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Computer Science as a Major and as a Career

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the people-too-worried-about-everything dept.

578

An anonymous reader writes "IBM DeveloperWorks is running an interesting Q&A with Director of IBM's Academic Initiative, Gina Poole. In the article she talks specifically about taking computer science as a major and ultimately as a career. From the article: 'There are a couple of reasons [for the decline in science and engineering degrees]: one is a myth, believed by parents, students, and high school guidance counselors, that computer science and engineering jobs are all being outsourced to China and India. This is not true. The percentage of the total number of jobs in this space is quite small -- less than 5%. According to a government study, the voluntary attrition in the U.S. has outpaced the number of outsourced jobs to emerging nations. Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S.'"

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578 comments

Go for it! (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091195)

I will also chime in here and say that there is a significant need for computer scientists. Just to give you some idea of the demand, computer science post-docs can command six figure salaries compared to salaries in the range of 30-35k for bioscience post-docs.

But here is the deal.... We are not looking for people to help administer our systems. That is relatively easy to do, particularly with operating systems like OS X. You have to be bright and willing to work on *new* problems particularly those dealing with data management and visualization. Many comp-sci students want to go create games and there is a market for that, but where the technology for games really comes from is basic science research dealing with real-world problems. And in fact, some games and game engines are now being applied to real world problems.

There are a couple of exciting projects I am working on in these fields, namely I have just been asked to sit on the board of a media group that will deal with some of these issues and real world application of games and other digital media. Alexander Seropian (of Bungie fame) is also on this board and it should be interesting to see where this goes. Additionally, our research in a new area of bioscience called metabolomics looks ready to take off and we are working with a number of comp-sci graduate students, post-docs and faculty to create tools to deal with the types of data we use to pick out signatures of cells much like the CIA and NASA use to determine signatures of "things" they are interested in. Also data management and communication is another field that is very much in demand and we are working with groups to help us create databases that can be mined and used interactively to collaboratively annotate and discuss data with multiple users.

Lemme tell you folks, if you are interested in computer science, go for it. There is certainly a market for talented programmers and looking four to ten years in the future (which is about as far as I can), the demand will be there.

Re:Go for it! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091243)

I am glad that you are finding yourself in interesting projects - but most companies that do the hiring are not interested in doing research into whatever.

They just want a java programmer or whatever their latest inventory project demands. Then it's off to India!

Re:Go for it! (1, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091304)

You are not hearing what I am saying..... I am not speaking as a programmer, because I am not. I am speaking as a person who is doing the hiring or is involved in projects that needs programmers and I am telling you that we need people to work on new projects. If you are simply doing basic Java programming, then those positions are not as much in demand. However, if you are doing new things in Java such as image or data analysis or are creating new and useful programs in Java such as ImageJ from Wayne Rasband, then hellyeah.... you have a job where ever you want it and it will not be outsourced because being able to think critically and establish yourself in new markets to take advantage of those needs it is not a commodity skill that can easily be outsourced. It takes a bit more work, but then just about everything worth anything takes a bit more work, yeah?

Re:Go for it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091323)

None of those things you named are "new" in any way, shape, or form. It sounds to me like you haven't done signification research into computer science.

Re:Go for it! (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091358)

Hey A.C. troll, it sounds to me like you have not done any significant research into spelling or grammar. :-)

Seriously though, you have no idea of what you are talking about, but I'll let the market decide whether or not you are correct. Given that we have millions of dollars coming in from our research and have the prospect of many millions more, I'll continue doing what we are doing. In fact, if our metabolomics work takes off the way we want.... there will be significant impact into bioscience, medicine, medical diagnostics and drug development.

Re:Go for it! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091368)

Do not misunderestimate my spelling or grammar skills. And do not doubt that there are WMDs in Iraq.

Re:Go for it! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091390)

You spelled grammar right, you poser.

Re:Go for it! (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091445)

Do not misunderestimate my spelling or grammar skills. And do not doubt that there are WMDs in Iraq.

O.K., somebody please mod this as funny. I have mod points, but because I have already posted in this thread, I cannot mod it up. For those of you who don't get it, just Google "misunderestimate".

Re:Go for it! (2, Interesting)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091437)

Obviously you don't know what you're talking about. I work for a large investment bank and they definitely are hiring Java programmers here in the States. However, they don't want people that are just Java programmers - they want people with knowledge of Computer Science in general. Tying yourself to one language definitely is a bad idea nowadays. Learning how to think critically and develop/learn any language quickly and effectively are two skills that will take you far. Yes, my company is investing overseas, but most of the developers I work with are sitting right next to me. This past fall a recruiter from IBM told me what definitely seems to be true in all companies - they've sent so much overseas and reduced their domestic prescence so much that now that the baby boomers are retiring they have no one to step up. If anything, right now there is a huge demand for developers. My company has a huge problem hiring even though they offer huge salaries because there is so much competition out there.

Re:Go for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091299)

Do you have a link to an ad for a six figure post-doc position?

Re:Go for it! (1, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091328)

Do you have a link to an ad for a six figure post-doc position?

Enroll in just about any accredited doctoral program in comp sci. at a university, which by the way is not as onerous as one might think as tuition is often waved and you get a stipend on the order of 12-30k/year. After you finish your Ph.D., then you have your pick of post-docs just about anywhere in the country with a top comp sci. department.

Answer his question! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091450)

Do you have a link to an ad for a six figure post-doc position?

Well, do ya, Punk? Do ya?

Re:Go for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091384)

How about some anecdotal evidence? I make about $100k in CS (technical software). I got a Masters in Computer Science about 5 years ago.

Re:Go for it! (2)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091334)

Me for example: nearly two years into a "* Studies for Dummies" degree, which has been a major disappointment, spending all my time programming and all my (spare) money on related books. No impressive maths qualifications beyond the national minimum, and no formal recognition of computing skills.

Can anyone offer any words of advice, encouragement, or disdain about my growing urge to throw it all away and do something programming-related in a year or two? I'm talking about the UK, here by the way, in case you can't infer that from the linguistics of my post. "go for it" is very encouraging indeed, but more words would be welcome.

Re:Go for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091459)

I'd recommend a MSc conversion course. If you can get into somewhere like Imperial you'd be competitive with those of us that didn't go to such a good University (I had a friend who did the Imperial conversion course and was blown away by the level of stuff he was doing).

Re:Go for it! (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091354)

A computer science post doc has roughly as much education as a doctor. "Can command six figures" displays the shortage is nowhere near serious enough. "Can command seven figures" and you would have a flood of people willing to do 8-11 years of post college education.

Re:Go for it! (5, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091402)

A computer science post doc has roughly as much education as a doctor.

Yes, very true. And, in fact, with a Ph.D. in Comp. Sci., you get to be called "doctor".

"Can command six figures" displays the shortage is nowhere near serious enough. "Can command seven figures" and you would have a flood of people willing to do 8-11 years of post college education.

What world do you live in? Do you understand that the average income for an M.D. is about $150k? Do the math. Do you understand that most of us "doctors" don't go around driving high end automobiles or living in mansions? If that's what you want, then go sell real estate or something where you can makes lots of money for very little work.

