News

Guest Opinion: Half a million empty tech jobs ... and growing.

Apprenticeships can be the key to addressing industry's workforce gap, SAP executive says

The great economic news: employment rates are at an all-time high. The terrific news for Americans seeking a career in tech: Our country has nearly 9 million available jobs in STEM with some 70 percent in computers and IT. The downside: more than a half-million of those computing jobs are currently unfilled, and projected to grow at twice the rate of all other U.S. jobs. What's worse, only 49,300 computer science graduates joined the American workforce last year. Closer to home, California is expected to see a shortage of an estimated 2.5 million skilled workers by 2025. Forward-thinking tech companies in Silicon Valley are playing close attention to these ever-widening gaps and seeking solutions now to answer this burning question: Where is this talent going to come from?

Here's where computer talent won'tbe coming from:

The American K-12 school system. U.S. schools are not even remotely keeping pace in filling the need for tech workers. Only 40 percent of American schools teach computer programming or coding, even though computing jobs are the No. 1 source of new wages in the U.S. Here in Silicon Valley, the situation is also dismal — less than 2 percent of California high school students take computer science courses. Coding should be taught like typing used to be.

Other countries' tech workers. Importing talent is getting harder to do. The mounting restrictions on immigration and H-1B visas mean companies are losing access to workers from other countries, adding to the urgency with which tech companies must explore and embrace sustainable alternatives.

U.S. colleges and universities. Having more than doubled in average real cost in the past 30 years, a four-year degree has become a growing financial burden for many individuals and families. Student loan debt now totals more than $1.5 trillion. Our home state is also woefully behind, ranking 38 out of 50 in the rate of bachelor's degrees earned in computer science. Of the 10 states with the most Latino students, California ranks last for the rate of Latinos awarded engineering and computer science degrees — compounding the struggles to increase diversity that tech companies already have. Less than half of Americans say a college degree is needed to be successful in the workforce (42 percent, down from 55 percent in 2009), yet Americans with college degrees are three times more likely to be employed than U.S. high school graduates.

What is the solution?

Our situation is urgent, but if we work together to develop local, diverse talent we will be able to onboard and train a workforce with grit and the skills to shape the future of work. Innovators in Silicon Valley can look to the past for an answer to their future: apprenticeships. Since the earliest times, skills have been transferred to the next generation via some form of on-the-job training. Today, robust apprenticeship programs are available to incoming workers eager to master well-paying skills, including for computer jobs.

Many tech leaders agree it is more than time to disrupt our traditional hiring models and talent pipeline and follow suit. The tech sector is well-suited to middle-skills jobs, which require more training and/or education than high school but less than a college degree. In fact, experts now agree that "degree inflation" has become a problem: companies often require a degree for jobs that can be performed without one. This practice widens skills gaps and increases costs, and can leave employers overpaying for people whose talents are underutilized.

Through technology apprenticeships, Silicon Valley can prepare workers for hard-to-fill roles and individuals can gain stable, meaningful careers without a college degree. Tech apprenticeships, now gaining steam and importance, are earn-while-you-learn programs that provide on-the-job training and mentoring from an employer and role-related classroom instruction from a community college, technical college, or computer "boot camp." Because they can be customized to a company's needs, businesses can quickly adapt to technology changes. All apprentices must meet standards for completion, typically hours of both employer-provided and classroom training, as well as demonstration of skills gained. Apprentices are paid throughout, with wages that increase as skills are mastered, providing an economically viable career path to stable, high-demand occupations — up to a $250,000 increase in lifetime earnings.

I urge my colleagues at forward-looking tech companies to join us in examining apprenticeships as a key strategy. SAP proudly co-sponsored the first Silicon Valley Apprenticeship Summit on Aug. 28 on our campus in Palo Alto. The event brought together thought leaders, including academics, educators and tech executives — both from HR and talent development and from the business — representing major Silicon Valley companies, to address the workforce gap and offer models of apprenticeship and collaborations with private and public institutions. Event co-sponsors were three such partners, which provide tech training and help match employers and apprenticeship candidates: TechSF (California Office of Economic and Workforce Development), Apprenti (a nonprofit based in Washington and active nationally) and Techtonica (a local nonprofit that helps Bay Area women and non-binary adults with low incomes).

Many hurdles must be overcome before our country prepares our citizens, adequately and equally, for computer jobs, and tech companies must participate in addressing those long-term hurdles. But right now, we can reach people before they become employees, to open the top of the funnel and provide the greatest opportunity to the broadest group of diverse talent. It's not just about our responsibility as corporate citizens. We need more talent than our current talent strategies can target. We have to change if we are to survive.

The time is now for our industry to seriously consider launching apprenticeship programs — with Silicon Valley taking the lead.

Jenny Dearborn, MEd, MBA, is executive vice president, human resources and global head of talent, leadership & learning at SAP, the world's largest B2B software provider. She can be emailed at jenny.dearborn@sap.com.

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Comments

68 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2018 at 10:04 am

It is well known that Silicon Valley shuns older workers. Many startup companies have no engineers over age 40. If Silicon Valley made a bigger effort to hire and keep older workers, how many of those empty tech jobs would be filled? Yes, older workers may cost more than H1B immigrants, but Trump is trying to severely limit all immigration programs.

Also, why do women shun tech jobs? My parents (both retired tech workers) tell me that when they were in college in the 1970s, 1/3 of engineering school students were women. Today, I don't know if women make up even 10% and most of those seem to be immigrant students. Is sexual harassment the problem, or something else?


52 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 14, 2018 at 10:13 am

Online Name is a registered user.

The tech industry not only shuns older workers and women, but it also prefers hiring foreign contractors at $60,000 a year and is currently opposing a long-over due bill to raise that piddling amount to $90,000. The local rate of using cheap foreign contractors here DOUBLED last year while everyone wrings their hands over housing and neighborhoods are over-run with "hacker hotels" and parking for the techies crowded into them.

Most of their "innovative" new startups like the one written up in today's New York Times are designed to put lower-paid workers like cashiers out of work.

Do they ever think of the social consequences of their actions?


49 people like this
Posted by Age Discrimination
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 14, 2018 at 10:20 am

It's hard to fill positions in tech companies when they actively work to eliminate anyone over 40 from the pool of prospective employees.

The age discrimination cases are being built. It's going to be a shocking time for these companies when the lawsuits begin to fall.
There are smoking guns.


9 people like this
Posted by Anecdotal data point
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 14, 2018 at 12:53 pm

[parents] tell me that when they were in college in the 1970s, 1/3 of engineering school students were women.

This may be true as schools, but this is not what I saw in engineering classes in the seventies as an undergraduate. A typical engineering class of 20-25 students had one or two women. And the women dropped the classes at a higher rate then men.

Given that framework, I see % of women in tech jobs now as being higher than those numbers would predict.

But I guess very few of us in college in the 70s can find tech jobs now, men or women!

What is the current % of women in college level engineering classes?


21 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2018 at 10:43 am

@Anecdotal,
I started at MIT in the early '80s with an incoming freshman class of about 20% women. The women were not dropping out of MIT, they actually had better stats than the men, they were more qualified entrants, had higher test scores, had better grades and more extracurriculars as students, etc. But they weren't accepting MIT at the same rate as men were. So the school started a program where they invited prospective women to stay on campus with other women students in the spring. It seemed to work -- the year after I left was supposed to be 40% women. What happened? I thought it would be 50-50 by now.

