Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sortable List: College Majors, Salaries, Un Rates

From the WSJ, comes this sortable list of college majors, salaries and jobless rates.

39 Comments:

At 11/08/2011 2:25 PM, Blogger AIG said...

4 issues with this list:

1) These are mid-career salaries, not starting salaries. Education and mid-career salaries aren't as correlated (I'd assume), as with starting salaries.

2) A lot of people who progress post mid-career, no longer fall under the same "job categories" as before. IE...an engineer progresses to become a manager of something, thus no longer appearing on the "engineering" category.

3) This list doesn't tell us much about the level of education of those surveyed. For example...you can have an associate, a tech, a BS, a BE, a MS, an ME or a PhD degree in engineering. Starting salaries ranging from the 40s to the 140s. Same for other fields.

4) When did Geology fall under the "art" category? ;)

PS: 7% unemployment for computer engineering? These numbers can't be serious!

 
At 11/08/2011 2:28 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

very interesting chart.

of the top 5 earners (by 75% percentile measure) non are even remotely popular.

the most popular of them is petroleum engineering at 138 out of 173.

there's a lesson in there.

according to this, none of my degrees pay particularly well, so i guess i should be excited not to have gotten mired.

that said, i am wondering something about these figures. for what part of the career are they?

first job?

peak earnings?

x years after graduation?

that would seem to make a big difference.

those at the top of the list seem very vocational to me. actuaries, petroleum engineers, computer or nuclear engineers.

one might expect students with such directly applicable vocational skills to come out of the gate quickly.

that said, few of them wind up making the kind of money a successful salesman or investment banker or whatever makes.

it's a slower ramp up, but the peaks are much higher.

also:

combining philosophy and theology isn't really fair. philosophy majors do better on grad school entrance tests than any other major. but if you are in a seminary, well, that's a very different career track.

seems like those ought to be split.

 
At 11/08/2011 2:42 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Morganovich, some of what you are saying is related to issue #3 I brought up. When you rank them by earnings, you get some majors which are most likely at a higher level of "education" than others; IE...petroleum engineering is likely to be mainly BS-degree earners. Economics, is likely to be MS or PhD level degrees. You get Pharmacy or Pharmacology which is also likely to be heavily populated with PhDs (or do they get MDs?) Or Astronomy or Physics...mostly skewed towards PhDs. Then you get Mechanical engineers...mostly BS.

We're not comparing apples to apples here.

 
At 11/08/2011 2:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"IE...petroleum engineering is likely to be mainly BS-degree earners. Economics, is likely to be MS or PhD level degrees."

i actually think you may have that backwards.

most people with econ degrees do not work as economists. very few do grad work in econ, especially with the popularity of MBA's.

i have no idea what % of petroleum engineers get masters degrees etc, but i have generally found that to be common among engineers. i know loads of people with a masters or doctorate in engineering or statistics, but far fewer with graduate level econ degrees, and i work in financial markets, where there is a clustering of them.

 
At 11/08/2011 3:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

of the top 5 earners (by 75% percentile measure) non are even remotely popular.

They are not popular because they require a high amount of intelligence and the willingness to work hard. Most students want to drink a lot and get a lot of sex while in university. That is more difficult if you have a massive work load and spend so much time in labs and lecture halls.

 
At 11/08/2011 3:43 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"and i work in financial markets, where there is a clustering of them."

I work in engineering, and I haven't found that to be the trend amongst engineers. New grads tend to have more master degrees in their fields then earlier generations.

An important factor would be that the majority of econ BS holders don't work in "economics" but in other career fields (like finance, where the majority of them end up), while most engineering BS holders work in engineering. So when we look at job categories of "engineering" and "economics"...the "economics" job field is more heavily loaded with advanced degree holders, because only they, generally, would hold such a job title.

Thats probably a 5th criticism of the list published there...career descriptive aren't necessarily representative of education field.

 
At 11/08/2011 3:54 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Most students want to drink a lot and get a lot of sex while in university. "

Oh yeah? Well if you vote for Ron Paul, you're guaranteed never to get laid in college.

 
At 11/08/2011 5:52 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

aig-

but that list is based on degree, not job field, so i don't think your augment holds.

all the undergrad econ degrees that wound up working in sales or management or whatever are already factored in.

econ is a very uncommon graduate degree.

there is very little reason to get one unless you intend to either teach econ or work as an actual economist, both very small fields.

i also wonder how they handled folks with multiple degrees.

lots of people do econ and something else.

i did 4. econ, political science, philosophy, and physics. (brown has no core curriculum, so if you really bear down and take an extra class every semester, you can do 4 degrees in 4 years)

very few people do that with engineering. no idea what difference that might make or if it has any influence at all, but it might be interesting to see.

 
At 11/08/2011 5:56 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"You get Pharmacy or Pharmacology which is also likely to be heavily populated with PhDs (or do they get MDs?"

they don't get either.

pharmacists get a pharm-d, which is not even as rigorous as a bachelors degree (you can get it in 2-3 years).

only if you are going into research and dev to you get more, and those people did not do undergrads in pharmacology.

they studied chemistry, orgo, neurocience, whatever.

pharmacy and pharmacology are essentially vocational degrees.

 
At 11/08/2011 6:40 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

AIG says: "...the majority of econ BS holders don't work in "economics" but in other career fields."