Re:Go for it! (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091430)

It is much easier to get into a computer science post-doc program than med school. Further, he was making a direct comparison with Biology Post Docs, and honestly there aren't many post docs better than CS one, with regard to pay.

You Are So Out Of Touch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091396)

Computer science post-docs?!

Is the OP talking about post-docs? No! The article is talking about 4-year graduates entering careers. Sheesh!

Games? What percentage of CS graduates go into games? Is it 0.000001% or 0.000002%, I forget? Here you are talking about "games" as a career. What tripe!

You've got really big metabolls to SPAM SlashDot, looking for hungry post-doc slaves for you medical center.

And here's my experience at a medical research center: it was a cluster of fiefs, each with it's own little king (read, "M.D."). Each king was an a**hole with an ego larger than the last, busily billing or bilking the government, the state, the public and individuals' for money (it was a "children's" cancer center - what better way to get parents to hand over their wealth than to promise to save their dying child - no guarantees, of course). The same egotists thought they were software architects and would interfere and override the best of design processes with their own absurdities. Programmers were near the bottom of the status hierarchy, below even clerical personnel. I watched excellent programmers get fired for ridiculous personal reasons. I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (2, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091201)

I get uncomfortable when I hear people trying to rationalize outsourcing, painting it as less insidious than it is. I'm especially confused when, from the slashdot article quotes like:

Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S.
propose the ludicrous!

If there are nine U.S. jobs created for every outsourced job, I would infer a couple of things:

  • someone should do the math, and calculate how many jobs we need to create in the U.S. to achieve 100% employment and outsource enough jobs to create those jobs. For example, if 8 million Americans are out of work, we should outsource 1 million American jobs (9 million jobs -- 1 million to fill the "outsourced", and the remaining jobless 8 million now have jobs).
  • someone should be firing management! If every outsourced job creates 9 new ones, management fails in its cost savings argument. (That is unless of course, the nine new jobs combined actually pay less than the outsourced job -- which may actually be a possibility.)

Also, from the Article (emphasis mine):

The percentage of the total number of jobs in this space is quite small -- less than 5%. According to a government study, the voluntary attrition in the U.S. has outpaced the number of outsourced jobs to emerging nations. Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S.

and then this from the article (emphasis mine):

There's even a view that outsourcing actually will help grow jobs.
which seems to be less certain of a statement about the "created jobs". Either there's a view new jobs get created from outsourcing, or there's a reality that can be measured empirically. Which is it? And if it's the latter, where are the numbers?

That said, I guess it's nice to hear the CS career path and job market is healthy and alive.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091285)

the first was an empirical observation, not implying causality. the ludicrous inferences are yours alone.

the second statement was a proposed theory, which may or may not explain the full nine jobs, and does not limit itself to same-sector jobs (outsourcing IT might create jobs in financial services, for example, by making such industries more efficient).

the article was fine in math and logic.

That's not the worst of the article, either. (1, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091289)

Gina: Absolutely. To say, "20% of IT jobs are being outsourced" is alarming, but there are whole new fields opening up, new disciplines that will be in huge demand. Some of the more traditional IT positions -- application maintenance, transcription services, base application development -- may be outsourced for a number of reasons, principally cost and availability of workers.
I can understand "cost", but "availablity of workers"?

Or is that another way of saying "cost"? If there are more people in India willing to do it, they'll do it for less money.
But if you think of the exciting jobs marrying technology and business and really making an impact -- data mining, business intelligence, network architecture, Internet and Web architecture, Web services -- these will be the hot jobs as technology becomes more pervasive, less costly, and as more uses are found for it. There's even a view that outsourcing actually will help grow jobs.
Yes, and there's a view that space aliens are abducting our citizens and probing them in scientific experiments.

"Web services"? Why wouldn't those also be off-shored?

"Internet and Web architecture"? Why wouldn't those also be off-shored?

"network architecture"? This is one "of the exciting jobs marrying technology and business and really making an impact"? I've been doing this for the past 16 years. The only reason that this won't be off-shored is because I have to physically move the devices.

"business intelligence"? That has NOTHING to do with a CS degree.

"data mining"? Great. the 1990's are back again. That's a buzz-word from the 20th century. We're in the 21st now. And there is no reason that that could not also be off-shored.

That article is nothing more than a bunch of claims without support and meaningless recycled buzz-words thrown together.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (3, Insightful)

Why is My Ass Bleedi (966775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091313)

On the interval [t1, t2] the number of jobs exported is K and the number of jobs created domestically is N. They look at the numbers for this interval see N:K is 9:1. Then they tell you, "for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S." They aren't implying this because it doesn't support their thesis, but the rate of change for K and N is not constant, so the ratio of new jobs to exported jobs isn't constant. It also says nothing about the nature of the created or exported jobs in question.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091485)

What about causality?

Because N jobs were created does not mean that they
were created because of exporting the K jobs. It
may well be, but then it may well not be.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (5, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091316)

Your arguments are more obviously ludicrous than the ones in the article. Yours are absurd on their face, whereas the ones in the article can be true, but I would want to have more substantiation than just this one person's word.

For example, if 8 million Americans are out of work, we should outsource 1 million American jobs.

You are assuming linearity where there is not even a faint trace of it. If I have the capability to produce 1000 cars, and I sell 900 of them, that does not mean that if I double my capacity, I will sell 1800 of them. That is to say, the fact that I today have a 90% sale rate means nothing, in terms of trying to predict what would happen if I change my sale rate. Similarly, the claim that 8 jobs are created for every outsourced job only holds true under current conditions (if any). If you force the outsourcing of jobs, odds are that since almost by definition that will be less economically efficient, that ration will drop. It's not written in stone.

You are also assuming that you can artificially just jack up the supply of jobs with no consequences, also patently false. Jobs are an economy, and there is demand (work to be done and the money to pay for it) and supply (workers willing to do the work). Neither side of that equation can be magically changed without affecting the other.

someone should be firing management! If every outsourced job creates 9 new ones, management fails in its cost savings argument. (That is unless of course, the nine new jobs combined actually pay less than the outsourced job -- which may actually be a possibility.)

This is a continuation of failing to view the job market as a market. Jobs are not cost centers alone, as you seem to imply, because if they were, the ideal number of jobs would be "zero". The correct criteria is to compare the in-sourced job's generated value, accounting for the cost of paying the worker, and the outsourced job + the other created job's values, accounting for the cost of paying them. While the pay in the second scenario will almost certainly be higher, the value may be much greater too.

Now note I'm not saying these numbers are correct, I'm just saying you are quite wrong.

By using the same sort of understanding that you are lacking, we can actually show a much greater case that there is something fishy about these numbers. Often in this sort of situation, there is what we call "low-hanging fruit", initial actions you can take which will have great results, and then you eventually get into "diminishing returns". If outsourcing a single job is capable of creating enough value to support the pay of nine new workers, than that strikes me as still being well into the "low-hanging fruit" stage, and people ought to still be aggressively outsourcing as the gains are so obvious and big. However, it is also obvious that outsourcing has either slowed or is starting to slow, and the backlash is well into the "development" stage... and note that's not a legal backlash I'm referring to, but people pointing out it doesn't seem to actually save much money. That's also a stage these sorts of things go through, and that occurs when the low-hanging fruit is basically gone and the new-comers are noticing they aren't getting the promised results.

