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Computer Engineering Degree Most Valuable 818

Posted by michael
from the wifi-enabled-mortarboard dept.
Anonymous Squonk writes "CNN reports on the National Association of Colleges and Employers quarterly salary survey. Computer Engineering degree holders once again command the highest starting salaries at an average of $53,117, but Chemical Engineering is gaining rapidly, and Computer Science graduate's salaries are up 8.9% over the year before. Most of the other geek disciplines rank high on the list as well." While starting salaries for some degrees are up, the overall situation is not very good - indeed, your salary may be decreasing.
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Computer Engineering Degree Most Valuable

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  • by ChaoticChaos (603248) * <l3sr-v4cf@nOSPaM.spamex.com> on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:32AM (#8200761)
    Wow, that starting salary must be appreciated by all 5 graduates who were able to find jobs.

    Honestly, until something is seriously done by the government and companies (determing a percentage that can be offshored, completely redoing the tariffs in the so-called "free trade" agreements, etc.), it's difficult to make a case for going to a college or university. To train for what? Everyone behind a desk is vulnerable to being offshored.

    Thankfully, Lou Dobb's program is putting the spotlight on this issue each evening! Tonight, he's going to focus on the companies who are the worst abusers of offshoring. Last night, he focused on the owner of a Tool and Die shop who is complaining that "free trade" has ruined his business and it's about to go under. His specific complaints were that tariffs on his stuff going to China is 29.9%. Stuff coming from China to the US has a tariff of 3%. In Mexico, they freely use and dump chemicals that he would go to jail for dumping. This is free trade? Our elected officials agreed to this? Holy cow! The playing field is not level or even close to being level.

    Until the tariffs are equal and labor/enviromental issues are equal with our trade partners, America is going to continue to lose jobs, companies, and wealth. Our future is slowly being flushed down the porcelin convenience. Our own beloved industry - IT - has near double-digit unemployment. Good luck to new graduates trying to enter.

    • by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:38AM (#8200836) Homepage Journal
      He's complaining that tariffs to China are much higher than tariffs from China? What's he want, import tariffs to go up?

      Depressions have been started because competing companies got into tariff wars. And political fallout (steel tariffs and the EU, anyone?) gets nasty too.

      Heinlein always talked about democracy being likely to fail when people voted themselves bread-and-circuses. I wish he would have speculated on the sequence of events that could cause it.
      • by ChaoticChaos (603248) * <l3sr-v4cf@nOSPaM.spamex.com> on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:42AM (#8200888)
        What he wants is equality. Why would anyone in China buy his atificially inflated products? China's products are only inflated 3% coming into the US. That's great for US consumers! The 29.9% tariff is horrible for the American company.

        How about both companies having a 3% tariff???? Better yet, until China has labor/environmental laws that are enforced, THEY should have the 29.9% tariff and he should get the 3% tariff.

        Honestly, whoever agreed to these trade laws was totally asleep at the wheel.
        • that would be bill clinton.
        • by zx75 (304335) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:48AM (#8201681) Homepage
          These 'trade laws' you are referring to are hardly agreed upon that simply. Sure there is back and forth in regard to tariffs vs. free trade (like NAFTA and the Canadian/American free trade agreement), however just as often a nation with unilaterally increase its protectionist tariffs to prevent foreign competition if its own industry is struggling or can't compete on a fair playing field.

          This is the way it is in China, the US has no real say in what tariffs that China imposes on imported goods, but obviously the Chinese government in this situation has chosen to protect its local industry from foreign competition by forcing the competitions prices for their citizens through the roof.

          The same applies even to the Canadian/American agreement (see softwood lumber, and grain disputes). The American government has repeatedly placed huge tariffs on Canadian goods (currently over 25% on grain, and upwards of 50% on lumber) because the American companies can't compete with Canadian producers. However in this case with a WTO binding free trade agreement, this is illegal. Which is in fact, why we have been to court on 13 different occasions to have these tariffs repealed (and won, every time).
      • by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:00AM (#8201106)
        US Steel was able to reorganize itself from a state of near bankruptcy to modest profitability due to the steel tariff.

        The guy that the parent poster would like to export stuff to China, which is growing at hyper-speed and has plenty of tool and die customers.

        But the Chinese gov't slaps a 30% tariff to encourage local industry.

        The US is utterly dependent on the Chinese government and Industrialists buying US Government debt that we accept that situation.

        Heck, the "free" market people have even convinced people like you that the destruction of our nation is a good thing!
        • by Killswitch1968 (735908) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:55AM (#8201745)
          Argh, seems everytime outsourcing rolls around...
          Steel tarrifs were a HORRIBLE thing. You are only looking at one side of the issue: Steel worker jobs. Think of all the companies in the US, cars, construction workers, machines, that rely on steel. They all had to pay this insane rates because the steel workers couldn't adapt. The end result? Hidden jobloss in these sectors from companies that can't compete well, not to mention inflated prices on the goods these companies produce.

          Make no mistake, tariffs are ALWAYS a bad thing, regardless of which side institutes them
      • by devilsadvoc8 (548238) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:02AM (#8201133)
        Actually economic crises start when countries not companies get into tariff wars. Companies don't inact or enforce tariffs, countries do. History shows us that protectionism of domestic industries gives those industries a short term prop but damns them in the long term.

