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Liberal arts schools
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Clinically Insane
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Jun 5, 2013, 12:14 AM
 
Somebody on Facebook posted this pic:



with the caption:

June 4th – 2013 is a banner year for conservative speakers at college graduations. Only outnumbered by liberals by 6 to 1. Hey it’s progress, last year it was 7 to 1. No matter, here’s the only speech that really needs to be made. College President: “Graduates, I’m sorry. Sorry that most of you have wasted four years studying subjects that will be of little value in real life. Sorry that at this university ‘tolerance’ and ‘intellectual freedom’ is defined by the constant mocking of those with traditional values. Sorry that the majority of our faculty, having never signed the front of a check, are totally clueless on how capitalism works. Sorry that the federal takeover of student loans enabled this university to gouge you with its skyrocketing tuition. Finally, and because of all this, so very sorry many of you now find yourselves deep in debt and entering a dismal job market with no marketable skills. So today I’m proudly announcing that my children will be attending trade schools instead. I strongly suggest that if you ever have kids that you do the same. Thank you.”
I couldn't disagree with this more, I wonder how you guys feel? Here is what I wrote in response:

I think this college president doesn't understand the fact that liberal arts universities are not designed to teach subjects that are of "value in real life" (whatever that means, is value defined by what can earn money? If so, I disagree with that definition). Liberal arts universities are designed to develop critical thinking abilities, to learn how to learn. Trade schools are designed to prep people for work in whatever field is of interest to them, with the obvious exception to pre-med and other forms of education necessary for specific jobs. There is great value to a liberal arts education, because there is a lot of unusual work out there that people create for themselves or find themselves in that doesn't have any kind of 4 year training. Moreover, a great many people reinvent themselves throughout their lives, switching jobs along the way. In order to switch jobs one has to be adaptable, which is exactly the sort of skills and training you'd find within liberal arts.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 03:38 AM
 
There's truth in the loans bit though, which we are also just beginning to face here in the UK, where universities now charge the student for tuition through the student loans system. When introduced the government assured everyone that only the few "elite" universities would charge the maximum £9,000 fee while the average fee would hover around the £3/4,00 mark. The result, every single university went straight for the maximum fee.

Any way... another benefit of liberal arts is to contribute to a pluralistic society where people both hold contradictory views and are able to understand that other people have these different view points and are in fact just as entitled to them as any other person.

"Learning how capitalism works" and "university education" are NOT synonymous.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 03:47 AM
 
Yeah, and the posting was probably just one of those chain postings originating from some dude or organizational with a political agenda, one of the telltale signs being that nothing is attributed.

Still, it seemed kind of discussion worthy.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 02:29 PM
 
The argument that "liberal arts degrees teach you how to think and learn" has validity, provided that the student with such a degree is capable of sufficient critical thinking to make it in life.

Unfortunately, this is no longer a guarantee or a correct baseline assumption with today's generation of college graduates. It's no lie that kids are getting stupider and stupider. Your average liberal arts graduate today is little more than a self-entitled, arrogant child who believes that they have all the answers and therefore deserve a glamorous job in a big city making six figures straight out of college. That's not just me being sarcastic, either - that's me experiencing firsthand multiple people who got bullshit degrees at IU or various private colleges in Indiana and genuinely believed that they could get a job with a degree in History, Gender Studies, or 20th Century Music.

These were kids who didn't do well in high school, didn't do much better in college, and were convinced that their degree was going to guarantee them a great job just because they spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on "higher education".

There are enough unemployed people with real, useful, tangible degrees (like me, cough cough) who are significantly more qualified than some 21-year-old yokel from Sara Lawrence with a BA in Women's Studies that such people are ending up in retail, food service, and other menial jobs that require little advanced skill to accomplish (beyond speaking English coherently, which is a challenge where I live).