Thus, I would expect the correct statistic is that you can expect a 1.3x-1.8x improvement for an outsourced job, which is the range where you start questioning the whole thing, although with large variation. ("Large variation" also implies that there will be many people who lose, which would also start to contribute to the backlash.)

Now that's a criticism of the numbers.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (1)

Why is My Ass Bleedi (966775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091370)

What he's doing is making a ludicrous argument using the claims of the person being interviewed. If I tell you that for every canybar sold I earn $0.25 and you go and fill a bag with 10 candybars and I charge you $50 you're going to ask me what's going on. Well of course my rates change. I didn't specify what relationship if any between the number of units purchased and the cost per unit, or what role if any time plays. The point is that the statement is meant to be misleading, because the listener presumes that the person making it is trying to say something about the significance of outsourcing on the domestic economy. After all, the point is to tell me why believing a lot of the science/engineering work is being exported and I should major in something that pays better instead is wrong, isn't it? Shouldn't the data they're providing me be compelling?

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091475)

(Note this is a reply to someone that is probably below the reader's threshhold.)

If I tell you that for every canybar sold I earn $0.25 and you go and fill a bag with 10 candybars and I charge you $50 you're going to ask me what's going on. Well of course my rates change.

Your argument is incoherent. If you assume that from a claimed profit margin of $.25, that I can derive anything on the final cost, that's your error, not mine. In fact, due to the wonders of advertising the cost to me may be lower than your profit.

(For reference, I recall seeing that the average profit margin in the Fortune 500 is on the order of something like 5%, and if I'm screwing up either way, that's probably high. For a $.25 profit, that's a cost to the consumer of $5. So ironically, all else being equal and assuming you were a reasonably efficient company in a competitive market, your "surprising" price is close to the correct guess!)

I actually thought I understood what you were getting at, but the more I read your post the less I understood. I think the statistics may be wrong, but I think what you think is "misleading" is actually your own fuzzy thinking on the topic.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (1)

Why is My Ass Bleedi (966775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091506)

The entire point is that the information provided is misleading because it's useless information provided to encourage an outcome in someone's decision-making purpose. So on top of not knowing what the word ironic means, you load your post full of some tangential nonsense. What else can you expect from Slashdot, really? Learn how to read.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (3, Insightful)

stevejobsjr (409568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091386)

Where does it say outsourcing a job CAUSES 9 jobs to be created?

It just happens to be than there is a ratio of 1 outsourced job to 9 new American jobs.

I guess posting on Slashdot doesn't mean good understanding of cause and effect.

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (2, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091507)

Where does it say outsourcing a job CAUSES 9 jobs to be created?
Well, it doesn't say that! I guess that's why I said I could "infer" (draw a possible conclusion from someone's implication, intentional or otherwise, in this case, I think intentional).
It just happens to be than there is a ratio of 1 outsourced job to 9 new American jobs.
Yeah? Your point?
I guess posting on Slashdot doesn't mean good understanding of cause and effect.
Or cynicism for that matter.

-Best Regards...

Re:I guess good CS doesn't mean good math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091416)

What he meant was.

Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the India...

I'll be here all week.

Retail (0, Offtopic)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091215)

Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S.

Yeah, nine new jobs in retail: the world's most depressing and soul-sucking career.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

hmmm ... (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091230)

"Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S."
 
Translation: the tools will be created in Asia, while service jobs to implement the tool at a customer site will be done by US IT "consultants."

Re:hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091296)

BUZZZ... WRONG !

My friend, speaking from INSIDE the horse's mouth (check my IP)... I can tell you that the *interesting* portions of ANY outsourced project, have either been performed in the US, or will be done there later.

Take the example of C coding only... The entire solution has already been designed by the original customer before a project enters the "off-shore" regions. THAT is where the Comp Sci and Comp Engg guys can really *earn* the money, so to speak.

The most brilliant piece is, that what is done in an outsourced job is the *dullest* work... like converting pseudo-code to C Code. Or doing up the GUI in VB right down to the last pixel ( NO originality is tolerated actually. It has to be *just* so)

So really, it's just the old world... buy cotton cheap, make them clothes here, resell it to the places you got the cotton from. woot!

(OT: So if ban outsourcing you get rid of this pseudo-semi-post-neo-colonialism. Wow. Humanitarian AND deadly)

Re:hmmm ... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091321)

> "Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S."

>> Translation: the tools will be created in Asia, while service jobs to implement the tool at a customer site will be done by US IT "consultants."

Translation: Figuring out what the customer really wanted and writing up the change requests.

Feh. That doesn't require a CS doctorate, just the listening and language skills that would have been used if the job hadn't been moved offshore in the first place.

From the article (5, Insightful)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091231)

Why do women shy away from this field? Reason number one is the view that it is for loners and geeks.

That's because, mostly, it is. Trying to pretend that it's not isn't going to help things. Some kinds of jobs attract some kinds of people and we just have to accept that.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:From the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091271)

There's no denying that some jobs in this area are best for the loner/geek stereotype, but then some of the most successful CS grads I know are women who don't meet the stereotype at all -- they're good at dealing with people and quite social! In some work contexts this actually makes them better than their fellow grads who do completely fit the loner/"bad geek" stereotype, but that's an argument for another day...

If you take the attitude that "women don't belong here", then that will be the reality -- but if you look at the women who DO make it onto the CS courses and outstrip the lads academically and in the job market later in life, then surely it would be better for the discipline if it were made easier for women to participate?

Re:From the article (1)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091314)

There's no denying that some jobs in this area are best for the loner/geek stereotype, but then some of the most successful CS grads I know are women who don't meet the stereotype at all

This is the but-my-grandfather-smoked-two-packs-a-day-for-his- whole-life-and-lived-to-be-95 argument.

If you take the attitude that "women don't belong here", then that will be the reality

Please show me where I said "women don't belong".

surely it would be better for the discipline if it were made easier for women to participate?

I am all in favor of removing any unfair barriers to participation, but I am not in favor of trying to pretend the field is something it is not to get more people interested.

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

Re:From the article (0, Troll)

Josh teh Jenius (940261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091391)

Hey Grey:

Does this remind you of when the Pres. of Harvard was chewed out for sharing some statistical facts?

Why does this world hate the truth so damn much?

Sort of agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091309)

Why do women shy away from this field? Reason number one is the view that it is for loners and geeks.

That's because, mostly, it is.

Yes and no. Most IT projects I've been on have been a team environment. Yes, you'll get your own piece to work on, but there's shit load of interaction with others: other programmers, architects, business analysts, etc... If that were made more appearent, then I'd think it would attract more women. The other thing that needs to change is the attitude that IT IS for guys only. I've seen many times when the female in the group wasn't treated as part of the team - even though she was. People would work with her, but (I don't know how to put it) she wasn't really a member. It's changed a bit, ironically, because of more Indians and other foreign workers. I see many more Indian women working in IT than I do American born women.

