Posts tagged ‘jobs’
My colleagues at CAITE sent me a PDF of the whole article, since you can only get the lead paragraph at the Boston Globe site. It’s good news!
Executives from Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and other leading firms want to require all Massachusetts public schools to teach computer science, so local tech companies don’t have to rely on foreign workers to fill future programming and engineering jobs.
A nice piece making the argument that we can’t fix the computing employment shortage without diversifying our labor pool.
I found this quote (further along from the quote and link below): ”Geeks often have a hostile relationship to formal education. Rather than sit through a pre-programmed curriculum with problems and solutions laid out in advance, geeks like to tinker and hack to solve new problems and innovate.” If that’s true (and I believe it is), why are geeks advancing MOOCs, which are as formal and pre-programmed as you can get?
Despite a deserved reputation for progressiveness, the tech sector is highly exclusionary to those who don’t fit the geek stereotype–and this tendency is getting worse, especially in Silicon Valley. You might have heard, based on 2011 numbers, that only 25 percent of the U.S. high tech workforce is female, and the percentages have been in steady decline since the nineties. The numbers for minority women are even more dismal. Hispanic women represent 1 percent of the high tech workforce, and African-American women don’t fare much better, at 3 percent. The better the jobs, the lower the proportions are of women and non-Asian minorities. Despite the diversity of the population of the region, Silicon Valley, which boasts the highest salaries among tech regions, fares much worse than the national numbers.
It’s an interesting idea, that 8 year olds should be coding, but I don’t buy this argument. Computing will be everywhere, and new jobs will be created that need computing. But doesn’t it really mean that 8 year olds should be taught job skills? Will they remember those job skills by the time they hit the job market? What can we teach an 8 year old in computing that will still be relevant 9 years later? I do buy the importance of influencing students’ opinions and dreams early on.
Vedati, on the other hand, is planning for the long term by working with kids much younger, much earlier, trying to educate them about those options when they still have years to form opinions and create and live their own dreams.
“If you close your eyes and think about the world 10 years from now, it will be completely different,” Vedati said.
“Kids will have computing everywhere. Doctors will be using computing to make decisions. Jobs will require more technology. … The new jobs that will be created won’t be just programming jobs. But can you think about organizing data? Information and computation is coming to every field.”
And that, dear readers, is why your eight-year-old should be coding.
Hot topic these days, like the debate in the UK. Workshop to be held in conjunction with ASEE in Atlanta June 26-28.
A primary objective of undergraduate computing and engineering programs is to prepare graduates for professional practice. New graduates often find themselves working on large, complex systems that require dozens (or hundreds) of people and months (or years) to complete. Unfortunately, graduates often feel ill-prepared to work on systems of such size and complexity. Educators find it extremely difficult to provide a realistic experience with such systems in an academic environment.
Engineering and computing curricula primarily rely on a senior design course (one or two semesters in length) to teach professional practice. Students are typically organized in project teams to develop a realistic product or service, in which the students engage in various professional practices: such as project management, requirements analysis and modeling, highlevel and detailed design, implementation or simulation, quality assurance, project reporting, and use of appropriate engineering tools and methods.
I find the result dubious, because they took only starting salaries as the comparison point. Do the following years leave those with shallower education “stuck in the shallow end”? But the point quoted below is clearly right — we need to know more about the downstream salaries. I’m not sure that we don’t have the data to answer the question. Aren’t there salary surveys in the Tech industry all the time? Doesn’t the BLS know about salaries?
The College Measures study makes the case for looking at the short-term gain. It found that, one year after graduation, those with two-year technical degrees earned, on average, more than $50,000, about $11,000 more than graduates with bachelor’s degrees. And compared with graduates of two-year colleges who had focused on academic subjects, those with technical degrees were making about $30,000 more.
Those who went on to receive master’s degrees earned, on average, $63,340, or $24,000 more than the median first-year earnings of those who stopped with a bachelor’s degree.
Mark Schneider, president of College Measures and a vice president of the American Institutes for Research, acknowledged in an interview on Thursday that the salary someone makes one year after graduation doesn’t necessarily reflect a person’s lifetime earnings potential. Many educators point out that, with rapidly changing work-force needs, students who complete narrowly focused technical degrees or certificates might land lucrative jobs right away but struggle to move on if those jobs dry up.