And, please keep in mind - learning critical thinking is fundamental to any engineering or science degree. These are people who get paid to find and implement solutions - and someone with a CS or ME degree is going to be far more intellectually advanced (in most cases) than someone with a BA, by pure virtue of the fact that engineering and science programs are difficult and require a higher intellectual baseline than liberal arts programs.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 02:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
The argument that "liberal arts degrees teach you how to think and learn" has validity, provided that the student with such a degree is capable of sufficient critical thinking to make it in life.

Unfortunately, this is no longer a guarantee or a correct baseline assumption with today's generation of college graduates. It's no lie that kids are getting stupider and stupider. Your average liberal arts graduate today is little more than a self-entitled, arrogant child who believes that they have all the answers and therefore deserve a glamorous job in a big city making six figures straight out of college. That's not just me being sarcastic, either - that's me experiencing firsthand multiple people who got bullshit degrees at IU or various private colleges in Indiana and genuinely believed that they could get a job with a degree in History, Gender Studies, or 20th Century Music.

These were kids who didn't do well in high school, didn't do much better in college, and were convinced that their degree was going to guarantee them a great job just because they spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on "higher education".
Where do you think this notion originates that certain higher ed degree = certain kind of job? Was this ever so?

And, please keep in mind - learning critical thinking is fundamental to any engineering or science degree. These are people who get paid to find and implement solutions - and someone with a CS or ME degree is going to be far more intellectually advanced (in most cases) than someone with a BA, by pure virtue of the fact that engineering and science programs are difficult and require a higher intellectual baseline than liberal arts programs.
That's probably true on the whole, but it also depends on the individual. There are probably people that just "get" science and can get through a program like this with no difficulty, but their knees buckle when it comes to learning a foreign language or something.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 03:00 PM
 
I think there is a massive stigma to attending a trade school versus becoming a "learned person" by going to college. Not only is a Liberal Arts degree pointless, we can add a Business Bachelor's, Marketing, and Communications to the list as well. I find that those who had a speciality in mind when entering college ended up nabbing a desirable job, while people who went to college just because that's what "you have to do" end up only with a mountain of debt and a job market absolutely flooded with their peers.

A good friend dropped out of college (business major) after his first semester to become a Plumber. He got licensed, did his apprenticeship and now owns his own Plumbing business. He has a 50k dollar Ford truck, a new car, and a nice modern house. At the time he caught a lot of flak from his peers (except me of course) but now everyone respects his choice greatly. My best friend and his wife both got their respective dream jobs (History teacher and Librarian) but despite being 30 still have over 100k dollars in student loan debt combined and live mostly paycheck to paycheck.

I'm not passing judgement either way but I think pressuring kids into going to college, especially when they have no idea what they want to be, is a great dis-service. Working with your hands, learning a trade, and hitting the ground running right out of H.S. has its own great benefits and should not be looked down on. Just because someone takes Philosophy 101 and a handful of other broad topic classes does not make them a learned person, and just because someone installs toilets for a living does not make them dumb.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
I think there is a massive stigma to attending a trade school versus becoming a "learned person" by going to college. Not only is a Liberal Arts degree pointless, we can add a Business Bachelor's, Marketing, and Communications to the list as well. I find that those who had a speciality in mind when entering college ended up nabbing a desirable job, while people who went to college just because that's what "you have to do" end up only with a mountain of debt and a job market absolutely flooded with their peers.

A good friend dropped out of college (business major) after his first semester to become a Plumber. He got licensed, did his apprenticeship and now owns his own Plumbing business. He has a 50k dollar Ford truck, a new car, and a nice modern house. At the time he caught a lot of flak from his peers (except me of course) but now everyone respects his choice greatly. My best friend and his wife both got their respective dream jobs (History teacher and Librarian) but despite being 30 still have over 100k dollars in student loan debt combined and live mostly paycheck to paycheck.

I'm not passing judgement either way but I think pressuring kids into going to college, especially when they have no idea what they want to be, is a great dis-service. Working with your hands, learning a trade, and hitting the ground running right out of H.S. has its own great benefits and should not be looked down on. Just because someone takes Philosophy 101 and a handful of other broad topic classes does not make them a learned person, and just because someone installs toilets for a living does not make them dumb.

