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U.S. engineers at a disadvantage. Join the conversation

9/15/2009 11:00 PM EDT
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tommyb82000
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re: U.S. engineers at a disadvantage. Join the conversation
tommyb82000   10/28/2009 12:28:52 AM
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My advice to any student looking to get into engineering is to think of the profession not only as a lab rat building cool stuff, but also from an economics standpoint. One of the major advantages US engineers have is that we have been a Capitalist economy for quite some time now, and therefore we are brought up Capitalist ideals (let's hope this current administration doesn't abolish that). That said, if you design from a Capitalist's viewpoint, you will be worth the extra buck and management will recognize that. Foreign engineers are just lab rats... some are really good, but they don't understand the big picture. Capitalism is what always puts Americans on top.

tromby24
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tromby24   10/26/2009 6:21:08 AM
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would that be an advantage for the US or a disadvantage? UK Bad Credit Debt Consolidation

Jonah Probell
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Jonah Probell   10/25/2009 11:21:16 PM
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If they could, those Chinese engineers would move to the US, keeping innovation here. Raising H1-B visa limits makes US politicians appear to voters as soft on illegal immigration. Tight H1-B caps ensures that most entrepreneurship, and future engineering jobs, will occur outside of the US.

uzziah0
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uzziah0   10/22/2009 1:48:10 PM
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The company I work for has engineering in China, but they are the application layer only. We develop the OS and hardware interface layers, as this seems to take too long for our engineering in China. My guess is that they don't have the education and experience to do this (I've seen their code on other programs, and it is not well organized and definitely not modular). Right now we have a group developing the OS and hardware interface for their program. So, someone in management figured out this division of labor based on expertise (at least for my group) and it seems to be going well. We are also hoping the software we develop can be used on other programs here in the US. Good and Bad: The good of this is that we are doing work for products to be sold in China, the bad is we are giving our Chinese engineers our work - perhaps that will end up being bad if they take over all development of software. So far, it is looking good.

John.w
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John.w   10/20/2009 8:18:20 PM
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Hello, I am a Electronic Technician here in the Chicagoland area and I just received this weeks copy of EE times. I have some issues with the wining that is going on. Since choosing technology as a career I have come to the conclusion that everything that I do is project oriented. Whatever I do has a beginning and an end that leads me onto my next project. I have worked for many local small business and they also have a beginning and an end. I currently own a business and I know that it too will have an end. One of the concepts that I have recently come across is a concept I call "team jumping" a team of engineers and technicians will jump from one project to another knowing what they may have learned from the last project may apply or may not apply to the next. Sometimes the team will incorporate and use a businsess model for a while, create something, license it off to somebody else, write the final checks to the team members and then desolve the business. Onward to the next big idea they go! Ideas just don't run off to china by themselves. If the idea runs off to china before it gets to fuition, scrap it and start on something new! The longer you keep it off the web and limit your market to local rather than a global audience, the better off you are. Newspapers were great for this. An example of this would be a population of 60,000 people at one point had a Chevy, ford, and Plymouth dealer. They all advertised in the newspaper at different times of the week and they all profited. Today, those same 3 dealers compete with other Chevy, ford, and Plymouth dealers along with the Kia, Honda and Toyotas. All the consumer has to do today is start his computer and browse web for a particular car within driving distance and magically he can choose from 100 different dealers for the same car. Yours, John

Semiconductor Design Engineer
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Semiconductor Design Engineer   10/19/2009 5:51:09 PM
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Well, if you want to "sell trinkets on the street"? How about just going to your local flee market, craigslist, or the other myriad of mechanisms for selling homemade beer warmers or what not...

mr88cet
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mr88cet   10/16/2009 6:19:48 PM
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I think there's more to it than just lower pay. I think that US jobs and careers are to institutionalized. My wife being from China, I recently got back from a visit to various places there. In China, people just do whatever they can and need to do to make a living. If a store needs somebody to clean up a vacant shop site so that they can open a new store there, people seem to just show up and they hire and pay them on the spot. If you want to sell trinkets on the street, you just find a good area of the sidewalk, spread out a cloth put your trinkets on them and start selling. In the US, it's very different. I'm an engineer, so I have to do engineering work, right? I also signed an employee agreement that basically says that my company owns every idea my mind conceives, so I can't invent anything and market it myself, even if it has nothing whatsoever to do with my company. Not too many outlets for iinnovation or entrepreneurialism there... If I wanted to sell trinkets on the street, I'd have to hire an attorney to write up contracts with the city and the nearby businesses to use that particular patch of sidewalk, pay rent for it, and get a sales-tax permit. I'd also have to incorporate myself, so that when (not if) somebody sues me, I won't lose my future. And of course don't get me started with the old, "it's a Union call"! In the US, we're really stiff about making a living.

FuraTena
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FuraTena   10/16/2009 4:06:33 PM
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I say we also outsource bottom-liners, lawyers, representatives, senators and finance CEOs. That will bring their wages and egos down to a more realistic level. Say a career politician pulls a fast one. Like not pay his taxes. We''ll send his job fast to India or China. If he complains we'll give him a Singapore bamboo whacking. Same for finance CEOs And when, and if, lawyers start to realize, hey, this offshoring deal is not such a good thing after all, well then we'll let join the end of the line behind the engineers. Wouldn't love to wire your congressman somewhere in SE Asia and ask why is he doing such a crummy job? Cut his salary in half. Take away his benefits like health insurance and retirement plans? Make sure he doesn't feel secure about his job anymore. And if he doesn't like we can talk to him about some new and exciting opportunities as a second tour of duty in Afganistan. Corporate bottom-liners should be amongst the first to go. Maybe that way they'll realize that the bottom line is not so good after all.

DBMonkey
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DBMonkey   9/26/2009 9:24:00 PM
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The big problem with H1-B visas is that they lock in engineers. If you are an engineering manager, you know you can give the least rewarding jobs to H1Bs without complaints, and that they will work more hours per week if requested, without showing up as a salary disparity, since they have a hard time leaving the job. This makes the H1B worker more valuable to management than the US citizen assuming they are both equally capable and have the same salary. On the other hand, if you have a really top-notch international candidate that is better than any US citizen you can find, you can never be sure that you can hire the person here because of the lottery system for allocating them in good years. My solution is just to to have Homeland Security auction off a fixed number (say 20,000) of green-cards (on EBay or whatever) with a minimum bid of say $30k for professionals with advanced degrees. If the engineer you want to hire is really that outstanding, management will pay to hire the guy. This way the US citizen engineer at a particular salary grade is at a cost advantage rather than disadvantage, and management can hire the superstars whenever they want. Google will be able to hire the international geniuses, and Wipro won't have a cost advantage when bringing in guys from India vs. the US citizens.

SiGuy
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SiGuy   9/23/2009 9:34:15 PM
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Just checked out the Chinese job search website "www.51job.com" given to us by will99878898. I typed in the search word "analog" and got 183 jobs in the last day and 254 jobs in the last two days. I compared that to monster.com which gives similar statistics for jobs in the US and I got 22 jobs in the last day and 58 jobs in the last two days. Careful inspection of the Chinese jobs reveals many of these jobs are high end circuit design jobs, not low end assembly, packaging or test jobs. To those who think they can survive by working defense and government electronics we'll see how many of those "good jobs" are going to be around in the coming decades with the US government running unprecedented trillion dollar deficits. I friend of mine calls the US the second Roman Empire. I sincerely hope he's wrong.

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