May 2, 2005 4:37 PM PDT

Gates: Get U.S. schools in order

SEATTLE--Six years ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer caused a mild panic in the stock market by telling a group of business writers that, in his blunt opinion, share prices were wildly overvalued.

Speaking Monday to the same group of journalists here, Chairman Bill Gates avoided any such immediately inflammatory words. Instead, he prefaced a quick tour through technology trends with a warning that the United States is in grave danger of losing its economic advantages to fast-growing nations like China, unless the country restores its lead in education and other policies supporting growth.

"If you look at the trend 10 years ago, the U.S. and China were not that different in terms of the number of engineers graduated," Gates said. "Now we have one-quarter the number of engineers, and the trend is continuing, with the U.S. number going down, and China going up quite a bit...We need to improve our own game, to make sure own slice of the pie stays very large."

Gates is among a handful of technology executives who have issued periodic warnings that the United States is in danger of losing its mantle as high-tech center of the world as the skills of other countries catch up or even surpass those of American workers.

Cisco Systems and Intel executives also have cast recent spotlights on the need to improve schools, and particularly math and science education, in order to remain competitive.

In his speech to the Society of American Business Editors & Writers on Monday, Gates noted that post-Sept. 11, 2001, rules have made it harder for foreign students to come to the United States, and have resulted in as much as a 30 percent drop in enrollment from some areas--another factor he said would ultimately hurt U.S. competitiveness.

He has previously called for an increase in the number of foreign citizens who are allowed into the country to work under so-called H-1B visas.

Alongside the warnings, Gates gave business writers a short list of technologies he thought would fundamentally change computing--and the broader culture--at least as much as the first stirrings of the mainstream Internet changed life during the boom years.

Falling fiber-optics prices, the ability of any companies' software to talk to any other's through XML or Web services interoperability standards, the next generation of 64-bit computing, and improvements in

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Tech jobs, yeah right
Being an ex techie programmer type who is now into education, I feel that the way US business treats high tech employees is one of the problems why we are lagging behind and will continue to lag behind. Yes, the education system has its problems, but if there is no reward for all that tough education, what is the purpose. If you are in the tech field, those jobs come and go and there is not sense of security or loyalty towards company employees who do the work. If the shareholders aint gettin it, its see ya later tech guy. Also, if the jobs are being shipped overseas, again, where is the motivation. Before Industry can point any fingers, they must look at themselves first to check if the incentive is there - its not.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's right
Gates and Co. can't have it both ways. If you want to create a highly skilled and highly educated workforce, you can't pay minimum wage and massive uncertainty with moving more and more R&D operations overseas. People are minimizing risk of unemployment by not going into tech.
Posted by (45 comments )
Link Flag
agreed
Thanks for writing that. I happen to agree.

Keep America going to school, by making sure those that do have a good job waiting for them. take away that hope, and you cause the very uncertainty you complain about.

Stop working to hurt America, and help make her stronger by supporting her workforce with real jobs.

-Alex
Posted by Alex Alexzander (198 comments )
Link Flag
Thats How Evolution Works
Anyone who understand Evolution, must recoginze whats happening in Tech industry, its not like its something new thats going on. Although people fail to notice it when it happens to someone else and start crying out 'Fowl' when it strikes them. In any case Capitalism is closest to the Theory of Evolution, Surivival of the fittest, smartest, and any of '*est'. Also Scientists have been forcasting that human race 200 yrs from now is going to be some version of Chinese or Indian anyways, this is just the very beginning. Prepare yourself the chinese and indians are comming and they are survivors of 1 in million, our schools better be prepared to compete with them or anyways eventuality will be here sooner.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Tech jobs, yeah right
Being an ex techie programmer type who is now into education, I feel that the way US business treats high tech employees is one of the problems why we are lagging behind and will continue to lag behind. Yes, the education system has its problems, but if there is no reward for all that tough education, what is the purpose. If you are in the tech field, those jobs come and go and there is not sense of security or loyalty towards company employees who do the work. If the shareholders aint gettin it, its see ya later tech guy. Also, if the jobs are being shipped overseas, again, where is the motivation. Before Industry can point any fingers, they must look at themselves first to check if the incentive is there - its not.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's right
Gates and Co. can't have it both ways. If you want to create a highly skilled and highly educated workforce, you can't pay minimum wage and massive uncertainty with moving more and more R&D operations overseas. People are minimizing risk of unemployment by not going into tech.
Posted by (45 comments )
Link Flag
Thats How Evolution Works
Anyone who understand Evolution, must recoginze whats happening in Tech industry, its not like its something new thats going on. Although people fail to notice it when it happens to someone else and start crying out 'Fowl' when it strikes them. In any case Capitalism is closest to the Theory of Evolution, Surivival of the fittest, smartest, and any of '*est'. Also Scientists have been forcasting that human race 200 yrs from now is going to be some version of Chinese or Indian anyways, this is just the very beginning. Prepare yourself the chinese and indians are comming and they are survivors of 1 in million, our schools better be prepared to compete with them or anyways eventuality will be here sooner.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
agreed
Thanks for writing that. I happen to agree.

