Monday, July 21, 2008

Draining Brains

Information Processing is looking at why American are not going into science and engineering. For one thing it is hard. He quotes from the New York Times.

NYTimes: At M.I.T., a 2007 survey showed that 28.7 percent of undergraduates were headed for work in finance, 13.7 in management consulting and just 7.5 percent in aerospace and defense. The top 10 employers included McKinsey, Google, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Bain, JPMorgan and Oracle — but not a single military contractor or government office.
The closer your are to the money supply (sales, finance) the more money you make. Engineers do make financial decisions - under the guidance of the sales and finance guys - so their compensation is above average. Just not as good as the finance and sales guys. However, there are other problems. Engineers need vast experience to be any good and that takes time - decades.

Another was pointed out to me by the Dean of Engineering at NIU. Engineers need the soul of an artist because engineering is making what you want from what you can get. Just like art only with more constraints and the math is harder.

The contact with the money flows also explains why engineers make more than scientists. Even though the math for science is generally harder.

Where does that leave us? Only those with the capability plus intense desire become scientists or for that matter engineers. Which is as it should be. I wouldn't want aircraft designed by those who were only in it for the money.

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