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Education The Almighty Buck IT

Wall Street's Collapse Is Computer Science's Gain 435

Posted by timothy
from the portable-skills dept.
dcblogs writes "Thanks to Wall Street's implosion, the chairman of Stanford University's Computer Science Department says he is seeing more interest from students in computer science. Ditto at Boston College. Computer science enrollments crashed after the dot-com bust as students turned to hedge fund majors. And are computer science grads getting jobs? The professor at one university program that graduates about 45 students a year with CS degrees, wrote in a comment: 'Last year 87% of our seniors were employed before graduation. The median starting salary was $58,500. A majority of CIS students had multiple job offers. From where I sit, there is a huge demand for entry level IT professionals in IS and in CS.'"
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Wall Street's Collapse Is Computer Science's Gain

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  • bust (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:14PM (#25186255)

    Computer science enrollments crashed after the dot-com bust

    Busts can spoil a career in any field, really.

  • Damnit!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by vertinox (846076) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:15PM (#25186257)

    Here I was finally thinking I'd get a raise this year because of labor shortage!

    Listen kids, there is no future in IT. Plumbers and lawyers is where it is at.

    • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:19PM (#25186289)

      ... and hookers!

      • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:27PM (#25186373) Homepage Journal
        Mod parent insightful:

        If the US legalized prostitution and drugs but heavily regulated and taxed them, then our country would have so damn much money that a war here or a housing bust there wouldn't matter! :)
        • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:35PM (#25186929)

          ...a war here or a housing bust there

          Too high to go to war, and excess housing converted to hookerterias?
          I nominate Ethanol-fueled as the Happy Fun Time party presidential candidate.

          A vote for HFT is a vote for fiscal responsibility.

        • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by nem75 (952737) <jens@bremmekamp.com> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:35PM (#25186933)
          I don't know if you intended to, but you more or less quoted Frank Zappa.

          I'll give you a simple formula for straightening out the problems of the United States. First, you tax the churches. You take the tax off of capital gains and the tax off of savings. You decriminalize all drugs and tax them same way as you do alcohol. You decriminalize prostitution. You make gambling legal. That will put the budget back on the road to recovery, and you'll have plenty of tax revenue coming in for all of your social programs, and to run the army.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TubeSteak (669689)

            First, you tax the churches.
            You take the tax off of capital gains and the tax off of savings.

            Easy

            You decriminalize all drugs and tax them same way as you do alcohol.
            You decriminalize prostitution.
            You make gambling legal.

            Easy, but collecting taxes on the un-sanctioned/black/gray market activities will mean you're still fighting the same exact battles as we are today.

            Not to mention that if you try and implement any of those ideas, the Prohibitionists and Moralists will revolt.
            Just look at the debate over lowering the drinking age to 18 or legalizing marijuana for examples.

            • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by schon (31600) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:28PM (#25187785)

              collecting taxes on the un-sanctioned/black/gray market activities will mean you're still fighting the same exact battles as we are today.

              Exactly - just look at alcohol.. why the number of gin-runners and speakeasies is through the roof since the lifting of prohibition..

              err, wait.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Electrawn (321224)

                Exactly - just look at alcohol.. why the number of gin-runners and speakeasies is through the roof since the lifting of prohibition..

                Gin-runners still exist. They just don't carry gin much anymore and like to go around in circles. Something called NASCAR [nascar.com], originally boosted by white lightning runnin'.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by KDR_11k (778916)

              There's not much money in going black market for legal things, most people prefer the safety of dealing with a merchant that will still be in the same place tomorrow. Sure, some might buy black market to avoid the taxes but most of the ones who jump aboard with the legalization will remain legal. Besides, tax evasion is perceived as grave, with illegal goods you don't really have a choice since paying the taxes gets you caught but with legal goods the evasion is too much risk to be worth it.

        • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ortega-Starfire (930563) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:43PM (#25186987) Journal

          The economy, I do not think you realize just how big it is. Realize that we could end up triggering a global depression in the next couple months if the politicians in power right now fuck it up.

          Bushism: "This sucker could go down."

          This time he's right. We've had bank runs in H.K., U.K., Tokyo, the U.S.A., and a complete market shutdown in Russia. We managed to fuck up the world, and we managed it not through wars for oil or failure to legalize and tax certain things, but with the best intentions in the world, to make sure everyone could have a goddam house.

          On the bright side, now that a deal has been made in Washington, we just might be able to hold of global total systemic economic failure.

          But do us and everyone you know a favor: If you live in the USA, vote every current politician in your area out of office.

          Republican, Democrat, or random, they all fucked up on this watch. Get some untainted blood into power, that at least for a short time, people might focus on doing the right thing rather than re-election.

          • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:30PM (#25187345)

            but with the best intentions in the world, to make sure everyone could have a goddam house.

            Oh rubbish, the only intention is to make money (literally). The debt spiral has to increase exponentially (Running at 10%+ per year) to survive. That means selling debt to exponentially more people each year. Eventually, you have to find a way to persuade everyone to take on debt. How?