Keep America going to school, by making sure those that do have a good job waiting for them. take away that hope, and you cause the very uncertainty you complain about.

Stop working to hurt America, and help make her stronger by supporting her workforce with real jobs.

-Alex
Posted by Alex Alexzander (198 comments )
Link Flag
Where to begin?
Bill Gates wants greater access to cheaper foreign labor through
expanded H1B visas. But he is concerned that our domestic
educational system is not producing enough engineers? In a free
market econony, people are generally going to persue careers
that are the most rewarding. Why study to become an engineer if
its clear that the payscale for engineers is headed down?
Obviously there are a lot of factors that are driving that trend,
including the fact that inexpensive foreign labor doesn't even
have to leave home anymore -but to suggest that H1B visas
don't make the problem worse, is dishonest.

Anyone with the capacity to be an exceptional engineer, can
probably be a reasonably good doctor, lawyer, or insurance
actuary (the guy's that make sure insurance company's pay out
as little as possible -you wouldn't believe how much a good one
is paid). If your world view is about getting the best bang for the
buck spent on education, engineering is not the answer.

Bill Gates also just, quite publicly, backed down from a threat of
a religious boycott. Religous groups around the country are
actively assaulting the foundations of biology, which, will not
cause a shortage of the kinds of engineers that Microsoft
presumably wants, but nevertheless sends the message that
Microsoft is not as committed to science, technology and
engineering as they profess to be.

It is clear that Bill Gates does not really care about engineering.
He cares about profit. And that's fine. Really that's the way it
should be. He should just stop pretending that's all.

Actually if he was as smart as he claims to be, he should just get
on the tax-code gravy train. "Your new private account can only
be accessed with Windows 2006 -please upgrade your system"
Posted by Mystigo (183 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where to begin?
Bill Gates wants greater access to cheaper foreign labor through
expanded H1B visas. But he is concerned that our domestic
educational system is not producing enough engineers? In a free
market econony, people are generally going to persue careers
that are the most rewarding. Why study to become an engineer if
its clear that the payscale for engineers is headed down?
Obviously there are a lot of factors that are driving that trend,
including the fact that inexpensive foreign labor doesn't even
have to leave home anymore -but to suggest that H1B visas
don't make the problem worse, is dishonest.

Anyone with the capacity to be an exceptional engineer, can
probably be a reasonably good doctor, lawyer, or insurance
actuary (the guy's that make sure insurance company's pay out
as little as possible -you wouldn't believe how much a good one
is paid). If your world view is about getting the best bang for the
buck spent on education, engineering is not the answer.

Bill Gates also just, quite publicly, backed down from a threat of
a religious boycott. Religous groups around the country are
actively assaulting the foundations of biology, which, will not
cause a shortage of the kinds of engineers that Microsoft
presumably wants, but nevertheless sends the message that
Microsoft is not as committed to science, technology and
engineering as they profess to be.

It is clear that Bill Gates does not really care about engineering.
He cares about profit. And that's fine. Really that's the way it
should be. He should just stop pretending that's all.

Actually if he was as smart as he claims to be, he should just get
on the tax-code gravy train. "Your new private account can only
be accessed with Windows 2006 -please upgrade your system"
Posted by Mystigo (183 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stop picking on Education, Bill...
...and start looking in the mirror for the real reasons. Lets face it, what parent working in high tech for the last 10 years could seriously believe, or even suggest to their child to become an engineer after the last decades corporate expliots?

Kids aren't so dumb Bill, they can see a con game
from a mile away. And no matter how much press you kick up, or senators you buy, it isn't going to change their little minds. If the industry wants the children of this country to invest in a engineering education they better start figuring out how to *earn* their respect and trust once more.