Re:From the article (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091341)

It doesn't have to be at all.

But I can tell you from personal expiriance talking to my female friends at school (I'm a guy) that they get hit on. A lot. By geeks. And nerds. And losers. And nice guys.

But that tension is there, at least in the beginning. As you get further into your degree and know you classmates better then the girls are seen by more people as colleges instead of "the girl" which many may see them as up front.

It's not terrible, but don't think that being a girl in a CS program would be just like if you were the girl in the Fine Arts or as an English major.

Re:From the article (4, Insightful)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091454)

That's because, mostly, it is. Trying to pretend that it's not isn't going to help things. Some kinds of jobs attract some kinds of people and we just have to accept that.

That's not true.

Everything I do in at work [ibm.com] is a team effort. In fact, working as a loner is a very quick way to annoy many people crucial to your success, and kill your career. On top of that, I'd say that it's becoming increasingly hard to do anything significant as a loner, because new systems and applications are too massive to be developed by a single person.

I see a sort of natural selection at work, where those that have the "soft" skills and people skills tend to be more successful, and those that don't get stuck on a more "standard" career path. Maybe where you work it's that way, but at IBM (at least in Austin), things are different.

~ Mike

Re:From the article (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091511)

I see a sort of natural selection at work, where those that have the "soft" skills and people skills tend to be more successful, and those that don't get stuck on a more "standard" career path. Maybe where you work it's that way, but at IBM (at least in Austin), things are different.

Having worked a contract at one of IBM's places in Austin, I want to chime in and say this is completely correct. At IBM you need the "soft skills" all right. If you don't ass-kiss and boot-lick, you're not going anywhere.

That was the only place I was actually glad they cut my contract short, as it was obvious they weren't interested in keeping someone who focused on getting the work done, as opposed to sucking up to the right people.

Re:From the article (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091492)

Of course. Sitting at a computer for eight hours a day is not a social job. It doesn't attract outgoing people, at least not in the sense that most people mean. The misfits, the unattractive, the nonathletic, those not into participating in sports, the unsocialized, they will and do fit comfortably into a job with little human interaction. And they are overwhelmingly male.

Women will *tend* not to enter a profession loaded with misfit, not-conventionally attractive males with odd social habits. This is what it is.

A quick look at more social occupations shows attractive, outgoing, hypersocial people who would go mad sitting at a desk analyzing code all day. Obviously there is a natural filter in place here, altho of course there are exceptions. Some people who would do well in a hypersocial career such as advertising might just have a yen for solving puzzles and do quite well in CS. But you will see that they become managers and move up that ladder very quickly.

Such is the way of people.

Worked for me (1)

PoitNarf (160194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091234)

I graduated in 2003 with a Comp Sci degree, and I'm am one of the few of my friends that is in a career where things I learned in my classes are actually applied at my job. There is outsourcing I won't deny that, but as the article says it's not as bad as everyone assumes it to be. I was scared at first after graduating and going month after month without a job offer, mostly due to my entry level experience, but I did get several offers later on. If you apply yourself well in your Comp Sci classes, get good grades, and have a good understanding of the concepts then you shouldn't need to worry that much about landing a Comp Sci related job.

The jobs that go to India and China... (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091241)


Aren't the ones that require CS majors, they are the ones that arts majors who have "re-trained, were doing or the ones who did CS as a minor with "business" or media studies.

As someone who has tried over the past few years to hire top rate people I can safely say that CS majors from good universities are still very much in demand. What we don't need is volume, what we need is quality. Volume is what India and China give us, quality is what top rate CS gives us. And the more volume that comes on tap, the more quality people we need.

IT is a GROWING industry, its good to see someone talking intelligently about off-shoring.

Getting a job (1)

Clinton (798067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091247)

I graduated with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics in Dec. 04. Out of 1200 companies I sent my resume via email, fax, and old fashioned snail mail I had 8 interviews. The article says jobs *are* here in the U.S., I call bullshit. I have many friends who graduated with a higher GPA in CS than I had and they're still looking for a job in their field or any IT field, one for 14 months now.

Just where are these jobs that supposedly exist?

Re:Getting a job (1)

marlinSpike (894812) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091301)

Where are you situated? In Northern Virginia for example, getting a techie job is not a problem at all! In fact, my brother-in-law, who is in the market for a senior J2EE position, got five written offers in less than 6 days, all of which exceeded $100K!

Re:Getting a job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091369)

yes there are plenty of jobs for senior level with $YEARS experience in $SPECIFIC_TECHNOLOGY - but it is still very hard to find an entry-level job, those are mainly the ones being outsourced.

Re:Getting a job (0, Troll)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091429)

They
(a) pay too little for you to want them
(b) occur in places where you can't afford to live to the salary they'll pay you
(c) require working in a team, and you don't interview like a "team member"
(d) already know somebody (ie: the job interviews you've gone on already have a "wired" candidate)
(e) want a specific skill class that
        1) you don't have and
        2) probably doesn't even exist

How do I know? I spent a month looking to replace an employee, and got a whopping 2 resume's from a month of online ads and paper ads. And this was for an entry level position. All I needed was somebody fresh out that knew the software I use (the most popular in my industry, by the way) - I would train them in the in-house particulars. I got two resumes - one from a guy with no experience in the software at all, and one from a guy wanting $50k. For a $20-$25k position.

Either you and the employers in your field are looking for different things in your employee/employer relationship, or neither of you are looking in the right place.

As for your friend still looking for a job after 14 months. From the position of a hiring manager, that person is "stale." With a 14 month resume gap, I would suspect that - even if he or she looked good on paper and in person - there is something "wrong" I may not be seeing that others have seen. Dangerous to pull the trigger on that one. That's not necessarily fair (okay, it's not fair at all), but would you buy an '05 car with 2000 miles for full retail price, even if it was the color and style you wanted, when the '07 models were just about to be delivered?

Sorry for being a bummer, but I'm in the office on a Saturday, and am pusing 70 hours so far this week. And I'll be here tomorrow. I haven't taken a pay check since January 1 (all of my employees get paid on schedule, not to fear - and don't cry for me, I'm on pace to make 6 figures this year).

The real title should be: (2, Insightful)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091251)

The real title of the article should be: Power Architecture directions: Two-year-old Academic Initiative enhances computer science curricula, seeks to reverse student decline and sell as much IBM stuff in the proccess. See the following questions from the article:

1) How is the curriculum linked to teaching or use of IBM technology?

2) How can IBM Business Partners participate in the Academic Initiative?

3) Do participating schools gain an incentive, financial or otherwise, to acquire IBM equipment, software, or other technology?

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

And all 9 of those jobs will be filled by H-1bs (0, Flamebait)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091274)

All 9 of those jobs will be filled by H-1bs, who can afford to work for $13,000/year less because they paid between a quarter and a tenth what it costs for an American to get a degree.

Until our immigration program is fixed and there are NO more guest workers, the flip side of outsourcing will be indentured servitude, and still no Americans will get jobs. The only way to fix this is to get rid of the H* programs altogether and only let people work in this country who intend to stay and become citizens.