            Tulips?
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania [wikipedia.org]

            A good time had by all; The Roaring Twenties?
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roaring_Twenties [wikipedia.org]

            This time it was housing in America. In fact, it's irrelevant. The real cause is the fundamental nature of bank credit. When you take out a loan, new money is created, this new money "boosts" the economy, the stock markets. It's really mostly inflation. But along with the money, which doesn't change, you also get debt, which increases exponentially. So there is a boom which has to be followed by a bust, the longer the boom, the bigger the bust and to continue the boom, more and more people have to take out new loans... Remind you of anything? [wikipedia.org]

            Eventually you run out of people... And it crashes anyway... You even read about it in the newspapers, they're giving loans to people who have no income... WTF? ... If you've read any Austrian economics [mises.org], you can see the crash coming a mile off.

             

            • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:07PM (#25187635)

              Debt and credit don't necessarily lead to a boom/bust. Free credit on the other hand does, as we have just seen. Our current issue was caused by a multitude of factors, culminating in a black swan event [wikipedia.org].

              If you look at the history of Fannie and Freddie they were started to help everyone own a home (a poor premise to begin with). By having the government back them they quickly pushed everyone else out of the market when it came to buying mortgages, and why not. They could push lower rates than any true private company could because they had the implicit backing of the US government for anything they did. The idea of 'everyone should be able to own a home' is what started us down this path that has finally led us to this crash.

              The second leg of this issue was easy credit. Again, why do you need to do a credit check when all you had to do was write the loan and hand it off to Franron? If banks (and mortgage brokers) actually kept the loans they wrote, I can promise you that we wouldn't be in this problem. They would have continued to require money down, documentation, etc... The banks you see failing now are ones that were still standing when the music stopped so to speak. They had no one to dump their poorly written loans to.

              The final leg was the greed from top to bottom. This includes the CEOs all the way to hairdresser buying waaay too much house b/c 'prices only go up'. All these people should lose their shirts. It pisses me off how the dems keep saying 'you have to help the homeowner.' Why? They put themselves in the situation they are in. Why do my tax dollars need to go prop up more poor decision making?

              • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:39PM (#25188889) Journal
                The trouble is, if you accept the premise that government action is needed to avert a more serious collapse, you don't have a choice about propping up poor decision making. You do have a choice about whose poor decision making you will be propping up. Frankly, if I have to prop up bad decisions, I'd rather see to it that the money helps people keep their homes(and everybody else avoid having a lot of crummy foreclosed property hanging around) by aiding them in paying off the mortgages(which will assist the banks), rather than letting everybody default and then doling out the money to the banks.

                Note, I don't like either option, and I'm frankly not convinced that we do need to bail out any of our whining former heroes of deregulation; but if a giant fuckload of taxpayer money is going to be handed out, it is far more sensible to hand it out in a way that reduces the impact of foreclosure on borrowers and lenders, rather than letting the borrowers default and then bailing out the lenders.
                • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @09:42PM (#25189423)

                  The trouble is, if you accept the premise that government action is needed to avert a more serious collapse, you don't have a choice about propping up poor decision making.

                  I still don't think that we have to do anything. A market will eventually get made for the paper. Heck, if I had Warren Buffet money lying around I would probably start shopping. Some of this stuff has sold at 20c on the dollar. Even the worst subprime has only had 25% default. Anyways, at this point something will get pushed through because if they continue to stall and the system pulls through on it's own Paulson, Bernanke and crew will look even more like idiots.

                  Frankly, if I have to prop up bad decisions, I'd rather see to it that the money helps people keep their homes(and everybody else avoid having a lot of crummy foreclosed property hanging around) by aiding them in paying off the mortgages(which will assist the banks), rather than letting everybody default and then doling out the money to the banks.

                  Once the gov. buys up all the mortgages I'm fully expecting them to renegotiate terms, give super low fixed rates, etc... (say Hi! to Frannie and Freddie part 2) Basically screwing over everyone like myself who saw this coming and acted responsibly. I guess I should have bought more house than I could afford with some IO ARM a few years ago...

        • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:50PM (#25187031)

          Not really. The numbers I've seen from legalizing drugs would only boost US Revenue by about 20-30 billion per year.

          That's 1/10th our peacetime defense budget. Not really a ton of money.

          • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Gyga (873992) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:07PM (#25187177)
            How much would be saved on police work? Without a prohibition like policy there would be less criminal activity surrounding drugs.
            • by aztektum (170569)

              Exactly. That 10-20 billion just from revenue on taxes would go up from: Less need for policing, court expenses and imprisonment.

              Jails and prisons would be so much less crowded we wouldn't have to spend more money on MORE prison space.

        • Re:Damnit!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by tmosley (996283) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:30PM (#25187347)
          Nevermind that, if we could only regulate the whores in Congress, we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with!
    • by Ostracus (1354233)

      "Listen kids, there is no future in IT. Plumbers and lawyers is where it is at."

      A couple of Hurricanes will do that. The plumber for obvious reasons and the lawyer to litigate because your insurance wouldn't pay up.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by TuaAmin13 (1359435)
        Or you can get your MBA, become a C level executive, hopelessly **** up a company, and then get a large compensation package for leaving.
        • by Zarf (5735)

          Or you can get your MBA, become a C level executive, hopelessly **** up a company, and then get a large compensation package for leaving.

          ... don't forget to rinse and repeat with a nice "sabbatical" for book writing in between screwing up people's lives by being their bosses bosses idiot boss.

