xrayreality i wholeheartedly agree with your analysis...i.e. academia must fix the engineering education programs. but i still believe that the industry is largely to blame as well. It must create more jobs here in the US instead of outsourcing everything and/or bring in foreign workers who'll accept lower pay than their US counterparts....
Bert Snerd, I agree with you as well!
Prospective engineering students are among the smartest kids in their class (by definition). Of course they have figured out that the expected return on the investment is probably risky. All they need to do is ask a sample of readers of EE Times about their recent experiences in the industry. My bet is that the words uncertainty, outsourcing, and layoffs will be mentioned way more than IPO, stock options, and stability. Anyone disagree?
halherta, it's like the old economic cornerstone: supply and demand. Less engineers, more demand. The old engineers and lucky students get grandfathered in as "engineers", but new ones become accredited with a high-level degree. Employers then can't just hire anyone out of an EE mill, but the bar is set higher for those that want to pursue a proud profession. Look at medicine, sure people will suffer for years through the tough programs and piddly pay. However, once they graduate, whether they work for altruism or some other reason, they will be paid handsomely over the years for it. No such luck with engineering. Imagine if you had to reinvent your degree every 4-5 years and then have your job commoditized anyway?
Note to EE Times Editor:
Please study some web 2.0 sites and make commenting system better.I am sure all EE Times readers agree with me.Sorry to publish this comment here but I have no choice to make better plea.
I partially agree with your analysis. However, even if the engineering program was turned into a more professional accredited program and required students to stay in school for 5-7 years, will that guarantee that engineering graduates will get and hold good successful jobs?
It just might but only with the blessing of the industry. Also a powerful national professional engineering licensing body capable of protecting its own is needed, (essentially a form of union if you like). It must be capable of "convincing" the industry to hire only engineers that are accredited by it.
Unfortunately the industry is more interested in making fast money and getting the product to markets by the fastest and cheapest methods....thats their bottom line. Insuring that their engineers are qualified and well educated is not all that important to them.
The conclusion in my opinion is that both academia and the industry have to own up to this problem that they both have helped create....if not then the decline in US electrical engineers will continue and at higher rates.
High school kids have no idea what the job market is like in engineering or other fields. They will go into engineering if it seems interesting to them.
If we want to perk up interest in engineering, then we need to figure out how to make it more appealing to young people. I think Bill Gates is on the right track: create better science programs in the schools.
There are tons of engineering jobs out there, and there always will be. There is a HUGE population of engineers that are getting ready to retire, and who is going to replace them? It's going to be a lot of chinese, indian and other foreign engineers if lazy American students don't get off their butts, finish school and find an engineering job
You already have the answer in your statement. As much as the accreditation peons would like us to believe, a hard fought, tough curriculum of EE is not a professional degree. Schools now offer diluted MS degrees as "ME", while Indian and Chinese degree mills do the same.
Engineering will continue its decline until the terminal degree is a PhD or accredited version of the MS that's on the same par.
Doctor's have advanced degrees, Lawyers put in their time, what the he11 is wrong with Engineering?
I personally think that the rate of decline in Engineering, specifically electrical engineering is higher than portrayed here. I can completely understand it. Why should one invest 4 years on their life and at least 30-40 grand on tuition and textbooks if there are little to no job opportunities available and a small chance of making any return on this educational investment?
I'm as upset about this as the other guy, but the fact is in this day and age in North America other professional career options such as Doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, teachers are a lot more worthwhile than engineering.