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Atlantic Rebuttal to JDU Wisdom about STEM

https://www.theatlantic.com/educati on/archive/2018/08/the-hu adamb08/24/18
I’ve been saying for years that liberal arts are a waste b trickydick08/24/18
Agreed 100%, STEM is not the panacea a lot of people make it dupednontraditional08/24/18
Curious if you don't mind saying, what flavor of engineering wutwutwut08/25/18
Chemical. Enjoyed it as a branch of study, and even liked t dupednontraditional08/29/18
Interesting, thanks. I'd always heard that chemical enginee wutwutwut08/29/18
Thanks. Definitely some errors in thinking on my part, but dupednontraditional08/29/18
Trust me, not getting into patent law may have been a blessi patenttrollnj09/01/18
Boomers are pretty out of touch these days. My brother just irishlaw08/24/18
True. 22 year olds aren't supposed to be making much money. fuckup08/24/18
Also true, but the Boomer mom’s response betrays some “t dupednontraditional08/29/18
Thank god america did away with unions and worker rights lon physicssezno08/25/18
Business degrees are the way to go. You don’t have to be s turde08/25/18
Adam - Did you read the article you posted? In case you di massivelydelicious08/25/18
I made more than most graduate school grads (including law g lawyer208/27/18
I have trouble understanding this. Where I live, companies a guyingorillasuit08/27/18
Lots of people can also share anecdotes about attorneys who trickydick08/28/18
Yeah, I can’t explain it either. All I know is that I cle dupednontraditional08/29/18
How can a PhD that specializes in battery/fuel cells make so patenttrollnj09/01/18
I agree it's the debt or the parents chunking out huge money doublefriedchicken08/28/18
The term STEM is a Liberal Arts invention. No one believes imoothereforeim08/28/18
UG bio major should really be re-named "premed," because tha onehell08/28/18
In this country, you only make the big money when you sign y dopesmokeresquire08/29/18
Absolutely the realist sh!t I've seen articulated on JDU! Yo lawyer208/30/18
Lawyer2 - the one upside to my solo practice was my smarts a adamb08/31/18
You should open your business, just not in law practice. mtbislife08/31/18
The new ADAs with new wives and soon to pop kids with wives adamb08/31/18
Something about this study does not sit well with me. STE patenttrollnj09/01/18

adamb (Aug 24, 2018 - 8:02 am)

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/08/the-humanities-face-a-crisisof-confidence/567565/

They could have focused more on the obvious debt issues.

Please move to OT if I posted in the wrong place. I’ve only been intermittently lurking, don’t know the norms and rules anymore.

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trickydick (Aug 24, 2018 - 3:46 pm)

I’ve been saying for years that liberal arts are a waste but STEM degrees aren’t a magic bullet. Millennials with STEM masters and PhDs are starting jobs making $50k with student loans comparable to law school students. Higher education is a scam, but it’s not the cause of the country’s economic problems. The global economy is changing and it’s going to require fewer people, liberal artists and STEM majors alike.

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dupednontraditional (Aug 24, 2018 - 4:35 pm)

Agreed 100%, STEM is not the panacea a lot of people make it out to be.

I got my engineering degree and avoided a PhD like the plague. My early results weren’t half bad, but they are from the 90s before the numbers stacked up even worse then they are now.

Then I went to law school. oops.

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wutwutwut (Aug 25, 2018 - 6:13 pm)

Curious if you don't mind saying, what flavor of engineering?

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dupednontraditional (Aug 29, 2018 - 6:37 am)

Chemical. Enjoyed it as a branch of study, and even liked the work for awhile. Typical (misguided) story of some advancement, but not getting anywhere, looking for something MBA-ish to advance my career, bought into law for the wrong (JD advantage) reasons.

Looked at patent law to course correct, but by that point it was “too late” if you will. My experience was that employers weren’t gaga at all over chemical patents and wanted EE/comp sci, but clearly some people do chemical patent work so who knows.

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wutwutwut (Aug 29, 2018 - 1:43 pm)

Interesting, thanks. I'd always heard that chemical engineering was considered essentially to be the toughest UG degree program to get through.