  • by Speare (84249) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:17PM (#25186263) Homepage Journal

    It always depresses me to see how many college students have no idea who they are, and just float about on the breeze of the moment, going for the buck instead of what they already see a passion for doing. They weren't reflecting upon their lives as a teenager, they weren't deciding what makes their hearts go faster, they were just assuming that someday their Fairy Career Mother would pop out of a cloud to tell them what they should do for the next forty years.

    • by areusche (1297613) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:23PM (#25186333)

      I have an intense passion in classical music. Yet I want the ability to travel the world and support a life style that is atypical to that of a musician.

      Passion vs lifestyle. It isn't as easy as it sounds

      .

      • I have an intense passion in classical music. Yet I want the ability to travel the world and support a life style that is atypical to that of a musician.

        True, but there are other areas within the field of music besides musician.

        • True, but his passion might be narrow enough not to encompass such other areas.

      • by ericlondaits (32714) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:32PM (#25186899) Homepage

        I make a living as a programmer... and do acting, singing, and cooking as well but not professionaly.

        I don't want to live as an actor, struggling to pay the rent by doing bit pieces and commercials, nor the equivalent work as a musician, nor busting my ass in 14 hour days in a commercial kitchen... yet I somewhat enjoy a good programmer's grunt work. But certainly, I'd love to be able to have my same lifestyle by acting, singing or cooking and just program as a hobby.

        I'm thankful that my ability to program allows me to partake in other activities without the pressure of making money out of them.

    • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:34PM (#25186431) Journal

      I completely agree! When I was a kid, I knew I'd be a scientist one day - I just couldn't imagine otherwise. I am lucky I found my passion early on, and it never let me go, never. Being a scientist sucks bigtime if we look at salary, job security or social standing. But it's what I enjoy, and wouldn't want it any other way.

      • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:38PM (#25188881)
        Don't forget you do get the satisfaction that comes with saying "Back off man, I'm a scientist."
    • by Gazzonyx (982402) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#25186547)
      Yeah, but as a life long geek and software development major, I find that these kids are the best kind of competition. Seriously, I know a bunch of kids that just don't have a passion for CS, and I can run circles around them just from experiences I've had messing around as a kid. When it gets to the harder subject matter (SPARC ASM, anyone?), they just can't compete unless they've got a passion for the subject. Passion will get you further than talent any day of the week.

      We'd all be nuts to be in this line of business if we didn't love it... software bugs, technologies that change every few weeks, drinking from the firehose, late night server rebuilds, weekend bug hunts, the expectation to show up at 9am when our brains don't start working until noon, and chasing vendors away from the PHB before they give him any bright ideas... for me, personally, it's all worth it when I have a day or two when I can just dominate some code; when it flows off my fingers with poetic form. Everything else sucks, but it's the price for getting paid to write some awesome code, or design a new network, or whatever part of IT that you do and have passion for.
      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Yeah, but as a life long geek and software development major, I find that these kids are the best kind of competition. Seriously, I know a bunch of kids that just don't have a passion for CS, and I can run circles around them just from experiences I've had messing around as a kid.

        Would you rather have easy competition, or a sure thing and increased pay?

      • by blahplusplus (757119) * on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:43PM (#25188945)

        "Yeah, but as a life long geek and software development major, I find that these kids are the best kind of competition. Seriously, I know a bunch of kids that just don't have a passion for CS, and I can run circles around them just from experiences I've had messing around as a kid."

        Have you ever considered most kids don't have access to an environment that allows them to grow? Have you ever considered their talents will bloom with age? i.e. is their mind ripe for the task at hand, in terms of development and maturity?

        When I was a kid I needed guidance, I wasted a lot of years because the place I grew up was a small town filled with christian fundies, not the brightest bunch in the drawer. Not only that most teachers don't even have a clue what has been discovered in the neurological sciences over the last 30 years and how it undermines the enlightenments view of reason and enlightenment's view of education. Most people still operate under the enlightenment's view of reason

        (quick version)
        http://i35.tinypic.com/10fruxh.jpg [tinypic.com]

        Longer version:
        http://www.linktv.org/video/2142 [linktv.org]

        This idea that kids can be forced to develop is due to mistaken ideas of how reasoning works and how people's bodies biologically develop over time. No one understands fully what reason is, and how it works, not mathematicians, not scientists, not anyone right now, that is for certain.

        "When it gets to the harder subject matter (SPARC ASM, anyone?), they just can't compete unless they've got a passion for the subject. Passion will get you further than talent any day of the week."

        Passion can only take you so far, a retarded kid with a lot of passion will not get to the same place as someone who hates their job but has incredible ability and can focus and keep on task.

        The truth is they both matter, you have to have some amount of ability and some amount of passion. Passion can make up for some lack of ability, and ability can make up for some lack of passion.