Yes, that's true:

The Making of an Economist, Redux (2007)

"Each year approximately 25,000 undergraduate students (about 2 percent of all college seniors) major in economics.

The large majority of these majors have no intention of becoming economists; they are planning to go into business, with banking, finance, and general management the most popular fields.

Each year somewhat more than 900 Ph.D.’s are awarded, a rate slightly higher than in the past (rate of production has averaged 800 over the past forty years).

Graduate economics students attend one of the over one hundred Ph.D. programs in economics within the United States.

It generally takes a bit over five years of graduate study for students to get a Ph.D."

http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s8438.html

 
At 11/08/2011 8:30 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I too was surprised to see economics majors getting such high pay, but as Peak points out, not many get PhDs. My engineering degree apparently is the highest-paid of all the "popular" majors, which did me no good as I graduated into a bust and had to move into software. In any case, software is where all the dynamism is now, with low barriers to entry and enormous potential payoffs, so I'd have made the switch to software at some point regardless.

One important effect this list is missing is that in new, high-paid fields like software, college degrees aren't important. I looked for some stats to back that up, not much out there but this wiki references a 2002 survey that found that more than a third of software programmers didn't have any bachelor's degree. I'd bet that more than 60% didn't have a CS degree, partly because CS is a new field and partly because CS employers don't care about the degree as much. So while the linked list notes the popularity and high pay of software programmers, it actually underestimates the earnings potential there by overvaluing the college degree. This trend is going to be greatly amplified in the coming years, as the universities and their degrees are about to be put out of business by online learning.

 
At 11/08/2011 10:50 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"but that list is based on degree, not job field, so i don't think your augment holds"

Hmm. I'm suspicious. It says its based on 2010 Census data. I don't know if there is a question on there about your "degree", or "job".

 
At 11/09/2011 3:30 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

It should be noted, grad econ prefers math majors over econ majors.

When I was in grad econ, perhaps 40% were math majors, 40% were econ majors, and the rest were all other majors.

And many of the econ majors had extensive math as undergrads, which was generally required for grad econ.

 
At 11/09/2011 4:01 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

The fact that Peak's grad econ program had so many math majors simply highlights the intellectual bankruptcy of grad econ. Unfortunately, too many other majors are similarly vacuous.

 
At 11/09/2011 4:38 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Sprewell, what you call "intellectual bankruptcy" is understanding, creating, and tying-together mathematical and empirical models in multi-dimensions (vectors in n-space).

 
At 11/09/2011 9:46 AM, Blogger AIG said...

"The fact that Peak's grad econ program had so many math majors simply highlights the intellectual bankruptcy of grad econ. "

??? What now? Thats what you end up believing if you read mises dot org.

 
At 11/09/2011 11:21 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"The fact that Peak's grad econ program had so many math majors simply highlights the intellectual bankruptcy of grad econ. Unfortunately, too many other majors are similarly vacuous."

what an absurd statement.

all it shows is that grad level econ takes a great deal of statistics and understanding of how to sift through data to draw conclusions.

that takes math.

the more apt statement is that your comment demonstrates how totally ignorant you are of how econ works.

 
At 11/09/2011 12:07 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"One important effect this list is missing is that in new, high-paid fields like software, college degrees aren't important."

Hmm. Software engineering, computer engineering, computer science etc were very large majors at my school. Their average starting salaries range from 60K for Computer Science Technology to 78k for Computer Science MS. Software engineering starting salaries ranged from 65k for a BS to 77k for MS.

If college degrees didn't matter in those fields, how is it that starting salaries for college grads in those fields are...THAT high?

Or is your argument going to be, again, that the market is totally ignorant and doesn't understand what you understand? (ie everyone else is stupid, except for me!)

"I looked for some stats to back that up, not much out there but this wiki references a 2002 survey that found that more than a third of software programmers didn't have any bachelor's degree. I'd bet that more than 60% didn't have a CS degree, partly because CS is a new field and partly because CS employers don't care about the degree as much. "

CS is not a new field. But either way, there's lots of people who work in software who don't have degrees in the field, sure.

But what is the starting salary difference between someone with a CS degree, and someone without one? Wanna bet? ;)

Not everyone that writes code...needs a software engineering or CS degree. Thats like comparing an auto mechanic with an automotive engineer. Both work on cars. But they're not the same.

"So while the linked list notes the popularity and high pay of software programmers, it actually underestimates the earnings potential there by overvaluing the college degree. "

That sentence doesn't make much sense. The data isn't being adjusted for anything.

"This trend is going to be greatly amplified in the coming years, as the universities and their degrees are about to be put out of business by online learning."

Thats incredibly silly. Given that a CS grad in a major university spends an INSANE amount of time in very expensive and well-packed labs, with highly experienced professors, TAs etc...that's not the sort of experience that can be replicated easily through some other fashion.

Again, how many software engineers and developers does Microsoft or Google or Apple hire...without a college degree? 0%?

 
At 11/09/2011 12:22 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Software engineering MS and Computer Science MS...BTW...had the absolute highest starting salaries of any degree field offered at my university.

And yet here you are telling "the market", that they "just don't get it" that you don't need such a degree.

You'd think "the market" would have figured out whether you need that degree or not, a long time ago. They've been hiring software engineers and CS majors for decades.