        Good luck to anyone who thinks China will decrease tariffs on US goods. If you think that will happen I have a bridge to sell ya
      • by cluckshot (658931) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:25AM (#8201412)

        Sorry but this just isn't so on the Depressions having started because of "Trade Wars." The famous "Smoot-Hawley" Tariff which was supposed by those who argue this trash to have caused the Depression of the 1930's starting per Wall Street Oct 29, 1929 has a problem.

        "For a complete myth, it is astounding how much this one gets repeated. Sharp observers have probably already noticed there is a problem with dates. The stock market crashed in October, 1929, but Hoover did not sign the tariff into law until June 17, 1930. So more sophisticated conservatives have refined the story: the tariff turned an otherwise ordinary recession into a full-blown depression. But even this is a gross exaggeration, and top economists reject it out of hand. Peter Temin, an economic historian at MIT, told The Wall Street Journal on February 22, 1996 that this historical revisionism is "wrong," according to the consensus of the nation's most respected economists. Paul Krugman, one of the world's top international trade economists, and one who is expected to win a Nobel Prize for his revolutionary theories in favor of free trade, calls the Smoot-Hawley theory "incredible." "

        Quoted from http://mirrors.korpios.org/resurgent/SmootHawley.h tm

        You have to believe in TIME TRAVEL to believe in that crap!

        What is more the argument is entirely ignorant of the facts! We are in a "Trade War." One Government is placing a tariff on the goods and services of America causing them to have to be marked up about 150% while all other parties pay no such taxes. This Government is the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT and it is doing so encouraged by fools who claim that trade deals such as NAFTA and GATT which set up this condition are good for trade. Frankly they are wiping American Trade from the whole world! In addition they are driving the entire world into a depression and have set up much of the cause conditions that have us in the "War on Terror" as these desperate people around the world are finding US Trade Policies are collapsing their economies while causing them to have to pay US Costs of Living. I know! I saw this in 1996 in the Philippines and came back knowing a war was coming from what I saw there.

        Regards to the speculation on democracy failing I noted some time back that as people got more and more ignorant of reality they might just legislate farming out of business because it was dirty. Shockingly they have done worse and your arguments are what did it! They have quite literally legislated making a profit in the USA to be ILLEGAL! Right now if you earn for your employer more than 2.5 Times the cost of freight to import your product or service he makes a profit by Exporting your JOB because of thes ignorant trade deals. That has made it illegal for an American to actually earn money for his employer

        Regards the Political Fallout on Steel Tariffs and the EU, these IGNORANT Deals violated the most basic provision of the US Constitution which was that all States must give Full faith and Credit to the Rulings of other States. The GATT through the WTO was given the right to overrule State and Federal Laws. The WTO power arises from this. It violates the very basis of free trade in that no person wanting free trade can expect that he sets the rules for all sides of that trade. That local laws are to be respected. The fact of local laws being respected does not mean that they should not apply to all parties trading locally as with the GATT this principal does not exist.

        The reality is I am for FREE TRADE! I love my Free Trade with other US States. If you back Free trade tell those who want it to JOIN THE UNION!

      • by stevesliva (648202) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:33AM (#8201517) Journal
        What's he want, import tariffs to go up?
        What he should want is China to let their currency (the yuan, I think) float, rather than fixing its value to the US dollar. Goods from the rest of the world have gotten more expensive in the US and US prices and wages relatively more competitive in foreign markets, except in China, because the value of the yuan is artificially pegged to the value of the dollar.

        That's hurting more than any existing tariffs. While China's taking advantage of free markets, they're not playing by the rules. I'm all for free trade and I hate protectionism, but China's currency policy needs to go.

    • by StupaflyD (729788) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:40AM (#8200865) Journal
      I'm graduating with a Computer Engineering degree in May. While I agree that the job market is awful - I *did* obtain 16 interviews and 2 job offers. So I can claim that jobs do exist. I know more than 5 grads from my school alone who've found jobs. The job market isn't *that* bad.

      Side note - this was with a 3.1 gpa from Purdue Univ... So weigh it as you'd like...
      • I graduated with a BS in Computer Science and Math with a 3.1 gpa. Could you send some of your interviews my way? :)
    • I don't know about CompE, but in nuclear the department claims that the average salary is just above $55k. I've personally known some guys with gpa's just above 2.5 that got jobs paying close to $60k with only a B.S. (some of the guys with navy nuke experience get even more). I think in all branches of engineering you get paid well if you can get a job. At this time the market seems to be saturated with CompE/CS degrees - I know a guy that's in the EE/CompE track at Texas A&M who has close to a 4.0 t
    • Our own beloved industry - IT - has near double-digit unemployment. Good luck to new graduates trying to enter.

      Already feeling it on this one. I graduated in Decemeber with an Information Systems degree and am having little to no success on the job hunt. Nobody is hiring anybody straight of college as all of the jobs that are publically posted are requiring people with 3-5 years or so of working experience. What's that leave a newly graduated person like me to do? I've had professors and other people

    • by Tassach (137772) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:49AM (#8200982)
      If you have a comp engineering degree, you have a whole lot of an advantage over someone with just a Comp Sci or MIS degree. Recent CompE grads are taking the lower-end programming jobs that would previously have gone to people with CS degrees, forcing the CS majors into whatever job they can find. It's a tough time to be a code slinger.

    • by jgalun (8930) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#8201018) Homepage
      Honestly, until something is seriously done by the government and companies (determing a percentage that can be offshored, completely redoing the tariffs in the so-called "free trade" agreements, etc.), it's difficult to make a case for going to a college or university. To train for what? Everyone behind a desk is vulnerable to being offshored.