“We’ve all heard about the philosophy majors who start out as baristas at Starbucks and go on to become barristers, and the person with a technical degree who’s going to be replaced by robots,” Mr. Schneider said. But when it comes to tracking salaries 10 years down the road, “the truth is, we don’t know.”
Nice interview with Ed Lazowska of U-W in Science about the state of computer science education and research. The below section is getting picked up elsewhere as an argument for CS as a great choice for students interested in a career in science.
I would have to say “about right.” Ph.D. production in computer science is far lower than in fields with far fewer employment opportunities. And Ph.D.s in computer science have a broad range of employment opportunities that take full advantage of their training. In most other STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields, the vast majority of graduates at all levels take jobs unrelated to their field of study. In computer science, the opposite is true: The vast majority of graduates at all levels take jobs that are in their “sweet spot.” Google hires roughly the same number of graduate students as undergraduate students from the University of Washington. Microsoft also hires a large number of our best Ph.D. students, both for Microsoft Research [MSR] and for the development organization.
I do think we need to be cautious. We need to avoid the overproduction—and, honestly, exploitation—that characterizes other fields. Hopefully we’ll be smart enough to learn from their behavior.
This strikes me as a good way to become stuck in the shallow end — learn enough to be employed on the first day, don’t know enough to transfer to tomorrow’s technology. What we know about transfer is that knowing something well is more likely to transfer than knowing several things at a shallow level. It seems contradictory, but it’s true: Knowing today’s technology well serves you better for learning tomorrow’s technology.
Dev Bootcamp, which calls itself an “apprenticeship on steroids,” is one of a new breed of computer-programming school that’s proliferating in San Francisco and other U.S. tech hubs. These “hacker boot camps” promise to teach students how to write code in two or three months and help them get hired as web developers, with starting salaries between $80,000 and $100,000, often within days or weeks of graduation.
“We’re focused on extreme employability,” said Shereef Bishay, who co-founded Dev Bootcamp 15 months ago. “Every single skill you learn here you’ll apply on your first day on the job.”
Would love to be in London on 12 June to hear this debate! The blurb describing the debate does a balanced job of laying out the questions.
“This house believes that Academic Education will never meet the skills needs of the IT Profession”
‘Universities are failing to educate graduates with the skills we need’ – this is the oft heard complaint by employers of IT graduates. Does the problem start in school with the dire state of ICT teaching and assessment at GCSE and A Level? Should academia be trying to produce graduates with only ‘employable skills’ that have a shelf life of at best a couple of years? Are employers really expecting universities to produce a mature, rounded professional with 20 years experience straight out of university? Is it reasonable to expect Academia to bridge the skills gap when employers are not prepared to provide a robust career path for IT professionals?
This theme has appeared here before. Why do Tech companies get to keep secret their lack of diversity?
OK, I’ll stipulate that tech companies get to fight tooth and nail to keep secret how awful they are at hiring women, blacks and Latinos.
And they do, according to CNN and the Mercury News.
But you know what? If they get to do that – as Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, Twitter, Yelp, Zynga, Amazon, Groupon, Hulu, LivingSocial, Apple, Google, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Microsoft have done – then we get to criticize them mercilessly.
One of my insights from SIGCSE 2013 was about the problem of “eating our seed corn,” and how this stems from too much utility. For most STEM fields (like mathematics, physics, or biology), a little bit of it isn’t enough to do much. One course in Biology does not lead to a lab technician job, and much less a job doing surgery. A student needs a significant amount of STEM learning in most disciplines before being useful to an employer.
Not true for computer science, and this has been a problem since the 1960′s. In The Computing Boys Take Over, Nathan Ensmenger describes how companies were desperate to identify and hire programmers to deal with the severe labor shortage as computers moved into business settings. Knowing anything about computing made you useful. Not necessarily good, but useful.
And that’s still our problem today:
- We cram so much into our first and second University courses, because our students want an internship as soon as possible, and we want them to know something about good process and good engineering, even if they don’t know enough about computer science to really understand it yet. Yes, those who complete a degree get even higher salaries, but a lot give up early because it’s enough.
- We desperately need more high school teachers, but if a high school teacher learns enough computer science to teach it well, she also knows enough to leave high school and get a much higher-paying job in industry.