Re:And all 9 of those jobs will be filled by H-1bs (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091373)

The H1B people by in large would be happy to stay and become citizens. I'd say get rid of H1B all together, or create a very large tax on it (say something like 40% directed to unemployment and training/retraining costs). But its pointless talking about policies that would be good for the American people until we get our democracy back.

Does this mean it's easy to get a green card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091282)

I live in an EU member country. I have an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree in Computer Science and soon I'll obtain Java and Linux certifications.
The job market is very saturated where I live and the money is awful. Not to mention that IT guys get very low respect by manages in companies.
Since there is such a high demand for IT people in the USA,
how easy is it to obtain a green card and to migrate to US?
Do technical qualifications matter?

Re:Does this mean it's easy to get a green card? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091337)

I don't know how it works for comp sci, but I do know that another highly in-demand career makes it trivial to get a green card. Nurses are in such high demand here, that the sometimes years-long process to obtain a green card can be shortened to a few months.

That's Not Why (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091287)

I'm a CIS major. I enjoy it. If you do to, go for it.

But that's not why enrollment is down.

I started college in 2000/2001. The end of the boom. It was VERY obvious that a large portion of the students didn't care about the subject. They weren't too interested in the material. They often didn't know much about how to even use computers above very basic things.

It's clear why there were there. They were in it for the money. At that time all you heard about was the exploding tech sector and 19 year old multi-millionares and getting $90k salaries right out of college. They saw gold and they ran for it. Many of them were very nice people, and some of them tried VERY hard and had a great commitment to the subject that they weren't personally that interested in (I wouldn't be able to do it), but many of them were just trying to slide by to get the money, or had no idea what they wanted to do so they went with the one that had the $$$ behind it.

Now that the bubble has burst (combined with the threat of outsourcing and such, real or imagined) it's not seen as an ultra-lucrative career so people aren't going into it like they used to.

Where ARE they going? From what little I've seen, the new hot things are degrees that get you to accounting (returning favorite), lawyering (classic money maker), or the new hot stuff: biotech. Those are where the gold-rushers are going.

So CS is back to people who want to do CS instead of those people along with gold-rushers, certification mill graduates, and other such people. Big loss.

It will be CS again one day. Google is starting to turn that tide with all the headway it's making.

But the reason CS enrollment is down is the bubble burst and the gold-rushers are gone.

Re:That's Not Why (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091344)

I have to agree, and point out that the same thing is happening to nursing. There's this huge demand for new nurses (ten million new nurses by 2010 is the current pushed figure), and so everyone and their cat at my college wants a nursing degree. They think, oh, I can do that. And some of them are just downright stupid and have no business being in a job with more responsibility than fries and a shake. They figure if nurses are needed, nurses will get paid more and have job security.

Fortunately enough, nursing programs aren't easy, and most of these people won't make through two semesters. But yes, people tend to go for what will make them money, even if they hate it. Comp Sci isn't seen as a feild that will make big bucks anymore. That is enough for most people. "No money? Me no major in it!"

Of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091449)

But yes, people tend to go for what will make them money, even if they hate it. Comp Sci isn't seen as a feild that will make big bucks anymore. That is enough for most people. "No money? Me no major in it!"

The things that I'm interested in (music, art, history, things like that) don't pay shit! And let's face it, money is a necessity. And in this day and age, with medical costs skyrocketing and every other job being off-shored, I can't blame anyone for "going for the money". Do what you love and the money will follow? HA! One of the reasons is that the things that one may love to do is usually loved by many. Mix in supply and demand and voila! Over supply of folks who want to do something - see market for writers, actors, musicians - yeah, yeah, there's the one in ten million chance that you'll hit it big like Tom Hanks or whoever, but the rest of them are waiting tables to pay for food. The whole money thing is the markets placing resources where they're needed. And when you get down to it, a job is a job. I loved programming as a hobby, but when it became a job, I learned to hate it.

I think the only job I'd love is Trust Fund Baby! Hiltons, please adopt me!

Re:That's Not Why (1)

The New Stan Price (909151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091388)

My generation grew up with BASIC staring them in the face whenever they turned on their computer. My first computer was bought on lay-away and we didn't have the money to buy the "external hard drive" needed to play all the good games. Until I was able to get a hard drive, I mostly could only tinker with BASIC. There were magazines that had programs and games that one could "type in" and run.

Today's Operating Systems do not come bundled with a programming language. They seek to remove us further from the inner workings of the computer.

While many do get into computer science to program games, what they will soon find out is that programming games is a lot tougher and more competitive than many other comsci jobs. They will work harder and probably earn less money!

Re:That's Not Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091421)

Excuse me, I meant external floppy drive! Times really have changed!

Re:That's Not Why (1)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091499)

I agree, there are a certain number of, shall we say, shallow students, that were following the smell of money. When I applied to uni (god, 5 years ago now...), there was quite a stuck-up guy who said, and I remember it quite well "I chose Computer Systems Engineering rather than Computer Science because so many people are doing CS that I'll get more money this way".

I didn't like him because he was annoying and felt very superior to everyone, but he can't have been an isolated incident of people following the money rather than doing it for the love. You could at least do a degree you enjoyed and then sell out later (see: history majors taking accounting jobs).

I noticed Gina brought up that actually all the exciting jobs are coming up in the western world because outsourcing is handling the codemonkey jobs, and now everything here is solving problems or using business know-how. She is absolutely right, and the whole market place has become more interesting for everyone in it (my uni has steadfastly refused to turn us out into codemonkeys, making us take business classes alongside the tradtional programming ones). The gold-rushers who dried up are actually losing out, it's exactly the sort of jobs they would have wanted. More for the rest of us.

One can but hope... (1)

Itsacon (967006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091294)

Hehe, I seriously hope there are still jobs in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Otherwise I've chosen the wrong Major :-)

Re:One can but hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091512)

That depends on what you mean by Computer Engineering. If you mean the mostly EE degree with all the essential undergraduate programming classes thrown in (Data Structures, Operating Systems, Programming Languages, Software Engineering, and Analysis of Algorithms), then yes, there's a huge market for CENs. If you know the hardware and can program for it, you have a market for around $55 to $90 per hour doing things like embedded systems programming, avionics OS development, real-time systems programming (which encompasses a huge field), and so forth.

the bottom line (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091329)

To do well in University, take something you're interested in. Just going after the money will lead to worse results and possibly even burnout/dropout.

A job when you graduate isn't unimportant, but life isn't just about going after the most cash.

Out-Sourcing and Open-Sourcing are main causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091333)

Gone are the days when kids could write closed source software, sell it to Microsoft or Oracle or Cisco and cash out and get rich. Gone are the days when VCs would drop in millions to fund software development because today, they tell you to just open source your stuff so that all the "waiting millions" of open source developers can help you remove bugs and make it better. Open sourcing of software has driven down the costs and removed the value from software. No wonder kids aren't going into CS any more. There's more money to be made in Biotech where RMS and his ilk have no presence.

It's not a problem until the wages go up (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091345)

There's no shortage. Employers just aren't paying enough. If they pay more, supply will increase. No problem.