I definitely agree that not everybody should be pushed into university just because. Not everybody is interested in or capable of embracing the liberal arts approach to education, some people cannot shake the job focused mentality, and for some pursuits the university degree as a litmus test in terms of having somebody look at your resume is silly and arbitrary.

Still, I would argue against your claim that a liberal arts degree is pointless by saying that it depends wholly on the individual. I think your liberal arts archetype is the sort of person that is good about living in the moment and being opportunistic about capitalizing on opportunities that are handed their way in life. For instance, somebody who creates a successful startup probably has a pretty good handle of things in a number of areas (e.g. business, technology, humanities, engineering, marketing, etc.), and is therefore an adaptable individual that is good about learning new things and applying their critical thinking abilities. I don't think you see those people come out of Devry or whatever having learned how to become a nurse's aide or something nearly as often.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 03:18 PM
 
I think all of this stuff is a byproduct of changing times. The fact that people can create startups (perhaps using the internet to their advantage) and reinvent themselves as I've described is not something you'd find as often in our parent's generation. Our parents were programmed to go to school, get a job right out of school, live in the suburbs, put up a picket fence, buy an SUV, raise kids, stay in the same job until retirement, retire, live off their pension. There are more and more people interested in not following this formula.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Where do you think this notion originates that certain higher ed degree = certain kind of job? Was this ever so?
Yes, but times have changed and evolved a lot since the era when a college degree immediately translated into a high-paying job.

In the 50s and 60s, the majority of the workforce was employed in blue-collar, menial labor jobs. Since at least the 80s, the explosion in automated manufacturing, offshore outsourcing, and influx of Mexican immigrants to work the jobs nobody else wants to work have all resulted in far more people attending college and getting higher education degrees.

Of course this is going to mean that as there are more and more people in every graduating class, there will be fewer and fewer high-paying jobs to go around.

A degree is no longer a salary guarantee. There are a lot of people who insist - and demand - that it is, but that just isn't the case anymore. There is certainly a disparity in many industries in starting salary between degree and no degree, and it can take someone longer to move up in position, salary, and responsibility without a degree, but the glut of college graduates translates into the fact that a degree is no longer a guarantee of intellectual capability.

That's probably true on the whole, but it also depends on the individual. There are probably people that just "get" science and can get through a program like this with no difficulty, but their knees buckle when it comes to learning a foreign language or something.
This may be. And someone who majors in a foreign language can likely, if they are in the right part of the country, find a job with the Department of State quite easily. Then again, many of my customers at the USDA had majored in liberal arts programs, particularly foreign language studies, and while they started out working overseas, many of them turned into stateside paper pushers as they aged - and the ones I talked to weren't too satisfied with their career paths.

My point remains, though. Someone who went through an engineering program was likely required to take high-level math, statistical, and analytical courses. These are objectively on the high end of the intellectual spectrum, regardless of "what comes easy". My brother has a bachelor's and master's degree in math and a doctorate in a branch of physics. I failed calculus. We're both smart, but he's definitely more book-smart than I am and I doubt he'd say that courses on differential equations and advanced physics are "easy".

Someone who majored in Communications or something even more ridiculous (e.g. $minority Studies) was unlikely to make it past Algebra II and spent more time listening to hippy-dippy "professors" wax on about the subjugation of everyone who isn't a white male than actually sharpening their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

My neighbor in Lafayette got a BA in History. It took about a month of job hunting throughout the country before he figured out that without something else - in his case, a BA in Secondary Education with the goal of being a high school history teacher - was necessary before anyone would give his resume a second glance. My boyfriend never went to college and has become an industry expert in IT data security and advanced security technology and makes far more per year than I've ever made with my BS in Computer Technology.

And remember - stereotypes are never based on complete lies. They have to start in reality somewhere.

Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
I think there is a massive stigma to attending a trade school versus becoming a "learned person" by going to college. Not only is a Liberal Arts degree pointless, we can add a Business Bachelor's, Marketing, and Communications to the list as well. I find that those who had a speciality in mind when entering college ended up nabbing a desirable job, while people who went to college just because that's what "you have to do" end up only with a mountain of debt and a job market absolutely flooded with their peers.
This times a BILLION. When I started college in 2002, most of my peers in the dorms were in what my school called "University College", which meant they hadn't picked a major yet and were guided to take random humanities courses before making a decision. The only ones who weren't in that group were already enrolled in the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology - and all of those programs require passing prerequisite placement exams before acceptance into your chosen degree program.

Also +1 on destigmatizing trade school. You can make a hell of a lot of money as a licensed and bonded $whatever doing work on people's homes, businesses, and cars. Something tells me your average BA graduate can't change their brakes, replace their toilet, or wire a new outlet in their second bedroom - and are more than happy to shell out several hundred bucks to have someone else do it for them. Plumbers and electricians may look dirty on the job, but they make damn good money - and they're guaranteed to have a customer pool, since, as the book teaches, everybody poops.
( Last edited by shifuimam; Jun 5, 2013 at 04:22 PM. )
     
Clinically Insane
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Jun 5, 2013, 05:37 PM
 
I think the biggest problem with liberal arts is it's a racket.

If it was focused, and demanded more focus, you might be done in two years...

That would mean the school only gets to make half as much from you.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 05:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I think the biggest problem with liberal arts is it's a racket.

If it was focused, and demanded more focus, you might be done in two years...

That would mean the school only gets to make half as much from you.

No argument from me here that there are serious price issues, manipulation, too many jobs that require a certain degree before even looking at you, etc.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 06:08 PM
 
The problem with allot of college students is they take a major that they're good at or enjoy or is easy. Not a major that translates to the job market. Just because you want to be a history teacher doesn't mean there are jobs for history teachers. While there are plenty of jobs for math and science teachers. And basically no jobs for historians. It's supposed to provide you with knowledge of the field and the skills and flexibility to deal with things. You're not expected to be able to run a business or design and airplane upon graduation. The white collar world has its own equivalence to the apprenticeship period of most trades.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
No argument from me here that there are serious price issues, manipulation, too many jobs that require a certain degree before even looking at you, etc.
I firmly believe the reason Google is "weird" is there is no one there of any import who doesn't have a degree.
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 10:39 PM
 
Your major in college GENERALLY determines what you will do in life, at least for the next 5-10 years. There are always exceptions to every rule, of course. I don't necessarily mean that by majoring in world literature that your job will relate to world literature, but meaning that you might become an elementary teacher, as opposed to a high school physics teacher.

This is especially true if you are majoring in a hard science major. You should of course major in something that interests you, but also consider the monetary and job potential ramifications of doing so.

The OP picture is funny because I bet there are more liberal art majors working at a hamburger joint 5 years after college than non-liberal art majors.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
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Jun 5, 2013, 11:23 PM
 
One of the great benefits of going to university is that you're entering an environment where you can make mistakes without much in the way of consequences, that you can experiment and explore avenues that otherwise would stay closed. This, if applied and directed, creates the potential for personal and professional growth.

I've got a degree in fine art - I studied sculture. I am a lousy sculptor, so you might say that my degree is worthless. However, a skill I've developed during those years I've spent trying to understand the nature of stone and metal is recognizing, and then being able to express, the essential. I am extremely good at understanding high complexity situations, removing the smokescreen of the nonessential and pulling out the issues that need addressing. A bit like finding the sculpture hidden in a block of marble.

