Engineers dislike H-1B; bosses gloat

"want to keep tech salaries -- and other salaries -- low." In the 1930s, the government wanted to sustain excessive price levels, thinking that this would keep salaries/wages from falling, so they destroyed crops and livestock. They didn't understand that, if you want value/goods, they have to be produced, first. When you destroy the goods people are made worse off. When it comes to supply and demand and price balancing, in this case, the government has increased the supply of currency, thus lowering its value relative to goods and services. People holding currency lose value when that is done, but not people holding other intellectual and physical assets. I'm not sure how they're keeping the devaluation of the currency within a box, as it were, but they've been doing some of this since about 1980. The job markets have been noticeably weaker since then (with more bodyshopping, longer durations of unemployment...), whether because of it or coincidence from other law and reg changes. It may explain the divergence of CPI from PPI, or that may be just due to a change in definitions. What it boils down to, though, is that the pols have been having their cake and eating it, too, and want to go on doing so without limit, but the economic system inherently knows better, and naturally tries to re-establish sanity, which the pols resist ever more aggressively. The correction is and will continue to be devastating until they stop their fraudulent games.
— January 11, 2013 9:35 a.m.

Are American Engineers in Short Supply?

There also seems to be a large talent pool of skilled US workers who are being displaced by cheap, pliant foreign labor . . There are software architects and engineers who, before H-1B was hatched, could get 10 interviews and 9 offers within a couple months, complete with full relocation and new-hire training packages. There weren't any "phone screening" trivial pursuit tests. When they called it was to ask your flight preferences. After H-1B, US candidaes are lucky to get one pre-screen call-back from a "recruiter" per year. Executives don't want to fly US candidates in for interviews, or relocate, or invest in either new-hire or retained employee training, but do invest a great deal of effort in trumping up pretexts on which to reject all US applicants. Before H-1B (and resume parser systems), the requirements lists were fairly short, did not include specific versions or brand names of tools but mentioned kinds of tools, and described one job. Sometimes, they would mention familiarity with a particular area of application. They focused on capabilities, and assumed you'd be part of a work-team including multiple specialists (mathematicians, statisticians, data-base analysts, mechanical engineers, medical doctors, software engineers) who must be able to communicate and work together. Now the requirements are long, insist on particular brand names and versions down to the third level, and listed in combinations appropriate for 3 or 4 different employees (e.g. software product developer, data-base admin, sys admin, pre-sales support). They focus on buzz-words, not abilities and knowledge. The irony of the hyper-credentialism and over-specificity of requirements is that most of the "skills" are things that any savvy US pro could pick up in between a couple hours and a couple weeks from scratch, but many tend to have experience with very similar tools which would greatly shorten their learning curves. There's a lot less emphasis on nuts and bolts science and engineering, and more on bidness, accounting, massive data-bases, privacy violation schemes... Judging from the jobs advertised, there's much more bodyshopping (contingent, contract, consulting, temp, services, bidness process services) and far less real employment (long-term employment designing, developing and improving great software products).
— March 10, 2011 12:18 p.m.

Are American Engineers in Short Supply?

The 60% figure seems to be made up. US citizens earned 82% of CS degrees, 79.5% of engineering degrees, and 85.9% of all STEM degrees in the USA according to the 2008 figures from the US Dept of Education's NCES (where STEM includes biology, communications technology, computer and information sciences, engineering, engineering technology, physical sciences, mathematics and statistics). But counts and percentages of degrees earned don't tell the whole story. NSF reported some time ago, that 44% of professional computer wranglers in the USA did not have degrees with majors in computing, and about 22% of engineers did not have degrees with majors in engineering, and that would seem to include those with minors in those fields, those with degrees in completely different fields (some of the best software developers have backgrounds in music, classical languages, psychology, etc.), people who have no degrees but may have some university education (from 1 to 130 credit hours which may or may not fit into the rigid combinations of degree requirements), and autodidacts -- those who bought the books and the tools and learned on their own. Still, the academics who study STEM job markets have been reporting that we've been turningout about 3 times as many US citizens with STEM degrees as we've been employing in STEM jobs. How many US citizen non-founder autodidact STEM workers have Jacobs and other tech execs been hiring over the last 20 years? And why focus on new young college grads instead of looking at the huge pool of bright, industrious, experienced US STEM workers who are unemployed and underemployed?
— March 10, 2011 11:29 a.m.

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