I think one of the big challenges for the tech industry and our society in general is to come to terms with the way we educate and qualify people for work. College is a kind of hazing — a physical/emotional/mental slog in many ways that older workers would not only find difficult, but also extremely inefficient in terms of how people learn relative to their existing knowledge and goals. Even the *way* we school is ill-suited to turning out the workers we need *now* — the Prussian model of education was designed to create compliant workers for factories in the industrial revolution. In the ‘50s, this was further refined by an ethos of sorting for talent rather than individualizing and optimizing. Now we can make robots — why are we still educating students for compliance?

This system was never designed to benefit from incorporating the experience of learners, much less their independence and creativity, it was overtly designed to shut that down. A value of workers in subsequent decades as doing anything except they were trained for as youth was never designed into the educational system. Why are we creating this narrow gateway through which the young are funneled, and the young endure best, when older workers now change jobs many times in their lives? Why do we not have equally accepted ways of more efficiently upgrading the educations of everyone throughout their lives when they choose (with equally regarded societal stamps of approval such as college degrees?)

Women especially get the low end of the stick in their professional lives. If they leave work or reduce work to have and raise families, then they either have to be up to enduring the gauntlet again to get back on track or they may be derailed for the rest of their lives in terms of opportunities. I know a very talented mother with degrees in biology, music, computer science, with lots of experience optimizing business systems, who would like to get a medical degree at this stage of her life. Her experience counts for nothing. She’s also less desirable in such a strongly hierarchical educational model. Yet knowing her, I think she would make a superb doctor.

Parenthetically, medical degrees probably more than any other kind of degree demands a level of physical endurance that virtually eliminates anyone with certain kinds of chronic physical problems that are exactly the problems least well-solved by modern medicine — which is no surprise, since necessity is the mother of invention, that such problems remain so badly addressed. Perhaps for some specialties like emergency medicine, this kind of gauntlet might help, but for everyone else, it probably creates an unconscious callousness on the part of doctors, and it eliminates anyone with relevant life experience, motivations, or wisdom of years.

I know a lot of women who are tech savvy who would not shun tech jobs. What they shun is having to go back to school now that their kids are a certain age. Most of what prevents them is wholly unnecessary for training them for those jobs. But you have to admit, too, that the tech sector has a reputation for being an extension of that same gauntlet of school.

The reason MIT got more women to accept it back when I was a student was that it brought women in and showed them that the things they thought about the school weren’t really so, and that they could have balanced lives. There’s a lesson there, both in terms of why the tech sector has such a low percentage of women workers, and why MIT, seeming to have solved the problem of low numbers of women once, wasn’t able to retain that lesson.


45 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Younger people reading such articles may innocently take them at face value. The only "shortage" is of under-35 foreign engineers and programmers willing to work at reduced salaries while pretending to be "passionate" about using "the cloud" in order to automate some service that will throw another 100,000 blue collar workers out of their jobs. All the while rationalizing it with the tired old "buggy whip" cliche'. We've all seen it before. "Ho hum."


21 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm

@Anon,
You touch on very important really big picture topics. Why is it that artificial intelligence and technology are being put to use to replace what human beings do instead of to make human beings better and better at what they want to do, or, better and better at being autonomous and making good use of their time? Just because it is possible to do something, doesn't mean it should be done. The attention merchants think very little about how they are impeding people's time and autonomy, so that on the back end, it's easier to justify replacing them with machines. Instead, technology should be focused on being "temporally ergonomic" for human beings. If the focus of technology is to make human beings better version of themselves, instead of making them obsolete, then it's a different story. If you talk to technologists today, they really THINK that's what they are doing, which is what is so scary. The whole direction of technology including AI in recent years have been in a wholly different direction than making people better and more autonomous.

I'm afraid I don't know what the "buggy whip" cliche is.


3 people like this
Posted by Rahib
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 15, 2018 at 3:21 pm

*It is well known that Silicon Valley shuns older workers. Many startup companies have no engineers over age 40

That is because many of the older engineers are not recurrent. In other words, they are out of date in regards to advances in technology. Thus they become dinosaurs and eventual Fry's employees.

Besides, you probably had no compassion for some of the older engineers when you were a younger one and replacing them in the workforce. What comes around, goes around.

By the time I am in my late 40, I will be retired from this rat race. I do not want to work at Fry's.

[Portion removed.]


28 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm

This is an insulting article. People who are employed as IT workers are being laid off and replaced with outsourced foreign workers. UCSF is a good example of that. What their big problem is that if you hire a US citizen as an employee you have to pay FICA taxes (Social Security) as well as increase the size of your HR Department to perform all of the required payroll functions of withholding and reporting to the government. If you outsource then the outsourcing company is responsible for that function - and if foreign maybe no taxes specific to state or federal - SDI and FICA. I wish these companies would grow up and act like other US companies. What is worse is that the political parties argue over who gets social security - it is the people who have it deducted out of their paychecks and are eligible for benefits at a later age. And then you get into the 401K issues and pensions. They do not want to take on those payroll related tasks that in previous generations was the accepted norm.


29 people like this
Posted by Seen it
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2018 at 3:50 pm

We’ve seen highly qualified middle/older engineers/managers with excellent performance laid off due to age. They were not out of date, they were well-compensated. Sometimes one threatened the status of another, so one got deep-sixed. Not all of this pertains to programming skills. There’s the semiconductor and semiconductor equipment industry, too. Lots there are not programmers or app developers.
It IS tough for young females in the sector of STEM where we know personally know some, there are risks of sexual harrassment. I don’t care what industry, people should behave professionally.
I am really uncomfortable with billionaires and their massively outsized influence in companies, industry, government/politics.
Please, NO billionaire for our next President or elected/appointed public officials.
I write this for several reasons.
They live on another plane and have tax dodges, etc. that are increasingly burdening the middle and middle upper classes.


18 people like this
Posted by Seen it
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2018 at 3:52 pm

To save costs, laid off - especially if higher compensated and one has dependents using health insurance and you’re in middle age, watch out! You may be targeted for downsizing. Nothing to do with onw’s performance.
Make lots of friends and alliances.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Back in the 70s, the majority of teaching jobs, nursing jobs, clerical (secretarial)jobs, restaurant serving jobs, supermarket jobs, were predominately women. At the same time, the majority of firefighters, police, plumbers, electricians, were predominately male. Why do these types of discussions always center around engineers or top paid executives? Why can't comparisons be made at all types of levels if they need to be made at all?


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2018 at 10:47 pm

Posted by Rahib, a resident of Stanford

>> *It is well known that Silicon Valley shuns older workers. Many startup companies have no engineers over age 40

>> That is because many of the older engineers are not recurrent.

Sure, and, half of all ___ -people are below the median in {height, weight, IQ, attractiveness, whatever}. When you judge an entire class of people by a biased sample of that class, what do -you- call it?


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2018 at 11:12 pm

Posted by AJL, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> I'm afraid I don't know what the "buggy whip" cliche is.

A whole NYT article about it, and, the associated history regarding the transition from horse-drawn to engine-driven transportation.

Web Link

And, an article which assumes that you know "buggy whip" story already:

Web Link


34 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2018 at 12:12 am

The Silicon Valley business model explained in 15 seconds:

1. Eliminate as many jobs as possible by developing & marketing automation.
2. Export any jobs that can't be easily automated to low-wage nations.
3. Import workers from low-wage nations to suppress wages for all of the jobs that can't be easily exported.

