the exact amount; it's likely to be a little more.)

Depending on how "career stage" is measured, the value may still be skewed due to the greater tendency for females to take years off for family care, etc. When returning to work, she may have to take a pay cut due to percieved "staleness" of her knowledge. This was the case for my wife and I (both engineers). She made more than I did before she quit to raise our kids. Ten years later, she could not hire back in at the same wage she left at, due to the employment gap. So even if you evaluate "career stage" as years-of-experience in an attempt to account for the time shift, her wage is now lower that mine at that same numbers of years. No discrimination necessary, just cause and effect of choices made.

In fact, I would guess that I would have had a harder time getting hired at all if I had the same employment gap. Society is more forgiving of gaps in a woman's employment (for family care) than for a man doing the same.

STEM is the new liberal arts degree (4, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#47522695)

The lure of a liberal arts degree has always been to have a very well rounded education that just makes you a smarter person instead of just teaching a certain profession. In today's technological world, STEM education is performing a very similar role. Learning high level math provides extreme advances in our current economy regardless of your actual job.

Hopefully colleges start to understand this and increase the level of math that all college graduates are required to learn. Perhaps in 20 years the average Gen Ed requirements of a Bachelors will require 20+ credits of math related courses to help prepare students for the modern world.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (3, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about 3 months ago | (#47522769)

In today's technological world, STEM education is performing a very similar role.

Yes, and to be blunt, I also think that in the past 20 years the rigor of the liberal arts degrees has been greatly reduced, making them even less valuable than they otherwise would have been.

For instance, math or compsci either one, you're going to learn about deductive and inductive proofs, which are highly valuable reasoning skills that will serve you well throughout life. In the old days, a philosophy course would have exposed the liberal arts major to a version that, while somewhat less rigorous, would have been greatly beneficial. These days that same student is likely not to be exposed to that at all, and worse may have his critical-thinking skills permanently damaged by the inane bullshit of deconstructionism.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (3, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47523273)

It's all down to the idiocy that is relativism. Logic, math and science are socially constructed and hence may be ignored at no cost.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (3, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | about 3 months ago | (#47522775)

I don't know what you consider "high level math", but if it is the same thing I am thinking of, I totally disagree with you.

I've been in the industry for over a decade, and have used the calculus and statistics required for my CS degree precisely never. And honestly there are hardly any professions that need either of these disciplines. Yes you should know some VERY BASIC statistics but the idea that everyone needs a university-level course in it is flawed.

IMO in CS degrees, the time spent on these courses would be much better spent on more algorithms courses and courses on actual development practice, both of which are VERY lacking with people coming out of university nowadays.. theyre' all hot-shot python hackers but have no idea what the difference between a linked list and an array list is.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (2)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 3 months ago | (#47522901)

I've been in the industry for over a decade, and have used the calculus and statistics required for my CS degree precisely never.

Well, I've been in the industry for over 30 years and I've found one good use for statistics during that time - it's great to sniff out BS. Like the crap spread by the VP of Quality who touts a 2% decline in customer calls YOY when the variance in this yearly data is around 5% and you didn't put out a major product release this year. Not that you're politically well-connected enough to call him on it, of course, but it's good to know that it's crap nonetheless, because next year, when you do get the next major version out, and the customer calls go up, you'll be ready to defend politically.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (3, Informative)

rk (6314) | about 3 months ago | (#47523061)

Let's match anecdote for anecdote: I've been in the industry for nearly 25 years, and I've used calculus quite a few times and statistics (beyond just mean/stddev type stuff) fairly regularly. Also a wild FFT and/or DCT has appeared a few times here and there. I'll readily admit my career has been a little different than most, including a near decade long stint at a NASA-funded research lab, but I've also had some of that stuff rear its head in odd places you might not expect, like doing predictive analysis programs for a manufacturing company, or programs to optimize course scheduling for college students. These tasks could not have been completed without at least exposure to more advanced mathematics.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (2)

digsbo (1292334) | about 3 months ago | (#47523115)

I'll take that a step up. I've been in the industry for 18 years, and each of the four places I've worked has had vital, revenue producing code that was based on higher math, either linear algebra, or something related to digital signal processing.

Re: STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 3 months ago | (#47523199)

Sure of course there will always be a small subset of jobs in industry that need this. But the idea that it provides inherent value to all CS is wrong. Calculus has nothing to do with CS at all in reality.