Sorry to hear it didn't work out in the JD advantage or patent world, though.

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dupednontraditional (Aug 29, 2018 - 2:23 pm)

Thanks. Definitely some errors in thinking on my part, but at the same time it's not easy seeing a path upwards in today's world, either.

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patenttrollnj (Sep 1, 2018 - 11:16 am)

Trust me, not getting into patent law may have been a blessing in disguise.

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irishlaw (Aug 24, 2018 - 6:04 pm)

Boomers are pretty out of touch these days. My brother just graduated UCLA with a BA in business economics and landed a job working for a "small" PE firm in Miami that manages a couple of portfolios worth 1.5 billion.

They are paying him "only" $50,000 to start and my Mom thinks its "outrageous" he isn't being paid more.

I had to explain that my brother's outcome out of UCLA was probably close to top 1%. Outside of a few that got recruited by big investment banks, I bet most of my brother's classmates do not yet have jobs.

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fuckup (Aug 24, 2018 - 8:57 pm)

True. 22 year olds aren't supposed to be making much money. You're supposed to have to work your way up.

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dupednontraditional (Aug 29, 2018 - 6:47 am)

Also true, but the Boomer mom’s response betrays some “truth” - when Boomer mom was entry-level, the equivalent of $50k then would have been considered “oh, that’s surprising, they are really lowballing people, why not leave that worthless job immediately, go next door and get something better tomorrow.”

The fact that $50k now is “stellar,” if you will, shows how much the world has changed in the meantime.

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physicssezno (Aug 25, 2018 - 4:19 am)

Thank god america did away with unions and worker rights long ago. Let freedom and the market ring

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turde (Aug 25, 2018 - 7:45 am)

Business degrees are the way to go. You don’t have to be smart to get a marketing or accounting degree; just know how to BS. There are plenty of jobs in the business space in banking, consulting, big 4 (they have their own consultants too), etc. Many of these highly-paid people are nothing special.

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massivelydelicious (Aug 25, 2018 - 8:25 am)

Adam -
Did you read the article you posted? In case you didn't, here's my summary: history professor laments the loss of history department's market share, and forecasts a "humanities crisis" in the same way that Industry and trade schools lament a "skills gap."

No economic motivations in sight...

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lawyer2 (Aug 27, 2018 - 6:50 pm)

I made more than most graduate school grads (including law grads) as an IT engineer with nothing more than a couple industry certifications. The problem is, there is a hard ceiling, which is why I ended up going back to school. That said, yes STEM ain't all peaches an cream. A really good friend of my mine has a PhD in electro-chemistry (battery, fuel cell etc) and is making like $45-50K. However, many public university PhD programs are paid for and provide stipends unlike private institutions gouging students.

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guyingorillasuit (Aug 27, 2018 - 7:28 pm)

I have trouble understanding this. Where I live, companies are recruiting STEM kids out of college, although it is never a slam dunk to land your first job. If you have 2-3 years of experience, you will be fought over and offered significant bonuses. If you have 5-7 years of experience, you are the prom queen. My 32-year old client's RSU vest this year was $360,000. This is on top of his base salary, discretionary bonuses, and benefits that would make a Norwegian civil service worker jealous. I have posted this before, but I have a case with a 42-year-old tech guy who will bring in $2.5 million this year.

How a Ph.D. in electro-chemistry with experience in battery and fuel cell technology could be making $45-50k boggles my mind. Over here, we would probably hold a parade in his honor with elephants and circus acts.

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trickydick (Aug 28, 2018 - 3:37 pm)

Lots of people can also share anecdotes about attorneys who are making +$500k per year. I’ve known several attorneys like that. The experiences you mentioned are not typical, no more so than the mill partner who earns millions.

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dupednontraditional (Aug 29, 2018 - 6:49 am)

Yeah, I can’t explain it either. All I know is that I clearly missed the STEM boat also, because I’ve heard those anecdotes too. Mostly the bad ones, with the occasional crazy successful one thrown in. Just like law as tricky said.