 
At 11/09/2011 6:39 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Peak, yes, that is what I call intellectual bankruptcy, :) the notion that economists can realistically model the economy with your n-dimensional models.

morganovich, you pick the one useful portion, statistics, out of most of the useless math that is taught, then assert that therefore the math is worthwhile. But if you think it takes math majors just to understand stats, it is you who is ignorant of how econ works. My understanding is that a lot more time is spent on the math that Peak pointed at, ie tying stats into grand econometric models that aren't worth the paper they're printed on. The mathematicization of econ has long been a mostly worthless trend, particularly when very little of it is actually computerized and fed real data, that would help determine how worthless it is.

AIG, I don't read mises.org but their argument that math is not very useful because a lot of the economy is subjective is an extremely powerful and worthwhile argument: you should try looking it it. Hayek warned against scientism, ie applying the methods of math and science under the illusion that they can illuminate as much of the social world as they have of the physical world, but unfortunately he hasn't been heeded enough.

Are you asserting that starting salaries for non-CS majors who get CS jobs aren't "THAT high?" Because I know of no salary bump simply because of your major, once your employer deems you smart enough for the job. And yes, to the extent that a large minority of programmers are still CS majors, "the market is totally ignorant and doesn't understand what you understand? (ie everyone else is stupid, except for me!)" The problem with your market fundamentalist argument is that the market is itself riddled with inefficiencies and stupidities, because private companies are made up of the same flawed humans as any other institution. All the market provides is competition so that such blatant stupidity is competed away over time, it doesn't mean there aren't gaping holes in the knowledge and logic of market participants at any given moment (for example, Fischer Black noted that market prices are only correct within a factor of two, and not all the time). Yet that competition is all it takes for the market to perform orders of magnitude better than systems without competition, ie govt.

Heh, I mention that CS is a new field to acknowledge there are other factors at work here, like the fact that the education bureacracy has not caught up to the changes in the market, and you deny even that simple fact. No wonder your responses are often so dumb when it comes to this topic, it is like arguing with a brain-washed person.

 
At 11/09/2011 6:48 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

What do you think the mid-career net worth difference is between someone with a CS degree and someone without? Wanna bet? :) I bet it's much higher for those without CS degrees. You are right that there are a lot of mechanic programmers who don't need a CS degree, as I've said. Where we probably differ is that 80+% are probably mechanics right now and I think it should be closer to 99%. Nobody said the data in the linked list is being "adjusted," it's about the misleading direction it points in, ie I simply repeated your point #2 with a specific example where it is particularly extreme, all the non-CS majors who make a lot of money after switching into software.

Heh, you maintain that a CS grad requires "very expensive and well-packed labs, with highly experienced professors, TAs etc...that's not the sort of experience that can be replicated easily through some other fashion." What part of it cannot be replicated online? I took several CS classes in the CS dept when I was in college, even though that wasn't my major, and there was nothing I couldn't have done from a home computer. I already pointed out a major Google engineer who never even went to college to you in a different thread, and just gave stats that more than a third of all programmers don't have Bachelors degrees, so for you to assert that there are 0% non-degree holders for major tech companies is just ridiculous, particularly considering their founders, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, often never graduated from college.

If a third of programmers don't have a degree, it behooves someone going into the profession to consider acquiring that same high salary without wasting six figures on a degree. The truth is that CS degrees are filled with theory that essentially no programmer ever uses again. If a young high-school student wants to skip that degree route and learn what he finds useful on his own, perhaps contribute to some open-source projects to show what he can do, that is a much better route for the vast majority of those preparing for a career in software. You couldn't hire CS majors to staff programming positions "for decades" because there just weren't enough degree programs and majors for much of that time, which is why it is a "new field." And my point is broader, ie that all majors will soon be worthless because online learning is about to kill off the university. CS degrees are merely on the leading edge of that trend, for obvious reasons.

I realize that a lot of commenters on this blog got technical degrees, like I did, so you defend the technical matter or the degree itself. But I'm taking the larger view that most of what is taught is not very useful, particularly in this computer-drenched age, which is perhaps why "only a third of science and engineering college graduates actually take jobs in science and tech fields, according to a 2007 study." Things are moving fast in the information age we are entering, and I think you guys are stuck with outmoded prejudices of the last era, ie fighting the last war.

 
At 11/09/2011 6:54 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

What do you think the mid-career net worth difference is between someone with a CS degree and someone without? Wanna bet? :) I bet it's much higher for those without CS degrees. You are right that there are a lot of mechanic programmers who don't need a CS degree, as I've said. Where we probably differ is that 80+% are probably mechanics right now and I think it should be closer to 99%. Nobody said the data in the linked list is being "adjusted," it's about the misleading direction it points in, ie I simply repeated your point #2 with a specific example where it is particularly extreme, all the non-CS majors who make a lot of money after switching into software.

Heh, you maintain that a CS grad requires "very expensive and well-packed labs, with highly experienced professors, TAs etc...that's not the sort of experience that can be replicated easily through some other fashion." What part of it cannot be replicated online? I took several CS classes in the CS dept when I was in college, even though that wasn't my major, and there was nothing I couldn't have done from a home computer. I already pointed out a major Google engineer who never even went to college to you in a different thread, and just gave stats that more than a third of all programmers don't have Bachelors degrees, so for you to assert that there are 0% non-degree holders for major tech companies is just ridiculous, particularly considering their founders, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, often never graduated from college.