There are also lots of jobs in industry that need high levels of security domain knowledge or networking domain knowledge, but the stuff we need is not even taught in university let alone required for a degree so your example really has no meaning.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

irrational_design (1895848) | about 3 months ago | (#47523073)

I agree. I've found that the highest math I've needed is high-school algebra 1. Frankly just basic knowledge of arithmetic is all I've needed 99% of the time. Now I can see if I was doing programming for games, financial institutions, etc. then Calc/Stats/etc. would be invaluable. But as a business web app programmer? Not so much. So it really depends on what field you are programming in.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (5, Insightful)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#47523091)

I've been in the industry for over a decade, and have used the calculus and statistics required for my CS degree precisely never.

That is no different than a philosophy student saying "I've been working for over a decade, and haven't had Plato's cave brought up in a single board meeting yet." The goal of a general education is not to train students in the tools they will use in their jobs, it is to train them how to think.

If you haven't used your increased capacity for logical thinking, or your ability to understand statistics greater than the average person, then you either never learned much in those classes or you just aren't being honest about how much you actually learned.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47523277)

theyre' all hot-shot python hackers but have no idea what the difference between a linked list and an array list is.

Actually I think this is precisely what a lot of non-STEM employers are looking for. When they say they want a computer programmer, what they mean is they want someone who can be the local Excel-macro whiz.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523301)

So what you're saying is that you don't need people to understand statistical principles, but just for example "go with their intuition and see what happens" (my words)?

Don't get me wrong. The best managers are intuitive and have high emotional intelligence. However, it helps to have firm and realistic principles rather than pure trial and error, copycat-behaviour and superstition, especially when you need to reinvent your industry.

I've seen so many managers and teams of managers botch it again and again, just put of pure incompetence and lack of comfortability in maths and science. Nobody can help them either, because they get too embarrassed to ask for help. It's stupid, because involving the people is exactly what you should do anyways.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47523329)

50% of programmers are coding UIs/web pages or doing computerized bean counting. But those are the losers in 'the game'.

There is no way of knowing, a priori, which students will get to do interesting work. So you have to equip them all with the math for it.

I worked for one man, who was so sick of coders with atrophied math skills, that he put 'what is the first derivative of 1/x' into the HR screening process. Pass/fail.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 months ago | (#47523471)

Yes you should know some VERY BASIC statistics but the idea that everyone needs a university-level course in it is flawed.

Our world would be better if everyone took an advanced statistics class, starting with the presidential debates wouldn't be so utterly inane. If you don't use the stuff you learned in a statistics class, it's because you didn't learn anything.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523533)

I don't know what *you* consider "high level math", but I doubt if it's the same thing I am thinking of. I've taught calculus at the college level, and FMP, that's just middling-level math.

I've been in the industry for twenty-five years, and I've found that my "high level math" skills have helped me considerably in understanding complexity. I mean, I've studied topology with a prof who would frequently get confused and prove the only-if half of an if-and-only-if theorem twice. I've been in lectures that have consisted of a single hour-long proof. And I've understood, well, nearly all of it.

So now, when an end-user comes to me and says, "I want the program to do this in this case, and that in that case, and . . . wait, I forgot, the second case has two sub-cases. Um, sorry, I'm probably confusing you." I just laugh and shake my head.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

gaudior (113467) | about 3 months ago | (#47522777)

Liberal Arts education long ago stopped being about becoming a well-rounded, intelligent individual and became an indoctrination in fitting in to the social machine. STEM degrees are going the same way, churning out cogs for the machine, willing to take whatever they can get to pay off the indentured bond.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522911)

> indoctrination in fitting into the social machine

What's wrong with that? It's one of the cores of the only fair type of government we've found so far that works, communism. Everything else is about screwing minorities and the poor. Capitalism's demand that we starve children means it is morally wrong. Socialism is capitalism lite so we only make children suffer rather than starve to death. Just as MSNBC reported, the Republicans want all Hispanic children to be denied emergency services, or even the right to call 911. As Mathews showed, they want children to die. That is their way.

If people do not fit into the social machine then communism will never work.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47523005)

> What's wrong with that? It's one of the cores of the only fair type of government we've found so far that works, communism.

Yes. It worked out so well that corruption caused it to implode in a most spectacular manner. Just ask anyone from the former Soviet block how much communism "works".

