Finally, someone admitting what my friend and I have known for several years.
My friend graduated in 2003 (BSEE) and 2007 (MSEE) from a public university in Silicon Valley (easy to guess which one), and he ended up not finding a career job after graduation.
Many, if not all of his friends, who graduated around that time were like that.
All he got was 6 month contract he and there, and he ended up being on federal UI extension for about 2 years in 2008 to 2010.
However, he noticed that substantial number of foreign students (i.e., students from India) in graduate school seem to have found some kind of job at least until 2011 or so.
Until about 2001, people who received BSEE from this university pretty much were guaranteed to find work in engineering at graduation or within 6 months of graduation.
It is no longer like that and the enrollment has been decimated in the past few years (The EE department used to graduate about 150 to 200 undergraduate per year, now it is more like 60 to 70 per year.).
I take courses part time at this university, and honestly, I am losing interest in graduation due to the way job market has been for more than 10 years.
The degree from the university I attend seem to be getting treated like an associate degree from a junior college by employers in Silicon Valley, and that weighs on me.
I had a different friend who used to work at major FPGA vendor A (not X) from 2001 to 2003, and he told me that employees in Silicon Valley hated the existence of Penang, Malaysia operation, which was this firm's outsource design center.
This pretty much guaranteed that NCGs were not able to get an entry level job around here to start their engineering "career."
Of course, the management, especially the CEO, is in love with Penang because it tells the employees in Silicon Valley that they need to keep their salary expectations down while he made $10 million in stock option during 2010-2011 period.
When I was an "intern" (My skill is really a mid to senior contractor level because I learned to design with FPGA on my own, but I needed money, so I got in as an "intern.") at major FPGA vendor A in 2011, the management has outsourced so much work to the point that Penang was designing most of 2 of the 28 nm process FPGAs (low and mid range).
Silicon Valley people at this firm had the lowest employee satisfaction rate according to their internal employee survey, and I was not surprised to see this (Interestingly, Penang had the highest satisfaction rate even though they get paid 1/3 of Silicon Valley employees.).
When I did an interview with a memory chip startup in 2013, one Indian descent early 50s looking engineer told me, "Wow, it is really hard to find someone with VLSI background in your age group. They tend to go to Internet or software companies. You are really rare."
I ended up getting turned down by this firm (I am a white U.S. citizen.).
The way the Top 1% of the Silicon Valley is running these firms are similar to how Wall Street banks and brokerages are ran which is short term cost oriented financial management is their No. 1 concern, and considering that the knowledge in engineering trade is not being passed down to older babyboomer generation to millennial generation, I am not too optimistic that Silicon Valley or U.S., for that matter, can compete with countries in Asia in 10 to 20 years in the hardware design area (manufacturing is largely lost, especially in Silicon Valley).
As for myself, I no longer plan to work for an employer and I plan to start my own FPGA-related design service business. I am likely going to have to struggle in my career and life, but I rather do this than working at a retail store.
In addition, individuals can take on most tech jobs - such as coding, database, networking - without having university degrees. I think this trend also contributes to reduced engineering enrolment in schools.
There are those saying that college is a waste of money--you come out in debt and can't get a job. There are also those who say just learn to code and you can make a decent living without college.
"The 25-35 year old engineer is not doing test or semi or embedded. They do Java, Python, database, web front ends and mobile, Android and iOS. That is what the cool kids were doing when they graduated, so that is their expeince."
Actually, I've read that some manufacturing is returning to the USA particularly if your product requires high quality and careful control of what parts actually get manufactured into your product. You can get quality manufacturing in China, but from what I've heard it requires a great deal of effort -- and thus cost. If your volumes aren't big enough to warrant that effort, you may be better off in the USA or Europe.
A recent example of this is the Raspberry Pi, which originally was to be manufactured in the UK but costs required that the first large-scale manufacturing be done in China. However, once volumes reached a certain point they moved production to Wales and had better quality. If your product is mostly assembled by SMT robots, the labor cost difference no longer applies.