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posted by azrael on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the pays-to-study dept.

What you study - math and science are a plus - seems to matter more than whether your alma mater is public or private when it comes to finding a high-paying job after college, according to a report released Tuesday by the Education Department.

The survey of the class of 2008, by the National Center for Education Statistics, provides an interesting snapshot of the nation's educated elite following a crushing economic recession: Overall, college grads reported lower unemployment rates compared with the national average, although black and Asian college graduates were twice as likely to be out of work than their white classmates. College grads from private four-year schools earned about the same as those from public four-year schools, about $50,000 a year.

But while a paltry 16 percent of students took home degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, or STEM disciplines, those who did were paid significantly better - averaging $65,000 a year compared with $49,500 of graduates of other degrees. The findings are based on a survey of 17,110 students conducted in 2012, about four years after the students obtained their bachelor's degrees.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:32PM (#70533)

    Zoidberg: he's a doctor, they're very poor.

    Leela: Actually, most doctors are rich.

    Zoidberg: What? When did this happen? You're joking, right? That's not funny!

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:44PM (#70535)

    from the pays-to-study dept.

    College is a gamble, and if you study math and science, you might win big! Slot machines sometimes pay out too.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 17 2014, @11:56PM (#70539)

      If you are seriously comparing slot machine payoffs with the payoff from going to college, you may have dropped out yourself to smoke weed in your Mom's basement all day.

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday July 18 2014, @12:20AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday July 18 2014, @12:20AM (#70549) Homepage

        Well, maybe not. If there are no real jobs and only retail and food-service jobs, interviewers will assume that you're overqualified and that you would bail on 'em the second they get a real job.

        But perhaps you are correct -- some people say that College Degrees are the new high-school diplomas [nytimes.com], and you need one to be a file clerk.

        All I know as a Californian is that there are no decent jobs available other than working in the tourism industry, which means being a bartender/hotel room cleaner/retail worker. The reputation that California has for its high-tech industry is only in one specific area, and what the mainstream news won't tell you is that there is extensive homosexual nepotism and reverse-ageism in favor of the gay and lesbian baby-boomers who run the place. You won't land even an entry-level STEM job without being part of that demographic.

        Most businessmen meet over lunch at decent restaurants, but businessmen meet at bathhouses in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley -- Google even has its own bathhouse on-campus for this very reason. I'm going to Texas as soon as I graduate, it's got a lot of nice stuff, like college football and South by SouthWest. Yeah, move to Texas instead. That's the smarter thing to do, and you're smart, aren't you? That's why you're here reading this and not on Reddit.

         

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @01:32AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @01:32AM (#70567)

          If you've worked rackmounts and networks at an ISP, you'll be overqualified for tech support or mobile apps development or web design, and interviewers will assume you'll bail as soon as you find a real job. Trouble is, real jobs are disappearing into the cloud, so you really have nowhere to bail to. You'll end up eating ramen for the rest of your sorry life.

        • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Friday July 18 2014, @08:18AM

          by cafebabe (894) on Friday July 18 2014, @08:18AM (#70677) Journal
          • (Score: 1) by anubi on Saturday July 19 2014, @02:50AM

            by anubi (2828) on Saturday July 19 2014, @02:50AM (#71098) Journal

            Interesting link, Cafe... Scary too. To think of getting so far in debt on the hope someone might hire you.

            If industry keeps claiming these STEM students are so hard to find, well - if I want something - I have to pay for it. Maybe these industries should be asked to foot the bill for the education of a student. If upon graduating, the company has no job for the student, no big deal, the student was there ready to work, just like the rest of us. The company is still free to toss the resume in the trash, just like the rest of 'em. But at least that company had dibs on the first year of that student's career, and the company could then decide whether or not that person was worth keeping by whether or not they decided to pay him.

            I suppose part of the deal would be the student would agree to work the first year at minimum wage, with the rest considered payback for the education. After the first year, his wage should rise *substantially*, or he's free to leave.

            Incidentally, I can tell you if you don't feed your cat, he will also find somewhere else to hang out.

            From what I have seen so far, the problem is companies are looking for the perfect employee - especially ones that will work for cheap, and they are shopping around like Imelda Marcos looking for shoes.

            I guess the likelihood of this happening has a lot to do with Washington's perception of how badly we need a taxpaying workforce in this nation, or still has plentiful resources to continue welfare and unemployment mechanisms. Of course the Lobbyists are going to be pleased if they can get a government legal signatures to privatize their profits while socializing the costs to do so. And its kinda hard to compete with the outstretched hand of the Lobbyist, pandering for a shake, smile on face, ready to take the Congressman to dinner.