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patenttrollnj (Sep 1, 2018 - 11:23 am)

How can a PhD that specializes in battery/fuel cells make so little? H-1B visas probably have something to do with it.

Sorry if I'm not being politically correct.

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doublefriedchicken (Aug 28, 2018 - 11:38 am)

I agree it's the debt or the parents chunking out huge money. It doesn't matter that a history degree isn't that different from an economics degree. It's the perception.

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imoothereforeim (Aug 28, 2018 - 12:39 pm)

The term STEM is a Liberal Arts invention. No one believes biology is any more useful than Liberal Arts.

Try CS, IT, EE. That's it.

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onehell (Aug 28, 2018 - 5:49 pm)

UG bio major should really be re-named "premed," because that's effectively what it is.

Med school has so many bio prerequisites that if you actually get them all, you'll probably already have almost everything you need to satisfy the requirements for a bio major anyway, and indeed that's what most of them seem to be doing.

But it is pretty useless in and of itself. I cannot imagine why anyone would major in bio if med/dental/pharmacy/PA school wasn't the plan. At least English is useless and easy so you can party your face off during your college years and still have a great GPA. But bio is useless AND hard. So unless you're doing it to satisfy prereqs I can't think of any reason to major in it.

Conversely though, if you are trying to satisfy prereqs for med school, I can't think of much reason to major in anything else.

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dopesmokeresquire (Aug 29, 2018 - 10:55 am)

In this country, you only make the big money when you sign your own paycheck. If someone else is signing your paycheck, then endless degreees and certs are ultimately futile.

Fortune favors the bold. or something like that.

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lawyer2 (Aug 30, 2018 - 7:56 pm)

Absolutely the realist sh!t I've seen articulated on JDU! You HAVE to incorporate this mindset or else you'll be hopping from one quickly dissipating opportunity to the next till you die . Quit asking for a piece of the cake instead of the recipe to continually make your own!

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adamb (Aug 31, 2018 - 10:19 am)

Lawyer2 - the one upside to my solo practice was my smarts and guts got me to do what many attorneys with my years of experience never do. Tons of bigs trials, a big appeal to our high court, etc. But the stress was insane. I had to chase the ‘quickly dissipating’ checks from client after client and run my own business alone and be a jack of all trades, it was just as fleeting and unsustainable as most career paths these days.

The answer to those who don’t care about being rich - politically protected government work. That is why I now am in law enforcement and my better half is a teacher with a plan to be admin later.

Job security, benefits - that is the best most of us can hope for.

Interesting work that caters to our skills is just a plus.

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mtbislife (Aug 31, 2018 - 11:56 am)

You should open your business, just not in law practice.

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adamb (Aug 31, 2018 - 7:42 am)

The new ADAs with new wives and soon to pop kids with wives who want to become stay home moms in NYC just got a raise to - wait for it - $65,500. And they work more nights and weekends then I do.

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patenttrollnj (Sep 1, 2018 - 11:10 am)

Something about this study does not sit well with me.

STEM is hard. At very least, it requires more time and effort than a humanities degree. I don't think people with a predilection to do the humanities can suddenly jump into an engineering class.

First, I believe this data is being confounded by a general decline in enrollment in liberal arts colleges around the country. Thus, with fewer students enrolled in college overall (presumably realizing a humanities degree is worthless), of course the share of STEM majors will increase.

Also, I think there are more options available for students when selecting a major, many of which are multi-disciplin. I think this also lowers the overall share of humanities majors at a university.

Regarding STEM itself .... I always laugh when I hear people (mostly lawyers online) profess how lucrative it is. I've said this before, but STEM is only doable if you go into medicine, dentistry or certain specific categories of engineering--and now even these areas have gotten difficult. There is no certainty, just probability (i.e., "more likely to get a job in this field" vs. "less likely to get a job in this field").

At the end of the day, it's really all about the college and grad school you go to. You graduate from Harvard, even as a history major, you're likely to do better than if you go to some local school. I'll go so far as to say that a history major from Harvard will do better than a STEM/engineering major from some lower ranked school.

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