Possessing that skill has led to a considerable degree of professional success and satisfaction, albeit in a business setting, not as a sculptor. Had I not studied something "useless", I would have never gone down that path.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
The problem with allot of college students is they take a major that they're good at or enjoy or is easy. Not a major that translates to the job market. Just because you want to be a history teacher doesn't mean there are jobs for history teachers. While there are plenty of jobs for math and science teachers. And basically no jobs for historians. It's supposed to provide you with knowledge of the field and the skills and flexibility to deal with things. You're not expected to be able to run a business or design and airplane upon graduation. The white collar world has its own equivalence to the apprenticeship period of most trades.
I don't think that is a problem actually if you are just talking about undergraduate degrees. The vast majority of undergraduates work outside of the field their degree preps them for anyway, an undergraduate degree is your new high school diploma - you just need a degree in something, it might as well be something that interests you. Many times this is so because interests and opportunities change.

Besides, we also don't really have a handle on what new jobs in America look like right now, there have been a lot of changes.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Your major in college GENERALLY determines what you will do in life, at least for the next 5-10 years. There are always exceptions to every rule, of course. I don't necessarily mean that by majoring in world literature that your job will relate to world literature, but meaning that you might become an elementary teacher, as opposed to a high school physics teacher.

This is especially true if you are majoring in a hard science major. You should of course major in something that interests you, but also consider the monetary and job potential ramifications of doing so.

The OP picture is funny because I bet there are more liberal art majors working at a hamburger joint 5 years after college than non-liberal art majors.
I don't think this is true at all, at least at the undergraduate level. Like I said, an undergrad is mostly just about having some degree in something so that employers will look at you, and to lead to a graduate degree if the student is so inclined to continue their schooling. Your graduate degree is where your real focused work begins.

I'm also not sure your claim about the OP is true. There are plenty of arts or athletic majors, for instance, that go down paths that don't work out for them and need some time to regroup while flipping burgers.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 12:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
One of the great benefits of going to university is that you're entering an environment where you can make mistakes without much in the way of consequences, that you can experiment and explore avenues that otherwise would stay closed. This, if applied and directed, creates the potential for personal and professional growth.

I've got a degree in fine art - I studied sculture. I am a lousy sculptor, so you might say that my degree is worthless. However, a skill I've developed during those years I've spent trying to understand the nature of stone and metal is recognizing, and then being able to express, the essential. I am extremely good at understanding high complexity situations, removing the smokescreen of the nonessential and pulling out the issues that need addressing. A bit like finding the sculpture hidden in a block of marble.

Possessing that skill has led to a considerable degree of professional success and satisfaction, albeit in a business setting, not as a sculptor. Had I not studied something "useless", I would have never gone down that path.


This is an excellent, excellent, excellent point, thank you!

There are many other studies like this too, there are all sorts of interdisciplinary connections. For instance, there is a connection between being any kind of performer and public speaking.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 01:50 PM
 
studying anything, thinking, learning and experiencing is crucial in working out who you are and what you want from life. Many people jump from school to college to job without thinking and end up trapped, or frustrated. A few years space to work things out can be of incalculable benefit in leading a happier more fulfilling life.

Of course this happier more fulfilled life may not be to the liking of those who would like you to spend your life slaving away in a corporate environment (of course you may decide you want to do this) but I would say one of college, or universities biggest roles is to send more fully formed individuals out into the world.

Here in the UK the pressure is building on universities to simply supply qualified people with the exact skills that "business" require. Our lives are not lived in the service of business, the job of education is not to cram only the skills that companies are looking for into people.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 01:55 PM
 
Not read everyone's posts, but I didn't learn ANYTHING about capitalism when I was studying Mechanical Engineering.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 02:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Besides, we also don't really have a handle on what new jobs in America look like right now, there have been a lot of changes.
White Collar:
R&D, Marketing, Finance
Blue Collar:
Construction or Service industry

The flat wage rates means that none of the productivity gains are turning into discretionary spending, unless you count yachts and Learjets.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 04:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
White Collar:
R&D, Marketing, Finance
Blue Collar:
Construction or Service industry

The flat wage rates means that none of the productivity gains are turning into discretionary spending, unless you count yachts and Learjets.