Since the dot com implosion American high tech
companies have done nothing to reassure it's faith in the American workforce. Quite the opposite. Companies like Micro$oft, Intel, Cisco,
and other "leaders" have turned their backs on this country in the name of "globalization" and the Wall Street holy quest all mighty dollar.

True American companies don't run for foriegn refuge, they stand their ground and fight for the country and her people that made their success possible. There are many of them.

These selfish actions are nothing more than a modern form of treason in the eyes of the American worker. So why would anyone child go to all the hard work to be an EE/CS major only to
be eventually sold out at by the companies that urged them on in the first place?

Have the guts to just admit you want cheap labor
Bill, and then relocate yourself and your company
someplace else, how about Bejing? just think of the size of the palace you could build there for yourself!

America has no room for back-stabbing corporate traitors like yourself and the rest of you CEO buddies. Do us all a favor and go ruin someone elses country for a change! It's the least you
can do for the country that made you so stinking rich in the first place.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Commie Reaction
I guess the author of the above passage should definitely read The Communist Manifesto, although the document written over 80 yrs ago resonates the present circumstances described by the author above.

I wonder why people like him fail to understand or willfully ignore that in US, we worship capitalism, The goal or capitalism is not take care of its constituents but rather care for the capital and its growth. What all these companies are doing by outsourcing work (not american jobs) is protecting the capital invested in them by their shareholders, who demand the highest return on their investment. They also expect their capital to e protected and the way current economics circustances are a company cannot be competetive by hiring American workers especially since they cost 4 times as much as a person from India or China, and secondly they do not produce 4 times as much as their counterparts in India and China. So why would anyone expect corporations to do anything differently, if they do you the author is suggesting, they are risking the capital invested in them and loosing an opportunity to yeild higher return for their stakeholders.

Please my fellow americans you must understand, we cannot be on both side of the arugment as and when it suits us, meaning worship capitalism when its suits us and become communist when it hurts us. Wish you good luck, the only way you can better yourself is by preparing to produce wealth in proportionate amount to your paycheck.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Stop picking on Education, Bill...
...and start looking in the mirror for the real reasons. Lets face it, what parent working in high tech for the last 10 years could seriously believe, or even suggest to their child to become an engineer after the last decades corporate expliots?

Kids aren't so dumb Bill, they can see a con game
from a mile away. And no matter how much press you kick up, or senators you buy, it isn't going to change their little minds. If the industry wants the children of this country to invest in a engineering education they better start figuring out how to *earn* their respect and trust once more.

Since the dot com implosion American high tech
companies have done nothing to reassure it's faith in the American workforce. Quite the opposite. Companies like Micro$oft, Intel, Cisco,
and other "leaders" have turned their backs on this country in the name of "globalization" and the Wall Street holy quest all mighty dollar.

True American companies don't run for foriegn refuge, they stand their ground and fight for the country and her people that made their success possible. There are many of them.

These selfish actions are nothing more than a modern form of treason in the eyes of the American worker. So why would anyone child go to all the hard work to be an EE/CS major only to
be eventually sold out at by the companies that urged them on in the first place?

Have the guts to just admit you want cheap labor
Bill, and then relocate yourself and your company
someplace else, how about Bejing? just think of the size of the palace you could build there for yourself!

America has no room for back-stabbing corporate traitors like yourself and the rest of you CEO buddies. Do us all a favor and go ruin someone elses country for a change! It's the least you
can do for the country that made you so stinking rich in the first place.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Commie Reaction
I guess the author of the above passage should definitely read The Communist Manifesto, although the document written over 80 yrs ago resonates the present circumstances described by the author above.

I wonder why people like him fail to understand or willfully ignore that in US, we worship capitalism, The goal or capitalism is not take care of its constituents but rather care for the capital and its growth. What all these companies are doing by outsourcing work (not american jobs) is protecting the capital invested in them by their shareholders, who demand the highest return on their investment. They also expect their capital to e protected and the way current economics circustances are a company cannot be competetive by hiring American workers especially since they cost 4 times as much as a person from India or China, and secondly they do not produce 4 times as much as their counterparts in India and China. So why would anyone expect corporations to do anything differently, if they do you the author is suggesting, they are risking the capital invested in them and loosing an opportunity to yeild higher return for their stakeholders.

