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Tue Feb 03, 2004 10:02 am
"Tom Joad" <tomjoad_is_at_yahoo.com> wrote in message
The developing world can offer us (and by "us" here I mean
the whole world's economy, not just the West) a well-trained,
highly motivated workforce that can mobilise very large
numbers of employees at comparatively low cost. Those costs
will, of course, increase as nations such as India become
more prosperous overall, but that will take some considerable
time. If the economies of the West wish to compete
effectively without significantly impacting Western lifestyle,
they must find ways of working that *cannot* be made better
or cheaper by the application of lots of skilled, cheap people.
Who says that only the West is capable of working smarter and being
I don't think I did say that. I just said that that's what it
will take. If we can't rise to the challenge, our present leadership
position (real or imagined) will leak away over time.
But the implication of your statment is that only Westerners can be
creative and only Westerners will try new things.
I really don't think that my statement implied that, although
it's certainly true that Western technology has a good track
record of radical (as opposed to incremental) innovation and
improvement. Not good enough, though.
At this point we're already seeing a contraction in the number of jobs
available for engineers in the US. You can only develop these new,
higher powered, more creative skills if you are employed in the field.
If you have had to move on to working at Barnes&Noble or the like
just to eat, you are not likely to have the time or energy left over
to develop these great new creative skills. I know several people who
have now been out of engineering work for six months to two years.
How employable is a chip designer after not working for a year or two?
I can anticipate your next suggestion: "Why don't you start your own
companies?" Well, if I could afford to go six months to a year or
longer without an income, that would be a great idea, but
realistically when you start a company it takes about that long to
generate any income and that's assuming that the company succeeds. In
the meantime people have to pay their mortgages and eat.
Your frustration is evident, and easy to understand. It's fairly
clear that individuals acting alone cannot do very much about this
sort of thing, except by being as flexible as they know how.
On the other hand, individuals can and must play their part in
encouraging governments and industry to make investments in
education and infrastructure. It may not benefit us as individuals
directly, because the lead time for these things to take effect
is so long; but if we don't take these steps as a collection
of individuals, our collective future looks grim.
Perhaps if the US government weren't spending $87Billion to rebuild
Iraq (plus whatever it cost to destroy Iraq), it could afford to give
business development grants and loans to displaced workers so that we
could effectively harness that creativity, but that doesn't appear to
be in the cards.
Although I take your point, I would like to see the investment
even earlier in the chain - young people, education. Nevertheless,
even 5% of your $87bn would go quite a long way towards
Depressingly, quite a lot of people voted for the present
US government, and even now quite a lot of people support its
policies. We've had our fair share of democratically elected
governments doing crazy things in the UK, too.
See, I am trying to think of constructive solutions,
not just 'complaining and whining'.
Indeed, but there has been a fair amount of C&W not necessarily
illuminated by discussion as reasonable as yours.
I recently heard a venture capitalist give a talk and one thing he
said was that unless a startup explicity says in their business plan
that engineering will be outsourced outside of the US, they will not
get VC funding anymore. Well, how about that...
Don't ask me to defend the indefensible.
Indeed. But certainly you can excuse a lot of unemployed US engineers
for being angry about all of this, can't you?
I suspect that by the time [someone does something about it]
it could be too late for a lot of people.
Governments seem to be quite good at that kind of
Jonathan Bromley, Consultant
DOULOS - Developing Design Know-how
VHDL * Verilog * SystemC * Perl * Tcl/Tk * Verification * Project Services
Doulos Ltd. Church Hatch, 22 Market Place, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 1AW, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1425 471223 mail: jonathan.bromley_at_doulos.com
Fax: +44 (0)1425 471573 Web: http://www.doulos.com
The contents of this message may contain personal views which
are not the views of Doulos Ltd., unless specifically stated.