            --
            "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @11:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @11:18AM (#70740)

          But perhaps you are correct -- some people say that College Degrees are the new high-school diplomas, and you need one to be a file clerk.

          This goes hand-in-hand with high school being the new daycare. One of the traits employers like is initiative. At least a little - enough that the employee understands his job and will spontaneously do things that are not explicitly commanded but either make his job easier or fulfill the greater purpose of his employment. There is no way to 'test' for initiative. No question you can ask that will reveal it. Extracurricular activities used to suggest it, but now everyone knows that you just have to have some of them on your resume/college entrance.

          20 years ago, when only 1-in-4 people went to college, the college degree was a rare commodity, and priced itself out of most jobs, just by supply and demand. Today, 60-65% of kids have post-secondary education. Regardless of whether those degrees have been dumbed-down or not, those numbers cheapen the degree. It lets employers use a degree as a badge of not-incompetence and a sign of at least minimal initiative. For most, it doesn't matter what field or what university; it's just a badge that says you can live outside your parents' direction. Technical degrees are a step beyond that: they say you can figure a little and might actually have some useful skills.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday July 18 2014, @01:25PM

          by VLM (445) on Friday July 18 2014, @01:25PM (#70772)

          " interviewers will assume that you're overqualified and that you would bail on 'em the second they get a real job."

          Lie. Businesses lie all the time, probably more than ever before in history, employees need to keep up.

          You can't get a waitress or bartender or barista around here who doesn't have a degree. Maybe I know that, but their resume doesn't.

          Does it matter on the resume if you have a degree in XYZ? No? Then leave it off. F them, its none of their business.

          The true dichotomy of "stem degree pay" vs "non stem degree pay" is a philosophy grad who gets a tenured professorship is doing pretty well. The problem is only about 5% of the grads can numerically get a job like that. Unlike "most" STEM degree holders who usually get to work in their field at the appropriate level, which weirdly enough is highly unusual outside STEM.

          That waitress at my favorite restaurant who can't get a teaching degree despite doing well in school and student teaching at my kids school isn't getting much pay, at least from the IRS perspective (I tip well in cash, but uncle sam has no idea). I'm sure the 50% or so of early childhood ed majors who actually get a degree relevant job do OK. Its the majority who end up as supermarket cashiers at best who drag down the average. This effect is what is really being measured.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Friday July 18 2014, @12:40AM

      by anubi (2828) on Friday July 18 2014, @12:40AM (#70554) Journal

      That's been my observation as well...

      From what I have seen, the most important thing to develop are relationships with those who have access to lots of money.

      Investment groups and Congress... people who work with Bankers, who can just print money and issue notes and securities to pay for stuff. If I try to borrow a hammer from a neighbor, he has to have a hammer to lend me, but if I try to borrow money from a bank, they just enter my debt in a ledger and issue a few numbers in an account, using "reserve" banking - for every dollar "on deposit" they can loan ( and get usury from ) ten.

      It seems to me that all this study hoping to land a job in techie stuff is kinda like going to the gym day after day developing muscles hoping to get a job mining coal. Except a engineering education is a helluva lot more expensive than a gym membership.

      I feel I can go up against the best of 'em in a technical arena, but I suck big time dressing up in suit and tie, shaking hands, and playing legal hardball. And I also have to face the painful fact that there are a *lot* of *extremely* talented guys now out there as a result of the massive aerospace layoffs, with their only bad spot being they are in their 50's and 60's, like me. I know several of them, way too much like me... tinkerer type hands-on engineers ... no longer gainfully employed as engineers.

      I hate to encourage youth in this kind of stuff, as the days of having a lab and machine shop available to bring your dreams to life went out along with the other excesses of the '60's. Now everything is all neat and tidy, and done in the computer where all the mess is now neatly stored in the disk drive, not on the workbench. With wireless we no longer even have to tolerate a messy wire on the desk. The type of stuff I do is messy. Requires test instruments, solder irons, parts, tools, and space. Just my RF stuff is several cabinets full. Totally incompatible with the modern tidy executive management suite, where things get done by approval and signature.