Pretend it is all about inclusion and diversity. If anyone challenges the model, call them a "raciss" or a NIMBY.

Wherever will Silicon Valley find enough "tech" workers to restore every state east of the California/Nevada border to double-digit unemployment?


21 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 16, 2018 at 9:13 am

>>Yes, older workers may cost more than H1B immigrants, but Trump is trying to severely limit all immigration programs.


Trump supports an all American-citizen labor force and all American-manufacturing (except for maybe his men's fashion accessories at Macy's).

American companies should strive to hire American citizens first and foremost.
In addition, college-bound American students must apply themselves far better than most do in the areas of mathematics and the physical sciences. This is where many of the H1-B workers from overseas have the edge because most don't go to college as an escape from home but rather for vocational training whether it's in medicine, computer science and/or engineering.

Liberal Arts/Humanities majors should also be limited to some extent as booksmarts will not land you a promising job unless one applies to law school and we already have way too many incompetent lawyers in America.

What has been overlooked in this discussion is that quite often, high performance from those foreign-born with corporate student internships and H1-B visas can often lead to naturalized US citizenship after a period of time. Employers tend to keep the highy productive employees and reward them accordingly. Thus the growing number of foreign-born tech workers now permantly situating in the SF Bay Area.

Most American-born kids are groomed to be lazy and feel a sense of false entitlement which is a recipe for eventual vocational shortcomings. My daughter is currently attending UC Santa Barbara and majoring in Philosophy. Well, everyone is a philosopher of their own accord and to focus one's education on such an inane subject will probably amount to her returning home after college and working retail...unless she goes on to law school.

It's no wonder Americans are being left behind the eight-ball by ambitious foreign-born students and employees as these individuals have earned the right to displace millions of useless and outdated American workers.

If you are an American-born citizen, the POTUS has your back but you will also have to apply yourselfto prevent the proliferation of high-tech foreign-born workers in the USA.




14 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2018 at 10:37 am

@Gunn parent,
You wrote, “Most American-born kids are groomed to be lazy and feel a sense of false entitlement which is a recipe for eventual vocational shortcomings.”

As the child of hard working immigrants myself, I can understand why you feel this way. But I also think your view is a little narrow. You may not realize that people have been saying this about American workers as long as I can remember going back to the sixties.

You do have a point about the difference between wealth-generating generations and wealth-decimating in families. I wish I could remember the name of the author who wrote about how wealth is generated in families (usually first generation) and how it is lost by the third generation, unless people teach their children the right financial literacy in the course of life.

But you are missing that having a good attitude toward work-life balance and following a passion is not the same as being lazy, and is more a recipe for a successful life than burnout. A philosophy major can lead into other professions than law and retail, and is a good basis for many kinds of graduate studies that do lead to good satisfying professions. It could also be a way for your daughter to state a major while she is deciding what to do. I have been advised by very illustrious professors at Stanford that undergrads should get as broad an education as they possibly can and not specialize too soon. That is one perspective if one can afford it, meaning, unlike my father who had to support a wife, kids, and his parents while in college. Such options would have been a luxury for him, but one he would have gladly taken if he’d had the opportunity - applying himself just as much. Those who do have such opportunities are not by default lazy, they just have additional opportunities in a different culture. Europeans generally have a better attitude toward work-life balance and this is definitely NOT laziness.

I admire you for being honest about your feelings but still supporting your kid to follow her oen choices.


7 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

A very important aspect of solving this array of problems - not enough mid-level tech workers, women not in tech, etc - is re-examining the education system which was really a giant sorting system instead of something that supports everyone.


15 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm

The American Universities are graduating qualified students who have been using computers since children. They are as qualified as any out there in any country. And you parents have helped pay for their education so you want the best for them. There is no reason for any American based company now to hire H1B people using the excuse that they are more qualified - sorry - do not buy that excuse. They are just CHEAPER and do not make any demands or expect a qualified HR plan that projects out for medical and possible profit sharing - if high enough in the ranks. Our people are training them for their jobs - they do not come in the door "qualified".
Mr. Tesla is now laying off his US employees - must be too demanding for him to manage.

Side note - any company doing business with the US government is required to have a fully vetted HR plan that is accepted by the accounting organizations. Yes - that costs money to be compliant but is required. And all of the required payroll taxes have to be fully accountable and reportable. That is another cost to the company. But is required. So doing business in the US is expensive but all of the political groupies are demanding free "stuff" - who is paying for that stuff? Your payroll taxes.


Like this comment
Posted by Husiung
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Most Americans are very wasteful of their dollars and time spent. More focused on having fun.

They also do not know how to conform to various work regimens. Always looking forward to time off.

Americans not lazy. Just a lack of focus on their part.

Unproductive H1-B visa person gets sent back overseas. Better to stay here and work hard.




Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of Palo Alto Hills

>> Liberal Arts/Humanities majors should also be limited to some extent as booksmarts will not land you a promising job unless one applies to law school and we already have way too many incompetent lawyers in America.

I always thought we had too many -competent- lawyers in America. And hard-working. Unfortunately, our legal system encourages "winners and losers" that, on the civil law side, favors legal expertise over actual justice. The patent system in particular has permitted "perfectly legal" but technologically absurd outcomes.

>> [..] H1-B visas can often lead to naturalized US citizenship after a period of time. Employers tend to keep the highy productive employees and reward them accordingly. Thus the growing number of foreign-born tech workers now permantly situating in the SF Bay Area.

>> Most American-born kids are groomed to be lazy and feel a sense of false entitlement which is a recipe for eventual vocational shortcomings.


Posted by Husiung, a resident of South of Midtown

>> Most Americans are very wasteful of their dollars and time spent. More focused on having fun. [..]They also do not know how to conform to various work regimens. Always looking forward to time off. [..]Americans not lazy. Just a lack of focus on their part.

>> Unproductive H1-B visa person gets sent back overseas. Better to stay here and work hard.

Because there are not an unlimited number of H1-B visas available, it would be easy to assume that those workers are more productive than average. Has this actually been studied?


13 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

QUOTE: I always thought we had too many -competent- lawyers in America. And hard-working.

Seriously?

An older attorney once told me it's one thing to attend law school, but that doesn't make someone an lawyer.


14 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2018 at 6:32 pm

@Husing,
"Most Americans are very wasteful of their dollars and time spent. More focused on having fun.

They also do not know how to conform to various work regimens. Always looking forward to time off.

Americans not lazy. Just a lack of focus on their part."


For much of the latter part of the 20th Century, American workers have been some of the most productive in the world.

From personal experience in my family, I acknowledge the reality of how hard someone can work coming from a background of literally facing starvation, I have also come to realize that being able to have a good work-life balance takes discipline and can make one far more efficient at work. It's also more fun. As I already mentioned, in Europe, most nations have a better handle on work-life balance than here, and they are neither lazy nor unfocused.

As for conforming to regimens, there is a whole educational philosophy called "unschooling" in which families let their children's education being entirely interest-drive and child-led. Although it sounds like a recipe for laziness and lack of focus, studies find the opposite, that kids thrive and go on to lead satisfying adult lives. Web Link

A recent article by the director of MIT's Media Lab even mentioned unschooling as a compatible mindset to the media lab. One person's lack of regimen is another person's freedom to be independent and creative. Web Link

Again, I do understand your perspective. And yet, American workers do actually manage to be quite productive, as history has shown. There isn't one right way to be in this world. It is possible to work hard and appreciate having a life outside of work.