You're a silver spoon member of the 1% by comparison.

It takes more than wishful thinking and a single political party with no check on it's power to run a country effectively.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522789)

Learning high level math provides extreme advances in our current economy regardless of your actual job.

How so? That's a pretty bold statement.
I don't doubt your claim (I have a math bachelors degree, and a comp sci masters in progress), but I'd just like to hear your arguments.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (2)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#47523325)

Learning high level math provides extreme advances in our current economy regardless of your actual job.

How so? That's a pretty bold statement.
I don't doubt your claim (I have a math bachelors degree, and a comp sci masters in progress), but I'd just like to hear your arguments.

The arguments are pretty standard. Math teaches logical thought, the use of precise definitions, the use of careful and rigorous arguments, etc, It involves taking a general problem and defining a set of very clearly stated problems and finding precise solutions to them. Those are the abstract answers, but in a world that is becoming more and more data driven, mathematical fields such as statistics even have practical applications for most fields. The mistake made by the first poster who claimed the article said 50% of STEM workers have no degree shows the problem with insufficient mathematical literacy.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47522791)

In other words. Hopefully, someday, a liberal arts degree will actually be 'well rounded'. Right now it's very focused on 'easy subjects that don't interfere with constant partying'.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522803)

You don't need to have a high level math degree to know that another STEM grad in India will work for 25% of your wage and that's why a STEM education is only good for padding your resume when its time to start looking for a job flipping burgers due to the number of graduates greatly exceeding the available jobs. You might even make it the top and become manager of the fast food joint!

Working for less than 25% of your current wage and below the poverty line for a wage that doesn't even pay your college loans, that is what you must prepare students for in modern world.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 3 months ago | (#47522867)

The lure of a liberal arts degree has always been to have a very well rounded education that just makes you a smarter person instead of just teaching a certain profession. In today's technological world, STEM education is performing a very similar role. Learning high level math provides extreme advances in our current economy regardless of your actual job.

Hopefully colleges start to understand this and increase the level of math that all college graduates are required to learn. Perhaps in 20 years the average Gen Ed requirements of a Bachelors will require 20+ credits of math related courses to help prepare students for the modern world.

How, exactly, does advanced math help anyone not actually working in some STEM related field in the modern world?

Unless you're talking about basic finance, understanding interest rates, rates of return and so forth - but for me this is not 'advanced' math.

Re:STEM is the new liberal arts degree (1)

ranton (36917) | about 3 months ago | (#47523377)

How, exactly, does advanced math help anyone not actually working in some STEM related field in the modern world?

Unless you're talking about basic finance, understanding interest rates, rates of return and so forth - but for me this is not 'advanced' math.

Since the article was mentioning STEM degrees, the definition of 'advanced' math here is college level math. That basically means calculus and statistics, and then even more advanced as you start 300+ level courses. Most STEM degrees only require about 3-5 math courses, although math is often applied in many other courses taught in a STEM degree. I was a Physics major, and I did just as much math in my physics courses as I did in my math courses.

And as I mentioned in another post, math teaches logical thought, the use of precise definitions, the use of careful and rigorous arguments, etc. It is not the ability to do integrations that's important, it is the act of learning how to do integrations that matters. Or at least that is how the argument goes (which I agree with).

Even higher for other degree fields. (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | about 3 months ago | (#47522699)

That has always been true. The share is even higher for other degrees. Probably 70 percent with degrees in Liberal Arts lead to other jobs -- waiting on tables, for instance.

Re:Even higher for other degree fields. (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | about 3 months ago | (#47523099)

Exactly what I was thinking even without tongue in cheek. Perhaps communications majors do communicate (as don't we all) but, unlike in technical fields, I haven't seen too many job postings requiring a degree in communications. But those people are by-and-large working in law, advertising, insurance, etc. yet nobody seems to feel the necessity to do a study on how many communication majors aren't working in communications.

Re:Even higher for other degree fields. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47523461)

Back of Liberal Arts.
I know a lot of smart people who are successful with liberal arts degrees becasue they wanted to learn about a lot of different things.

What about non-computing/engineering fields? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 months ago | (#47522745)

The STEM label mushes together computing fields and engineering, which have high pay and demand for jobs, with the sciences, which to be completely honest with you don't pay that great and have about a twenty to one candidate to job ratio. What would the result be like if we split them, I wonder?