If a third of programmers don't have a degree, it behooves someone going into the profession to consider acquiring that same high salary without wasting six figures on a degree. The truth is that CS degrees are filled with theory that essentially no programmer ever uses again. If a young high-school student wants to skip that degree route and learn what he finds useful on his own, perhaps contribute to some open-source projects to show what he can do, that is a much better route for the vast majority of those preparing for a career in software. You couldn't hire CS majors to staff programming positions "for decades" because there just weren't enough degree programs and majors for much of that time, which is why it is a "new field." And my point is broader, ie that all majors will soon be worthless because online learning is about to kill off the university. CS degrees are merely on the leading edge of that trend, for obvious reasons.

I realize that a lot of commenters on this blog got technical degrees, like I did, so you defend the technical matter or the degree itself. But I'm taking the larger view that most of what is taught is not very useful, particularly in this computer-drenched age, which is perhaps why "only a third of science and engineering college graduates actually take jobs in science and tech fields, according to a 2007 study." Things are moving fast in the information age we are entering, and I think you guys are stuck with outmoded prejudices of the last era, ie fighting the last war.

 
At 11/09/2011 8:24 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Hmm, the second part of my comment was too long for this shitty blogger.com software, so it has eaten it for now and will vomit it back up tomorrow.

 
At 11/09/2011 8:26 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"AIG, I don't read mises.org but their argument that math is not very useful because a lot of the economy is subjective is an extremely powerful and worthwhile argument: you should try looking it it. "

"useful" is subjective in itself ;) The people at mises dot org create straw-men, and then burn them down.

"Hayek warned against scientism, ie applying the methods of math and science under the illusion that they can illuminate as much of the social world as they have of the physical world,"

That is plainly not what the vast majority of economics research is even remotely focused on.

 
At 11/09/2011 8:27 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Are you asserting that starting salaries for non-CS majors who get CS jobs aren't "THAT high?"

I'm saying most non-CS majors don't get CS jobs. They may get jobs ..."programming"...but thats not necessarily in the same category as a "CS" job. Its like an automotive engineer and an automotive mechanic.

"Because I know of no salary bump simply because of your major, once your employer deems you smart enough for the job"

Once your employer deems you smart enough? And how does your employer deem you smart enough? After hiring you and trying you out for 6 months or 1 year? Sure. And what is the success rate of employers doing this? 20%? What is the success rate of employers hiring grads in the field, instead? 90%?

The point being, starting salaries for a degreed person and a non degreed person is most certainly going to be substantially different.

"And yes, to the extent that a large minority of programmers are still CS majors, "the market is totally ignorant and doesn't understand what you understand? (ie everyone else is stupid, except for me!)""

??? Seriously? So what you're telling me is that we can start a company tomorrow that only hire non-degreed software engineers, pay them 50% less then what Microsoft pays its degreed software engineers, and make a killing because there should be no performance difference between the two.

Man...we're going to be trillionares!!

 
At 11/09/2011 8:27 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"The problem with your market fundamentalist argument is that the market is itself riddled with inefficiencies and stupidities, because private companies are made up of the same flawed humans as any other institution"

??? Stupidities?

"All the market provides is competition so that such blatant stupidity is competed away over time,"

So 40 years + of hiring CS majors, and fantastic starting salaries for CS majors for 40+ years, and extremely high demand in degreed CS majors...should not have been "competed away over time"? Do we need more time?

Strangely 40 years ago it was a lot easier to get into programming without a degree. It is a lot harder today. Seems like, over time, the opposite is happening.

"it doesn't mean there aren't gaping holes in the knowledge and logic of market participants at any given moment"

"Any given moment" doesn't describe long-term behaviors trending in the opposite direction you claim :)

"Heh, I mention that CS is a new field to acknowledge there are other factors at work here, like the fact that the education bureacracy has not caught up to the changes in the market, and you deny even that simple fact"

CS is not a new field. Schools have had CS as a major since the 60s. Of course, there have been practitioners of the field since a lot earlier than that.

The point is, over the past 40 years (and more, but for argument's sake lets pretend like CS started in 1970), the major has gotten more important in getting a job in the field and has gotten more rewarding for degree holders. Thats the opposite of what you are claiming.

" No wonder your responses are often so dumb when it comes to this topic, it is like arguing with a brain-washed person."

well, lets see. You are claiming that a degree which has the HIGHEST starting salary of any technical degree field, is in reality worthless because thousands of employers have been hiring degree holders over the past 40 years, without realizing that they are overpaying for that knowledge.

I may buy that if it happened in the first year or 2 or 5, and then the trend collapses. Not when the trend reinforces itself in the opposite direction of what you claim, decade after decade.

 
At 11/11/2011 5:16 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Ah, the second part of my last comment has finally been vomited back up, double posted because this shitty site ate it both times. If you admit that math isn't useful and that it's subjective, then you basically concede all their points, so clearly you find no "straw-men." :) Scientism is plainly "what the vast majority of" all research these days is more accurately called. Math and overly technical jargon have become tools to shield shitty research from outsiders who are not going to waste their time piercing through those defenses, which is why unfortunately academia is now spewing out rivers of crap research, much of it cloaked in "math." Considering there are very few "CS jobs," as opposed to programming jobs, who cares who gets those. As I said in the second part of my comment, the vast majority of CS theory is never used again, so those who've never done a CS degree get by just fine without it. Considering employers hire more non-CS grads than CS grads, obviously they've figured out how to do it. Since most CS grads leave the profession after 3-7 years, maybe it's the CS grads who can't hack it. :) If a non-CS grad is hired for the same programming position, nobody cuts their salary because they don't have a CS degree, so no, the starting salary isn't different.