10 people like this
Posted by Longtime SiValley Spectator
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:24 am

The issue here is cheap malleable bullyable workers ... i.e. young workers.
Look at most of the executives in Silicon Valley, or most other places and
you notice they are rude, arrogant, insulting, abusive, but mostly incompetent.

Jobs are held over people's heads, and agreements to not poach workers to
remove power from them have been discovered.

Bringing in foreign workers is justifiable and great, but at some companies
I've noticed they bring in foreign workers that are substandard to what we
already have here, and that create tensions, like the exercise yard in prisons.

Companies and personal are very smart and have access to lots of data and
modeling from other fields like psychology, sociology and they can implement
policies that will help them stomp down on workers, while encouraging
imperious behavior in managers.

I wonder why they feel they have to do this? Companies seem to work hard
to find jobs were employees will not really learn or grow, and despite a lot of
programs highlighted, mentorships and internships are only for the connected
and people who can afford to work for little to no money, which has effectively
created the real swamp problem in this country, and imperious overclass that
can exclude and exploit those it doesn't like or who do not fit in.

Palo Alto seems to be the center of this kind of corporate social engineering.


13 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 17, 2018 at 7:52 am

QUOTE: Look at most of the executives in Silicon Valley, or most other places and
you notice they are rude, arrogant, insulting, abusive, but mostly incompetent.

QUOTE: Bringing in foreign workers is justifiable and great, but at some companies
I've noticed they bring in foreign workers that are substandard to what we
already have here, and that create tensions, like the exercise yard in prisons.


Both are valid observations.


9 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2018 at 8:34 am

It has been brought up before, but, I've done some looking at all the job listings in an area of expertise that I know something about, and, I have to wonder how many of these jobs are for real. Alternatively, what game is being played. Because, many of the jobs are written for people who are real experts and "know everything", but, are written as entry/mid-level for, presumably, younger applicants.

I would like to see some kind of investigation regarding some of this. I don't know, but, I'm guessing that this is some kind of game being played to rationalize bringing in more people on H-1B visas. Does anybody know how those visas are allocated-- e.g., if you post 20-30 job, does that increase the odds of bringing someone in? Just wondering...


11 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2018 at 8:38 am

@Anon,
Thanks for the "buggy whip" links. (Unfortunately, both links pulled up the same article, please share the second again if you see this.) I think the article's more nuanced look at that analogy is pretty apt when applied to what technology companies do in regards to planned obsolescence to artificially generate new demand for products that by any objective standard could not be considered an "upgrade". Like some kind of perverse modern hostages, people are left scrambling, wasting money, time, and opportunity, every few years to just continue doing what they were doing because technology companies have "obsoleted" what they were using for no beneficial purpose from the user perspective. Again, I refer to an utter lack of "temporal ergonomics" in technology industry output.

The above editorial says "Since the earliest times, skills have been transferred to the next generation via some form of on-the-job training. "
This is true. The experiment where we take all the youth and sequester them by age groups away from most adults in society for 18 or so years of their lives only began ~150 years ago with the Prussian model of education. It has only been in very recent decades that we forgot that children throughout human history, including modern history, learned from watching adults and by DOING things in the world. For all the talk about "project-based" learning in school, educational "innovators" still treat children like blank slates who need carefully controlled projects suggested to or fed to them, rather than reintroducing youth to being autonomous and effective in the real world. (I think this kind of tight age grouping throughout childhood contributes to an inability of our modern society to incorporate older workers and the elderly, and to in turn sequester them when the time comes.)

This point is not lost on homeschoolers/independent educators, who are known to cite something similar to Ms. Dearborn's point when asked why they homeschool. Homeschoolers are a diverse bunch, but there is definitely a movement of learning by doing, and NOT sequestering youth from adults. They bristle at being told their children can't "socialize" if they are not in school; they point out that their children have a far more natural socialization across all age groups because they live and learn in the real world, unlike their schooled counterparts.

To Gunn Parent, such homeschoolers (although again, they are a diverse group) also tend to be closer to their families and not see their independence as being basically about distancing themselves from parents especially for college, which is what the schools teach. When youth are not constantly having their lives externally directed because of school but are instead able to be autonomous and self-directed in their learning and achievements, they can see that it's possible to both be close to their families and be autonomous. (They also, by the way, get better test scores on average than kids in school, without appreciable gender or achievement gaps. Which makes sense because what they are doing is individualizing education.)

I think Ms. Dearborn's point about apprenticeships is already well-taken by homeschoolers who are more likely to include real-world experiences in their educations, more likely to attend community college as teens, and more likely to find satisfying work connected to these early experiences in later life. (But when people homeschool, the limitations of technology that holds such promise yet is essentially boobytrapped/brain hacked to make people less effective and autonomous becomes even more clear and damaging.)


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2018 at 10:34 am

AJL, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood:

>> @Anon, Thanks for the "buggy whip" links. (Unfortunately, both links pulled up the same article, please share the second again if you see this.)

Mea culpa. The NYT article was quoted twice. Here is the other one, plus, a bonus. I could go on all day with more articles. The buggy whip refuses to die. ;-)


Web Link

Bonus: Web Link




13 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:38 pm

How many of these unfilled jobs are phantoms created to create an artificial labor shortage to justify offshoringmore and more jobs? It's a classic ploy. Why is Trump, the Working Person's Best Friend, doing totally nothing about this? Nary a tweet.


28 people like this
Posted by Have to Agree Here
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2018 at 1:43 pm

>> Look at most of the executives in Silicon Valley, or most other places and
you notice they are rude, arrogant, insulting, abusive, but mostly incompetent.

A harsh generalization but true to a certain extent as personality and people skills are not inherent trademarks of many high-tech innovators and CEOs.


5 people like this
Posted by Longtime SiValley Spectator
a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm

@ Have to Agree Here ... that is definitely part of what I meant, but I was trying to point out that our American way of doing capitalism make a real effort to avoid looking at things systemically. Obviously, there are lots of good executives and managers ... let's even say 50% ... then 50% of workers and the resources they control are non-optimal.

But, when you select for a certain kind of person who has these bad qualities mentioned above they are so busy feeding their ego and thrashing politically ... a certain President comes to mind ... they cannot possibly be doing what the should be doing professionally. So, that 50% number, I hope it is less than that because if it is really high that means the only way the US can win against countries that do take the long systems view is to cheat or escalate to bullying and violence - that is no "difficult" effort is made to self-correct.

Makes me wonder?


16 people like this
Posted by No Personality 2.0
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 17, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Curious. Why do so many high-tech visionaries lack certain people skills?

Is it the nerd factor?


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2018 at 8:57 am

Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North

>> How many of these unfilled jobs are phantoms

Exactly what I would like to know.

>> created to create an artificial labor shortage to justify

If a lot of these unfilled jobs -are- phantoms, what are the most common reasons? Once in a while, there has been a news story where H-1B manipulation was the issue, but, I have sometimes seen apparently phantom job listings where H-1B couldn't have been the game being played. The job listings I refer to would seem to be impossible to fill. Making one up: "walks on water, leaps tall buildings with a single bound, and joyously will work for 1/3 the going rate, US Citizenship required". Maybe some retired HR person out there knows why companies do this?


15 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

QUOTE: A harsh generalization but true to a certain extent as personality and people skills are not inherent trademarks of many high-tech innovators and CEOs.