Re:What about non-computing/engineering fields? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47523347)

Comparing the very popular technology sector to mathematics is very apples and oranges.

I was wondering the same thing. It would be much more interesting if you were break it down by field. How does relatively popular mechanical engineering compare with physics, or electronic engineering? Is there a higher proportion of employed mechanical engineers owing to supply and demand? How does slightly-more-female biology fare?

compiling things form the article (2)

kick6 (1081615) | about 3 months ago | (#47522771)

50% of STEM workers have no degree 50% of SETM degree'd folks don't work in STEM ...yet somehow corporations "need" H1-Bs?

Shocking! (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 3 months ago | (#47522779)

And you know what? I bet the same holds true of accouting, finance, marketing and certainly humanities degrees too.

I hate this women bashing crap here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522821)

We make more than you men. Don't insult us with your lies that we do not. When you take into account time on job, because we often quit to take years worth of vacation and experience which, again, is reduced because we take so much vacation, we make more than you. Screw the editors here for bashing us. In my case, I decided to take seven years off because I hated working and decided I'd rather have a kid than a pointy-haired boss. I make about 8% less than my husband who does the same job at the same company (that's how we met), but I'm making nearly 15% more than he was seven years ago if you want to compare equivalent experience. When you account for my vacation time, I am making more.

Re:I hate this women bashing crap here (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47523369)

Seven years of inflation is at least 15%. Depending on whose stats you use.

Math degrees make you appear smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47522823)

Based on the my own experience, the reaction from people when they discover I have a Math(s)/CS degree.

And who doesn't want to hire smart employees?

Well, as long as you don't appear lazy or offensive during the interview process.

And I'd guess Math/CS graduates are least likely to be working in customer service or similar customer oriented jobs for a variety of factors including interpersonal skills/ strength/ comfort.

um (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47522981)

Because the majority of the people getting CS degrees now-a-days have no idea what they are doing.
And I don't mean, they just aren't good. I mean they barely even know how to type.
I worked with a guy a while back that was given 4 projects in a row and did absolutely no work on them. I liked the guy personally so he felt safe in asking me questions... He didn't even know how to define a variable or call an Object in the Language he specialized in. And I've met LOTS of people like that. He was probably the worst, but the quality of people with degrees in programming is awful. I'm not sure if it's just because it's something really hard to test for or if cheating is rampant. But there is definitely a problem. Most of the people I work with that don't have a degree and had to claw their way up are a lot better than the people that have 4yr degrees.

Also, programming jobs don't pay crap anymore. Managers at McDonalds make about the same as entry level program jobs.

Re:um (2)

retchdog (1319261) | about 3 months ago | (#47523033)

Yeah, I can tell you that a CS "degree" which involves being "specialized" in a particular programming language is a bullshit trade diploma. It's not surprising that such an applicant is garbage; degrees in programming are for idiots. Smart people program on their own, or go to college for formal maths/sciences, or ideally both.

Re:um (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47523395)

McDonalds managers work insane hours. Nobody could be a productive coder working fast food manager hours. You'd be a zombie...not unlike a fast food manager.

Here is the relevant stat... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#47523145)

We have fewer engineering jobs in the US then we did 20 years ago.

That's the stat that matters. End of discussion.

what about black workers? (1)

Cederic (9623) | about 3 months ago | (#47523207)

Sorry, you've called out the African Americans, white, asian.. what about Black, Afro-Carribean, African, Arab workers? What about hispanics, European-American, Irish American, the "My great grandfather had a niece whose mother's great uncle was Scottish"-American?

Fuck you and your racist focus. Try breaking down employment by social background, place of abode and other factors before throwing racial fucking stereotypes at us.

Re:what about black workers? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47523431)

They are broken down by college graduates.
The article breaks it out into other factors.
Fact is., give same experiences and degree, some people are treated differently due to the shade of their skin.

The question is nonsense. (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47523407)

"STEM trained workers? "
They have degree in the field, not 'trained workers'.
You can have a BS Mathematics, and go into a number of fields that aren't specific to mathematics.
You think you get a degree in Mathematics and then go to the mathematics factory and churn out maths?

Plus, you can get a degree in something simply because it interests you, and not because you want a career in that field.

University is not job training. Please stop treating it as such.

Half get other jobs .... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#47523427)

... but the remaining two thirds of us with math degrees are working in our fields.

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