        It still comes down to discipline whether you love your job or not, what drives a person to work hard and learn.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Before you get all too depressive remember that a lot of people know what they would like to do, just not what they'd like to do to make a living. Maybe they're an ok musician but not good enough to become a professional, maybe they like sports but not on a pro level, maybe they like arts and crafts but not trying to sell them. Then you get a job that gets you as much cash as possible in the least amount of time, do your job and enjoy life outside work. I think that if you take a general poll very few peopl

    • by mikael_j (106439) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:57PM (#25186615)

      And as someone who left college post-bomb I'd like to add that all these people who flock to a new field every few years because they're hoping for Big Bux(tm) really screw up the job market for the rest of us. It's not easy getting a job when 1) All the employers are scared shitless of anyone who doesn't have an "official" paper trail for every skill they claim to have because they themselves were dumb enough to hire lots of idiots that said "I know computarwebs an' junk", and 2) Lots of the idiots hired in point no. 1 are still working in the industry and competing for the jobs, and we all know that experience beats skills any day (even if your "experience" amount to replacing keyboards and sabotaged CD-ROM drives at some high school and maybe occasionally rebooting the Netware server).

      Unfortunately I developed a passion for geeky things, especially computers, as a kid in the days when Amigas and Ataris still roamed the earth so it's not like I can just find something else that's interesting (my other hobbies/interests are things that can't easily be made profitable unless you're very very very good, and I'm not).

      /Mikael

      • by speculatrix (678524) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:28PM (#25188799)

        when I interview people for a technical position, I'm measuring aptitude, attitude and experience, and perhaps the least important is the latter, provided that the candidate is capable and enthusiastic; I also work hard to weed out the bullshitters! I definitely do not discuss salary etc until the candidate is on the short list, perhaps not until they are made a job offer, although it is made clear that salaries are towards the upper range of the industry standard for the right person, but I am not interested in someone who sees it as merely a job, rather than an interesting career.

        for example...

        firstly, a simple practical exam to weed out bullshitters, for example, a linux box which has been sabotaged to not boot properly. I apologise to the candidate if they think it is demeaning - I explain that it's as much about seeing if I can work alongside the person to solve a problem as much as to test their skills. in some cases this sort of test reveals quite a lot about whether the person actually knows jack shit. some people might say it's unfair, but if you're working with complex computer systems, and the shit hits the fan and the bosses are looming, you're going to be fixing things under pressure, so if you can do it in an interview situation it's a good sign! If the candidate enjoys the challenge, that's a very good sign.

        secondly, I test depth of knowledge... asking questions beyond their field of expertise. I might ask the difference between bluetooth and wifi, or discuss network switching latency. If the candidate bullshits, it's a bad mark. If they don't know, but show interest in the subject and can grasp the key concepts quickly and discuss intelligently, it's a major bonus.

        thirdly, I like to test character; discussing whether using an open wireless access point is moral or not can give an interesting insight into someone's morality.

    • by timholman (71886) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:57PM (#25186617)

      It always depresses me to see how many college students have no idea who they are, and just float about on the breeze of the moment, going for the buck instead of what they already see a passion for doing. They weren't reflecting upon their lives as a teenager, they weren't deciding what makes their hearts go faster, they were just assuming that someday their Fairy Career Mother would pop out of a cloud to tell them what they should do for the next forty years.

      You're seeing the consequences of the modern philosophy that "every child should go to college", and the resulting dismantling of high school vocational education programs throughout the U.S. Based on my personal observations, I'd say that about half the freshmen entering college every year have no business being there. They have no clue why they're on campus (beyond the fact that everyone said they should be), they have no idea what they want to do after they graduate, and if they don't drop out they eventually switch to the easiest major they can find, even if that major has zero job prospects and doesn't interest them in the least. The college experience becomes just a four year extension of high school, but with more sex, drugs, and alcohol.

      I would much prefer re-establishing strong vocational education programs that would take those directionless 18-year olds and give them a job. Let them grow up a little and decide what they want to do with their lives, and then (if they find a professional career passion) let them enroll in university programs designed for older students.

      • by techmuse (160085)

        Yeah. We need more people to fix cars, and construct buildings. It's because we lack enough car fixers that we are losing our ability to compete internationally. Certainly, it has nothing to do with the low number and percentage of engineers and scientists that we have been training of late. And certainly, it has nothing to do with the lack of support and funding for basic research that drives the development of new technologies and industries.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HoboCop (987492)

          I think you are missing the point. The car fixers won't become scientists anyway. They are just using the resources of the ones who would become engineers, and being cheated out of skills that would do them more good than a B.A. in basket weaving and keg stands.

      • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:23PM (#25187305)

        I would much prefer re-establishing strong vocational education programs that would take those directionless 18-year olds and give them a job.

        It could be argued that the military does just this. When I graduated HS my directionless friends who joined the military have ended up doing quite well in life. The others are still directionless and not doing too much.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MtViewGuy (197597)

        I agree on this--if you're willing to do manual work the pay for carpenters, plumbers, or anyone involved in building trades can be US$40 per hour or more! Despite the housing bust, there's always a lot of demand for residential repairs, and with many people wanting to move closer to the center of the city, there is huge demand for anyone in the building trades needed to restore old housing to be livable again (during the 1990's when places like Harlem and South Bronx in New York City started to rapidly gen

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @07:16PM (#25188177) Homepage

        You're seeing the consequences of the modern philosophy that "every child should go to college", and the resulting dismantling of high school vocational education programs throughout the U.S.

