Hi, I would like to know your opinion about the effect that outsourcing will have on engineers/scientists of the future. This is concerning me greatly at the present moment, as I would like employment after graduating!
Here comes the non-answer answer that you aren't going to like hearing: Given changing technology and the more competitive work space, it won't be long before everyone's job runs the risk of being outsourced.
I am not going to predict who is going to outsource what when. If I could do that, I could beat the stock market. There are always a few devious idiot MBA types who build a business case around artfully hidden risks. They write these articles for glossy magazines you find in classy hotel lobbys and first class airline seats. I call these magazines CEO porn.
These articles treat educations as immutable and fixed. They treat people as worker units. They make assumptions about job scope that are probably infantile at best. And then the CEO makes policy based upon these wonderful new clothes that the last emperor bought. They call this "Best Practice".
However, all educations are not equal, even from the same school. Nor are all experiences equal. Nor are people marketing their abilities well. If you do those things and you work with smart people, your job will not be at risk. If you sit at your desk and noodle around with designs all day long without working the rest of the picture, you will become a mushroom and people will outsource you as soon as your salary becomes too high to justify your position.
I think you see where I'm going with this. You should never stop marketing your skills and experience. You should never stop learning. You should keep your skills sharp and always be ready for the next opportunity. Some people, like me, are indeed fortunate to have found a company where they can work at different positions for an entire career. You too may find such a place, but you may not. Even when you find a place that values and appreciates you, it is wise to keep your resume and contacts handy. I've seen several management changes in my organization and very nearly left it as a result of toxic behavior of one of them. Fortunately, they left and our company recovered, so I stuck around.
Learn to market your skills and experience and this won't be a problem. Note: they don't teach this sort of marketing to engineers in college, so get busy and learn them by reading a few "CEO porn" articles. It will give you tremendous insight in to how people pitch their proposals to a CEO. You may not like it, but it is a fact of life. We are the specialists who have dedicated our careers to this stuff, and we have to pitch it to a bunch of people who are usually quite ignorant of most of the details (do not assume they're stupid, just honestly ignorant). It ain't fair, but that's life.
Defense and other work deemed as being in the national interest (e.g., anything that's subject to ITAR) is not going to be outsourced any time soon. There's a problem with these jobs: Over a decade of war has made the defense budget a bit bloated. We can't afford to fund defense at this high a level. The defense budget is now shrinking. Sequestration hit the DoD hard.