Please my fellow americans you must understand, we cannot be on both side of the arugment as and when it suits us, meaning worship capitalism when its suits us and become communist when it hurts us. Wish you good luck, the only way you can better yourself is by preparing to produce wealth in proportionate amount to your paycheck.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
India placed behind U.S. in ACM, yet is #1 destination for US IT jobs
Hey Bill,

I just want to hear one CEO tell the truth, it isn't the lack of education that's hurting the US. It is the high cost of living the US that keeps engineering unemployment in the US high and that causes companies to seek overseas workers.

We're not behind China in IT tech, we are behind China in the import/export balance. China is exporting more and more blue-collar made goods to the US.

We're not behind India in Manufacturing tech, we are in an imbalance with India over the direction of IT job growth.

Reason why? Well it's not because of our IT schools because India placed behind US in the ACM. With India it's all about the value of the US dollar vs the Indian rupee.

With China, it's not about our IT schools as China was way ahead of the US in the ACM. Again, with China it is all about the value of their currency being tied to the value of the dollar, Chinese currency is way under valued.

The imbalance with India should correct itself. The imbalance with China will only correct itself if the socialist 1-party government of China decides it wants to lose power.

When that happens, the flow of jobs from US to these countries should reverse.

Everyone bashes the US for it non-competitiveness, we are a very competitive nation.

The real problem is that CEO are milking the myth that the US is behind other countries in IT, for their own greedy purposes.
Posted by (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
India placed behind U.S. in ACM, yet is #1 destination for US IT jobs
Hey Bill,

I just want to hear one CEO tell the truth, it isn't the lack of education that's hurting the US. It is the high cost of living the US that keeps engineering unemployment in the US high and that causes companies to seek overseas workers.

We're not behind China in IT tech, we are behind China in the import/export balance. China is exporting more and more blue-collar made goods to the US.

We're not behind India in Manufacturing tech, we are in an imbalance with India over the direction of IT job growth.

Reason why? Well it's not because of our IT schools because India placed behind US in the ACM. With India it's all about the value of the US dollar vs the Indian rupee.

With China, it's not about our IT schools as China was way ahead of the US in the ACM. Again, with China it is all about the value of their currency being tied to the value of the dollar, Chinese currency is way under valued.

The imbalance with India should correct itself. The imbalance with China will only correct itself if the socialist 1-party government of China decides it wants to lose power.

When that happens, the flow of jobs from US to these countries should reverse.

Everyone bashes the US for it non-competitiveness, we are a very competitive nation.

The real problem is that CEO are milking the myth that the US is behind other countries in IT, for their own greedy purposes.
Posted by (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fewer engineers
Don't know where the facts come from, but if his point is that the US produces 1/4 of the engineers that China does, so what? With over 4X our population, if the same ratio of people go into engineering, China should produce more engineers than the US. Maybe math really is that screwed up over here.

The gamble all this crap hinges on, is the hope that someday the Chinese and Indians, and everyone else brings their levels of consumption up. If they don't, and if the US consumer someday can't or won't borrow to buy anymore, this all becomes a craptastic house of cards.
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Opps!
AND the point is, that in my opinion education is just an easy target in all of this.
Posted by (11 comments )
Link Flag
Fewer engineers
Don't know where the facts come from, but if his point is that the US produces 1/4 of the engineers that China does, so what? With over 4X our population, if the same ratio of people go into engineering, China should produce more engineers than the US. Maybe math really is that screwed up over here.

The gamble all this crap hinges on, is the hope that someday the Chinese and Indians, and everyone else brings their levels of consumption up. If they don't, and if the US consumer someday can't or won't borrow to buy anymore, this all becomes a craptastic house of cards.
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Opps!
AND the point is, that in my opinion education is just an easy target in all of this.
Posted by (11 comments )
Link Flag
Of course we have fewer engineers
Well, duh Bill! Of course America has fewer engineers. Opportunities and pay are low so people pursue other careers. If America really "needed" engineers it would be a useful career. As for me, gee I have a University of California engineering degree and an engineer's license. I work for a Mortgage company because they pay me better. Basically, my degree is worthless. As long as engineer's are "worthless" expect a continued decline in the field. BTW, two of my former classmates are in law school - they apparently are "valued" in America.
Posted by aroyce (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
We are in the robbon baron part of the cycle
Right now we are in the robber baron part of the capitalistic cycle.