You're missing a ton of jobs though. In particular to the point I was trying to make are all the jobs that we can't even imagine exist but do, and/or are pretty new. Some of these sorts of areas can be lucrative and help shape our society.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 04:22 PM
 
A ton in distinct jobs or in number of open positions? For example I didn't mention professional basketball player or astronaut, or kindergarten teacher.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 04:28 PM
 
The ironic part is that this college president probably voted for every single tax cut on the ballot, then complains that their school doesn't have enough money.
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Jun 6, 2013, 04:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
A ton in distinct jobs or in number of open positions? For example I didn't mention professional basketball player or astronaut, or kindergarten teacher.

What about new jobs that are created by that individual?

Those who are creative can benefit from the job landscape. It isn't like it was where there were largely just cookie cutter jobs.

I just think you're really over-simplifying things.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 05:03 PM
 
There aren't any new jobs. There may be new positions but new jobs are very rare. For example the plane lead to pilots but flight attendants were known as stewards on trains. The cookie cutters are just different shapes.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 05:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
There aren't any new jobs. There may be new positions but new jobs are very rare. For example the plane lead to pilots but flight attendants were known as stewards on trains. The cookie cutters are just different shapes.
Sure there are new jobs. For example, a social media specialist.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 06:45 PM
 
That's just a PR role.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 07:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
That's just a PR role.

So you're saying that the new titles are just modernized versions of old jobs?

How can you look at things that way though? Will installing solar panels to homes just be considered whatever title you'd give to a furnace install guy even though it is a totally different operation?
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 09:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
So you're saying that the new titles are just modernized versions of old jobs?

How can you look at things that way though? Will installing solar panels to homes just be considered whatever title you'd give to a furnace install guy even though it is a totally different operation?
Yes. I wouldn't even call it modernizing. It's PR/Marketing speak were everything has to have a interesting sounding name. As for your example, if it's solar-eletric its an electrician, if its solar-hot water it's hvac/plumber.
     
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Jun 6, 2013, 09:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Yes. I wouldn't even call it modernizing. It's PR/Marketing speak were everything has to have a interesting sounding name. As for your example, if it's solar-eletric its an electrician, if its solar-hot water it's hvac/plumber.
I guess you're right, but I'm not sure if it is helpful to think about this this way. A hypothetical change such as electric to solar is such a huge game changer that the whole industry and its players is usually completely upended as far as every aspect of the business is run. A better example might be going from dialup modems to broadband. AOL and Compuserve and the like obviously didn't come along for the ride.
( Last edited by besson3c; Jun 6, 2013 at 09:30 PM. )
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 12:07 AM
 
In the change from dialup to broadband only 1 thing changed. The size of the companies. Not a single new type of job was created.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 12:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
In the change from dialup to broadband only 1 thing changed. The size of the companies. Not a single new type of job was created.
Again, so what?

The entire business of providing internet service changed with this transition. Staffing numbers and responsibilities changed, new people were hired to fulfill new roles, old ones perhaps let go, an entirely new infrastructure was put in place. The entire dynamics of these companies, their product matrixes, etc. all changed dramatically.

Therefore, new job were created. Whether you want to call this a job position or just a job, it doesn't really make a difference at the end of the day. At the end of the day job openings existed that didn't before, requiring new skills in some cases, new strategies, new training, etc.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 06:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
I've got a degree in fine art - I studied sculture. I am a lousy sculptor, so you might say that my degree is worthless. However, a skill I've developed during those years I've spent trying to understand the nature of stone and metal is recognizing, and then being able to express, the essential. I am extremely good at understanding high complexity situations, removing the smokescreen of the nonessential and pulling out the issues that need addressing. A bit like finding the sculpture hidden in a block of marble.

Possessing that skill has led to a considerable degree of professional success and satisfaction, albeit in a business setting, not as a sculptor. Had I not studied something "useless", I would have never gone down that path.
Just to play devil's advocate:

Is it not more likely that this ability was always there, and the process of stripping away the unnecessary was precisely what attracted you to sculpture in the first place?

