U.S. colleges are simply not spitting out enough computer scientists and electrical engineers to meet the sheer demand
According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has more than 6,000 job openings for software developers and engineers that it canít seem to fill.
It would appear U.S. colleges are simply not spitting out enough computer scientists and electrical engineers to meet the sheer demand.
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Whatís worse, according to the piece, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting another 120,000 new jobs this year that will need to be filled by candidates with computer science degrees, while only 40,000 new computer scientists are expected to graduate. Talk about a deficit.
And itís not just computer scientists in high demand, either. The U.S. Labor Department predicts a flood of STEM (science, technology, maths, engineering) jobs (some 1.8 million of them to be precise) will become available by 2018. Thatís a number America canít currently hope to fill with predicted graduates, even when supplemented by the current influx of foreign workers--unless some rather drastic action is taken.
Both presidential candidates are giving a lot of lip service to the need for more science teachers and a greater focus on STEM in schools, with new federal programs being set up to do just that. So far, $1 billion in taxes is being set aside to fund the initiative, which, despite how it sounds, is not particularly significant. But at least itís something.
The school boards seem to be taking steps in the right direction, too, with indications that STEM will be introduced to kids at an earlier age, in some cases even in pre-school.
But how much of an impact will it make? And Is it enough to solve the talent deficit within the next five to 10 years? If not, whatís the solution?
it started a bit earlier, as the school's quality declined- particularly math education, the basic of the engineering - and it propagated trough the education system. And imagine when - yes when not if! the H1 guys will leave, what will be left over?, lots of master in business-administration and lawyers....
Unfortunately, I found this not to be true. I applied for a job a couple of years ago, and one thing they demanded was my college GPA (and a copy of my transcript). Now, I'm proud of my GPA, but that was over 30 years ago. What relevance does that have to my skills today? Their only answer (and I did ask) was that was their standard application procedure. Maybe HR, maybe coming from another aspect, but definitely unimpressive.
of course, part of the problem is always HR. They advertise a position that requires 10 years of experience in a technology that has only existed for five years, and wonder why they have no qualified candidates!
Also, too many firms focus on the 'perceived' need, i.e. they think that they need a developer with X years of experience with tool Y, and so ignore the candidate that has been doing the job they need, just with tool Z. Looking at the candidates as a whole (something that HR is way too busy to do...) and you would find that there are plenty of candidates out there to get the job done.
I'm only 30 years old but I'm old enough to have heard MSFT and other large tech companies loudly and seemingly incessantly bemoaning the fact that they can't find enough good people. Did it ever occur to these tech companies that, by definition, good people are hard to find?
Notice, you almost never hear Apple (regarded by many as the most innovative tech company ever) complaining about lack of talent; In fact in the past *decade*, Apple has only sponsored 2500 H-1Bs or roughly 4% of Apple's total workforce.
Perhaps MSFT and other non-Apple tech companies will consider how vacuous their claims look from this perspective.
MSFT is a notorious H-1B sweatshop in many respects.
Please encourage your son to shop his resume to various startups. If need be, have him walk his resume door-to-door around various Bay Area tech parks; it's worked for many people I know.
At startups, engineers do the hiring and we are always looking for ambitious, talented recent-college-grads; the pay may be lower than MSFT but he'll almost certainly do more in less time and have a greater impact that at MSFT. He's also young enough to take the risk of a startup failing underneath him.
All excellent comments - right on the mark. What should be remembered is it takes really-really smart people to become engineers. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. And really-really smart people have other options, especially if making a good salary is a priority. When these smart people look at the free marketplace, and they look at salaries, they make choices, and in many cases choose to become lawyers, doctors, accountants, or enter the financial world. A prominent professor at U of P did a study about this recently and reported that there is no shortage of engineers, only a shortage of engineers that will work for what companies expect to pay. The free market has spoken, but no one is listening...
Thanks for the good article and comments...
I agree whole-heartily with Dan. But why not make the interest rate 0 percent? Also...
(1) If the Feds throw $$ at engineering schools, then engineering schools will raise their tuition. There would also have to be cost-containment as part of this program.
(2) Only accredited schools (or schools that place a high percent of grads into tech jobs) should be part of the program.
On a side-note, I think personality plays a part in many engineers not getting hired. I've met so many engineers who can't communicate. Engineering schools need to teach their students inter-personal skills.
Frank, I am sure you did not intend to elude those with mid or low GPAs and cannot find jobs, go into business, or law? I would say that engineers with a law or business degree make excellent executive managers. Worse case those scientist and engineer can always go into music like the band Queen who rocked this world! (go look up their background)
I think you have hit on another factor in STEM graduate hiring. I know a couple new graduates that were picky about where they willing to live. They had problems finding a job. For the graduates who were willing and able to relocate to where the jobs are - no problems.