The last time that we were in this part of the cycle was when the railroads were being built out and the Carnegies, JP Morgans, and (oh hell, what's his name? The big Standard Oil Baron). Yes. Yes we are. Back then, the CxOs or corporation got generations of wealth. The current crop of CxOs are making generations of wealth in single years.

What changed back then? A strong and independent president and a strong and independent congress put laws into place that broke up the monopolies for the good of the consumer. Managed capitalism. The tempering of the greed and corruption that drives capitalism in exchange for opportunities for all, including the working stiff.

What have we been seeing the last years? Massive consolidation and mergers creation monopolies. For example, we used to have something like 6 or 8 major oil companies. What are we down to now? 3? And these are the same corporations who are limiting the refining capacity to keep the cost of their product to the consumer high, and are raking in largest profit margins than anytime in history, short of the previous monopoly cycle.

The only thing that concerns me is that previously the congress and the president were independent enough to pass the laws that need passing to break the monopolies. Now, however, I fear that its "Government of the people, by corporate executives, for corporate profits". So first we have to ban the idea that there can be professional lobbyists and special interest groups from industry that are calling the shots in Washington. Then we have to discard the idea that a corporation is a legal entity with the same rights as people, but yet none of the responsibilities or obligations.

What nobody seems to want to realize or talk about is that the US standard of living is draining over to the second and third world nations, and will continue to do so until the standards of living equal out. Such is the reality of this global economy.

By the time the standards of living balance, the typical US worker will be fighting with the illegal immigrants picking produce in the western states with the same lack of opportunities and the same hopelessness, and the same difficulties in bootstrapping yourself to something better. Who knows what displaced American's reactions are going to be when they finally come to this realization.

While at the same time the robber baron board members will still go around blowing million dollar bonuses up each others behinds and signing each other on as CxOs at financially irresponsible employment contracts, making generations of wealth for mere years of work.

The more I come to realize this reality, the more I think that NAFTA and the soon to be passed (or as it already been passed) Central American NAFTA is a means for those in control to continue to exploit the proletariat, but this time, with the global economy, in greater numbers and across national boundaries for ever increasing payoffs to themselves.

By using immigration, trade and fiscal policies to lower labor costs and concentrate wealth in their hands, America's parasitic elites are committing economic and political suicide-just as the antebellum planters blindly expanded slavery even when it had become obvious that slavery was an extraordinarily bad idea (Randall Burns in The Jobs Crunch: A Progressive Indictment Of Immigration-And Both Parties)
Posted by InetUser (28 comments )
Link Flag
Cost of Education
The reason why it is impossible for us to compete globally is partially due to education. Think of the astronomical costs for a U.S. student to obtain an engineering degree, and compare that with how much it would cost a student in India or China to obtain theirs. The investment-reward ratio is inline for the foreign students, meaning their engineering pay will equal out how much they have to invest in their educations.
Now think of the enormously overpriced costs of american college tuition (which never stabilizes, but only goes up, by the way). Why would anyone want to invest astronomical sums of money, not to mention countless hours of study and research, to earn less than what a McDonalds manager makes?
I'm not blaming education costs completely, but if we want to compete globally, our college costs are going to have to come down, closer to what it is costing international students to obtain their education. Otherwise, as others have observed, why spend the money on an education that won't give you the rewards? Any job openings at McDonalds?
Posted by jspencer09 (64 comments )
Link Flag
Of course we have fewer engineers
Well, duh Bill! Of course America has fewer engineers. Opportunities and pay are low so people pursue other careers. If America really "needed" engineers it would be a useful career. As for me, gee I have a University of California engineering degree and an engineer's license. I work for a Mortgage company because they pay me better. Basically, my degree is worthless. As long as engineer's are "worthless" expect a continued decline in the field. BTW, two of my former classmates are in law school - they apparently are "valued" in America.
Posted by aroyce (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
We are in the robbon baron part of the cycle
Right now we are in the robber baron part of the capitalistic cycle.

The last time that we were in this part of the cycle was when the railroads were being built out and the Carnegies, JP Morgans, and (oh hell, what's his name? The big Standard Oil Baron). Yes. Yes we are. Back then, the CxOs or corporation got generations of wealth. The current crop of CxOs are making generations of wealth in single years.

What changed back then? A strong and independent president and a strong and independent congress put laws into place that broke up the monopolies for the good of the consumer. Managed capitalism. The tempering of the greed and corruption that drives capitalism in exchange for opportunities for all, including the working stiff.