That uni was just another process of elimination, of "okay, an artist I am not" and then moving on?

I'm suggesting that the skill you have so highly refined is one that would have been honed over time, completely regardless of what you might have chosen to study or not.
Cause and effect are not so clear-cut.


Not that I'm arguing against liberal arts — how could I? Not a day goes by that I don't draw directly or indirectly upon something I studied/learned at university...but I actually work in the field I studied.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 10:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Again, so what?

The entire business of providing internet service changed with this transition. Staffing numbers and responsibilities changed, new people were hired to fulfill new roles, old ones perhaps let go, an entirely new infrastructure was put in place. The entire dynamics of these companies, their product matrixes, etc. all changed dramatically.

Therefore, new job were created. Whether you want to call this a job position or just a job, it doesn't really make a difference at the end of the day. At the end of the day job openings existed that didn't before, requiring new skills in some cases, new strategies, new training, etc.
I wouldn't consider teaching an electrician how to crimp coax or weld fiber enough of a skill set change to make it a new role. And those are the only things that changed. The role of hanging/fixing wires on the telephone poles didn't change. The total number of people doing that may have changed. Job is a very loose term. Requiring a person in an advertising position to be able to post to facebook instead of design a magazine ad is different skill sure but not a new role.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 11:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
I wouldn't consider teaching an electrician how to crimp coax or weld fiber enough of a skill set change to make it a new role. And those are the only things that changed. The role of hanging/fixing wires on the telephone poles didn't change. The total number of people doing that may have changed. Job is a very loose term. Requiring a person in an advertising position to be able to post to facebook instead of design a magazine ad is different skill sure but not a new role.
But the role of the phone network technician has changed pretty drastically. What used to be soldering points and switchboards and relays is now done by programmers and server admins. These are VERY different jobs.

The example is not a bad one.

Heck, it applies to ANY branch that employs software engineers. That's a job that pretty much simply didn't *exist* thirtyfive years ago, or was reserved for a tiny TINY number of lab coats and total freaks.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 11:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Requiring a person in an advertising position to be able to post to facebook instead of design a magazine ad is different skill sure but not a new role.
I work in marketing. It's an entirely new role, demanding an entirely new set of skills. Heck, the way advertising is changing at the moment few of the olden skills are still needed.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 01:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
I wouldn't consider teaching an electrician how to crimp coax or weld fiber enough of a skill set change to make it a new role. And those are the only things that changed. The role of hanging/fixing wires on the telephone poles didn't change. The total number of people doing that may have changed. Job is a very loose term. Requiring a person in an advertising position to be able to post to facebook instead of design a magazine ad is different skill sure but not a new role.

No way, José, a *lot* of things have changed.

- new uplinks installed
- new assets to preserve, including bandwidth throttles for customers, network analysis, etc. Customers were probably not saturating networks over dialup modems. NOC (network operations center) staffing
- new legal requirements, including working with the DMCA
- new installers in the case of cable, new registration of MAC address
- new service plans offering variable speeds, which need to be marketed accordingly
- broadband for business
- new competition: DSL, satellite, now fiber. Differentiation and keeping customers happy entails more than making sure there are open phone lines that don't randomly drop connections
- new customer support infrastructure

I'm sure one could come up with other things to add to this list as well.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 02:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
No way, José, a *lot* of things have changed.

- new uplinks installed
- new assets to preserve, including bandwidth throttles for customers, network analysis, etc. Customers were probably not saturating networks over dialup modems. NOC (network operations center) staffing
- new legal requirements, including working with the DMCA
- new installers in the case of cable, new registration of MAC address
- new service plans offering variable speeds, which need to be marketed accordingly
- broadband for business
- new competition: DSL, satellite, now fiber. Differentiation and keeping customers happy entails more than making sure there are open phone lines that don't randomly drop connections
- new customer support infrastructure

I'm sure one could come up with other things to add to this list as well.
Not a task in that list doesn't predate broadband besides the physical differences in the cable.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 02:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Not a task in that list doesn't predate broadband besides the physical differences in the cable.
A friend of mine works in software development at a major telecoms company. Her entire BUILDING is filled with jobs that did not exist when phone services were dial-up and hardware relays.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
Just to clarify there's a building full of people doing stuff that no-one had ever done before the development of DSL and cable internet?

