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The computer and engineering industry

  1. Jun 28, 2005 #1
    hey guys... used to have an account here, but just found out it expired...


    i like working with computers (programming, designing, gaming... you name it), but when it comes to me having anything to do with the computer industry in the future, my mom is totally closed-minded. She says stuff like out-sourcing to India has totally killed the industry and making most computer skills obsolete. She also always brings up these sketchy anecdotes about how her cousin's friend's ex-roomate once had a 150k job working for Microsoft then got laid off and is now working at McDonalds.

    For me, I'm an Electrical Engineer so I argue that computers are pertinant to the everyday-life of an engineer, but she says these skills will be obsolete in the future. Also, I feel her generalization is rash because I don't think out-sourcing is that prominent if your company isn't nation-wide.

    To her, the only viable option for the future is owning your own business because you don't get laid off and making less than 60k is setting yourself up for harsh living conditions (she actually said this). When I want to learn something, she always interrogates me on will this help THEIR business and not what will help in the long run (they own a sewing machines distributor btw).

    All cliches aside ("you should do what you love, etc etc..."), does anyone having any enlightened take on this (sources would be nice too), or is my mom pretty much right?

    Thanks for the input in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2005 #2
    LMAO, sounds like my parents about 10 years ago. I had decided to become a psychology major and all I heard was:

    "Oh, you can't make any money as a psychologist unless you get a PhD."


    "Psychology PhD programs are almost impossible to get into"

    and of course

    "The girl that cuts my hair has a son whose best friend got a degree in psychology, he's been trying for 8 years to get into a PhD program and works for the zoo cleaning cages"

    Check out these sites:

    They should give you some idea on where things are going, at least in the US.
  4. Jun 29, 2005 #3


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    What do you do kdinser?

    Your mom, with all due respect, sounds like shes been watching too many 30 minute news shows at night. The jobs that are actaully outsourced as of late are.... well... call up a tech support line or a help line and find out lol. Programming type jobs normally stay in the US because theres more talent here and its just not economical or desirable to outsource these specific jobs.

    Electrical engineering however is a different story. Although they arent outsouced nor are they going to be obsolete anytime soon... the job market is probably going to become rather saturated soon enough. Half the people in my first physics class were EE majors and it sounds like thats the case in many of the universities friends of mine attend. But then again maybe not, i dunno. Become a interior designer
  5. Jun 29, 2005 #4
    Pengwuino, I'm a computer/network technician and a full time EE major. Your right though, there is going to be a HUGE flood of EE's over the next few years.
  6. Jun 29, 2005 #5


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    Oh, i thought you actually went for the psych major and actually found a job lol
  7. Jun 29, 2005 #6
    I'm was a CS major who graduated in 2001, from a decent state university (Virginia Tech). I have been unable to find a job in the field, despite the fact that I had internships with two separate companies over three summer breaks.

    I do believe that outsourcing has had an effect on my employment prospects. I cannot compete with Indian wages no matter how good of a developer I am. The majority of the ads I see are for senior positions. It seems like nobody wants to take fresh grads any more. A couple of my friends who actually got jobs all work for defense contractors, which is work that cannot be outsourced.

    I would only recommend majoring in CS if a) you are very good at it and b) if you want to go the academic route. I would also recommend double majoring. Alot of the non-academic CS stuff can be learned on your own. Look at, for example, John Carmack. No degree, but he is one of the most respected programmers in the industry.

    I would also give props to majoring in engineering or a hard science instead of comp sci. Alot of people make the false 'CS = IT' equivocation. It doesn't help that some smaller schools actually make up this 'IT' major. Any type of engineering is generally going to be more respected on paper, especially with the defense contractors.
  8. Jun 29, 2005 #7
    Yeah I get the feeling, as an engineer, that CS is just a weak form of science. If you love computers, you might as well go for EE. Even if the market is saturated an EE can be applied in areas where a CS can not because EE is basically CS with a bit more math and understanding. The idea here is versatility and that lies with EE.
  9. Jun 29, 2005 #8
    "because EE is basically CS with a bit more math and understanding."

    Smoking crack, are you?
  10. Jun 29, 2005 #9
    I'm not dissing CS as a major. I don't believe its inherently any less difficult than EE or any other branch of engineering, at least at a good school that requries you to take the harder math and science classes with it. It tends to be less work (the CompE's at VT had to take a good chunk of CS as well as the engineering classes and always seemed swamped) And CS majors on average tend to be much better programmers/developers than engineers because they tend to think in abstractions whereas engineers tend to think in particulars. Unfortunately it is just not as respected as engineering in the job market. I always felt EE and CompE, while not 'dying', is not the future. Most of the problems in digital logic have been figured out. Microprocessor architechture hasn't really changed fundamentally in about 20 years. They've just been able to fit more chips on a smaller die. On the analog side of things I don't see a whole lot of opportunity either. Power amps, etc. are about as good as they're gonna get
  11. Jun 29, 2005 #10
    I couldn't agree more so-crates, I hear the same kind of thing from several friends who have been programmers for a long time. One of their biggest complaints is the lack of respect they have been getting from management the last few years. Many managers are convinced that an experienced programmer can easily be replaced by any CS grad for much less money. BTW, any rumors you hear about lots of CS grads working at minimal wage jobs are likely true, I personally know 2 people in this situation.

    As I've read in many other threads like this, if you want to be a programmer, you almost have to double major in something else that will get your foot in the door, just having the CS degree is not likely to do it anymore.

    As also mentioned, a CS degree is not going to get you a job as a network administrator, the skills needed in IT and IT management are very different from those used in programming. There is some overlap of course, but not much. Most programmers wouldn't know how to replace a HDD and reload windows unless they were into computers long before they went to school.
  12. Jun 29, 2005 #11
    weeeeelll i'm oversimplifying things a bit. I should've said CS is a component of EE. That's what i meant by "and understanding," by implying there's a lot more to it. :)
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