"Seriously? So what you're telling me is that we can start a company tomorrow that only hire non-degreed software engineers," yep, that's exactly what I'm saying. You wouldn't necessarily pay them less, because pay still gets talent, degree or not, but yes, there will be essentially no performance difference. You will never be a "trillionare" because you exhibit a lot of shoddy thinking. I might, because I actually understand these concepts. "??? Stupidities?" What's the matter, don't understand the word? Let me guess, they didn't teach you that in college? If they've been hiring CS majors for 40 years, why are a majority of programmers not CS majors? Are they so incompetent that they get fired right away? XD Yes, there have always been a few CS grads even decades ago, but the point is the supply was much less than demand, particularly as the computing business took off. The fact that you wave away this well-known fact only demonstrates your deep ignorance of this topic.

 
At 11/11/2011 5:20 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

You are probably right that 40 years ago it was easier to get into programming without a degree and that it is harder today, but that's true for practically every profession. There has been a big rise in worthless credentialism, which is why even warehouse manager positions will often list a bachelor's degree as a requirement. What's amazing about programming is that even then, more than a third have no degree, which is a testament to the amazing competition in software, where anyone can write a program and sell it online. Well, guess what, that competition is now taking hold for every information profession, whether bloggers replacing newspaper journalists or online video replacing TV, so that credentialism trend is about to die off everywhere. Software is just on the leading edge of that trend, again, for obvious reasons.

"Any given moment" also applies to long-term stupidity, which sometimes does exist. How else do you explain the long refusal of many whites in this country to serve blacks in their restaurants and stores and profit off their business, which only began to change 40 years ago? I think most people would call a major that has only been around a handful of decades "a new field," particularly since it didn't really take off from more than a handful of people till the '90s. Yep, a CS degree has gotten so "important" that in 2002 most programmers didn't have a CS degree: wow, that's important! :) Haha, CS is not "the HIGHEST starting salary of any technical degree field," the list above doesn't even show it in the top 15 for all the technical degrees listed. But yes, it is fairly worthless and overvalued even for what it is. And the rise of the CS degree is not just a trend in CS, it's happened in all professions, just like the degree will be destroyed everywhere. :) The fact that most programmers still don't have CS degrees is just the canary in the coal mine. :D

 
At 11/11/2011 12:35 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"What do you think the mid-career net worth difference is between someone with a CS degree and someone without? Wanna bet? :) I bet it's much higher for those without CS degrees."

?? You're kidding, right?

"and there was nothing I couldn't have done from a home computer."

Someone should have told that to all my friends back in school who were CS majors and spends 3 nights in a row in computer labs. They could have used your insight then! ;)

"I already pointed out a major Google engineer who never even went to college to you in a different thread,"

Google hires thousands of engineers...and 99.99% of them have degrees in their field. I don't need to deal with outliers.

"and just gave stats that more than a third of all programmers don't have Bachelors degrees,"

The guy making Flash animation for a website also calls himself a "programmer". He doesn't need a degree, thats for sure. There's Programmers", and then there's Programmers".

"so for you to assert that there are 0% non-degree holders for major tech companies is just ridiculous, particularly considering their founders, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, often never graduated from college."

I didn't say 0% :) I said 0.01% :)

"If a third of programmers don't have a degree, it behooves someone going into the profession to consider acquiring that same high salary without wasting six figures on a degree."

Ugh. "Programming" is about as wide a field as saying "a job". There's programmers making minimum wage, and there's programmers making millions. We're dealing with very distinct populations. You refuse to acknowledge this and insist on aggregating things into one big group (which is funny, coming from someone talking about Austrian economics).

What I'm saying is...people who graduate with a CS or software engineering degree or the likes, are certain to make considerably more money in starting salary than someone who hasn't, but also works in a related field.

Mid-career salaries are also highly correlated to education level.

Thats not to say...AT ALL...that 1/3 of all "programmers" don't have bachelor degrees. That 1/3 is in a separate population, because "programming" isn't a neat group of people or 1 profession. Its 500 different types of professions.

 
At 11/11/2011 12:36 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"The truth is that CS degrees are filled with theory that essentially no programmer ever uses again"

Strangely Google really likes those people. They must be really ignorant.

"If a young high-school student wants to skip that degree route and learn what he finds useful on his own, perhaps contribute to some open-source projects to show what he can do, that is a much better route for the vast majority of those preparing for a career in software."

Interesting. Much better...as measured by what? Your imagination?

"You couldn't hire CS majors to staff programming positions "for decades" because there just weren't enough degree programs and majors for much of that time, which is why it is a "new field.""

??? Seriously?? So how did major companies like AT&T or Boeing or Xerox or IBM or...thousands and thousands of others...run their computer networks and NC machines etc etc back in the ancient times of...1980?

"And my point is broader, ie that all majors will soon be worthless because online learning is about to kill off the university. "

??? And who is going to teach those online courses? Who is going to organize the knowledge? Who is going to test your knowledge? Hmm...how silly of me to ask such questions.

"CS degrees are merely on the leading edge of that trend, for obvious reasons."