        The reasons I see for this bogus argument:
        1. People with college degrees get paid more than people without them. No one disagrees with that.
        2. Politicians can easily argue for policies that aim to give every child a college degree, because every parent would rather have their own kid be a doctor instead of a bricklayer (replace with any white-collar and blue-collar professions).
        3. It allows that same doctor to place the blame for the bricklayer's condition on the bricklayer, because it allows the theory that if the bricklayer had done what they were supposed to, they would have gotten a college degree and become a doctor instead.
        4. From point 3 above, that sort of thinking justifies paying bricklayers badly. This is something business management likes a lot, so it now becomes easy for politicians to justify the same policies to wealthy campaign donors.

        Result: everyone wins, except those people who do blue-collar jobs.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:05PM (#25186679) Homepage

      It always depresses me to see how many college students have no idea who they are, and just float about on the breeze of the moment, going for the buck instead of what they already see a passion for doing.

      And this is different from before in what particular way? It's always been like this - the few, the proud, the vast majority of largely clueless. The best "we" (the few, the proud, the idiots who sit on slashdot on Sunday) can do is to support anybody that doesn't fall into the big trap of life.

      Kill your television.

    • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:13PM (#25186729)

      I don't mean to sound like a hippie, but I'd blame it as a side effect of consumerism. What I mean by that is that as an effect of consumerism, people's goal in life is to become rich, rather than have a great career or reach any other sort of goal. Personal achievements are replaced by monetary and material gain, and what you have supersedes what you do or who you are. You are only as successful a person as how much money you make. People would do the dumbest job in the world if it paid well.

      I think it has to do with the fact that people genuinely believe that their goal in life is to become rich, have fun, good sex, then a wife, kids, all of which are supposed to make you a happy and accomplished man, or so they think. The Los Angeles mentality prevails, satisfy your basest instincts, make money, use it as a leverage to satisfy your basest instincts more, produce offsprings, die.

      In this context, genuinely caring about anything else makes you a "nerd" or "geek", which, seen under that angle, is actually a great thing to be. It's just a shame that our culture raises people to produce as much wealth as possible and nothing else. Actually I'm pretty sure you can interpret the movie Matrix as a critique of consumerism, in which people, being in the movie used as batteries, are in our real life money-making "batteries".

      • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday September 29, 2008 @12:24AM (#25190529)

        Yeah but the downside of people saying "Sure, I'll do this and not ask for a lot of money" is burnt out kids working at predatory employers. A lot of NPO workers get suckered this way. Ive seen it first hand, and it isnt pretty. Some NPOs have attitudes like "We'll get them young, work them like dogs, pay them nothing, and they'll get fed up at year two and go into the private sector. Thats two years of hard work from a smart kid, for nothing!" All the while management is living at fortune 100 standards. People get suckered this way because theyre afraid of being called dumb and consumerist by people like you.

        I think there's an argument for demanding a good wage AND not blowing it all on toys.

        I just sold my Wii which was sitting and collecting dust. It felt very liberating. I get this feeling every so often where I feel like I own too much unneeded stuff and I sell it. Demanding a good wage and a good lifestyle isnt "consumerist" its being smart. Spending it all on junk and maxing out credit cards is.

        I think its easy to sit in your high-horse and call everyone "consumerist" but the economy works on the principle that consumers will buy things. It keeps people employed. I'd rather start seeing people make purchasing decisions for reasons other than lifestyle branding, keeping up with the jonses, or because a celebrity endorsed it. That's the first step to a better life and collectively we are very, very far from there. I doubt humanity will ever get tired of these gimmicks.

    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:20PM (#25186785) Homepage

      But that's not their fault. How many vocations can your average teenager try before being asked to choose a degree? Probably zero, unless you count sportsman as a profession. The education system just isn't set up to let people try different things and find out what makes them tick. If you aren't turned on by pure math or poetry or French or geography, then you leave none the wiser never knowing that perhaps architecture is your thing, or software development, or hell perhaps you'd enjoy public transit planning. I think letting high school students try a variety of different jobs would be a good step forward, but don't anticipate it happening anytime soon.

      Anyway. Don't get too uppity. Getting a job doing your passion is great, don't get me wrong, I get paid to play with high performance clusters all day and it's fun. But there's a downside to that. It's been two years last week since I started full time work in the software business, and it's been two years last week since I lost my main hobby. When I've been fixing or programming computers all day I just don't feel like doing more of it when I get home, or at the weekends.

      I got lucky in finding I enjoyed computers at an early age, but now finding a replacement passion for my spare time turned out to be not so easy. It's not a bad life - I go out a lot in the evenings, and the times I'm not partying or hanging out with friends I waste playing video games or reading Slashdot :) But it's missing something that I'd still have, if I worked in an area that wasn't my passion.

    • by mikael (484)

      I believe the technical term is "gold-diggers". When I was at high-school around 99.5% of all the final year students wanted to take Accounting as their university course, simple because it had the least contact hours and the highest starting salaries. Consequently, the competition was so fierce that students needed five A-levels or SYS's at AAAAA just to get considered for an interview to the course. For other courses, like Computer Science you only needed grades at BBCCC to get on. Other courses requiring

    • "It always depresses me to see how many college students have no idea who they are, and just float about on the breeze of the moment, going for the buck instead of what they already see a passion for doing."

      Considering the high cost of education. Can you really blame them for chasing dollars?