      Yes, white collar jobs are now vulnerable to off-shoring - but far more blue collar jobs have already been off-shored. There's a reason why factory payrolls just declined for the 42nd straight month, even as total payrolls in the US increased.

      Besides, off-shoring isn't the only factor in the job market. Over all, it pays to get a college degree. According to surveys (see article [salary.com]) the average college graduate makes $17,000 more per year than the average high school graduate. Even if you go to an expensive private college at $35,000 per year, you still more than make back that cost over the course of your career.
      • While the college degree disparity may have held true historically, we're about to see if it will continue to hold true in the age of the Internet where doing a job can be done without boundaries.
      • Sure, but when your family doesn't have the resources to pay $150,000+ to send you to college, you end up getting straddled with crushing debt.

        Even at low interest rates, supporting a debt load that high for an undergraduate degree is lunacy.

        And there is no guarantee that not going to college will leave you behind and going to college guarantees success. I know a girl who was a "bad girl" in high school and dropped out in 11th grade... she now owns 2 bars at age 23 and bought a $250k house with cash. I al
        • by SlamMan (221834) <squigitNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:14AM (#8201267)
          That's why you don't go to a school that will cost you $150,000. If you can't afford to go to an ivy league, go to something cheaper. You're education won't be much different as an undergrad.

          Coming from somebody who couldn't afford MIT, and happily went to Maryland.
      • I would suggest you check out the US IRS website. You have to go to: "Tax Stats" "Statistics by Topic" "Individual Tax Statistics" "Collections" "Treasury Department Gross Tax Collections: Amount Collected by Quarter and Fiscal Year, 1987-2003. " You just might get a shock!

        The reality must be noted in the Payroll Taxes which were not affected by the tax cut. Note that they should be rising about 3.5% a year to account for population changes. Also note that the cost of the programs covered by this tax

    • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:59AM (#8201095)
      Wow, that starting salary must be appreciated by all 5 graduates who were able to find jobs.

      Wow, that's amazing, because I recently returned from a career fair here at Caltech, and nearly every job needed a heavy programming background. The problem (for you) is, that they want other skills too.

      Your REAL problem is that an increasing number of students majoring in physics, chemistry, math, etc have learned to program pretty damned well. That gives us a huge advantage - we can take a job that uses either our science knowledge, programming skills, or more likely both. Companies get somebody with a wider range of skills.

      As such, I think the best idea is a major in the physical sciences or better yet, EE, with a CS minor (or double major).

      I guarantee you this - if you had an EE/CS double major, or even EE major/CS minor, you'd be beating companies away with a stick. Particularly here in California.

    • I find it quite strange how quickly many American's love of capitalism and free trade is forgotten as soon as they are the ones loosing out.

      Isn't the sort of protectionism you are suggesting akin to a socialist command-economy?

      I whole-heartedly agree with you on the the unfairness with regards to environmental damage, which is why I believe you government shouldn't have torn up the Kyoto treaty. I don't see how this directly relates with regards to programming jobs moving to India though.

    • Well, I hate to say it here, 'cause I know I'll get flamed more for who originally said it rather than what was said...Rush Limbaugh once made the statement that the fairest and simplest trade agreement with any country is simply, "We'll charge you what you charge us." If China's adding 29.9% to the cost of our goods, we do it to theirs. It's fair, it's equitible and anyone who complains is just told, "Fine, lower your tariffs, ours go down automatically."
  • by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:34AM (#8200778) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather know about the money I'll be making five to ten years into the job. If the company has starting salaries too high, chances are they aren't going to be around that long.
    • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:45AM (#8200922) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, but if the beginning salary is too low - are you willing to work there for five to ten years to make your way up to what you could/should have been making when you were hired?

      I'm in this exact case. I keep hearing, "you'll be rewarded down the road" and "if we're around in five or ten years, you'll have a great position because you'll have been here from the beginning." I'd rather be making a "competitive" salary now instead of hoping to get enough raises over the years to equal what I could find elsewhere.

      Me first. Company second. Anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.
      • >Me first. Company second.

        Put this on top of every resume you send out.

        How delusional is the alternative now?

      • by EnderWiggnz (39214) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:17AM (#8201301)
        a companies best interest is to pay you the absolute bare minimum that it takes to keep you around, and not a dime more.

        you need to negotiatie up front for the best compensation possible. all future raises will be based on that going forward.
        • by macsuibhne (307779) on Friday February 06, 2004 @12:41PM (#8202335)
          Your post betrays a poor understanding of psychology, game theory and human nature. In a trade where your productivity is a direct function of the number of hours on the job, such as flipping burgers and slinging lattes, it's approximately true, expecially as you can at least hope to make some of it up in tips for having a good attitude. In a trade where productivity varies wildly, such as computer programming, and is a direct function of ability and motivation, it's vital to keep people motivated. Which is why good employers tend to pay 20% over the going rate, and issue share options. 20% is a small price to pay for 50% extra productivity.

          Tony.
    • by Jon Abbott (723)
      I'd rather know about the money I'll be making five to ten years into the job.
      Try the Princeton Review's Career Research and Planning [princetonreview.com] website -- they list information about whether job conditions (including salaries) improve or worsen for your career field at the 5 year and 10 year points.
    • Yeah right (Score:4, Informative)

      by bluGill (862) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:30AM (#8201486)

      I took a job for slightly less than average, because I knew the company, and it was a fun job and all. Better yet, they were established and had been around for along time. Well 5 years and a new CEO latter the company decides the project that was critical to the future of the company is worthless and gets rid of our entire division. The company itself is still around and making money. The product...