What have we been seeing the last years? Massive consolidation and mergers creation monopolies. For example, we used to have something like 6 or 8 major oil companies. What are we down to now? 3? And these are the same corporations who are limiting the refining capacity to keep the cost of their product to the consumer high, and are raking in largest profit margins than anytime in history, short of the previous monopoly cycle.

The only thing that concerns me is that previously the congress and the president were independent enough to pass the laws that need passing to break the monopolies. Now, however, I fear that its "Government of the people, by corporate executives, for corporate profits". So first we have to ban the idea that there can be professional lobbyists and special interest groups from industry that are calling the shots in Washington. Then we have to discard the idea that a corporation is a legal entity with the same rights as people, but yet none of the responsibilities or obligations.

What nobody seems to want to realize or talk about is that the US standard of living is draining over to the second and third world nations, and will continue to do so until the standards of living equal out. Such is the reality of this global economy.

By the time the standards of living balance, the typical US worker will be fighting with the illegal immigrants picking produce in the western states with the same lack of opportunities and the same hopelessness, and the same difficulties in bootstrapping yourself to something better. Who knows what displaced American's reactions are going to be when they finally come to this realization.

While at the same time the robber baron board members will still go around blowing million dollar bonuses up each others behinds and signing each other on as CxOs at financially irresponsible employment contracts, making generations of wealth for mere years of work.

The more I come to realize this reality, the more I think that NAFTA and the soon to be passed (or as it already been passed) Central American NAFTA is a means for those in control to continue to exploit the proletariat, but this time, with the global economy, in greater numbers and across national boundaries for ever increasing payoffs to themselves.

By using immigration, trade and fiscal policies to lower labor costs and concentrate wealth in their hands, America's parasitic elites are committing economic and political suicide-just as the antebellum planters blindly expanded slavery even when it had become obvious that slavery was an extraordinarily bad idea (Randall Burns in The Jobs Crunch: A Progressive Indictment Of Immigration-And Both Parties)
Posted by InetUser (28 comments )
Link Flag
Cost of Education
The reason why it is impossible for us to compete globally is partially due to education. Think of the astronomical costs for a U.S. student to obtain an engineering degree, and compare that with how much it would cost a student in India or China to obtain theirs. The investment-reward ratio is inline for the foreign students, meaning their engineering pay will equal out how much they have to invest in their educations.
Now think of the enormously overpriced costs of american college tuition (which never stabilizes, but only goes up, by the way). Why would anyone want to invest astronomical sums of money, not to mention countless hours of study and research, to earn less than what a McDonalds manager makes?
I'm not blaming education costs completely, but if we want to compete globally, our college costs are going to have to come down, closer to what it is costing international students to obtain their education. Otherwise, as others have observed, why spend the money on an education that won't give you the rewards? Any job openings at McDonalds?
Posted by jspencer09 (64 comments )
Link Flag
Service Economy
We are constanty told we are becoming a service economy. Since the migration of manufacturing is essentially done and we are a service economy, do we really need engineers here? Seems to make more sense to put the engineers near the production. So why are the business leaders, who moved all the production, complaining that there are no engineers here?

I remember about a year ago the concern was supposedly because the US would retain R&D and innovate new products. Well somewhere in the interval all pretense of that was dropped as everyone scrambled to open R&D centers all over bungolia.

So why the complaining now that there are too few engineers?
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Service Economy
We are constanty told we are becoming a service economy. Since the migration of manufacturing is essentially done and we are a service economy, do we really need engineers here? Seems to make more sense to put the engineers near the production. So why are the business leaders, who moved all the production, complaining that there are no engineers here?

I remember about a year ago the concern was supposedly because the US would retain R&D and innovate new products. Well somewhere in the interval all pretense of that was dropped as everyone scrambled to open R&D centers all over bungolia.

So why the complaining now that there are too few engineers?
Posted by (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's all about supply and demand.
What we need now are more "innovators" and "entrepreneurs"--not more "ham-and-eggers". The simple fact of the matter is this: If you allow yourself to become a commodity, you get treated like a commodity.

And some of us need to lose the "entitlement" mentality! (It didn't work for the Soviets, and it won't work for us.) We're all in the "capitalist" jungle...the sooner you realize this, the better...and I suggest you play to win!

-JDM
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An International Perspective
The globalization of labor works both ways. There are lots of high-paying jobs for qualified engineers available in Japan. You can even make an arm and a leg teaching English to Japanese high-tech workers.