    • by Zarf (5735)

      ahem [amazon.com]

  • Post Hoc (Score:3, Interesting)

    by areusche (1297613) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:18PM (#25186273)

    This can be logically stated as Post Hoc.

    A occurs before B.

    Therefor A is the cause of B.

    Just because the markets are hurting right now doesn't make students more likely to apply for a career in CS or IT. Heck you can do far more broader things with a business degree or an MBA than you can with a degree in CS.

    • by gardyloo (512791)

      Heck you can do far more broader things with a business degree or an MBA than you can with a degree in CS.

      If I'm going to have to shoot myself (http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/susan/joke/foot.htm), I want to know how to do it in various coding languages, and know the reasons behind it. I'd rather not do it out of sheer boredom.

    • by Aardpig (622459)

      Heck you can do far more broader things with a business degree or an MBA than you can with a degree in CS.

      I'm curious as to the subject of your degree. It obviously wasn't English.

  • The problem is, there aren't a ton of jobs for CS grads. Proprietary software is failing, and most companies now have a good senior sysadmin, and computer repair is clogged up with high school students. Not to mention that a lot of "code monkey" jobs can easily be shipped to where labor is cheap. So, where exactly do these people think they will be employed when most, if not all proprietary software companies have failed?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Maybe they would take Non-proprietary software jobs?
      Do you think all those big name opensource projects are written by volunteers?

      Do you think redhat and novell do nothing?
      Does the name SUN ring a bell?

      Even if proprietary software companies were failing left and right they could work for whoever is replacing the failing vendors.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      maybe on slashdot proprietary software is dying but in the real world? far from true.
    • Re:Problems... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hackus (159037) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:37PM (#25186461) Homepage

      Well,

            Everything isn't that bad. Really. I think the assumption of either a senior admin position or a entry level stuff is too simplistic of a analysis of our industry.

            There are lots of in betweens. Right now being 42, and about the middle of my career I am going back to school to finish all my degree work. I accomplished everything I wanted to do and now have on my resume the entire ball of wax, from admin to CIO.

      I just do not have the degree work which I want.

            On the weekends I put in VoIP systems for lawyers and doctors offices using sipxpbx. (That includes all of the nuances of reprogramming the network routers or installing routers that can do QoS). I can do a lot more, including coding middleware (apache axis), and also write backends for a lot of websites (servlets).

            But the point is, I am sure an industrious college grad could figure out to do these things and the point there is to be flexible.

            I started my career and built upon becomming an expert in:

      1) Software Engineering (C++ and Java)
      2) Relational Databases
      3) Networking

          Set your sights on these areas, and try to study them and become competent so that you are flexible to address most opportunities that come your way.

      If you cannot find a job, hit the pavement and cold call companies. I do it all the time, and it works!

      So if a old 42 year old geezer can do it, so can you.

      Finally, I think most people who enter the computer field think that it is like any other job, where you can just graduate and then start a job and just treat it like any other invocation.

      You have to continually learn, which means interrupting your career like I am doing to go back to school.

      If that prospect is daunting, you might not like CS as a career (I.T.). If you do not continually improve yourself you become fairly useless fairly quickly.

      So instead of playing games all evening or watching TV when you get home, start cracking the books guy. :-)

      -Hack

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Let me provide a counter-example: I'm young, and I didn't have the good fortune to enter IT before the dotcom bust (I entered college in 2000). Finding work - reliable work in any guise - has been largely an exercise in futility.

        Non-programming IT work seems to fall into two categories: you've used and maintained common desktops for a year or two and/or have an associates degree in a computer related field, or you're a seasoned professional of 5+ years, having performed system administration or higher for a

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          If you have no family obligations, join a contracting company and whore yourself out for them for a few years with no benefits. Then take that experience to one of your customers and work for higher pay (a cost savings for the customer) with benefits... Ta-Da!! you have a career.

    • by KPU (118762)

      When is the last time you went to a university career fair? The first question most recruiters ask is "computer science?" In fact, the school newspaper ran an editorial "Career fair? More like CS fair."

    • Google alone has hired 10,000 new employees over the past year. Microsoft has added 11,000 [nwsource.com]. I know people who have no CS degrees at all, but who have managed to get some relevant experience on their resumes (usually something web 2.0-ish) being fought over in signing-bonus bidding wars, because everyone who isn't Microsoft or Google is desperate to find some good talent out of the pool that's left.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by guacamole (24270)

      What are you talking about? most of my friends who studies CS had jobs lined up before they even finished school. All sorts of jobs: traditional software businesses, google, web businesses, web stores, sysadmin jobs, etc. Just enroll at a quality institution and do your best job. You'll find employment.

  • hoax (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:26PM (#25186357) Homepage
    Employment rates at graduation are often incredibly skewed. Frequently only those with jobs will report the fact; a lot of people who still haven't found one won't. I picked the law school I went to partially based on its "percentage employed 6 months after graduation" number, plus it's median salary number. It wasn't until I graduated that I realized how fake the number was.

    If I had to do it all over again I'd probably major in pharmacy. Good money, good job security, good hours.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SoapBox17 (1020345)
      A bit off topic, but I have a friend who is a pharmacist. The hours are decent, the money is good, but the employers all suck. Chances are you will be working for a chain store... they can only afford to pay 2-3 pharmacists so you get minimal vacation and have to plan it 6+ months in advance.