QUOTE: Curious. Why do so many high-tech visionaries lack certain people skills?
Is it the nerd factor?

Apparently so. Especially when you consider the number of nerd-like creatures with minimal personality characteristics who have now inherited the earth...at least in the Silicon Valley locale.

A gizmo-oriented mentality doesn't require good looks or charm...and good taste can either be totally ignored or conveniently purchased.






5 people like this
Posted by A woman in tech
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

To the original question: Do women shun tech jobs, or is it the other way around?

There has been a ton of research into this question. From memory, it's some of both.

Starting in high school and continuing through college, computer science classes are already deep in the "bro" culture, which is casually exclusionary. Boys get more subtle rewards and encouragement in this area than girls, and girls prefer classes and topics where they can exceed and be appreciated, not ridiculed or teased.

Once in the working world, the same thing applies. There are far fewer women, and the culture is reinforcing. Few women want to be the only female at a company, and the "bros" only want to hire their friends anyway. It's a never ending circle. Even in bigger companies, women gravitate to careers where they are more likely to be successful and supported by their peers, such as marketing, HR, social work, nursing, education, etc. The smaller numbers that go into IT, have to face the normal subtle sexism, on top of pressure to get married, raise a family, and do 70-80% of the child-rearing and house-hold management (still the case in majority of house-holds), so they are more likely to drop out.

Self-Reinforcing cycles. Negative pressure at every stage of life. Some persevere. It's tough. Women in tech and gaming get far more negative feedback and harassment than men.


9 people like this
Posted by Woman in tech
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 18, 2018 at 12:43 pm

I should add that I've had dozens of "real" job openings posted in my team for people with CS degrees and coding, and 90% of the people that apply have no coding or relevant experience at all.

Or the position will be based in CA, and people will apply from all over the world, and I can't offer relo.

It feels like most people don't read the job description before they apply. And I've had my share of candidates that lied or really exaggerated their skills on their resume (all men), or said they had a degree when they didn't (men) so it takes several interviews and a background check to get to the truth.

Hiring is tough in the US and in other countries (I have a multi-national team).


2 people like this
Posted by Speaking As a Woman
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 18, 2018 at 1:57 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2018 at 2:58 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Most of the companies that were started by college kids in their dorms ended up requiring experienced individuals to run the company once it started growing teeth. Google, Apple, etc. There is an old saying in large company world - there are people who are experienced in bagging the game - then there are people who are experienced in cooking the game. Translation - "idea" people think it up but experienced managers make it work in conformance with stockholder and SEC requirements. When all is said and done a company on the stock exchange has to be able to produce a creditable, auditable set of books for stockholder release. Our local groups are trying to bypass requirements and do it on the cheap with less regulations. And they have got away with it but suspect that is coming to an end. Yes - there are very experienced people out there but those jobs are not advertised to college grads who are looking for jobs. Trying to create pressure to change (disprupt) the way business is conducted to eliminate the regular requirements of running a major company. Is that why Palo Alto is trying to project a location for "start-ups"? A start up is flying below the radar and that is how they like it. A whole culture of people in "start-up" mode with no capability for running a full blown corporation on the stock exchange. Until they hire experienced managers with the proper credentials for running a company.


10 people like this
Posted by Why Force the Issue?
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2018 at 9:10 am

> Starting in high school and continuing through college, computer science classes are already deep in the "bro" culture, which is casually exclusionary. Boys get more subtle rewards and encouragement in this area than girls, and girls prefer classes and topics where they can exceed and be appreciated, not ridiculed or teased.


Some observations...

(1) There are relatively few (if any) African-American female engineers. I have never met one.
(2) Discovering a dynamic and functional algorithm is usually the key to financial success in the SW/App field. Most have been uncovered by men.
(3) Women tend to be more adept at marketing high-tech advancements and innovations rather than actually creating them. The same can be said for architectural designs and structural engineering as men design most of the buildings while women RE agents go out and effectively sell them.
(4) Women often make better doctors and dentists than men. They convey more compassion and have a softer touch.

Perhaps better if genders stick with what they're good at.


7 people like this
Posted by woman in tech
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

I would argue that most coders are not very good. The vast majority of startups fail. The vast majority of startups are created by males. Correlation is not causation, certainly, but the evidence that they are "good" is very weak.

Perhaps if women had equal opportunity and support networks, they would have equal or perhaps better probability of failing, succeeding, or inventing.

People become good at something by investing significant amounts of time, effort, support and a dash of skill. It's not an equal playing field, nor do I expect it to be, sadly.


7 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 19, 2018 at 1:27 pm

I agree with "woman in tech". The model for American society and economy has been war. It is interesting to listen to French psychologist/advertising guru Clothaire Rappaille and his archetype theories. The archetype for business in America is war, and probably likely that this is a byproduct of male domination and the so-called patriarchy. I think the upcoming vote to put women in boardrooms could be a signficant way to bring some changes to a system that has outlived its usefulness and even turned toxic.


7 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Why Force The Issue ....
> (3) Women tend to be more adept at marketing high-tech advancements and innovations rather than actually creating them. The same can be said for architectural designs and structural engineering as men design most of the buildings while women RE agents go out and effectively sell them.

It is really inappropriate to make a statement here. What is it based on ... your confirmation bias? There are way to many factors at play here to associate given economic or academic qualities with the gender instead of the individual's social and educational experience.

Because there are few

It is like saying that because there are so few male nurses than men cannot be nurses or are genetically worse at it, when the factor of segregation of certain professions by gender is the main factor. Same with the stay at home Dad.

Not trying to razz you but to make the point that we should deal just with the numbers and not what we are programmed to think about them or over-simplify them. There is nothing wrong with hypothesizing about a given scenario for discussion or analysis, but to make blanket STATEMENTS is almost always invalid.

It used to be thought that men were better at math ... and then women actually started taking math and meeting and exceeding their performance ... and let's not even look at the mistakes we've made about race. Somehow even without facts people try to push things back to the way they were ... which is why it is important to call out this invalid logic.


3 people like this
Posted by Another Observation
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 19, 2018 at 1:48 pm

>>> It is like saying that because there are so few male nurses than men cannot be nurses or are genetically worse at it, when the factor of segregation of certain professions by gender is the main factor. Same with the stay at home Dad.

Segregation by gender is just a way of life regardless of any vocational imbalances. Comes with the territory or job description.

Though outnumbered by women in these particular professions: (1) many male nurses have come from military backgrounds; (2) most male flight attendants tend to be gay (no big deal) and (3) stay at home Dads do it because Mom makes more money and is the primary breadwinner.



3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Posted by Why Force the Issue?, a resident of Community Center

>> (1) There are relatively few (if any) African-American female engineers. I have never met one.

I have. Depends on where you work(ed), I imagine.

>> (2) Discovering a dynamic and functional algorithm is usually the key to financial success in the SW/App field. Most have been uncovered by men.

"usually" -- so, are you saying that you wouldn't employ a woman who is good at algorithms because you think that, -on average-, men are better?

>> Perhaps better if genders stick with what they're good at.

An alternative to your view is that perhaps it is better if -individuals- work at something that they are good at.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park

>> > Because there are few

>> It is like saying that because there are so few male nurses than men cannot be nurses or are genetically worse at it, when the factor of segregation of certain professions by gender is the main factor. Same with the stay at home Dad.

As far as I am concerned, it only takes -one-. One female write, artist, engineer, scientist. One male nurse. One person who makes a difference, regardless of gender. When we view people as individuals, the individual contribution matters.