To top things off--that kind of international experience looks really good on a resume when/if you decide to come back.

;) JDM

(*If anyone is interested in anything other than "griping", that is.)
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Link Flag
It's all about supply and demand.
What we need now are more "innovators" and "entrepreneurs"--not more "ham-and-eggers". The simple fact of the matter is this: If you allow yourself to become a commodity, you get treated like a commodity.

And some of us need to lose the "entitlement" mentality! (It didn't work for the Soviets, and it won't work for us.) We're all in the "capitalist" jungle...the sooner you realize this, the better...and I suggest you play to win!

-JDM
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An International Perspective
The globalization of labor works both ways. There are lots of high-paying jobs for qualified engineers available in Japan. You can even make an arm and a leg teaching English to Japanese high-tech workers.

To top things off--that kind of international experience looks really good on a resume when/if you decide to come back.

;) JDM

(*If anyone is interested in anything other than "griping", that is.)
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Link Flag
How many college dropouts has Microsoft hired?
Not many, if any I am sure. He is right about the atrocious quality of primary and secondary education in this country. Americans are more concerned about political correctness and prayer in the schools than whether their kids actually learn anything. Our high schools need to be educating our children in entrepreneurship and finance.

He is quite wrong about postsecondary education in this country though. An IEEE survey shows 50% of their members are unemployed. While people with college degrees have earned much more than high school graduates in the past, this is changing rapidly as technology changes, employment becomes more transitory, and careers shorten to a decade. As the value and life of a degree drop the cost continues to rise. We have been overinvesting in higher education for a long time. While we have greatly increased the cost and shifted significantly from grants to loans, we are continuing to overinvest in higher education.

What has gotten short shift is apprenticeship, skills, and training. Employers won't pay for it, nor will employees without some assurance of its value in future employment. As employers move to temporary, on demand, and contracting, even less investment in these is being made. Employers decry the availability of employees with the skills they need but make no effort to train them. They would rather throw out their long time employees and replace them with lower paid new grads or H1-B workers.

What is not understood is change deprecates the value of change. Product cycles become shorter. Careers turn into interludes. The value of product and education both decline. While the trends he identifies will change technology, they won't be anywhere as significant as the internet. In fact, it is unlikely they will even prove to be very profitable. A flood of similar competing technology will keep margins down. Access and content will squeeze out any value in technology. Thus fewer engineers are desireable and if they want to move to Asia, they should go ahead. They are our past, not our future.
Posted by MyLord (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Based on the overall quality of Windows...
:p JDM
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Link Flag
How many college dropouts has Microsoft hired?
Not many, if any I am sure. He is right about the atrocious quality of primary and secondary education in this country. Americans are more concerned about political correctness and prayer in the schools than whether their kids actually learn anything. Our high schools need to be educating our children in entrepreneurship and finance.

He is quite wrong about postsecondary education in this country though. An IEEE survey shows 50% of their members are unemployed. While people with college degrees have earned much more than high school graduates in the past, this is changing rapidly as technology changes, employment becomes more transitory, and careers shorten to a decade. As the value and life of a degree drop the cost continues to rise. We have been overinvesting in higher education for a long time. While we have greatly increased the cost and shifted significantly from grants to loans, we are continuing to overinvest in higher education.

What has gotten short shift is apprenticeship, skills, and training. Employers won't pay for it, nor will employees without some assurance of its value in future employment. As employers move to temporary, on demand, and contracting, even less investment in these is being made. Employers decry the availability of employees with the skills they need but make no effort to train them. They would rather throw out their long time employees and replace them with lower paid new grads or H1-B workers.

What is not understood is change deprecates the value of change. Product cycles become shorter. Careers turn into interludes. The value of product and education both decline. While the trends he identifies will change technology, they won't be anywhere as significant as the internet. In fact, it is unlikely they will even prove to be very profitable. A flood of similar competing technology will keep margins down. Access and content will squeeze out any value in technology. Thus fewer engineers are desireable and if they want to move to Asia, they should go ahead. They are our past, not our future.
Posted by MyLord (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Based on the overall quality of Windows...
:p JDM
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Link Flag
Programmer = TV Repairman
It used to be a great career. I feel like the last, best VCR maker in the country.
Alas, programming is gone with the wind and shall not return. It's unfortunate that there are no ready made new career lines available. Why? No one has ever done a global economy before. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, that's the way it's always been, and always will be.
Posted by gfsdfge (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thinking like that...
WON'T get you anywhere. You're capable of much more than you realize.