      I missed the boat completely when it came to what I wanted to specialize in... hardware and analog. This kind of stuff is impossible to do my work in a tidy manner. Nor can I keep my "source code" to myself very easily. Had I had played my cards differently and got into coding, where I could keep *my* work to myself, at least I would have had a tool to use to counter the "we no longer need you" tool wielded by management. Its way too easy for someone to call me in.. offer me a "starting" wage, have me sign all rights over to them, agree not to work for anyone else for three years, get what they want out of me, then dump me. If I am foolish enough to sign their papers, I just leave myself wide open to getting raped while the person who got me to sign the papers in the first place is credited with the "people skills that got the job done", if I do not sign the papers, I remain unemployed.

      They have no problem paying the lawyers to write up all this stuff, nor have any problem paying the management type to present it to me, and I have yet to learn how to play this game. I find myself living in an environment where not only do I end up on unemployment while the job I was after goes to an H1-B that will take whatever management offers. Yes I am getting a bit "greedy", as I have bills to pay too, and simply cannot afford to work for minimum wage. I feel I am worth $100K, and it bothers me a lot to see the people who I would be working for paid three times the amount they are offering me just for their "skill" of getting me to do the work cheap. Quite honestly, if I am going to spend the time to totally commit to their problem, I need to be earning enough money to hire the problems I have ( lawn and home maintenance, etc ) to someone else. As it is, with the wage they offer, it behooves me to stay home and spend my energies and resources just maintaining what I have, and I really do not have that much time to invest in someone else's designs.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @10:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @10:59AM (#70734)

        This is not a story about what it takes to follow your passion and make it on your own.

        The vast majority of people, college grad or not, take jobs where they do what someone else tells them. Better jobs may be more closely aligned with you personal inclinations, but one's inclination and one's job tend to be a positive-feedback loop. You get hired into your first job because you've done something like it in college, you learn more about it in that first job, which lets you rise into the next...

        No, the point here is that if you're going to be a work-a-day schmuck like everyone else, then the few people who start down a technical path start off with a little head start. Maybe entry-level technical jobs are more profitable for the company than other entry-level jobs. Maybe it's supply and demand: if only 1-in-6 people takes a technical degree, they're a pretty small fraction of the available labor pool.

        Where you take that head start, 20 years down the road, is much more on you than it is on your major.

        • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday July 18 2014, @12:05PM

          by anubi (2828) on Friday July 18 2014, @12:05PM (#70752) Journal

          You are exactly right... I followed my passion. I am still following my passion.

          I would rather do my design work than anything else... but then I demand the time and resources to do it to my satisfaction, and I do have a tendency to be a perfectionist. I am running up against a lot of places that want me to hit the ground running, do my thing, and go. As cheap as they can get me. Kinda like I would hire a gardener.

          Analog design is real tricky in this, as there are all sorts of tradeoffs to be made, and I end up becoming obstinate on making it as if I were the one buying it. Meaning I don't want it breaking after couple of years because it was finicky.

          I can tell you the biggest mistake I made. Aerospace. Compartmentalized contracts. One could never build anything where "aftermarket support" was needed. Contract would close. They would throw everything away. Layoffs. Just that warning for anyone else about to shake the hand of an aerospace manager and sign his papers. Know you are expendable from the start, and demand a good "sporting" salary.

          I had friends of mine working in utilities. Seemed like boring work to me, but over the years they built up a knowledge of the power grid and utilities don't throw away their generators and distribution grids like an aerospace company throws away their infrastructure when the contracts complete.

          That utility job looks really good to me now, but 40 years ago, it didn't. My bad. Big-time. I was dazzled by the glitter of all the aerospace and high-tech. Go to the Moon!...

          Its a little late for Edison to be interested in me now. About 40 years too late.

          If it wasn't aerospace, it could have just as well been Nokia... [soylentnews.org]

          Working for someone else sure is a gamble... and I am doing my damndest to learn how to work for myself, or find some way to tolerate the boredom of inactivity until my biological timers time out.

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Snotnose on Friday July 18 2014, @12:08AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday July 18 2014, @12:08AM (#70546)

    Christ, I feel like a broken record here. BA in applied math, been making 6 digits since '98 or so writing embedded software.

    Contrast to the philosophy major who made my milkshake for lunch.

    --
    for (glee in 1..34) println("Guilty!")
    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Friday July 18 2014, @12:12AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Friday July 18 2014, @12:12AM (#70547)

      To reply to my own post, in college I studied what was interesting. My last 2 years I had to do general ed, which bored the crap out of me. Funny thing was, in the general ed classes I had a habit of doing no homework. When there was a test I'd show up for class 10 minutes early, skim the material, and ace the test. What I turned in for an English assignment was typically something I wrote for work, maybe slightly edited to change the focus.