      Don't fall for the 10 years down the road line, they won't pay you more. Truth is you get two chances to get more wages, when you start, and when you threaten to leave. It is dangerious to use the second one, they may call your bluff, and even if they don't they are likely to look for your replacement because of it. So you start out a little more, with the promise that you will get rasies... Well guess what, the guy who didn't fall for that line and started at 10,000 more than you also gets rasies. And current salery isn't taken into account until you reach the top of your pay scale, at which time they consider promoting you. If you two do = work, you both get a 4% raise, but he is getting 4% of a larger number! Then when he hits the top of the current position scale (sooner than you, remember the position scale is also going up every year!) he gets promoted even though you both are doing essentially the same work.

  • my $. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by junkymailbox (731309) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#8200808)
    How does this compare to the outsourcing to india?
  • by 31415926535897 (702314) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#8200814) Journal
    When I started college over 4 years ago, the average salary of a grad (from my school, for my degree) was over $60,000/year.

    When I graduated last year, it dropped below $40,000, and it was extremely difficult to find a job. I have a friend with the same computer related degree with a 3.92/4.0 gpa who still hasn't found a job yet. And yes, I know that gpa doesn't always equate to ability/productivity, but this guy is really good.

    I'm glad to see that things are back on the upswing for technology, even if this is just a start.
    • by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:09AM (#8201219)
      You started college in the middle of the dotcom boom. Salarys were inflated.

      No college grad is worth $60k. Period.

      We pay grads $35k. Good workers make it up to $50k in two years, mediocre ones go nowhere and shitty ones get fired.
  • by Belisarivs (526071) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#8200816)
    What is the difference between Computer Engineering and Computer Science? I had always thought they were different names for the same subject. Does Engineering deal mostly with the hardware aspect?
    • Yes, I believe computer engineering is much more closely related to electric engineering. You are dealing with mostly hardware. They normally cover software too, but probably not beyond Assembly and C.

      Computer science often tends to take a more abstract view of the hardware. You deal more with the details of computing/programming like algorithms and data structures.
      • I'm a CompE at Purdue.

        We take the same 200 level (sophomore) classes as EEs except for an additional programming class. Aside from a few signals and probability classes, the rest is pretty different. You don't have to focus on hardware, although that is an option. You'll learn assembly in a microcontroller class (best class I've ever taken). You are required to take ASIC design and Computer Architecture in terms of hardware, but that's all done in software. Seniors take a class in either compilers or
    • by Will Fisher (731585) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:42AM (#8200900)
      Most universities in the UK only offer one of these, and the courses are almost identical in content. The main difference being if you end up with a BSc or a BEng, and to an employer this difference matters a lot less than the class of degree obtained.
    • by Tower (37395) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:45AM (#8200925)
      Computer engineering is often an electrical engineering base with focus on computer architecture and design, with more programming than a EE degree would give you. Computer science is primarily math and programming based, though it certainly varies between schools and individuals - you can usually tailor it to a more theoretical or practical curriculum as you prefer, though you should be getting a heavy dose of both.
    • by N3WBI3 (595976) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:46AM (#8200939) Homepage
      A good CS program will focus much more on the actual science and less on the application. A good engineering program will focus much more on the process and application than the science.

      Like Chem and ChemE, a computer scientist is hired to solve problems and an Engineer is to find real world applications using those solution..

    • by 3waygeek (58990) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#8201012)
      It depends on the school, but engineering programs usually have a hardware component that Comp Sci programs lack; the best programs will provide a balanced menu of hardware & software classes.

      Back when I studied Computer Engineering at Iowa State in the mid 80s, the program was mostly the same as EE, but with the analog design classes replaced with Comp Sci.

      Note also that the software component of many Computer Engineering programs tends to be of a more practical, hands-on nature, whereas many Comp Sci programs concentrate more on the theoretical aspects of programming.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#8200818)
    at a Fortune 500, and I'm responsible for our campus recruiting program.

    The majority of candidates we are seeking are those with Comp Sci degrees. To any kid entering college now, take my advice - go to Washington University in Saint Louis.

    We're hired from universities all over Canada and the United States, and I can tell you that the quality of hires from Washington University is far beyond that of any other school, including Waterloo, Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, etc.

    Just one HR executives advice...
    • by savagedome (742194) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:45AM (#8200927)
      I work in Human Resources at a Fortune 500, and I'm responsible for our campus recruiting program.

      That explains why you are posting AC

    • Isn't McDonald's a Fortune 500 company?

      Do you want fries with that?

    • by Fnkmaster (89084) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:27AM (#8201453)
      This might be true (assuming post has some factuality behind it and isn't just a troll), but it may be for a different reason than you think. There are plenty of very bright, hardworking CS grads from Harvard, MIT and other top tier schools (I know those two very well personally), and the Waterloo and Carnegie Mellon CS folks I've met were quite impressive as well. The problem is that for an average Fortune 500 company it is difficult to get access to the upper echelon grads from these schools - previously, they would go work at the best startups (back when I graduated from college), these days they seem to often go to Microsoft, and other leading software companies. Developing general business software and IT crap for your average Fortune 500 company is not a desireable gig for a top-tier CS grad, even in a crappy market. So the students you'd get access to at those schools are the middling and lower tier of CS grads. At Wash U, on the other hand, you may have had access to the top CS grads, for whom your offers may have looked pretty sweet.