I know some really good young people in the field, both with CS degrees from Stanford. One is running a hedge fund. One is going to work for a derivatives firm in NYC. And they're both making tons of money. When IBM is willing to match what they're making, they can get people like that.

Most of the "get more women into the field" noise comes from employers wanting to cut costs by paying women less.

Re:It's not a problem until the wages go up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091456)

If you're graduating from a top school and want to make big bucks, go to Wall Street, or maybe go to law school and bid for partner track on of the old shoe firms. That's been true for the last 30 years. Only during the late '90s bubble was CS seen as *the* high-paying field, and that's probably not coming back in our lifetimes.

Re:It's not a problem until the wages go up (1)

xenoterracide (880092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091513)

not so much as wanting to pay women and minorities less but getting a $$$ break from the government to hire them.

Shhh! (1)

dwalsh (87765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091359)

... fewer graduates means greater salaries for us! Pass it on.

Like it or not, we really are all in this together (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091361)

... and the proof is in open source projects like linux and FSF, which does not descriminate upon where you live.

Why in the hell is there such outcry in outsourcing?

Or are there really that many people who feel they need to keep others suppressed economonically?

Not only is the outsource cry wrong but computer science has yet to get Abstraction Physics right.

I bet you could overlay the reasons for the 300 year delay in converting from roman numeral mathmatics to the much easier and more powerful hindu-arabic decimal system with its zero (nothing has value) place holder, over onto this evolution of computer science.

The arrogant and unfair drive to hold onto some social position and high pay, when in fact easier and more powerful means we can open up new values to all of us. (Note: Computer technology could not have been developed with the roman numerial system of mathmatics!)

Maybe the real reason there is a decline in interest to pursue "Computer Science" is due to the underlying feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong the way its being done today. And I suspect such issues as software patentability, or not, battles is a very good indicator of this faultiness in computer science today.

You can make the tying of a shoe sound so complifabucated that even a multidoctorate can't understand it. But doing it, not so difficult.

Its just Abstraction Physics. http://wiki.ffii.org/IstTamaiEn [ffii.org]
 

Re:Like it or not, we really are all in this toget (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091405)

Why in the hell is there such outcry in outsourcing?

When it's YOUR job that gets outsourced, that's when it's a big deal.

Re:Like it or not, we really are all in this toget (1)

Dmack_901 (923883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091448)

People oppose outsourcing for the same reason they oppose "free-trade"; it's not free.

The only thing it is free of is government oversight. But the major reason why these jobs are being exported is because of the cheaper labor, which is a direct result of fewer civil/labor protections. In China you can work people for as long a you want(I suppose). Sure they have a job, but this job isn't helping anyone. Americans lose it. Chinese get it, and are oppressed.

I'm all for trade and outsourcing jobs, so long as the government levies tariffs porportional to the unfair advantages gained by companies in oppressive countries.

Skepticism (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091364)

"Further, for every job outsourced from the U.S., nine new jobs are actually created in the U.S."

As someone else pointed out the last time this came up as a topic, if demand for new compsci people was really so high, wages would go up. Otherwise, it looks more like an attempt to get more suckers to accept less pay, no overtime, etc.

Do you feel lucky? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091366)

You have to pick a major and career. Do you pick the same major as the barrista who serves up your latte's and as the old guy working at Home Depot who got laid off because they didn't feel like providing any training and continuing to provide pension and medical benefits? Comp sci careers have no legs. You'd be better off picking a career with longer term prospects, like suicide bomber.

CS is a bad field to enter (0, Troll)

Equinox11 (712426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091374)

1. You don't get overtime... A lot of times people are expected to work 50-60 hours/week. 2. It's a tough field -- Much tougher than say business or nursing. Failing computer science students often get a business degree.. There is a good reason: The difficulty is a joke compared to computer science. 3. There are way easier fields(say nursing) that compensate more highly, are not subject to outsourcing, and give overtime. 4. There is a huge risk of outsourcing. 5%? Come on.. When is the last time you called a tech support line and got an american? Cisco, Dell, Gateway, Microsoft.. Anywhere you call you speak to someone from India. Any kind of "Government study" from the Bush administration isn't exactly reliable. 5. No one understands your job, this often comes with lack of appreciation for the contributions made to an organization. 6. No licensing -- Someone can study for 2 weeks, get a MCSE and take over a lot of peoples jobs. They won't be as good as someon with a degree but see #5. In short-- Don't enter this field.. There are more highly rewarded skills you can pursue for a lot less effort.

Re:CS is a bad field to enter (1)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091443)

Yes, please do not take CS as a major...after all we don't want yet ANOTHER generation of innovators. take biz. courses so you can be a market drone and sell last generations crap cause you didn't want to spend the effort to INNOVATE. sounds like a smart thing for me to do... where's that number for my college... i need to get out of CS classes...
oh, wait, i LIKE learning more indepth about computers than any MORON that thinks he is king shit just because he can pass tha tests for his/her MCSE.
1. You don't get overtime... A lot of times people are expected to work 50-60 hours/week.
hmmmm last i checked, SALARIED employees didn't get overtime... the get X amount a year for working. Look at a management position, they mostly don't get paid overtime.
not to mention the tech support issue you brought up... WHO THE HELL WOULD GET A CS MAJOR AND EXPECT TO WORK TECH-SUPPORT??? a CS major is WAY over qualified for help-desk. you can get degrees in less than a year at tech schools for help desk positions. a CS grad. would be more for systems analyst or engineer at large companies.

Re:CS is a bad field to enter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091468)

That's the way it may seem for those who aren't fit for computer science. But for those who are, there's nothing else they can really imagine doing. I would rather work 60 hr/week doing something I'm interested in, instead of working 40 hr/week and hating every second of it. The people who are really fit for computer science fields are those who aren't in it for the money, but just like it.

Re:CS is a bad field to enter (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091484)

IBM/Lenovo gets you to a call center in Atlanta. I've spoken to more people with thick southern accents there then any other tech-support I have called.

Generalized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091376)

I'll admit I haven't done much research on the subject, but can someone provide some insight into what the "Computer Information Science" major involves other than software development/engineering? Like if I wanted to get a CIS degree in Computer Networking (NOT involving programming) are there options to get a bachelor/masters degree in this? Is this something available at most Universities?

Computer Science... isn't (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091389)

The discussion so far in this thread has done nothing but reinforce my impression that the inclusion of "Science" in "Computer Science" is about as accurate and meaningful as its inclusion in "Social Science".

Re:Computer Science... isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091481)

Unfortunately job prospects in industry remain unclear for those of us who are studying CS as science(--actually its more like math--discrete math to be precise). Are companies looking for graduates who have learned how to analyze and design algorithms but have not been too excited about scavenging for the `flavor of the month skill set' ??

