Friday, November 02, 2012

All Quiet on the Blog Front

Sorry about the extreme lack of posts lately. I've finally hit the time where I need to actually finish my degree and get the hell outta Dodge, so I've been busy with actual work and stuff. Which leaves little time for frivolities like blogging. Or socializing. Or basic hygiene.

But hey, that's what I signed up for, right?

Anyway, while procrastinating a bit this morning, I came across this interesting article arguing why the renewed emphasis on getting more college students into the STEM fields is misguided.

There's a lot of interesting stuff to the argument, but what was most interesting was how the author shows that one of the most misguided aspects behind this push to increase STEM (science, tech, engineering, and mathematics, for those following along at home) majors is that they are more necessary to our economy (debatable) and that they themselves are the more financially sound option (empirically not true).

It turns out that mid-career, someone who majored in biology can expect to make around 13 grand less a year than their counterparts who majored in political science. Hell, they can expect to make around 4 grand less a year than film major. Film majors!

Granted, the main argument is that liberal arts education provides a great deal of the harder to quantify skills (interpersonal communication, critical thinking, analytical reasoning) that are increasingly in demand in our brave new economy and all sorts of deep insights.

But I cannot get over the wage disparity. The trope of broke-ass liberal arts major who is flipping burgers with their useless degree is so old and hoary to have blown past simple cliche decades ago. And yet, like so many widely-held cultural beliefs, it just ain't true.

Anyway, interesting food for thought. But now I have to get back to work. Those crazy palatial liberal arts mansions don't just buy themselves, you know...


Anonymous said...

Um. Have you heard what these ChemE students are being offered out of school? Hell, ChemE co-op interns make more than many liberal arts grads.
Plenty of firms hiring tech degrees (can't b.s. a soc degree into a job requiring an engineering degree) are outsourcing (importing) because there are more jobs open than there are qualified candidates. Oh, and hey! Nursing shortage, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Cherry picking a bit, no? Biology is the only STEM major on the WSJ list in which the median mid-career salary is less than a political science major, every other is considerably higher. A better argument for the idiotic article you posted (and then didn't bother to actually read) is not to go into biology. That said, biologists still make much more than sociologists at shitty West Virginia colleges, so take that for what it is...

Andrea said...

OMG. I can't believe your Anonymous troll is still here! That is funny. Anyway, just wanted to say that I agree, as a Liberal Arts student I think what I majored in was less important that what I learned over all from being a liberal arts student. Psychology strongly emphasizes looking at studies and media very critically, though, so I feel I'm extra prepared to do that. Does make you realize how much you really have to just make a damn decision for yourself and hope for the best, because it's actually very hard to research the "best" way to go about things.