But you're pulling things out of your behind, not reality. CS has grown and is growing as a major in universities, and continues to offer a MUCH higher premium than other technical degrees. If what you were saying was remotely true, their starting salaries would start to come...DOWN...since there would have competition from all the non-degreed programmers. How is it possible, that their starting salaries are going way up?

Oh I know...the standard Mises dot org explanation for everything "everyone is dumb except for meeee!!

"which is perhaps why "only a third of science and engineering college graduates actually take jobs in science and tech fields, according to a 2007 study.""

There you go again with the silly aggregations of things that are totally unrelated. Most chemistry and biology undergrads don't start in chemistry or biology. Thats why the market starting salaries for undergrads in those majors are in the high 20s and low 30s. But the opposite happens with engineering students whose starting salaries are in the high 50s and low 60s.

Do you NOT understand that we are dealing with distinct populations...and that those characteristics ARE, in fact, reflected in their market compensations?

Do you also not understand that this has...absolutely...nothing to do with what you claim to be going on?

"Things are moving fast in the information age we are entering, and I think you guys are stuck with outmoded prejudices of the last era, ie fighting the last war."

Thats so silly. Reality be dammed! You're going to stick to whatever you once read in a blog post at Mises dot org, no matter what.

 
At 11/11/2011 12:36 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"If you admit that math isn't useful and that it's subjective, then you basically concede all their points, so clearly you find no "straw-men." :)"

??? Thats so silly, its amusing. Math is of course useful. Its just not used in the way you pretend it is. but thats probably because you've never actually read a paper in economics, so you create a straw-man.

"Scientism is plainly "what the vast majority of" all research these days is more accurately called. Math and overly technical jargon have become tools to shield shitty research from outsiders who are not going to waste their time piercing through those defenses, which is why unfortunately academia is now spewing out rivers of crap research, much of it cloaked in "math." "

Hmm...no wonder people think "Austrians" are nuts. Even Hayek would probably think you guys are nuts.

"Considering there are very few "CS jobs," as opposed to programming jobs, who cares who gets those. "

????? Thats like saying...there's a lot more burger flipping jobs than there are food processing engineers. So who cares about those!!

"Considering employers hire more non-CS grads than CS grads, obviously they've figured out how to do it."

?? Burger King hires a lot more burger flippers than chemical engineers. Your argument is nonsensical.

The argument is about whether there is a premium to a college education in a given field. IN A GIVEN FIELD. Not in an aggregate of 500 different fields all called "computers". Companies don't hire CS majors and non-CS majors to do the...SAME JOB.

"Since most CS grads leave the profession after 3-7 years, maybe it's the CS grads who can't hack it. :)"

Yeah. lol.

"If a non-CS grad is hired for the same programming position, nobody cuts their salary because they don't have a CS degree, so no, the starting salary isn't different."

lol. You're kidding right? IF...they are hired for the SAME job. And that happens...0.01% of the time?

Oh yeah I forgot...math is subjective :)

"yep, that's exactly what I'm saying. You wouldn't necessarily pay them less, because pay still gets talent, degree or not, but yes, there will be essentially no performance difference. "

Amazing!! This insight of yours is literally worth TRILLIONS of dollars, because we could do what Microsoft, Apple, Google etc are doing...but without the premium costs of hiring degreed programmers and engineers. We can drive them all out of business.

Boy am I glad I talked to you today :)

". I might, because I actually understand these concepts. "

Well, now that you told me your big idea, I'm just going to copy it.

 
At 11/11/2011 12:37 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"If they've been hiring CS majors for 40 years, why are a majority of programmers not CS majors?"

Because "programmers" describes 500 different disciplines. Saying "programmers" is as concise as saying "a job"

"but the point is the supply was much less than demand, particularly as the computing business took off. The fact that you wave away this well-known fact only demonstrates your deep ignorance of this topic."

So...the fact that they STILL get high starting salaries, is not indicative that demand still outstrips supply? The fact that degreed CS majors get a lot more than non-degreed ones, is not indicative to you that the demand for degreed CS majors far outstrips demand for non CS majors?

"What's amazing about programming is that even then, more than a third have no degree, which is a testament to the amazing competition in software, where anyone can write a program and sell it online."

Again with the useless over generalization. There's "programs", and then there's "programs"

There's people working out of their basement making "programs" and working as "programmers" for small companies...making poverty-level wages. And then there's "programmers" at Microsoft making high 6 figures. In your book, they're all "programmers making programs".

Oh well, I guess math doesn't matter to you...so probably neither do statistics.

"Well, guess what, that competition is now taking hold for every information profession, whether bloggers replacing newspaper journalists or online video replacing TV, so that credentialism trend is about to die off everywhere."

Yeah...because "everyone", "everywhere", works as a journalist and a TV newsperson.

You've clearly thought this one through.

 
At 11/11/2011 12:37 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Software is just on the leading edge of that trend, again, for obvious reasons."

And YET it remains one the highest paying starting salaries. This OBVIOUS market signal means nothing to you.

Maybe because a salary has numbers and its "math"...and math is useless :)

""Any given moment" also applies to long-term "

In the long term, there will be "moments" :) but 'any given moment" doesn't explain long term TRENDS. Trends are made up of many "given moments".

"How else do you explain the long refusal of many whites in this country to serve blacks in their restaurants and stores and profit off their business, which only began to change 40 years ago?"

Hmm...laws preventing them from doing so?