      Contrast with my math/physics/chem classes, where I did hours of homework every week and struggled to get a B.

      FWIW, in college I took 2 classes a semester while working full time.

      --
      for (glee in 1..34) println("Guilty!")
      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Friday July 18 2014, @08:46AM

        by cafebabe (894) on Friday July 18 2014, @08:46AM (#70690) Journal

        in college I studied what was interesting.

        Many people study what they find to be interesting. The problem is that too many people find Britney Spears Studies interesting and then wonder why they're unemployable.

        --
        1702845791×2
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @10:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @10:56AM (#70731)

          I blame mandatory art appreciation classes in the public schools.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by visaris on Friday July 18 2014, @01:08AM

      by visaris (2041) on Friday July 18 2014, @01:08AM (#70563) Journal

      I don't want to be mean and pick on people who choose not to get a degree or choose to get a degree in a field they love, but you're right w.r.t. STEM in a number of ways. Not only are STEM fields typically more demanding, but society rewards their practitioners significantly more as well. I know that SN and ./ tend to have some who aren't as enthusiastic about higher education, but statistically, it does pay off. It really is the case that a graduate degree in STEM can open lots of doors for a person; not just in terms of having the "piece of paper", but in terms of having the needed skills as well. One year after gradating with an MS in computer science I'm making 81k. Go to school, work really hard, and it does pay off (frequently, anyway).

      • (Score: 1) by Adamsjas on Friday July 18 2014, @01:59AM

        by Adamsjas (4507) on Friday July 18 2014, @01:59AM (#70576)

        81K? I was making that on my first job out of College a long long time ago.
        I was coding I a language I'd never been exposed to in College, and handling major financial systems for an organization of which there are only 50 in the world. We used mainframes I tell ya! It was back when 100k actually meant something. No STEM degree either. Finance. Statistics. Coding was a side interest.

      • (Score: 2) by tynin on Friday July 18 2014, @02:07AM

        by tynin (2013) on Friday July 18 2014, @02:07AM (#70578) Journal

        I think their is quite a spread with regard to pay. In the end if you have poor interviewing / social skills, you could be a worthy, perhaps even great engineer/developer/admin and get conned into earning WAY less. Corporate mentality punishes people for talking about how much they make, I suspect because they want to pigeonhole folks into thinking what a deal they are getting, when the opposite is true. I'm happy with my place in life, but I've seen others be completely rolled by HR / management.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @02:20AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @02:20AM (#70584)

          If you have a "dishonest face" then you can be a skilled engineer but interviewers will still assume you're lying, even if everything you say is true. Earning way less? Try ZERO income for life. Eventually that "dishonest face" will land you in jail when some cop sees you walking down the street. Society is for the beautiful people.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cafebabe on Friday July 18 2014, @08:09AM

          by cafebabe (894) on Friday July 18 2014, @08:09AM (#70675) Journal

          That's a good point. STEM graduates are more introverted than average and may be poor at negotiating because of that. However, they still earn more than average because they have useful skills.

          --
          1702845791×2
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @11:31AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @11:31AM (#70743)

          In the end if you have poor interviewing / social skills, you could be a worthy, perhaps even great engineer/developer/admin and get conned into earning WAY less

          That's capitalism, baby! Employers will pay what the market demands, and it's your fault if you underprice your own labor.

          Now, conveniently, there is probably someone with almost as good of technical skills as you who is an even worse negotiator. If the employer is willing to pick through the pile of resumes long enough to find that guy, then you're screwed anyway. By no means should you ever collude with your fellow laborers to find out what the market price really is: you're a unique snowflake, not at all comparable to those other people.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @01:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @01:44AM (#70571)

    You think this is real?
    This isn't real.
    College is a dream world.
    This is something you do
    to pass the time...
    till you go out in the real
    world and start buying people.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @11:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 18 2014, @11:50AM (#70749)

    It's pretty obvious that engineers are fully employable with just a BSxE. However, a portion of the non-STEM graduates are just punching a ticket on the gravy train to their MBA, LLD, or PhB and not really seeking employment at the 4-year mark. I didn't see anywhere in TFA that segments the non-STEM population between Wall Street-bound shitheels and artistic fry cooks.