      I remember Trilogy Software out in Austin - there were a few people there who had fallen into this fallacy about Waterloo ("Waterloo grads are the best because we've had the best luck with our Waterloo grads"). At my old company we had the best luck with our MIT grads - probably because we were in Boston, and had a lot of MIT connections, so we were able to hire some good MIT grads. This seems to be a consequence of the availability heuristic (to use a term from social psychology), not a meaningful assessment of the capabilities, motivation, or anything else of these schools' graduates.

    • Liar, liar, pants on fire. I go to Wash U and the school is a god awful money pit, and the professors just aren't that great(they are smart yes, but many are lazy as shit). I will be shit struck surprised if I get a great job coming out of here.

      I am a senior ME major HOPING to get 40-45k as a starting salary. I figure set my sights low and anything above that I get will be gravy.

      And you do sound like one of the drone admissions people that work here, I can't fathom why they get paid a salary from my tuiti
  • by Mukaikubo (724906) <gtg430b@NOSpaM.prism.gatech.edu> on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#8200821) Journal
    This comes as a bit of a revelation to me. I sat and compared these figures to to my school (Georgia Tech's) published figures on average offer granted to graduates in each field, and Tech comes out consistently about 4-5 thousand higher than these figures.

    If you're an out of state student.. like me.. this gets eaten up by extra loans quickly, but if you're fortunate enough to be in-state this can probably be a real help.
    • From HR people they said it generally works out like this.
      If you have a big name recognition school, such as Harvard, MIT, Caltech,etc. You are going to probably be offered more just for the name and the preceived additional skill level of the person who graduates from one of them.
      Then you have the local big name school, such as Texas A&M being worth more in texas then in California. Again because of preceived values and a far better chance that the person hiring is from or knows someone from.
      Then
  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by savagedome (742194) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:38AM (#8200838)
    The sad(der) part is that nursing and elementary teaching are in the bottom five of the list with both of them going down.

    Nurses and Teachers are the people who should be paid better. Oh well.

    • Re:Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lennart78 (515598)
      Not only do they get less pay, they also have to work the longest hours (especially teachers), or the most inconvenient (nurses/medical).

      I don't think anybody who works in IT has much to complain about if you compare your situation with any of theirs...
    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by linderdm (127168) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:47AM (#8200954)
      I agree 100%! There has been so much complaining about the quality of our education system in America, and how we need better teahcers, etc. yet they continue to be paid such pitiful salaries. I was shocked to see that the average salary for teachers actually went DOWN! I can't wait until this country actually starts to respect educators the way they are in other countries. There is so much emphasis on teahcers' accountability for how well the students perform, yet they get zero support.
    • Well, you get what you pay for. When the country's full of idiots (moreso) and you can't get an operation, maybe teachers and nurses will be paid better. It'll probably be too late by then, but oh well.
    • Re:Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dillon_rinker (17944)
      Regarding elementary teaching - get real!

      ANYBODY with an high-school education can teach children to read and count. Quite frankly, any adult who feels academically unqualified to teach elementary school should sue their high school for educational malpractice. The only bit that makes the job difficult is managing large groups of small children. That's something that can be gained only be experience, and would best be learned in a one-year apprenticeship.

      Why am I qualified to make this statement? Because
    • Re:Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by duffbeer703 (177751) *
      Please.

      Teachers work 9 months out of the year and are guaranteed employment for life. They teach a state mandated curiculum and have no performance standards to adhere to once they earn tenure.

      Salarys for nurses vary widely. The nurse in a family doctor's office does not make alot of money, but doesn't need alot of skills either. Specialized nurses make signifigantly larger sums of money and need to maintain multiple certifications and take continuing education.

      If you want to get rich, take a high stress
    • Labor Unions (Score:3, Insightful)

      by donutello (88309)
      You can thank the teachers unions who make sure that starting teachers get paid squat while teachers who've been there a while, regardless of performance, make well above the industry median for someone with their education and experience - at least that's true in the state of Washington. Your state may vary.

      If starting teachers salaries went up, the teachers wouldn't have anything to back up those extra taxes they keep asking for.
  • Money... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sabrex15 (746201) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:39AM (#8200842)
    Lots of money is great, but what about the people who have a love for computing?... To me as long as I am happy with my work, the people I work with and I dont have to worry about where my next meal comes from then thats all the beans. If youve noticed, a lot of people are getting into the field JUST for the money, I'd like to see maybe 5-10 years down the road all the high money chasers go and the people who actually WANT to do this type of work stick.
    • Re:Money... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sinucus (85222)
      I agree with you on this one. The dot-bubble is the cause for all of this. People saw money in this field and ran for a job. Now that they have been laid-off they still think they can make money in this field because of their experience. That doesn't leave much room for us, the people who have been working on computers since before we could read. I worked on a computer before I watched television. People like me are the ones pining for the jobs because we deserve them. And yes, I do make shit for money so I
  • The title "Computer Engineering" can mean so many things, though.

    I know it was all about the internal computers from microwaves, stereos, etc. where I went to school. [rit.edu] CE people had a very good combination of IT, CS, and various microprocessor-related engineering skills.

    What does it mean to you?
  • Region Dependent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j0hnfr0g (652153) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:39AM (#8200849)
    One thing to remember is that salaries are very region dependent, so a Computer Engineering degree may not command the highest starting salaries in your region.
  • by phoxix (161744) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:40AM (#8200855)
    Or is it just me ?