Re:Computer Science... isn't (4, Insightful)

MrDomino (799876) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091503)

As said by Edsger Dijkstra:

We now know that electronic technology has no more to contribute to computing than the physical equipment. We now know that a programmable computer is no more and no less than an extremely handy device for realizing any conceivable mechanism without chaning a single wire, and that the core challenge for computing science is a conceptual one, viz. what (abstract) mechanisms we can conceive without getting lost in the complexities of our own making. But in the mean time, the harm was done: the topic became know as "computer science" - which, actually, is like referring to surgery as "knife science" - and it was firmly implanted in people's minds that computing science is about machines and their equipment. Quod non. (These days I cannot enter a doctor's, dentist's, or lawyer's office without being asked my advice about their office computer. When I then tell them that I am totally uninformed as to what hard- and software products the market currently offers, their faces invariably get very puzzled.)

Intellectual "property" and computer science (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091409)

As far as I'm concerned, the core problem is the USA's patent law. Patent monopolies destroy free markets in the monopolised thing, by definition. At best, all that can exist is a free market in the patents themselves. So, we have a situation where the free market in stuff computer scientists do well, the service of writing programs to make a computer achieve some stated end, is sacrificed in favour of a free market in stuff lawyers do well, quibbling over bits of paper granting monopolies on being the only people allowed to achieve some end (and don't give me crap about patents only covering one way of doing something, (a) sometimes there IS only one sane way, and (b) patent lawyers pride themselves on making patents as general as possible).

So we have STARTING OUT patent people getting salaries of >USD100K [google.com] , and computer scientists being told they should just simmer down and accept USD13K salaries like those of workers in developing countries. The indisputable fact is that while patent (and to a lesser extent copyright) monopolies over software exists, a free market in the service of writing software doesn't.

If I were training today, there's no way I'd train in computer science if intended to stay in the USA. It's just become too hostile to real innovation, with politicians clapping themselves on the back because they think more patents == more innovation, when the opposite is true.

You might argue that patents are valuable [in the strict sense of capable of being assigned a value and having large value], and that patent attorney salaries are commensurate with that value. This is trivially true but not actually a relevant argument: of _course_ a U.S. patent is valuable, it's a right to prevent 300 million people doing something for 20 years. But a legal right being valuable doesn't make it right it should exist. If slavery is legal, being a slave owner is likely to pay much better than being a field laborer who charges a fee. While slavery exists, the market value of the field laborer is depressed, and the slave owner is rich. You'd be a fool to choose to be a laborer rather than a slave owner if the choice was yours and you didn't care about ethical considerations.

Patents and copyrights depress the market for being paid for the thing that computer scientists are good at: writing new code.

cleaning of the kruft (1)

ramar (575960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091410)

After the dotcom bust, enrollment was largely cut back down to those who were genuinely interested in the industry, not just after a quick buck. For that, we should all be grateful.

Report from the trenches (5, Insightful)

mrsam (12205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091413)

I graduated with a Bachelor's in a double-major of Comp Sci, and Applied Math, 16 years ago, and have been working ever since.

The barrier to entry, today, is unquestionably higher than it was years ago. If you're coming out of college today, expect to rough it out for 5-7 years. Then it gets easier. Much, much easier. If you know what you're doing, and you're good at it, outsourcing is not going to bother you.

The key to success, in this racket, is to love programming. You should've known that this is what you want to do with your life -- computer programming -- even before you've gotten your high school diploma.

If you're looking at a career in IT as a means of earning a living -- forget it. It's not going to work for you. You need to be naturally drawn to programming. If you're naturally driven to this (I sat down in front of an Apple II at age 12, and that's all she wrote), then it's only a matter of time before you claw your way to the top of the heap, and from that point on, it's easy going. Do not be concerned even if things look very bleak, the first 5-6 years out of college. Learn as much as you can, when you go home, spend all your free time "scratching an itch", and a few years down the road you will have the experience and knowledge to run rings around everyone else.

I hear all the woes that people are saying, and just quietly smile, internally. I work in what's considered to be the toughest IT environments in the world: Wall Street. People get eaten alive, around here.

Yet, I moved into my first house at age 21, paid off its 30-year mortgage eight years later, sold it, bought a second house two years ago, and I expect to pay off THAT mortgage next year. I get into the office around 9, and leave around 5. I'm not a wage slave, I don't work myself to death. I work as an independent consultant programmer, so if the company wants me to work 12 hours a day, they will have to pay for it. It's funny how the expectations of IT people to work 12 hours a day disappears, when the company has to pay for it (I'm under strict orders not to work more than 40 hours a week, anything more requires advance authorization).

I remember hearing the headhunters' sob stories, as long as ten years ago, about all these Indian outsourcers taking a dozen H-1Bs, throwing them together into one, tingy, dingy house somewhere on Long Island, paying them $30/hr, and billing each one out for $40/hr; and undercutting everyone else.

Strangely enough, I've somehow managed to avoid getting undercut all this time. Yes, I see a lot of Indians around here. But, they're all low-level admins, who really don't do anything that requires any kind of sophistication. If you enter the market today, you WILL have a lot of competition to deal with, at first, for entry-level/low level spots. Once you get past that, though, the landscape changes dramatically.

I'm currently involved -- amongst other things -- with the management's hiring push. We're trying to hire as many high-level, experienced, developers as we can find. Wall Street has done very well in the last year, everyone is reporting record profits, everyone has hundred dollar bills coming out of their assholes, more cash than they know what to do with, so everyone's trying to hire as many good people as they can.

Based on interviewing a whole bunch of people over the course of the last 3 month, I can say: if you have your shit together, and you know what you're doing, you won't have any problems.

Computer Science as a Major and as a Career (1)

infiniphonic (657188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091414)

This restores my faith that one day when I graduate I will be needed.

5% - Today (1)

tshak (173364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091418)

The percentage of the total number of jobs in this space is quite small -- less than 5%.

Today. This is because we are still learning how to properly train utilize offshore resources. Distributed software development is in its infancy. As methodolgies mature this percentage will grow. If I have a smart and passionate student to guide I would guide them clear of the software development career path. It pays good (but not great) today, but its future is uncertain.

It's not rocket science folks (1)

gluteus (307087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091419)

This field has the following black marks against it:

  • Relatively low salary relative to the education required.
  • Often insane workloads with zero compensation (anyone here who HASN'T done unpaid overtime?).
  • Little chance at career advancement.
  • Casting off senior people (married, with kids) as liabilities.

Sure, if this is your passion (or possibly you have some mental illness), you may want to follow this career path. It may even work out for you. Lots of people end up just fine.

But it sounds like the smarter ones are looking elsewhere.

Computer Science as a Major: NOT !! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091423)

Young folk !!
Do not believe those business types !!!
They LIE LIE LIE !!

I'm NOT amused by those leeches ( business types)
who claim that more CS grads are needed. I keep
that in mind when I interview, but I won't say anything...
neither will anyone I know.

The IBM person didn't mention that the industry is
a double whammy for no jobs: outsourcing as well
as IMMIGRATION !!

And 3rdly, lets not forget age discrimination.
There's a lot of those looking for work, but industry
has it's sites set for certain "Classes" of people.
More could be said, but 2/3 of the readers are looking
to reinforce the shortage notion, so I won't.

so, industry has no sympathy from me, and to protect my job,
I often and loudly tell anyone who will listen that the
Computer Industry is NOT A WAY to earn a living.

signed,
Anonymous, since Big Brother is reading my email,
and companies use detectives to track down personal info.