Wed Feb 04, 2004 7:49 pm
I agree. Kids in the US are interested in being MBA's , lawyers and pop
At this point if you met an American high school student that might be
inclined toward going into engineering, would you recommend it to
them? I certainly wouldn't. I would recommend that they get into a
field that cannot be outsourced if they want stability. If they don't
care about stability, they may was well get an art degree as get an
Not now, why bust your ass in college like a slave? Then have the asshole
who partied every week-end and got an MBA be your boss??? I thought we were
harder than pre-med students in my school. Every night of the week was a
Calculus, physics, statics, dynamics, programming languages and later
(remember how "fun" that was?), materials and passive and active circuit
In a pop culture that celebrates losers and degenerates this isn't going to
I've been out of work for a year now. I started back for my Ph.D last year
after I was laid off
and found that an EE Ph.D. is a waste of time and actually hurts your
marketability. The word
"over-qualified" is now a favorite among employers which means "drop your
price", you'll hear this one a lot
with a ph.d. - they've also wised up to the fact that people with advanced
degrees are not necessarily
going to fill the bill better for lesser jobs. If you feel bad now with a
BSEE or MSEE, try to find a Ph.D. EE job
(Hint: you need an 800 GRE score, no attachment to where you presently live,
and lots of luck).
There is definitely no glamour being an engineer. Nor is it going to
make you rich.
Perhaps not, but it used to provide a very solid living. And some of
it was very interesting, creative and intellectually stimulating work.
Most companies, in our prostitute work culture, want to put ZERO into
employee development. I
bought, paid and studied for an MSEE because that was all the training I
*would* get that mattered. The
rest was experience.
Many masters and Ph.d. programs are filled with Asian students. Your
to see one or two Americans in any advanced technology degree programs.
I've been one of those. Was it worthwhile getting a Masters degree?
At this point it seems like it was a huge waste of time and $$$. Even
prior to the downturn it seemed like a waste primarily because
academia was so far behind industry. I came to the conclusion that in
this field you learn a lot more by working in it than by getting an
advanced degree. Most of the professors had no idea what was going on
in industry. They tended to have quaint notions about what industry
must need. I was very disappointed with the whole graduate degree
thing; I thought it was supposed to be about pushing the envelope and
researching new ideas, but it wasn't that way at all. I really can't
see why someone with a new Masters degree would be more desirable to a
company than an engineer with a Bachelors degree who had been working
in the field for a long time, and yet you would see it all the time
back when jobs were posted "Masters degree required". So I decided to
get one just to jump through the hoops. But that's a different
I got my MSEE at Rensselaer Polytech - great school, the professors were
some of the most awarded and acknowledged people in their fields. Also many
of them hadn't
worked for private industry in years. Sure, they worked under grants and
many worked at
IBM or Bell Labs (their only private sector job) for 15 years before getting
But none of them could ever answer the question "How do I design, build and
test something with
almost no resources?" or "How do I judge reasonable cost and resource
Equally unimpressed with higher education are recruiters and personnel
programmers I have met have little or no college background. Indeed many are
product of Microsoft training courses and making lots of $$$ with no
physics course. Don't be to alarmed with the "MSEE Preferred" garbage, if
it usually means the recruiter doesn't know what they are talking about with
the position. The same is to be said about EIT or PE - what a scam that is.
whole overseas/foreign out-source phenomena is due in large part to
shortages. I say the market will correct itself in time, but the India
major source of technical talent is here to stay.
Granted, three or four years ago during the boom there was a talent
shortage in the US and we did need to import workers. Now there is a
talent surplus. If things get better again, how exactly are we
supposed to address the so-called talent shortage? Are we supposed to
go into the highschools and encourage more students to become
engineers when they see that lots of engineers were recently
unemployed? It's not going to give them a lot of confidence that
they'll find work after they graduate.
At this point I agree. I've been at a string of unstable companies with
to offer but a pay-check. Many run by people obsessed with money and view of
employees as little better than day-laborers. It's not unique - I've been in
industry since 1983, I couldn't count the number of people who have "Gotten
out of engineering" or had career changes...
The less engineers in the market the better. The stupid, self-serving job
made in the late 80's were probably based on having 100 resumes for every
Industry drove this and the schools jumped right on board.
If your a kid reading this - change your major if you can. There are guys
with 10+ years
experience looking for work and the economics of doing business in the US
are driving many
opportunities over-seas. Engineering is fast becoming a commodity job. If
you really love
engineering and don't want to change majors, get a passport and learn Hindi.
Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:36 pm
I'm not cringing or whining one bit. The US made their bed and now will lay
in it. It is too expensive and their are too many alternatives to doing
engineering in the US. Why should companies cower to people who can't face
facts? If I can hire an Indian or Asian engineer who has a 3.9 GPA, willing
to work hard for $20,000 bucks/year than why not? These flag-waving idiots
crying about lost jobs sure as hell want a good deal when they go shopping -
and the only reason they would get a good deal is because some business man
got one too.
Competition is good.
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