    The happenings at Matrox are a good example of great college grads from all the good schools with *ZERO* experience

    Sunny Dubey
  • I got a MSCE! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dnoyeb (547705) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:41AM (#8200871) Homepage Journal
    I find that most computer related degrees are "chasers." They mix well with other skills. They allow you to computerize something such as a medical thing, or an automotive thing, as you make a tool. Afterall, computers are only tools. What good is a tool without a purpose?

    Well at least thats the way on the software side. I got my MSCE (oh yea, thats Masters of Science in Computer Engineering...) while working for an automotive Company. I have not changed fields and am probably not making nearly as much as I could. But I fear for job stability so I hang around.

    Besides, we are adding more and more electronics to cars plus they are several automotive network technologies such as LIN, CAN, J1850, CCD, etc. Automotive field is not too bad a place for a CE.

    Notwithstanding, our managers are also smoking The India Pipe(TM).
  • by Loundry (4143) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:46AM (#8200941) Journal
    "You're never going to get rich working to make someone else rich."

    This was told to me while I was working as a software engineer commanding a decent salary. But I wasn't making the real money. That job belonged to my boss, who saw it fit to pay me a skim from his profit for a job I performed.

    What was I to do? Whine? Talk about how "greedy" he was? Criticize him for his lack of technical skills (compared to mine)?

    All of that is excrement. Instead, I chose to become an entrepreneur. I found partners, made deals, and now am in the process of opening my second restaurant as well as selling things over television and Internet. I think about business all the time, and work suddenly has become very, very fun. Life itself feels like a massively multiplayer game.

    Oh, and here's another piece of advice that I learned that I wish someone had told me earlier: Anyone will loan you any some of money as long as they are convinced that it's in their best interest to do so.

    Stop working for someone else. Find partners. Find investors. Find a way that you can make a business work. It's exhilirating and fascinating. And you won't go back once you are free.
    • by bluGill (862) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:38AM (#8201572)

      Sure, if you can run a bsuiness. I'm terribal at some of the things needed to run a buisness. Selling for instance, I can't sell product. I couldn't sell a cure for cancer to someone dieing of cancer, not even for a penny.

      I have in fact found partners to go into buiseness with. I'm a terribal judge of people though. My partners, while excited at first, soon realized this was real work and left me with a buisness that I couldn't make work alone. (It could have made some money if they had done their part...)

      I like working 9-5 and not worrying after that. Sure I'll never be rich as far as money goes, but I'm richer than even Bill Gates because I don't tie my life to money. Sure I can't have a lot of things I want, but I can decide what I want to do, and there are plenty of cheap things to do.

      I think you need to get your life in focus. Money isn't everything.

    • by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:45AM (#8201646)
      You know, your words are so true and so right yet so hard to take seriously from one of the less than 3 individuals in the western world who believes the HIV virus does not cause AIDS.
    • by meta-monkey (321000) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @01:39PM (#8203021) Journal
      Your post is spot on. I, too, got out of the tech industry and opened my own business (I'm a photographer). Best decision I ever made. I'm my own boss, make my own hours, and make more money than I could have with my engineering degrees.

      The response to your post has been truly sad, but very typical for Slashdot. Essentially, you told people, "well, if you're having this problem, here's a solution that works very well!" But your (our) solution is hard, and scary, and not what people want to hear at all, so they attack and insult you.

      This topic comes up about once a week on Slashdot. Outsourcing, lack of jobs, low pay, soulless corporate masters, etc. Every time, somewhere in the discussion is a post from someone who says, "yes, I noticed this problem, too, so I opened my own business, and now things are great!" and immediately the geeks go on the defensive, citing hundreds of excuses why they have absolutely no other option in life but to sit around waiting for SOMEBODY ELSE to provide them with the means to make a living. It's very sad. They seem to take this advice to be some kind of personal insult. Perhaps they feel it exposes the failings in their own lives, and they would rather spit vile back at you than look inward, and reevaluate the choices they have made in their own lives.

      I also find it so interesting how it juxtaposes with the typical Slashdot libertarian bent. There are dozens of people with the "people who trade liberty for security deserve neither" quote in their sigs, or who smugly insist that every business has to "adapt or die!" followed by analogies about the buggy-whip manufacturing industry. However, when it's time to apply those same principles to their own lives, they expect someone else to take care of them. "A company has to give me a job!" "The government has to make these companies give me a job!" They refuse to understand that their own "business model" of

      1. Get CS degree
      2. Get job in tech industry
      3. Profit!

      no longer applies. However, "adapt or die!" is only good for the RIAA, not for themselves.

      Yes, there are a hundred reasons why going into business for yourself is hard. Yes sometimes you have to work 100 hours a week. Yes you have to pay for your own health insurance. Yes, you may have to retrain in another field. No, you might not be a fantastic salesman right now, never having really tried it or had any sales training in your entire life. No you don't get two weeks paid vacation. No, you don't get a paycheck for the exact same amount every two weeks. Yes, it is harder when you already have kids and a mortgage. Working for yourself is hard, and anybody who says otherwise is a filthy liar. But so is anybody who says it's impossible.
  • by apirkle (40268) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#8201009)
    Here's a similar chart [aip.org] from the American Institute of Physics (Fall 2003). They give a range of typical salaries for each degree type, which is an important fact - ChemE students earned 50-55k, while students with a Physics BS pulled in a much larger range, from about 32-52k.

    Interesting to note that secondary school teachers seem to have the least opportunity salary-wise (as far as that chart shows); not only is their salary low, but they're locked in to the narrowest range, from about 27-32k.
    • What the chart doesn't show is that teaching is a union job where salaries are based on service.

