Okay, from the same article:


Wow, imagine that-- students making rational decisions. So of course policy makers should be worried.

Let's see, you can:

a) Work your ass off for 4-5 years in, what is usually, a very difficult academic program. Then you can, if you are super lucky, find an engineering job where your employers will work you to death. You will live under the cloud of being reminded that your salary is 5X higher than those equally talented people from 3rd world countries, any one of which could be brought in on a moments notice to occupy your chair (h1b, L1), should you stumble. Of course, since there is an near infinite supply of technical labor available to US companies, you will have zero salary mobility. Well, ok I'm exagerating, you won't have *zero* salary mobility-- you'll have some *nagative* salary mobility, which is what is currently happening to most of the engineers I know.

As you get older, if you are stupid enought to not switch careers, your peers will not get older with you. You will constantly be surrounded by 25-30 year old 3rd world engineers, as management continuously rotates in "fresh blood". Better not even think about having a family and working sane hours. All of your peers will be virtual slaves (h1b and L1 visa holders) who are forced to work up to 80 hours/week without any extra compensation for the overtime. That's because non-resident "guest" workers wouldn't dare complain about any request made of them from management-- if they did, they would be on the first boat back to Katmandu!

Then if you manage to survive to your mid-thirties as a practicing engineer, it's time to start thinking about a new career. Except for a handful of superstars, there is no such thing as a 40+ year old software engineer in the United States. You are regarded as a fossil by age 40. Just when your friends in other fields such as academia, law, medicine, business, are reaching their peak earnings and career potential, your career will be winding down. If you are lucky, you can maybe make the jump to management. However, you'll be at a competitive disadvantage against those who started earlier on the business track. In fact, those who skip the engineering altogether and go straight to business school are much more likely to get jobs managing engineers than engineers rising through the ranks. That's because US companies don't not require engineering degrees for the vast majority of their engineering management positions.

b) You can go to medical/dental/law/business/plumbing school. You will not have to perpetually compete with 25 year olds from China. That's because all of these "professions" are protected by guild systems. How many doctors hop off a boat from Bangalore to immedidately start practicing medicine in the US? Precisely 0.0. That's because it's illegal to practice medicine, law, or plumbing in the US without the appropriate guild credentials and licensing. That's because these professions are protected by powerful political lobbies that would never allow their golden egg laying geese to be killed.

In these professions you will have a *career*. There will be a recognizable career trajectory that can actually last past the age of 40! You can spend time with your family, have people work for you, have time to date.

Tough choice.

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