      So I guess, the grass is always greener, as they say.
    • Re:hoax (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bicx (1042846) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:10PM (#25187197)
      My dad is a pharmacist. My 18-year-old brother considered becoming a pharmacist as well, but my dad discouraged him from it. Basically pharmacy has become largely about quality assurance (aka "sign off on this please", medicare management, and a bunch of bureaucratic paperwork. If you're entering the field of pharmacy because you love the chemistry behind it and enjoy the scientific aspects, you may be disappointed. My dad has a degree in chemistry and pharmacy, so I have a feeling he is a little disappointed with the changes over the years.
  • by compumike (454538) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:26PM (#25186359) Homepage

    We just had a career fair for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science students, and the organizers mentioned to me that it was the busiest they've ever seen. Not that there are any more students in the department.

    My theory is that all the students originally planning to go into finance/consulting realized they might actually have to get jobs in the real economy, doing more than Excel and Powerpoint (investment banking). This was during the week of the Lehman/AIG collapse.

    --
    Learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

    • by KPU (118762)

      Not to mention the recruiters from Lehman passing their resumes around.

  • Hedge fund majors? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pjt33 (739471) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:30PM (#25186387)
    I thought golf studies was a ridiculous degree, but hedge fund studies? Financial mathematics, sure; economics, likewise; and a degree which combines the two is perfectly reasonable, if liable to drive the mathematically inclined nuts and the mathematically disinclined to drink. But "hedge funds" sounds awfully specific for a major.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:33PM (#25186419)

    Look on the bright side, we'll get a bailout in a couple of years

    Yee-Haw!

  • Skillz! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by russotto (537200) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:41PM (#25186483) Journal

    From the article:

    Technical skills are still important, but businesses also want to hire students with management and industry training, strong communications abilities, marketing and negotiation skills

    Yeah, and businesses also want people with 10+ years J2EE experience. What they want isn't necessarily what they can get. And if you have ALL of the above, technical skills, marketing skills, negotiation skills, and management and industry training, the only positions you should be considering are CEO and CTO. With those negotiation skills, you should get them.

  • CS's gain? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bocconcini (1057516) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#25186555)

    How the heck is CS as a science supposed to gain anything from the flock of people who select their subject of study based on which gives the best money/effort ratio at the moment?

    These are just the kind of people who spend the minimum possible amount of work to get a grade. I wouldn't think they would be interested in CS. Instead, I would imagine that they would be interested in software engineering (management) so they can land a low level manager job straight out of school.

    • Like it or not, computer science is a programming degree in most places, it's not a "science." Whining about it is silly.

  • by pkbarbiedoll (851110) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:00PM (#25186635)
    From where I sit, there is a huge demand for entry level IT professionals in IS and in CS in India.
    • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:37PM (#25186947) Homepage Journal

      Sadly, you are right. I'm on sqaforums.com, and 99% of the threads posted there are n00bs from India asking people to do their job for them. It seems a high percentage of people there don't want to learn on their own and figure out things. A lot of them just grasp on to buzzwords and ask vague questions about various qa test tools. Guess I should find a different forum. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm on sqaforums.com, and 99% of the threads posted there are n00bs from India asking people to do their job for them. It seems a high percentage of people there don't want to learn on their own and figure out things.

        Your statement is a numerical fallacy. You cannot make judgments about a percentage of "people there" when your sample consists of a self-selecting Internet "help" message board, and "there" contains more than three times as many [washingtonpost.com] (in 2005) engineering grads than the States.

  • by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba@gFREEBSDmail.com minus bsd> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:02PM (#25186657) Homepage
    I worked at a recruiting firm that specializes in IT for the last two years, and let me tell you, we could not find enough programmers, specifically in Java. The firms we were working with constantly were upping the pay to try and attract workers to our city but in general, the demand for labor was much, much higher than the supply.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      WTF. I work Java and I started in 2000 at 52kpy my salary has increased an average of 1kpy. WTF? Bull shit. You're recruiting firm is full of the morons who stand up at my JUG and ask: "We are looking for developers with the JAVA. We need the JAVA at junior or senior. If you have the JAVA and know a J2EE please talk to us." You recruiting firms are all effing useless. You can't find talent because you can't identify talent. You can't identify talent because you have no talent.

      Programmers are the only people

  • I Doubt It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:03PM (#25186669) Homepage

    Finance is one of the biggest consumers of IT and development resources. My first job out of college was at a hedge fund as a IT developer. Many people don't realize that finance is heavily computer and information driven these days. The days of people working on gut feeling is dying out. At the hedge fund, there was only two traders who actually traded in financial instruments. The rest of the non-support people were analysts who came up with strategies based on models and information provided to them by quants and programmed into their infrastructure by CS people. Their infrastructure was maintained by IT people.

    My point is that finance going downhill is bad for IT and CS because that's one of the most information driven sectors outside of software and hire a lot of CS people out of college.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:25PM (#25186841) Homepage

    2007: "IT? That's sooo 2000! They all lost their jobs in the dot-com bust! Finance is where it's at!"

    2008: "Finance? That's sooo 2007! They all lost their jobs in the Wall Street bust! IT is where it's at!"