      A teacher's base salary is $30k, but you get a $2-5k differential when you get your masters degree, plus you get guaranteed annual "step" raises until retirement.

      My sister started as a teacher five years ago making $29k. With her Master's (paid for by the school) and tenure she now makes around $48k and will retire at 50 with a salary of at least $80k.

      Then she gets a 55% pension, guaranteed by the state consti
  • by sosegumu (696957) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#8201019)
    Computer Engineering degree holders once again command the highest starting salaries at an average of $53,117

    Here in the Midwestern US, the starting salary for a retail pharmacist is more than $80,000. Surely it's even more in other parts of the country where the cost of living is so much higher.

    I wonder why they aren't included in the survey.

  • by ScottSpeaks! (707844) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:58AM (#8201069) Homepage Journal
    The dollar figures on these "average starting salaries" need to be taken with a shakerful of salt. In many parts of the country, a Comp Sci degress and 15 years of experience still won't get you $48,656. I spent most of last year job hunting, so I have some idea of what people in various industries around here (W.Mich.) are paying. And it's not just that I'm unqualified for any of the good jobs; I'm also counting the jobs I didn't even get interviewed for. Only a few of the jobs I applied for even broke $40K.
  • by mu-sly (632550) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:01AM (#8201122) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's just that good in the US, because holy crap that's a high average starting salary. Here in the UK the current average computing starting wage (based on my own experience and that of my friends) is something like 20k GBP (37k USD). I have a high-pass degree in Computer Science from a well respected university, but with the current computing job climate it would be seriously hard to get a job paying more than 25k GBP (46k USD) as a starting wage. (Hell, I'm not even on that much yet - far from it!)

    It's extremely annoying, given that mechanics and plumbers (or even totally unskilled jobs like shunting boxes around a warehouse, which I did for a year or so a while back) can earn you almost as much as it's possible to earn with a degree these days.

    The value of degrees has been reduced due to the UK government's insane scheme to get more and more people to go to university. We don't need more people to go to university - we need to make it harder to go to university so that only the people who really want to do it (and have the skills) can go, rather than lowering the difficulty of getting a degree so that the people who loaf it through university can also get degrees. It should be HARD to get a degree - I'm not saying it was easy, but I think it could have been harder. A degree should mean something, but these days I'm not sure it really does, because "everyone has one".

    My youger brother decided not to go to university, and is an apprentice quantity surveyor in the building trade. He's a very intelligent guy, but it's just not worth him getting a degree. In five years time, I will be absolutely unsurprised to hear that he's earning considerably more than me (which he almost certainly will be).

    Degrees aren't all they're cracked up to be, and the "extra" money you earn for having one barely covers the cost of going to university for four years in the first place.

    I'm glad I have a degree, but it's not the big money earner it's cracked up to be - jobs are just too scarce at the moment. Personally, I blame the people who did computing degrees around the time of the dot com boom because they needed a degree and heard it was "where the money was". Now, there's a surplus of computer qualified people around, meaning that plenty of us who are actually really enjoy computers and are good at what we do can't get jobs because the gold-rush crowd are still hanging around.
    • -
      The value of degrees has been reduced due to the UK government's insane scheme to get more and more people to go to university. We don't need more people to go to university - we need to make it harder to go to university
      -

      This is so much the truth..

      They introduce tuition fees and so on because universities are costing so much money, but then they let so many colleges become universities and so many E grade students enroll that its no wonder they cant afford to pay for them all!!

      imo they should reduce th
      • To quote Thomas Jefferson: 'Let an aristocracy of achievement arise from a democracy of opportunity.' I agree whole-heartedly. The phenomenon of which you speak is alive and well in the US, too. Ever since the 1960's, universities have really drastically lowered the requirements for admittance, with the result that college degrees these days have become relatively worthless -- over a quarter of all adults have one. Since secondary schools don't do fuck-all to educate students these days, colleges have
  • Comp Eng (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekboxjockey (745169) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:04AM (#8201149)
    I recently transferred from a Computer Engineering program into Computer Science for a couple of reasons. Computer Engineering seems to be much more oriented around getting people ready for cubicle work on team projects, alot of emphasis goes into group work and labs. However the subject matter covered in my second year computer engineering courses was quite questionable in terms of how much computer education you get with the degree. I would say, at least at my school, the engineering programs are sold as highly structured, rigorous and competitive programs. The biggest problem I had with computer engineering was the subject coverage, we were in 90% of the electrical engineering courses, including electromagnetics. You work hard for the degree taking harder *base* knowledge courses but get less involved in specialized areas. Computer science, at least where I go to school (Queen's University, in ontario), seems to be a much more involving program that deals with alot of in-depth material that actually covers the wider spectrum of the computer world.

    To sum it up, *in my opinion*, Computer Science covers the theory to application process and is closely tied to the real world of Computing, whereas Computer Engineering gives you a broad view of the possibilities while crunching through alot of busy work to "build character". When I added up the pros and cons of transferring I was almost in tears of joy to learn that playing with the linux kernel, tinkering with OpenGL were courses, and not distractions as such activities were in computer eng. Then again, I am a person who benifits exponentially from applying knowledge and not just memorizing and reading till the cows come home.
  • Organization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by br00tus (528477) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:11AM (#8201237)
    The reality is virtually every profession has some degree of organization - except ours. Doctors? Yes, the AMA. Dentists? ADA. Lawyers? ABA. And so forth. Then there are unions which contain some highly skilled workers - like SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, where some of the members make tens of millions a year. And there are engineering unions, or unions which contain engineers as well, like the SPEEA/IFPE, CWA, and so forth, many under the umbrella of the CESO [cesounions.org] council. Thus, our jobs, administrators and programmers, ARE union organized to some extent in aerospace, government and telecommunications, but not much beyond there. One of the CWA locals, WashTech [washtech.org], has been doing a lot of organizing in the greater Seattle area of the broader IT industry, like Microsoft permatemps and so forth.

