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Outsourcing, Layoffs, And No Stock Options?

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Thanks but no thanks, say students to the prospect of entering the computer field in college.

According to the Computer Research Association, new enrollments in computer and engineering programs have dropped for four straight years. Simple economics shows the reason: good-paying tech jobs were wiped out in the dot-com crash and haven’t returned.

But USA Today observes that high-level jobs combining technology and business still exist in the US. The implication there says no candidates exist to fill those jobs.

Oddly enough, the article doesn’t state how a new college engineering graduate will have access to these high-level jobs. Since they are “high-level,” it seems likely firms will want experienced candidates for the positions.

How does one get experience in a field? Starting in a low-level job and gaining it. Who’s hiring graduates for low-level tech jobs with the prospects of becoming qualified for high-level jobs? That’s difficult to tell.

The market for technology jobs remains very tight. And more than 20,000 computer bachelor’s degrees awarded to North American students in the 2003-04 school year, according to the same CRA study.

It’s not difficult to fathom the logic of employers who claim there are no job candidates in the market, after tens of thousands of technology workers were laid off and 20,000 graduates entered the work force.

Firms like Microsoft have been complaining of a lack of H-1B visas for bringing skilled workers into the country. Imported workers reportedly cost less than American workers. The ongoing claims of a dearth of tech workers seem disingenuous. All those people who lost their jobs didn’t suddenly leave the country.

To blame the educational system for the lack of future technology workers does a disservice to it, and ignores the reality of high school students and their families considering career opportunities.

More emphasis could be placed on science and technology in school, but it doesn’t change a job market that is not hiring US workers. Parents don’t want their talented offspring entering a field where their skill may not be in demand.

And who could blame them for redirecting a bright child’s interest to medicine or law instead?

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Outsourcing, Layoffs, And No Stock Options?
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