    Do you really want those people?

  • 'entry level' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sohp (22984) <snewton@NosPAM.io.com> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:27PM (#25186859) Homepage

    Since at least the dot-com era and maybe before, there's been a demand for entry-level software developers. It's the subject of Steve McConnell's essay Orphans Preferred [gamasutra.com]. Companies like pulling cheap labor from colleges and grinding the people down until they either burn out or get wise and fight back at the bullshit, at which point the company replaces the burnouts and malcontents with the next wave of suckers.

  • I don't think so. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:33PM (#25186913) Homepage

    A gain in college CS programs is not a net gain for the field of CS.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the actual beneficial gains in CS have not been made due to substantially increased student CS populations, or even as a corollary. Yes, it's had it's part in small breakthroughs, but in my eyes a lot of those small breakthroughs haven't brought on strictly by academia, and a lot of the big breakthroughs have been pushed by corporations - again, not academia. Seems academia has been largely "me too, let's do what's hot in business" when it comes to CS for the past decade+.

    And it certainly can not help the CS graduates themselves. More CS graduates means lower wages. There's already a hardly any "computer science" related jobs out there, even in academia. Sure, there's business programming out in the corporate world, but those wages would also decrease

    There are already too many people who want to work in IT/CS and have the degree, but are unable to do so due to the glut of IT workers. This is just going ot make it worse for recent grads.

  • A bit premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toll_Free (1295136) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:36PM (#25186939)

    Isn't it a bit premature to be talking about the fallout of the Wall Street debacle, as it relates to college enrollment?

    I mean, what does he have to base it off? A two week to 30 day trend?

    Attributing last semesters enrollment to something that hadn't even happened yet (at least, it hadn't been properly attributed to Wall Street) is kind of .... Umm..... I dunno HOW to put it.

    --Toll_Free

  • This is stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elnyka (803306) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @04:45PM (#25187003) Homepage
    Actually, this is fucking disgusting.

    We do not need more tards in Computer Science. Even after the down-turn after the dot.com bust, we got these people who can't for their fucking life understand what a pointer is, writing the crappiest code everywhere they go.

    We need quality, not quantity. The more we get tards who just go and graduate into something because it's "the next thing in getting $$$", the lesser the quality of work being performed.

    Ugh.

    • yes (Score:3, Insightful)

      we must preserve computer science as a bastion of holier-than-thou ego junkies who fill the void in their lives with a constant need to primp their supposed technical superiority

      dude: the only thing worse than an incompetent programmer is a competent programmer who thinks sunlight shines out of his ass. your attitude sucks

      i'd much rather deal with a humble computer idiot on my team than a preening egomaniac like yourself, no matter how good you can program

      adjust your ego, please. it makes you suck worse tha

  • Hedge fund majors? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:17PM (#25187273)

    Computer science enrollments crashed after the dot-com bust as students turned to hedge fund majors.

          And we see how well THAT turned out. Hopefully they will stay unemployed now.

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:37PM (#25187415)

    I think you mean "loss."

    The dotcom boom brought about massive numbers of totally disinterested programmers who were only there for the perception of the money it was supposed to bring them and were thus only as good as a minimally passing grade required them to be.

    Worse, fairweather career chasers are always stuck behind the curve. It takes a couple of years for the media to pick up on a starting boom. Then it takes them four years to get the degree based qualification (admittedly less to get the MCSEs etc. that then got such a terrible reputation). That means they usually manage to turn up right around the end of any given boom... or often a little after... and bitch about how much they hate this career that was supposed to be an easy way out for them, all the while taking the few remaining jobs from the people who do want to be there.

    Combine terrible "just enough to qualify" attitudes, diluting overall quality, and creating a massive imbalance of supply over demand when the field's hurting the worst, pushing salaries even lower... and I left wondering if there's a single way computer science actually gains, as opposed to loses, from these people?

    Yes, Wall Street has had them for the last little over half a decade. And the sickening little idiots have leeched everything out of that market and crashed it around their own ears. They were also there, en masse, in the real estate industry. You remember the raging a-holes who figured they'd get BMWs and a huge paycheck out of raping anyone who wanted to buy a home during a housing boom.

    Please, for the love of everything holy, nerdy, or whatever you subscribe to... don't encourage them back in to our field.

    Go out to schools, colleges, career fairs...

    Tell them all about the long hours of unpaid overtime. Tell them all about management that doesn't get technical reality. Tell them about the stresses. Tell them about how tough the lean years were after the dotcom boom and how that's a cycle that will keep coming back.

    Then carefully only talk up the parts that'll appeal to those with a genuine love. Tell them about how they will get the latest IDEs and graphics suites paid for. Tell them how they'll get the satisfaction of seeing their own name in the back of a game manual. Tell them how their embedded code could end up, admittedly unheralded, saving lives in some critical application.

    But, for the love of God, don't make the mistake of thinking fairweather career chasers are something we want back in the industry.

  • by lorelorn (869271) on Monday September 29, 2008 @02:43AM (#25191221)
    Actually the smart students will be enrolling in Finance now the better to take advantage of the upturn when it kicks in as they graduate in 2-3 years' time.

    They won't have much competition as people graduating now are not entering the industry, and won't have any industry experience over the next few years. They should do quite well.

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