Wow this is good news... (1)

RickBauls (944510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091424)

This is what I have been wanting to go to college for, but I've been scared that the job market is too saturated.

They're lobbying for more H1b's (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091435)

Hence the endless 'no problem here' stories and IBM staff with their talking points ready.

There's currently a lobbying effort to get the cap taken off the H1Bs to try and drive down the IT market cost in the USA even further.

Im startin school next year... (1)

Tanmi-Daiow (802793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091442)

Im goin to college starting this fall for a double major in CS and Math. I was thinking about eventually goin for a PhD but i don't know how soon, might be 5-10 years after i graduate for that. I was wondering if anyone has any good advice for me.

level set (1)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091453)

  • university education != vocational training
  • IT jobs != service industry jobs
  • economies of scale != global economy
  • The US government has no regulation or process for the reporting on or the tracking of jobs being outsourced to foreign countries. Any number or fact provided by anyone is an uneducated guess. Moreover, the number reported will most likely be favorable to whatever position the reporting entity supports.
  • If you want to make a shitload of money in the next 5 to 10 years get your ass to southeast Asia.

CS Demand (1)

Blue Mandelbrot (951902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091464)

There are certain sectors where Computer Science majors are currently in very high demand, and there is little or no outsourcing of these jobs. Defense, and government work typically offers great benefits, and due to the nature of the work, there is little chance of it being outsourced. Defense spending is at an all-time high and companies in this sector (Lockheed, Northrop, General Dynamics, Raytheon, GE, Boeing, etc.) are currently reaping the benefits of this. So while there is some outsourcing in other sectors I would not let this deter you from choosing CS as a major. The demand for bright graduates who can engineer solutions to complex problems has been and will continue to be there...

Trying to stop the bleeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091467)

Some folks are beginning to see that the current trend can only last so long. Sending the work overseas that requires less experienced developers and leaving the jobs requiring more experienced engineers here in the US seems like a great plan...short term. In 10 years and beyond the experienced engineers are going to move on to management, other careers, etc. Who fills those positions when there are few young computer science majors / engineers being groomed to take on those jobs.

My own manager at IBM explained to me that in this global marketplace, IBM simply cannot compete without sending jobs abroad. His plan was for every US position he needed 2 in India. That didn't equate to creating any jobs in the US, but rather shifting work to India.

I'm not buying what you're selling Gina...

This is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091479)

I worked for IBM. We had more H1-B Visa workers in my office than US citizens.

Also, my wages since I got out of college (1996) has actually not grown to the same level that most other technical and engineering jobs have. Each time I changed companies, I took a pay CUT, not an increase because there's always someone looking to take a starting wage.

Oh, and while I'm ranting about IBM, they lost a lawsuit for their business practices (mandatory unpaid overtime), laying off/firing workers before they were vested, and constantly hiring temp workers on a rotating door policy to keep the wages low.

Yah kids, go for you CS degree. There's always a minimum wage...

-Mc

Good luck if you're over 60 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15091482)

If you're over 60 years old, good luck finding an IT job, or keeping the one you have for long. I've seen at least 3 people over 60 at my current employer (Fortune 500 co.) get laid off for pretty much lame reasons, even though they cranked out the work well. The current environment is to hire younger guys, pay them less and let the older people go.

Only solution I guess would be to get your PhD and teach once you reach an elevated age group...

And we believe an article from IBM? (5, Insightful)

br00tus (528477) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091496)

It doesn't even require a moment of thinking to realize an article on IBM.com about this sort of thing is propaganda. What is the article trying to do? Get us to spend tens of thousands of dollars, at our own expense, to pay for skill training so we can then go see if a corporation like IBM wants to employ as as a wage earner on an "at-will" basis. It tells us not to worry about the jobs being out-sourced.

Then it tells us how many new jobs are being created in this field. This is an old trick. I have a cartoon that is a century old of Mr. Block (a recurring character who is basically a rube) travels out west because of newspaper ads about how many jobs are out there and how good they are - he travels thousands of miles and finds out that there are only a few jobs and hundreds of people like him lured in by the ads. Beyond this the job is not as good as promised by the ad - once the bosses have all these suckers competing for a few jobs, they can pay less, increase the hours and have better working conditions. So this sort of nonsense has been going on for a long time.

As other people pointed out, this article does not talk about H1-Bs. IBM is part of the ITAA [itaa.org] which is trying to push the H1-B cap up. They spend tons of money in Washington DC and what tchnical professional organizations are spreading money around counetring that? The IEEE? The IEEE gets a great deal of its money from the same corporations funding this, menaing the IEEE is not a real professional organization like the AMA, ABA and so forth. You can read more about how the IEEE is controlled by these companies here [slashdot.org] .

Does any of this set off bullshit detectors? "Also, a lot of students don't understand the flexibility they can have. You can travel the globe; you have flexibility whether working from an office, from home, full-time, part-time." I am a UNIX sysadmin. I can work from home, part-time? Give me a break, I can do neither. I would love to have a "part-time" UNIX sysadmin job in the sense of only working 40 hours a week. And I can do this for 20 hours a week supposedly? And what's this nonsense about working from home? If I never had to go into the office, I never would. This is a lot of BS, I don't even know why this was posted. Of course, a few of these jobs exist, and we can get away with working from home once in a while, but 99% of jobs be it sysadmins, programmers, DBAs or network admins are at the office and full time, meaning over 40 hours a week.

Another thing is the article does mention "voluntary" attrition being a reason for the lack of people. But of course it never says why people are leaving. They are leaving because they are not getting paid enough to work the hours they do, and having to put up with the BS they have to.

As far as saying there are X many jobs out there, it is really meaningless. Let me create 10 million new jobs right here - I have 10 million openings for C/C++/Java gods, DBAs and sysadmins. The pay is a dollar a week and you have to do a lot of shit. There, I just created 10 million new jobs. If you believe in capitalism and neoclassical economics, and obviously these people do, then supply should always equal demand, if you have X many new jobs that are so great in terms of pay etc., then the market will automatically meet them. This is what is believed from Keynes to Milton Friedman, if you don't believe this you are probably carrying a copy of Marx's Das Kapital. So the idea that there can be a job shortfall is either 1) coming from someone who believes Marx is right and Keynes and Milton Friedman are wrong or 2) someone who is talking out of their ass and just wants people to pay tens of thousands out of their own pocket for an education, so that there will be one more person competing for an IT job, so that the company can then make people work more hours while paying them less money.

Good Career Choice (1)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091498)

This fall I am entering as a Freshman (right out of high school) into Kent State University to pursue a Computer Science degree. This sounds like great news to me.

If you can, definitely major in CS. (1)

brosenth (914047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15091509)

My friends and I who majored in CS have *far more* opportunities than our colleagues, at higher salaries. The bit of advice I have for you is that there's a lot to learn, and a general CS major won't prepare you adequately. You have to learn a lot on your own also to get into the field. You have to take a lot of classes, and also learn things on your own (PHP web development, database development, Ruby on Rails). And, it takes a couple of years to "get up to speed" enough to do innovative work.

But, if you have the ability to become a software developer, yours is the world and all that's in it.
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