    Anyhow, there's no one solution for each person in my mind. Whether you at your job or some other guy at another job would benefit from collective bargaining (e.g. joining a union) is a decision best made by the individual. Then there's the professional organizations like the Programmers Guild [programmersguild.org] as well. But it's obvious to me that SOME type of professional organization is needed - I mean every other profession, except maybe McDonalds workers, have some type of professional organization, be it a union or more like the AMA/ADA/ABA. And our bosses sure as hell have Chamber of Commerce like guys in Washington DC making sure H1-Bs visa caps rise, or at least are not lowered and things like this. The ITAA [itaa.org] is the main association that does this, Microsoft, Intel, IBM and so forth give them millions a year to mostly screw IT workers in Washington DC. Plus they have a PR department that gets news media articles written that said there was a massive shortage of IT workers in the late 1990's and H1-B visas needed to be raised. In fact that's a standard line they are paid to push like tobacco lobbyists who say smoking is not bad for you, these people are still saying there's a shortage or will be soon, they always say that, they're paid to say that.

    Finally I should point out that there is a lot of corporate funding for organizations like the IEEE, USENIX (SAGE), ACM and so forth. In some respects it's kind of ridiculous, it would be like having HMO's pay for and to some extent control the AMA. But anyhow, if you're in these organizations it's good to talk to other people and educate and agitate about it, but there has been internal politic problems in the past, and while doing some of that is good, you should also keep in mind that there are avenues and organizations available to you outside of them, like the Programmers Guild and other organizations. And if you don't like any of them, and know others who are dissatisfied, you can always start your own organization, web site, whatever.

    • Re:Organization (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iamsure (66666) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:38AM (#8201570) Homepage
      There is a huge difference between professional organizations and unions, and you do a disservice to both by lumping them together.

      Unions exist - as you said - to assist with collective bargaining, to work for better wages and working conditions, and most importantly (imho), to reduce layoffs without cause.

      Professional organizations on the other hand can have a variety of functions. Most are focused on knowledge sharing. The AMA, for example, publishes magazines and gives doctors strong recommended guidelines based on thousands of doctors feedback.

      There would definitely be a benefit to both types of organizations for computer scientists/engineers. However, try not to lump them together, as you'll get the arguments against both, and few of the pro's for either.

      My two cents on unions are that they need to get a foothold in the one place that can make a huge difference - tech support centers. Places like "CallTech" and other minimum wage, low-benefit, high-stress environments are the perfect foothold.

      They get the numbers needed to show that people gain benefit from being under collective bargaining, and they build a groundswell of support.

      When you then leverage that to move into call/support for say, Sprint or Microsoft, you can see that it would be a trivial extension to break into the server rooms, the switch closets, and the rest of the company.

      I don't think for a second that I need to give the Unions ideas though.. they've thought of it, they are working on it, and it will happen in time.

      I really like the idea of a professional organization though.. add some strong credibility, and knowledge sharing.
  • by skedastik (742241) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:20AM (#8201339)
    Being a recent CS graduate from a large State university, and currently working in data entry I wish all of you better luck than I have had. The competition, at least here is insane. I had 18 interviews last year and was passed up on them all. Worked at an italian restaraunt for a few months, now am doing data entry for about half what I spent on my college tuition. Though, I have a few friends that have become very successful with their degrees. The key to their advancement, they all worked networking jobs throughout college, I didn't. Thus the experience is lacking on my resume. I wish all those seeking CS or engineering degrees the best of luck, and get as much experience as you can. For those that do find jobs are doing very well for themselves.
  • Looking backwards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AB3A (192265) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:31AM (#8201489) Homepage Journal
    At best, this statistic only tells us where the US economy was, not where it is. I don't put much stock in tallies like this because it's like answering 42 to life the universe and everything.

    Let's take a longer perspective, shall we? The computer industry has been white hot for many years now. Those of you who were working in it were riding that wave for a long time. Good work!

    It couldn't last forever. Those wonderful salaries were not reflected in other parts of the industry. For the experience and training most Computer Science graduates have, an appropriate salary ought to be much closer to what most other engineers earn. That's why so many jobs are evaporating. We'll get them back eventually, at salaries more in line with what the rest of the engineering world is earning.

    That's the way business works. The demand was white hot for nearly a decade. Now it's only red hot. It was a good wave while it lasted. Business Revolutions like that come along maybe once or twice per century. Be thankful you had the chance to ride this one.
  • by RESPAWN (153636) <caldwell AT tulanealumni DOT net> on Friday February 06, 2004 @02:18PM (#8203528) Homepage Journal
    As a Computer Science degree holder working in IS, it's nice to know that I'm well below the average for the IS field. Uh, I guess. And I'm even more below the average for Computer Science degrees, of course. What's worse is that they redefined the job description during the interview phase to make it an hourly position...

    What I think would be more useful would be to report the average salary for a particular area. Although I know that I am making less than the national average, the cost of living here is also less than say, California, where the starting salary of course needs to be higher. I think I am probably making around the average for this geographical area, but I sure would love to see some hard data on that.

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