;) JDM
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Link Flag
Not for you
As a programmer you now have to offer something that an offshore guy can't offer. Maybe better design and communication skills, and willingness to learn. The market is not as lucrative as it could have been, but I've had several offers and got a good job. In fact I should be sleeping rather than typing this, but just wanted to let you know that all of my friends found jobs too. I got a BS in CS and Electrical Engineering three years ago and got a job at a pharmeceutical company doing work with their database system out of school. All of my friends had work within 8 months of graduation.

So I'm a programmer, but I don't just write code. Anyone, anywhere can do that.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
I figure we're good for 5-8 more years...
I'm not complaining, just realistic. Just look at our development tools. Soon, you won't need to code for 80% of the business apps. Hence, drop another million programmers. Offshoring? Yes, it will continue. It's not going to stop no matter how much we complain. It's good business sence to do it. It's $$$ to the stock holders. So I'm not complaining, just realistic. Planning on a new career in some other field in next five years or so.
Posted by gfsdfge (130 comments )
Link Flag
Programmer = TV Repairman
It used to be a great career. I feel like the last, best VCR maker in the country.
Alas, programming is gone with the wind and shall not return. It's unfortunate that there are no ready made new career lines available. Why? No one has ever done a global economy before. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, that's the way it's always been, and always will be.
Posted by gfsdfge (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not for you
As a programmer you now have to offer something that an offshore guy can't offer. Maybe better design and communication skills, and willingness to learn. The market is not as lucrative as it could have been, but I've had several offers and got a good job. In fact I should be sleeping rather than typing this, but just wanted to let you know that all of my friends found jobs too. I got a BS in CS and Electrical Engineering three years ago and got a job at a pharmeceutical company doing work with their database system out of school. All of my friends had work within 8 months of graduation.

So I'm a programmer, but I don't just write code. Anyone, anywhere can do that.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
I figure we're good for 5-8 more years...
I'm not complaining, just realistic. Just look at our development tools. Soon, you won't need to code for 80% of the business apps. Hence, drop another million programmers. Offshoring? Yes, it will continue. It's not going to stop no matter how much we complain. It's good business sence to do it. It's $$$ to the stock holders. So I'm not complaining, just realistic. Planning on a new career in some other field in next five years or so.
Posted by gfsdfge (130 comments )
Link Flag
Thinking like that...
WON'T get you anywhere. You're capable of much more than you realize.

;) JDM
Posted by culture_of_one (68 comments )
Link Flag
More self-serving nonsense
Exactly why should American Scientists work hard on a technical vision largely realized and mostly in decline?

OS were invented in the middle 60s, not by Microsoft. As for everything else, Bill Gates has no competence to comment on that. He isn't a Scientist, he isn't an investor, he isn't a religious prophet.

The technologies placed in front of you by the press are just what they can understand. It is not life; life takes unexpected turns, like the WWW or the very cheap PCs we now have.

You didn't read it here, first.
Posted by (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Like they say....
Ol' Bill's second biggest skill is marketing....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
More self-serving nonsense
Exactly why should American Scientists work hard on a technical vision largely realized and mostly in decline?

OS were invented in the middle 60s, not by Microsoft. As for everything else, Bill Gates has no competence to comment on that. He isn't a Scientist, he isn't an investor, he isn't a religious prophet.

The technologies placed in front of you by the press are just what they can understand. It is not life; life takes unexpected turns, like the WWW or the very cheap PCs we now have.

You didn't read it here, first.
Posted by (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Like they say....
Ol' Bill's second biggest skill is marketing....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Start A School Gates
If Bill Gates has an issue with the public education system then how hard would it be for him and the other multi-billion dollar corporations to create their own schools, paid for out of their pockets. Stop leaning on the government's public education system, Bill. It might not be great but imagine if Bill and his other rich buddies had to pick up the slack. Put up or shut up, Bill.
Posted by Darryl Snortberry (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Start A School Gates
If Bill Gates has an issue with the public education system then how hard would it be for him and the other multi-billion dollar corporations to create their own schools, paid for out of their pockets. Stop leaning on the government's public education system, Bill. It might not be great but imagine if Bill and his other rich buddies had to pick up the slack. Put up or shut up, Bill.
Posted by Darryl Snortberry (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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