Saturday, May 24, 2014

Here's one for the Unqualified Offerings crowd...

I'm taking this with a small grain of salt (there are a couple of things in the Georgetown report that concern me a bit), but with those caveats I think we can call this a point for Thoreau and company.

High Unemployment Major #1:
Information Systems
Unemployment rate for recent grads: 14.7 percent*
In the digital age, it may seem as though all bachelor's degrees in the computer science field would be a safe bet. But numbers from the Georgetown Report suggest that this is not the case. In fact, the report found that recent grads in this major faced an unemployment rate of nearly 15 percent.
Why the depressing job prospects? The simple answer: Too many job applicants, not enough spots. "The market is saturated for this industry," says Hallie Crawford, a job search expert and certified career coach.
With the rise of technology, many people have opted to pursue information technology paths, says Crawford. And the influx of new candidates for positions within this field has made the job market very competitive, she says.
Here's what I'm taking away from most of these stories and from what I'm hearing from people in the STEM job market:

The world of the STEM job hunter is brighter than that of the non-STEM crowd, but much dimmer than you've been told;

Because many of these specialties are fairly narrow, a small increase in supply or decrease in demand can gut the market (see above);

Even in hot, high-demand fields, fewer people are making big bucks than you might think. "Only 4 percent of software developers in the burgeoning app economy have made over a million dollars. Three-quarters of them made less than $30,000."*;

You hear stories about companies willing to do anything to acquire talented people and keep them happy. At best these examples are unrepresentative. At worst, they're fraudulent.

I would certainly encourage people with any interest in the field to go into one of the STEM fields. The subjects are interesting and you can probably get a pretty good job, but keep your expectations reasonable, your debt low and, whatever you do, don't believe the hype.

* I'm willing to bet you dinner that most of that 4% got a significant portion of that million through their talents as entrepreneurs, investors or managers.


  1. Another factor may be that IS workers and management tend to include adults who have gone back to school and/or studied at night, etc. If we're speaking about the same degree, it's one achievable by adults who see it as a good way to add qualifications.

    1. That's true, but I would think the study-at-night crowd would have lower unemployment, not higher.