- Meanwhile, because computer science is so useful, our university enrollments are climbing.
In a sense, these are good problems to have. I would not want computer science to be less useful. But the high utility of computer science knowledge does pose problems that educators in other STEM disciplines may not appreciate or understand.
We’ve heard about the UK’s concerns about the IT skills shortage. Now, it’s the whole European Union!
The European Commission has launched a “grand coalition” to address the region’s IT skills shortages.
Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes told delegates at CeBIT that the EU’s competitiveness is “under threat” if it cannot fill the expertise gap.
The shortages come at a time of high unemployment across Europe, she added, calling for greater awareness of IT career opportunities.
Interesting interview with the director of the Code.org video. The comments are intriguing and reflect the diverse and contrary perspectives on these issues: “There are nowhere near 1 Million unfilled software engineer jobs in the United States. Becoming a software engineer is a choice that is not a sideline choice, it becomes your whole life. While learning some coding may be a help for students, the premise of Code Stars is deeply flawed.” (Thanks to Mark Miller for the tip!)
Michelle Fields talks to filmmaker Lesley Chilcott about her film Code Stars. There is a dearth of computer engineers in America, and Chilcott is trying to reverse this trend through documentary film. Hear how many computer engineers started their lucrative careers at a young age with very simple programs, and how you can too.
I found the study linked below fascinating, in part because I saw myself making exactly these mistakes. I have absolutely described jobs in those masculine terms instead of the more neutral terms. I didn’t realize that those were terms that would dissuade females from applying.
When we teach classes on designing user interfaces, a key idea that we want students to learn is that “Thy User is Not You.” Don’t design for yourself. Don’t judge the interface only from your own eyes. You can’t imagine how the user is really going to use your interface. Try it with real users. Get input from real users. You can’t design interfaces for yourself and expect them to be usable for others. (Just like you can’t develop educational software for the developed world and expect it to work in the developing world.)
I heard the same lesson in this study. If you want to hire employees different than you, find out what you need to put in your job ad to attract them. You do not know how they will read your ad. Get input from others (who see things differently than you), and use expert guidance. Thy employee is not you.
The paper — which details a series of five studies conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and Duke University — found that job listings for positions in engineering and other male-dominated professions used more masculine words, such as “leader,” “competitive” and “dominant.” Listings for jobs in female-dominated professions — such as office administration and human resources — did not include such words.
A listing that seeks someone who can “analyze markets to determine appropriate selling prices,” the paper says, may attract more men than a list that seeks someone who can “understand markets to establish appropriate selling prices.” The difference may seem small, but according to the paper, it could be enough to tilt the balance. The paper found that the mere presence of “masculine words” in job listings made women less interested in applying — even if they thought they were qualified for the position.
I buy this argument, and it’s more subtle than the recent 60 Minutes piece. Does the influx of robotics lead to more or fewer jobs? 60 Minutes says fewer jobs. In contrast, Henrik Christensen says more jobs. The difference is education. There are fewer lower-education jobs, but more higher-education jobs. So unless you ramp up education, it is fewer jobs.
That’s not to say the transition to this brave new world of robotics will be painless. Short-term upheaval is inevitable. For Exhibit A, look at the jobless recovery we find ourselves in today: Increased productivity has driven economic growth, yet unemployment rates remain stubbornly high. But most insiders seem to agree that if we look past the short term, the medium- and long-term benefits of the robotics revolution appear to be positive, not just in terms of economic growth but for job creation, too.
They also warn that the job creation part will require a keen focus on training and education for those low-skilled workers who get squeezed out of their jobs by robotics. Collectively, we ignore this warning at our own peril.
I hear all the time about the decline of interest in computing among high school students in the US. Not surprising, but still disappointing, to see that the problem is also in the UK.
Between now and 2020, according to an October report from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the U.K. will need 10,000 more new graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) each year just to fill current employment needs.
It’s difficult to see where they’re going to come from, especially in tech, judging from January data from the U.K Department for Education. Only 3,420 British students, or 0.4%, took a computer science A-level (similar to a U.S. high school diploma) in 2011-12, compared to a high of 12,529 in 1998.
The gender gap is another concern here, as a mere 7% — 255 total — of computing A-level students were female in the 2011-12 school year.