>> which is why it is important to call out this invalid logic.

Agreed. You can't make a decision about an individual based on population statistics.

Posted by Another Observation, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> Segregation by gender is just a way of life regardless of any vocational imbalances. Comes with the territory or job description.

Depends on the job description. In most job descriptions, actual maleness or femaleness doesn't matter. When it does matter, then male/female gender is a bona fide Requirement. Otherwise, it is a prejudice. Judge the individual, not the population.

>> Though outnumbered by women in these particular professions: (1) many male nurses have come from military backgrounds; (2) most male flight attendants tend to be gay (no big deal) and (3) stay at home Dads do it because Mom makes more money and is the primary breadwinner.

Most mathematicians have been male, but, a female mathematician can make just as much difference as a male mathematician. Like Noether, for example:

Web Link






50 people like this
Posted by Former Playground Dad
a resident of Southgate
on Sep 19, 2018 at 5:47 pm

> stay at home Dads do it because Mom makes more money and is the primary breadwinner.

This is usually the case behind 'stay at home Dads' and they are often viewed with some suspicion by other mothers at the playground...like what's wrong with this guy? He probably makes good pancakes but geeze.

Most women still expect the man to be the main breadwinner of the family...which is why so many women opt to marry the best provider they can stomach.

I was a 'semi-pro' family babysitter for a little less than a year. Fortunately my professional work resume got through the gatekeepers and the kids entered elementary school.


8 people like this
Posted by Econ Data
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 20, 2018 at 10:36 am

What are the original sources for your numbers. I've looked at a number of these claims and I am yet to find one that isn't deeply flawed. See that analysis at Web Link . Provide your sources and I'll be more than happy to check them out.


49 people like this
Posted by A Woman's View
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm

> they are often viewed with some suspicion by other mothers at the playground...like what's wrong with this guy?

'Playground Dads' in many instances give rise to a deeply personal and private disappointment on the part of the wife/mother and many of them are quietly ashamed as no self-respecting man would opt to raise the children unless he happened to be a lousy provider with no real job prospects. It is even worse if/when the spouse happens to be a highly successful professional woman. Divorce is inevitable.

I would never stand for such a thing.







42 people like this
Posted by Cruisin' With the Kids
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 20, 2018 at 6:15 pm

>>>I would never stand for such a thing.

Another angry woman breadwinner?

I had to finally get a job but being a 'playground Dad' was great for while it lasted. After getting the kids up, fixing their breakfast and getting them off to school, my time was pretty much my own (except for some basic household chores like doing the laundry, grocery shopping and firing-up the crock pot a few hours before dinnertime).

Once you learn to streamline your tasks, there is ample time for naps, watching TV and enjoying a beer at lunchtime. My housekeeping skills were not quite up to snuff so my wife eventually hired a P/T housekeeper to keep the house tidy. How cool is that?

Around 3PM, I'd go pick up the kids from school and then we'd sometimes go out for ice cream and later walk the dog in the park. In time I became the 'fun parent' and my children soon began to look forward to our various post-school activities and excursions. It was great...for while it lasted.

Eventually my wife started to get p*ssed off...her problem of course. To make a long story short, we are now separated and have joint custody of the children.
I had to get a job (a menial one at that) and was forced to move out of our home.

A divorce is pending but in time I imagine that my soon-to-be ex-wife will eventually realize how much I brought to the table. Her loss.






36 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm

QUOTE: Most women still expect the man to be the main breadwinner of the family...which is why so many women opt to marry the best provider they can stomach.

Of course. It's so they can enjoy or have the option of being a 'stay at home/playground Mom' with all of the amenities that a 'good provider' can offer. This is not rocket science.


QUOTE: Once you learn to streamline your tasks, there is ample time for naps, watching TV and enjoying a beer at lunchtime.

Yep. Once the kids are in school (or in AM day-care), there's ample time for yoga, tennis, swimming, book/wine clubs, clothes shopping and other womanly interests. And when things get a bit too hectic, just hire some outside help to assist with the housekeeping.

It's no wonder your wife got PO'd. She was jealous! *LOL*



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Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2018 at 11:16 am

Back to the topic at hand - the large group of techies are graduating every year from great universities and are looking for work - as employees - not as casual help. They have been trained to provide good resumes and have an expectation that they will be hired by a reputable company that fully functions with health benefits and all of the other benefits that are currently offered in competitive employee packages. Unfortunately our local big companies are not up to providing the standard employee packages which include health and other potential retirement planning packages. Your 401K goes with you as you change companies - as does your company savings plan which converts to a standard savings vehicle in a regular stock company. Big companies are gaming this all. And then sitting around going on the internet and complaining that they are short of help. They are short of adults to run the company. But they are personally making out like bandits and are millionaires.


36 people like this
Posted by An Unemployed Dad
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Why is it that when women are the primary homemakers and stay at home moms, they often complain (aka whine) about the career sacrifices they have made in order to preserve the nuclear family?

I've even heard that some politico-economic leaning mothers also want adjustments made to the GNP based on their domestic contributions.

On the other hand, if a man happens to be the stay at home parent, he is often considered a deadbeat and looked down upon by countless women as being a poor provider with no ambition.

How can women have it both ways? Not fair.


14 people like this
Posted by Maui Sunset
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm

> stay at home Dads do it because Mom makes more money and is the primary breadwinner. [Another Observation]

>>I would never stand for such a thing.[A Woman's View]

>>>Another angry woman breadwinner? [Cruisin' With the Kids]

>>>>How can women have it both ways? Not fair. [An Unemployed Dad]


Swallow your pride guys & continue tending to the children at home. If your wife is making boku bucks & decides to divorce you, you will probably receive a nice windfall including monthly alimony, 1/2 community property + an allowance for re-training/education expenses. Get a good attorney and cover all your bases.

This was a standard family court practice 40+ years ago when men were perceived as the primary 'breadwinners' of the family and a soon-to-be ex-wife needed financial assurances of being able to secure both a stable living environment for herself and the children + vocational training for eventual self-sufficiency. This is where the phrase "She took him to the cleaners" originated.

The feminist movement sought greater social latitudes + financial independence.
And with that came added responsibilities.






8 people like this
Posted by Bhupal
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 22, 2018 at 1:53 pm

From the PA Weekly article..."California is expected to see a shortage of an estimated 2.5 million skilled workers by 2025....Where is this talent going to come from?

From overseas of course!

By then, many of the current H1-B visa holders from India and China will have become naturalized US citizens and firmly entrenched into American society.

A good number of them will be playing an active role in the hiring of new employees and it is a far safer bet to select qualified workers from their native countries than to opt for the unreliability of American workers.

And by unreliability I mean job-hopping for presumed greener pastures. Most H1-B visa workers are grateful for the opportunities afforded them by various companies and tend to stick around.

They are not like many American workers whose resumes often reflect that of a fly on various turds.




2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Posted by Bhupal, a resident of Stanford

>> From the PA Weekly article..."California is expected to see a shortage of an estimated 2.5 million skilled workers by 2025....Where is this talent going to come from?

Bhupal, please read "Econ Data"'s reply regarding these numbers. I have reason to believe that those numbers are deeply flawed. Econ Data posted a link that raises some serious questions.


13 people like this
Posted by SuperFly
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2018 at 6:06 pm

> They are not like many American workers whose resumes often reflect that of a fly on various turds.

Well maybe these American workers are looking over their shoulders as an H1-B visa hire could easily assume their job for less pay.