"I think most people would call a major that has only been around a handful of decades "a new field,"

Really?? I guess TVs are also..."the new thing" too

"Yep, a CS degree has gotten so "important" that in 2002 most programmers didn't have a CS degree: wow, that's important! :) Haha, "

??? No one ever claimed that programming required a CS degree. Just that there's a earning premium. Oh wait...there I go off with them there numbers and maths again!


"the list above doesn't even show it in the top 15 for all the technical degrees listed"

Obviously the words "starting" and "mid career" mean nothing to you...since they are numbers and, as numbers, they are math...which we already determined to be useless.

"But yes, it is fairly worthless and overvalued even for what it is."

But again, if it is overvalued...how is it that the long-term trend is going in the opposite direction? Or is that useless math too?

"just like the degree will be destroyed everywhere"

And replaced with...Mises dot org!

"The fact that most programmers still don't have CS degrees is just the canary in the coal mine."

Most mechanics don't have a mechanical engineering degree, either. What you are saying is utter nonsense.

 
At 11/11/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"useful" is subjective in itself ;) The people at mises dot org create straw-men, and then burn them down.

No they don't. They are very consistent in their arguments and defend them with logic and facts. You might try looking at what they say before you dismiss it but it is doubtful that your ideology will let you.

"Hayek warned against scientism, ie applying the methods of math and science under the illusion that they can illuminate as much of the social world as they have of the physical world,"

That is plainly not what the vast majority of economics research is even remotely focused on.


But it is. Go look at mainstream economics and you see all kind of mathematics that is based on assumptions that are not true. All you have to do is to look inside a typical econ book and you will find that economics professors believe that they know far more than they actually do.

 
At 11/11/2011 9:05 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

When I said the mid-career net worth is higher for non-CS degree holders, I was clearly talking about those with CS jobs, in contrast to your claim that CS degree holders had higher starting salaries for CS jobs. I knew as soon as I posted it that you would seize on the fact that I didn't paste that qualifier again, which is obvious from the context of the question I'm replying to, but you are nothing if not predictable. :) You of course run away from my question by making such silly twits, because you can't deal with the actual issues. Yes, someone should have told that to your CS major friends, as they could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars with my advice. I'll note that when I was taking CS classes back in the '90s, I could have already done my CS work from any computer on our networked campus, including from my dorm room. As a result, I rarely went to the CS labs. Haha, you really are clueless if you think 99.99% of Google's hires "have degrees in their field." No doubt they would like that, as they are one of the most credentialist of institutions, but it would be physically impossible for them to require that, as there just aren't enough applicants with exactly the right degree for them to do it. Hey, at least I have actual evidence, even if you just wave it away as "outliers," while you have none.

I'm pretty sure that those who make "Flash animation" call themselves designers, not programmers. I already pointed out that 99% of programming work doesn't require your vaunted "Programmers." Haha, I'm not "aggregating" anything, I already made very specific numerical claims about the proportion of programming mechanics to programming engineers. You of course ignore that and make vague claims that there are "differences," because as usual, you have no argument. And I never talked about Austrian economics, you brought it up. I already repeatedly pointed out to you that if any given programming position hires a CS major vs a non-CS major, there is no salary bump for the CS major, so you are just plain wrong. As for your claim that mid-career salaries are "highly correlated to education level," do you have any data on that? I think it's actually the opposite for programming jobs, but I haven't seen any data, which of course you don't have.

There is no doubt that there are many types of programmers, some of which require less expertise than others, but I already dealt with that a couple days ago, with specific numeric claims, in my comment that posted late. If math is not used in the way I "pretend it is," you could give some argument to back that up. But you have nothing, so you give no rationale whatsoever for your nonsensical pronouncement, then blindly claim that I've never read an economics paper, the usual ad hominem last resort of those who have no argument. Hmm, perhaps people think you are nuts, when you take some statement I made then claim "Austrians" are nuts, when I never claimed to be an Austrian. In fact, I said I don't read mises.org, which gives you a clue. Considering Hayek railed against scientism and the misuse of math, he would no doubt think you are nuts for thinking what I said wasn't perfectly in keeping with what he said.

 
At 11/11/2011 9:13 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Essentially no programmer gets paid like a burger flipper and the programming majority who are not CS majors probably gets paid essentially the same as the CS degreed minority, so your analogy is dumb as usual. You are right that programming encompasses many different activities, but I already numerically responded to your slightly more specific claim about mechanics vs programmers, so your further muddying the waters by bringing up 500 subdisciplines, none of which you specify or even broadly categorize, is just your usual worthless distraction from the topic at hand. Companies routinely "hire CS majors and non-CS majors to do the...SAME JOB," the jobs where they require a CS major or where their CS skills are actually necessary are rare. Lol, I point to the well-known fact that CS grads leave the profession fast and you just laugh in ignorance, typical. Considering more than half of programming jobs are staffed by non-CS majors, they must be hiring them for the same job a lot more than your ridiculous claim of 0.01%.

