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From: email@example.com (Phil Tomson)
Subject: Re: VLSI training and prospects?
Date: 11 Jan 2003 20:28:39 GMT
Organization: Aracnet Internet
X-Newsreader: trn 4.0-test76 (Apr 2, 2001)
Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil Tomson)
In article ,
john jakson wrote:
>email@example.com (Phil Tomson) wrote in message
>> >- Do you think Asian vlsi engineers are going to be dumped completely or
>> >just partly as soon as they become too expensive compared to people in
>> >some other underdeveloped country?
>> Well, it's happening to US engineers right now. In the global marketplace
>> that (for better or worse) now exists if employers can find cheaper
>> qaulified labor somewhere else they're going to do it. If a wage
>> differential exists and you're on the high-side then it's only a matter of
>> time before your job is outsourced. Think about it, manufacturing jobs
>> were 'outsourced' (exported) from the US starting in the late 80's and
>> into the 90's. Now engineering jobs are being outsourced and with the
>> internet it's much easier to move these jobs overseas than it was to move
>> manufacturing jobs - we're just talking about moving bits over the
>> internet as opposed to moving materials and factories; it's trivial to
>> move engineering jobs to another locale.
>> Since US engineers would have to be making something close to minimum wage
>> in order to compete with their counterparts in India, China or Russia it's
>> not likely that engineering will remain a viable profession going forward
>> in the US since it's quite difficult to live on minimum wage here - and
>> nobody wants to work for minimum wage in a job that takes the kind of
>> training that vlsi engineering does.
>> This is a catastrophic change for US engineers - most of us don't have a
>> fall-back position and it's not likely that we'll be able to migrate to
>> places where one can survive on these lower wages since most of these
>> countries (like India, China, Russia) make it much harder for us to get a
>> work visa than it is for their people coming to work in the US (via H1B
>> visas). Until the relative costs of living equalize between the US
>and some of
>> these other countries (and that could take decades) the wage differential
>> will be a problem.
>> ...but I hope this is an overly pessimistic analysis... who knows, there
>> could be unforseen, unaccounted-for market forces, new technologies or
>> political changes that keep this scenario from happening.
>I would have to agree with this assesment atleast right now.
>From where I am sitting, union blue collar jobs that can't be exported
>like say painters, plumbers, toll collectors, auto mechanics, seem to
>be able to easily make maybe half as much as veteran EEs. The pressure
>on EEs though is getting rediculous, more & more education required
>for jobs in order to stay only a little further ahead than many
>However, the HW & SW jobs that seem to have been exported to India &
>China so far seem to be at the bottom end of the skill spectrum
Up till now that has been the case, but it's beginning to change...
Last week there was an article in a local paper, the Portland Tribune,
interviewed a Venture Capitalist (he found Costco) and asked him where he
thought the Oregon economy was going. He said that it doesn't look good
because of all of the outsourcing going on this time. He
mentions that engineering jobs are being outsourced and as an example he
mentions that Mentor Graphics is going to invest $40million in an R&D
center in India. When he asked Mentor why they're doing this here's the
answer he got: "they said they can't hire anyone graduating from
engineering schools here because they're just not prepared, they're not
ready to go into that sophisticated end of the business."
Now of course we all know that the real reason is that they can pay Indian
engineers about 1/5 of what they pay their counterparts in the US. Also,
we know that when it comes to graduate level studies (the 'sophisticated'
end of the business) US Universities are still among the best in the world
(I recently took a grad-level class on logic synthesis algorithms - of the
~40 students ~75% were from India, so if they're turning'em out in India
why are they coming here to get their graduate degrees?). To suggest that
US engineers are not up to the task of doing the 'sophisticated end of the
business' is an insult to the many engineers here who are looking for
work and going back to school to improve their knowledge base (in order
to, hopefully make them more valuable).
The problem is that as engineering jobs (on the 'sophistacted' end) start
leaving that will eventually have a deleterious on US Universities. Why?
well for starters if you're a senior in highschool and you go to your
career guidance counselor he/she isn't going to recommend that you go into
engineering since there are fewer jobs available in that field. Fewer
students going into engineering means fewer going into undergrad
engineering programs at the University level which of course means fewer
'home-grown' grad students as well (already the numbers are small). And
if we as a country are producing fewer engineers and more lawyers,
marketeers, etc. then why concentrate on math & science at the highschool
>the end of the day as long as the US is the leading consumer of
>technology, I thinks the better jobs will remain here.
I hope you're right.
>language & culture remains a huge barrier to these countries too esp
Remember, there are more people in the world who speak Mandarin than those
who can speak English.
>In the end, most of us do it because we are interested in it, not for
>the huge $, if you aren't driven by 1s & 0s or whatever, I'd look
Exactly, most of us can't imagine NOT being engineers. We're engineers
because it's part of our nature - even if we're forced to change careers
we'll still think of ourselves as engineers.
"Or perhaps the truth is less interesting than the facts?"
Amy Weiss (accusing theregister.co.uk of engaging in 'tabloid journalism')
Senior VP, Communications
Recording Industry Association of America
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