8 people like this
Posted by 2+2=A Lifestyle
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm

What I've gotten from this thread so far...

Marry a woman on an H1-B visa and become a house husband.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Posted by SuperFly, a resident of another community

>> Well maybe these American workers are looking over their shoulders as an H1-B visa hire could easily assume their job for less pay.

No maybe about it:

"UCSF administrators eliminated about 100 IT positions in February, sending most of the responsibilities to Indian workers through a contract with HCL Technologies, an outsourcing firm." (May 30, 2017)

Web Link

(you can Google all about it).


20 people like this
Posted by American Kids to Blame
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 5:51 pm

>>only 49,300 computer science graduates joined the American workforce last year. Closer to home, California is expected to see a shortage of an estimated 2.5 million skilled workers by 2025.


The reason>>> Too many American-born kids majoring in the humanities & liberal arts just sluffing their way through college. Meanwhile their counterparts from India/China are focusing on viable occupations instead of looking forward to being a food server or barista.


9 people like this
Posted by Misguided
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 24, 2018 at 7:08 pm

It’s easy to follow instructions and practice and learn how to use and support computer programs, software development tools, programming languages, etc. and that is good for finding first, high-paying jobs.

But unless your life model is “learn a skill in college and use it the rest of your career, with gradual seniority and raises until you reach late 30s” this is not the primary value of college.

It’s harder to learn to think, absorb others’ thoughts, communicate the integration of those thoughts with the brains, experience, judgment you have gained as you live.

That’s what studying liberal arts, history, philosophy, etc. teaches and strengthens. And that is better suited to a life view that allows lifelong learning and flexibility of jobs and careers, and the potential to add consistent long-term value to organizations.

Companies think they need cheap programmers to compete, in order to announce a new product release quicker and cheaper.

The country and the world needs more people who can think and communicate. That way we can get better and new products, not just quicker releases of the same product.


Like this comment
Posted by Zhao
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 25, 2018 at 7:56 am

"It’s harder to learn to think, absorb others’ thoughts, communicate the integration of those thoughts with the brains, experience, judgment you have gained as you live.

That’s what studying liberal arts, history, philosophy, etc. teaches and strengthens. And that is better suited to a life view that allows lifelong learning and flexibility of jobs and careers, and the potential to add consistent long-term value to organizations."



Who make more money? Doctor or philosopher? Engineer or sociologist?

Doctor and engineer can study philosophy & sociology as hobby. Philosopher & sociologist cannot do the same to become doctor or engineer.

Make money first. Then become painter.


1 person likes this
Posted by Misguided
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 25, 2018 at 12:18 pm

For those who must escape (virtual) poverty, or for those whose values cause them to respect the owner of a Mercedes or Rolls more than that of a Toyota, I can agree that making enough money first and early is a high priority.

But even for those who place a very high value on money and the ability to earn it, this is not so straightforward. Many CEOs and senior management in and out of Silicon Valley look beyond technical detail and skill toward other issues: customers, markets, employees, company culture. They want detailed financial plans but understand that direction and execution outweigh college-learned engineering skills.
Many have undergraduate humanities degrees. I would argue that humanities degrees better prepares managers than engineering degrees.

Don’t confuse humanities with fine arts. Fine arts might well help engineers be superstars, but humanities is more important for management in the large.


16 people like this
Posted by Humanities Majors Are Limited
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm

>>>>Many CEOs and senior management in and out of Silicon Valley look beyond technical detail and skill toward other issues: customers, markets, employees, company culture.

And those employees hired to fill these positions (atypical humanities majors) are usually the first to go when there are company lay-offs.

Human resources, marketing and company culture related positions are not revenue generating. They drain revenue. As a result, R&D, field service and sales positions are usually the most secure jobs during times of fiscal constraints. And all of these roles usually require a technical degree.

OK to minor in the humanities. As a major, not so promising in high-tech.


16 people like this
Posted by The Humanity
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm

>> I would argue that humanities degrees better prepares managers than engineering degrees.

Would love to see a poet/philosopher deliver an MBO report.


14 people like this
Posted by Highly Unlikely
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 26, 2018 at 5:33 pm

> Would love to see a poet/philosopher deliver an MBO report.

Yes. A Management By Objective report delivered by a humanities major wearing a beret and smoking French cigarettes while quoting corporate insights by Sarte.


6 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm

@Zhao,

Here's what UC Davis says about majoring in philosophy
Web Link

These new emphases within the philosophy major are designed to prepare students for entry into law school or medical school.

Philosophy is a rigorous and well-respected major that hones a student's critical thinking and analytical skills.

University of Maryland says philosophy majors have one of the highest acceptances to law school:
Web Link

Philosophy is actually pretty difficult, and requires a higher degree of cognitive skill than most majors.

Here's one of many articles you can find about the job prospects of philosophy majors, which are pretty good. They also get higher scores for law and medicine graduate school than other degrees:
Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by Not Buying the UCD Spiel
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2018 at 6:53 pm

>>These new emphases within the philosophy major are designed to prepare students for entry into law school or medical school.

Might work for law school but med school is not a guaranteed shoo-in. If the philosopher/aspiring MD cannot get through core lower division classes like Chemistry 1A/B/C, Physics 2A/B/C, Organic Chemistry 8A/B/C, + a year of Calculus, he or she will not be able to pass the MCAT.

I went to UCD and over 60% of the freshmen/sophomores refer to themselves as pre-med/pre-vet/pre-dental majors. By junior year, the % drops considerably to 'softer' majors (i.e. humanities, liberal arts & self-declared ones).

A philosophy major might have a reasonable shot on the LSAT (which has far less math/science questions) but focusing primarily on Plato, Nietzsche & the likes in lieu of 'acing' the math/science background requirements will pretty much relegate them to various fields outside of medicine...which is OK.

After all, not everyone is cut out to be a doctor.


3 people like this
Posted by HM
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 26, 2018 at 7:46 pm

@Highly Unlikely-I might take you more seriously if you could spell Sartre correctly. What do they teach you at Stanford?


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 26, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Philosophy? I've heard Stanford turns out doctors of that. Many seem to be employable.


27 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 27, 2018 at 8:33 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: Philosophy? I've heard Stanford turns out doctors of that. Many seem to be employable.

As in a Ph.D.?

Yes. There are many vocations/fields where this academic achievement & title is applicable.

On the other hand, I've always felt that using the prefix 'Dr.' as an everyday title outside of one's Ph.D. related work or academic environment is kind of pompous & self-important. IMO 'Doctor' should be reserved for MDs, veterinarians & dentists as a generally acknowledged job title whether onsite or offsite.

Chiropractors & optometrists who refer to themselves as 'Dr.' outside of their offices is also a bit of a stretch...especially chiropractors who don't even have to attend a real college for their certification/title.






25 people like this
Posted by Ph.Ds Aren't Real Doctors
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 27, 2018 at 12:48 pm

> On the other hand, I've always felt that using the prefix 'Dr.' as an everyday title outside of one's Ph.D. related work or academic environment is kind of pompous & self-important.

No kidding. I once had a college professor who corrected a grocery clerk and demanded that he be called Dr. while at the Safeway check-out counter.

What a pathetic loser.