Haha, nobody said "math is subjective" except for you, must be nice to argue with yourself. XD Wow, you are finally getting it, this "insight of yours is literally worth TRILLIONS of dollars." Well, not exactly, because if you could do math, you'd know that the combined revenues of large software companies like MS, Apple, Google doesn't add up to "TRILLIONS" but it's close enough. And yes, they will all be driven out of business by internet startups that don't hire as stupidly as they do: take that to the bank. Unfortunately you are too ignorant to do anything with this insight, so I don't know why you're glad. ;) Go ahead and copy it if you can, but the main reason that existing software companies blindly hire college graduates is because they are too dumb to come up with better filters of their own. I have some ideas on what those better filters could be, but I bet you couldn't come up with them if your life depended on it, so simply knowing this fact doesn't necessarily get you far.

 
At 11/11/2011 9:19 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Haha, I love how you argue against yourself. XD You say that CS majors have been around forever so it's not a new field; I respond that there wasn't much of a supply of CS majors for a long time; then you turn around and say that low supply is why CS majors get paid so much. So which is it, is it a new field with low supply or not? The lovely part of arguing with twits is that they constantly contradict themselves. :) If it's only the low supply of CS grads that's the issue, why do non-CS grads who get CS jobs also get high salaries? Could it be that demand for all programmers is the reason and not the supply of CS majors?! Nah, couldn't be. :)

"The fact that degreed CS majors get a lot more than non-degreed ones"

Nonsensical statement, but I think I know what you meant to say.

"is not indicative to you that the demand for degreed CS majors far outstrips demand for non CS majors?"

I already repeatedly said that non-CS majors who get hired to the same CS job get paid the same, so I don't know why you keep repeating your silly claim over and over again. If you are talking about non-CS majors who take non-programming jobs, you are now opening it up to a completely different topic, which has little connection with what we were talking about. It doesn't matter what you call a "program" or not, the pay is high most places and pay's all we're talking about. If you think most programmers working for small companies make "poverty-level wages," you are seriously ignorant. Programmers at Microsoft or other large corporations actually don't make that much compared to skilled programmers outside, as the corporations try to pay average salaries supplemented with stock options. Considering Microsoft stock has been flat for more than a decade, that hasn't worked out too well for the Microserfs recently.

 
At 11/11/2011 9:22 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Haha, I clearly say above that "the one useful portion, statistics, out of most of the useless math that is taught" and you now assert "math doesn't matter to you...so probably neither do statistics." I can see now why you utter so many dumb statements, you don't really know how to read. I pointed at journalists and TV because that is a popularly known example that everybody sees. I could equally well point at how BPO, ie Indians without your beloved US college degrees doing all the back office work remotely, has been greatly enabled by the internet but not many people are aware of that. I have clearly though this through, which is why I have concrete examples and solid logic, while you have nothing.

How does the high starting salary for software positions contradict my statement that it is on the leading edge of the trend away from hiring college graduates? Oh wait, logic "means nothing to you." Haha, must be nice to just make nonsensical pronouncements like "math is useless" and try to attach that to other people, but yet again, you are the first one to make that claim. No shit trends "are made up of many 'given moments'," now try saying something new rather than spouting basic definitions that everybody knows. Riiight, because we all know that racism in this country was forced on people everywhere by the govt and its laws. There were no doubt racist laws that made things worse, but that clearly wasn't the dominant factor, which was the entrenched stupid prejudice of the time.

Yep, TVs are also pretty new but considering they took off long before CS degrees did in the '90s, not quite as new as the CS major. No one ever claimed that you claimed "that programming required a CS degree," we were talking about whether it's "important" until you changed the subject yet again. If there is such evidence of an "earnings premium" for CS majors in CS jobs, please present evidence. Oh wait, you have no "numbers and maths again," just silly claims. Considering my data showing that most programmers don't have CS majors and that most CS majors are gone within a decade, combined with the obvious fact that nobody gives a CS major a pay bump for the same job just cuz of the CS major, you are the one without anything to back that up.

 
At 11/11/2011 9:33 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Obviously the word "mid career" means nothing to you, since you pull it out of thin air, with no connection whatsoever to what we're talking about. And wow, "the words 'starting' and 'mid career' mean nothing to you...since they are numbers and, as numbers, they are math." I see, so words are numbers and numbers are math? I can see why all this is so hard for you to follow, when you can make such fundamental definitional errors. What "long-term trend is going in the opposite direction?" Do you have any data to back that up, considering I already pointed to data suggesting that most programmers still didn't have CS majors in 2002? No, as usual, you have nothing and just pull crazy claims out of your ass. Wow, you really have something against mises.org, when you keep bringing it up to someone who said they don't read it. Most mechanics don't make the kind of money that programmers without CS degrees make so the "utter nonsense" is only coming from you.

Look, it's clear you don't really understand these issues. I'm taking evidence, such as the high proportion of programming jobs done by non-CS majors or now bloggers without journalism majors, and applying logic to extrapolate a prediction that this new trend will accelerate and render both college degrees and universities defunct. You cannot fathom such change and argue blindly and illogically for the status quo. My logic might be faulty somewhere and my extrapolation might not come to pass, but you are clearly incapable of finding any holes in what I'm talking about. I actually think your comments are pretty good on other topics, but like many commenters on this blog, you confuse correlation with causation when it comes to education. Clearly, many of you have been highly "educated," or brain-washed as I call it, ;) so you defend the process you went through. I went through the same process, have critically examined it, and thought it was fairly worthless even before the internet came along. But now that the internet is here, there is a tool capable of destroying the university, just as it has already destroyed the music studios and is destroying the radio and newspaper businesses. I think that the university and its worthless degrees are next, you don't. Let's see what happens and who's proven right. :)

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home