3 people like this
Posted by AJL
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2018 at 9:16 am

@Not Buying,

I couldn’t myself tell you whether the UCD post is accurate. However, I do pay attention to educational innovations, and in regards to medical schools, things are changing.
Web Link
The Changing Face of Medical School Admissions
“Nevertheless, 43 of the nation’s 141 medical schools have already expressed interest in adopting some form of the holistic review approach”

Thankfully, many educators these days, including in medical schools, are reconsidering educational models that were developed for another era. The kind of sorting you describe is still the most prevalent, but not necessarily the only or best way to get good medical practitioners. You might enjoy this article about what Mount Sinai is doing
Web Link

Medical practice is really an applied science, not science - and most good doctors will talk about the “art” of being a good doctor - I read another article in which the dean of that program at that time said the students who had only science in their backgrounds weren’t necessarily suited temperamentally to being good doctors, and many were hard to teach those qualities. When they were more holistic about admissions, they found they could teach the science to students with those qualities that make them good doctors that came from their broader backgrounds.

I recall a Google exec telling a full audience at Gunn that art students used to be the washouts who couldn’t make a living, but now they are much in demand and making six figures at places like Google. A lot of things are changing.

Philosophy is a demanding field of study not for the intellectually faint of heart. I think the mom above is to be commended for supporting her child’s interests even though she has concerns of the future marketability of the degree. But I think there is more evidence than just the UCD site that philosophy lends itself to other professional pursuits that might require intelligence and deep thinking, a lot of reading/comprehension, critical analysis skills, and an understanding of the breadth of human philosophical outlooks.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Posted by Ph.Ds Aren't Real Doctors, a resident of Menlo Park

>> No kidding. I once had a college professor who corrected a grocery clerk and demanded that he be called Dr. while at the Safeway check-out counter.

So, based on a single sample, you were able to deduce ...

(LOL)


14 people like this
Posted by Call Me Doctor Instead
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 29, 2018 at 2:42 pm

> On the other hand, I've always felt that using the prefix 'Dr.' as an everyday title outside of one's Ph.D. related work or academic environment is kind of pompous & self-important.

*Some people like to be called doctor...especially bone-crackers (chiropractors) and psychologists. Even when they are buying toilet paper at Costco. *L*

>>No kidding. I once had a college professor who corrected a grocery clerk and demanded that he be called Dr. while at the Safeway check-out counter.

*Just another example of an insecure individual.


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Off-topic: Etymologically doctor connotes a recognized qualification to teach.


11 people like this
Posted by Just Passing Through
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2018 at 6:31 pm

I have found that the people who like to use the prefix Doctor expressively and extensively are usually clinical psychologists and theologians.

Not surprising that in each of their particular fields, nothing can be proven.

Perhaps they are seeking credibility where none is warranted.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde, on Sep 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm

>> Off-topic: Etymologically doctor connotes a recognized qualification to teach.

Off-topic answer:

Somewhere in Isaac Asimov's oeuvre there is a comment about medical -doctors- vs PhD -doctors- and how he thought the PhD got there first and was still more significant. Of course, he failed to get into med school and got his PhD, so, he might have been biased. Then, he fizzled as a researcher because he preferred writing and teaching (in that order I think).

On topic: I'm -still- looking for an answer regarding how many actual open job slots there are, really.


6 people like this
Posted by Just Passing Through
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2018 at 8:53 am

> On topic: I'm -still- looking for an answer regarding how many actual open job slots there are, really.


Chances are...there are many. Department heads like to 'empire build' but there are various constraints in play (i.e. funding/department budgets, final approval from above etc.).

As a result, many listed positions go unfilled and the work is then handed down to other subordinates to cover.

In many instances, job postings mean little.


6 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2018 at 9:50 am

QUOTE: Department heads like to 'empire build' but there are various constraints in play (i.e. funding/department budgets, final approval from above etc.).

As a result, many listed positions go unfilled and the work is then handed down to other subordinates to cover.


Which is why it can sometimes take months (following the initial interview processes) to finally land the job.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2018 at 10:12 am

Posted by R. Davis, a resident of Crescent Park
>> > As a result, many listed positions go unfilled and the work is then handed down to other subordinates to cover.

>> Which is why it can sometimes take months (following the initial interview processes) to finally land the job.

Sorry, apparently I'm having difficulty expressing what I mean. I've been on the other side of this, and, I/we would not have stated that we had a "job opening" until we actually had a slot to hire someone into.

From what people are saying, companies now just post job -descriptions-, without actually having a slot to hire someone into. So, the glowing articles about "9 million available jobs" are incorrect, for the reasons stated by all of the helpful people above. Those "available jobs" greatly overstate how many actual slots there are available.

Does anyone know of some statistical data showing how many actual slots are open? Does BLS have a method for estimating actual openings? I'm starting to get kind of curious about this now.




12 people like this
Posted by HR Gatekeeper
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2018 at 2:34 pm

> Does anyone know of some statistical data showing how many actual slots are open?

Confidential corporate info. Only the actual hiring managers know for sure as any hiring decisions rest solely with them.

In HR, our job is to weed-out unqualified candidates and forward the more promising applicants to the hiring managers.

Keep in mind that some companies post a number of job openings in order to appeal to shareholders. In other words, the company is doing good and we're hiring!

Not always the case.


12 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2018 at 5:59 pm

QUOTE: Keep in mind that some companies post a number of job openings in order to appeal to shareholders. In other words, the company is doing good and we're hiring!

Not always the case.


Which means that a prospective job-seeker should thoroughly research the company he/she is applying to as a short-term hiring followed by an unexpected lay-off can reek havoc with one's long-term perspectives, financial planning and everyday life in general.

This has happened to many...myself included. A hiring company will rarely inform a new hiree of what's exactly going on behind the scenes.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 10:19 am

OK, let me put it another way. If there are no reliable statistics showing the overall picture, can we not publish articles claiming "9 million available jobs in STEM", etc? The only confirmed info we have is a current spot shortage of {Python, whatever} coders, that could easily evaporate after one or two years with the next crop of UC EE/CS graduates moving into the workforce.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:04 pm

"Our country has nearly 9 million available jobs in STEM with some 70 percent in computers and IT. The downside: more than a half-million of those computing jobs are currently unfilled."

Okay, 70% of 9M is 6.3M in computers and IT. Half-million unfilled implies 5.8M are filled.

So @Anon, are you asking how this author defines "available"?

(for inquiring minds, her email address is provided in the footnote)


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde

>> So @Anon, are you asking how this author defines "available"?

I'm assuming that the "real purpose" of this article is to encourage education or retraining or immigration of [people with some qualifications]. I'm questioning whatever statistics imply an "ever-widening gap" etc. I've seen this kind of cycle too many times before-- 5 or 6 years from now, when a million people graduate from college knowing how to program in {COBOL; Pascal (Pascal? ;-), you-name-it}, only to discover that the real jobs are pushing paper for health insurance companies. "People should not be misled into taking on massive college debt to get a degree in something that they won't really enjoy doing when they get out and there may not be that many available jobs in anyway."


4 people like this
Posted by News of the Day
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

> "People should not be misled into taking on massive college debt to get a degree in something that they won't really enjoy doing when they get out and there may not be that many available jobs in anyway."

You brought up a good point BUT perhaps the key is not to believe everything one reads. There's a lot of BS out there.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

This is a meta- question the relevance of which you can ponder or challenge but how many op-ed writers for PAW get a photo shoot?

This is a red herring and achronistic but, as a subsequent PAW editorial implied, you cannot have STEAM without TEA (and all three candidates are former or current tech execs, parents and slightly artsy).


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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