Are they new 3c Job(s) or new 3b Job(s) Job - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 03:53 PM
 
You weld fiber?
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Just to clarify there's a building full of people doing stuff that no-one had ever done before the development of DSL and cable internet?

Are they new 3c Job(s) or new 3b Job(s) Job - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
I have no idea what you're asking in that second part there, but programming software to manage voice networks and hand-offs and routing and timing and billing for international/inter-network phone and data lines most certainly did not exist as a job before phone networks went completely digital. The age of AOL was local dial-up, with contracts with local telecoms providers, and everything from the switch going through their own backbone.

If you want to get tied down on the technical specifics of the dial-up - DSL transition, I'm afraid you'll have to find someone else to talk to. I saw it as a general example, and extrapolated from there.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 04:13 PM
 
Web and TCP/IP jobs didn't exist before, because well, the Web and TCP/IP didn't exist before the 80s (RFC for TCP was 81). Most companies that had computers connected via SNA, leased lines and people used 3270 terminals. Cash machines, paying by credit card electronically, engineering, broadcasting and even the health services are completely different animals nowadays.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 08:04 PM
 
But the job "software engineer" did. Maybe that specific position at that specific company didn't. Do you understand that yet? We're not talking about what company you work at were talking about what jobs are available. No-one goes to a school in order to get a job at a specific company. Just because the there's no demand for encyclopedias anymore doesn't mean the guy who used to sell them has to become a plumber.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 08:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
But the job "software engineer" did. Maybe that specific position at that specific company didn't. Do you understand that yet? We're not talking about what company you work at were talking about what jobs are available. No-one goes to a school in order to get a job at a specific company. Just because the there's no demand for encyclopedias anymore doesn't mean the guy who used to sell them has to become a plumber.
There were a LOT of unemployed miners in the west of Germany in the 70s and 80s.

If jobs can be destroyed, new jobs can be created. What did pilots used to be before airplanes? What about switchboard operators before the telephone? Or how about TV repair technicians before the radio was invented? Or sound engineers? Or sound designers before the advent of the synthesizer? What did they do? they might have been technicians or lab engineers, but until somebody started chaining together oscillators and filters, the entire *concept* of sound synthesis didn't even exist, let alone the need for someone to program the things.

New jobs aren't always simply existing jobs with slightly expanded skill sets. New jobs are often highly specialized, with skill sets that are almost completely exclusive to that job, beyond the most generic things like Phileas' "ability to quickly see distilled patterns in the whole", which applies to my job as much as to his, and probably equally to an accountancy job.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 10:36 PM
 
LOL, I came across this today.

20 Completely Ridiculous College Courses Being Offered At U.S. Universities | Zero Hedge

Some highlights:

1. "What If Harry Potter Is Real?" (Appalachian State University)
8. "Learning From YouTube" (Pitzer College)
19. "Getting Dressed" (Princeton)
20. "How To Watch Television" (Montclair)

-t
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Not a task in that list doesn't predate broadband besides the physical differences in the cable.
- new assets to preserve, including bandwidth throttles for customers, network analysis, etc. Customers were probably not saturating networks over dialup modems. NOC (network operations center) staffing
This is new.

- new legal requirements, including working with the DMCA
This is also new.

- new installers in the case of cable, new registration of MAC address
Also new.

- new service plans offering variable speeds, which need to be marketed accordingly
Also new.

- new competition: DSL, satellite, now fiber. Differentiation and keeping customers happy entails more than making sure there are open phone lines that don't randomly drop connections
This is different.
     
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Jun 7, 2013, 11:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
But the job "software engineer" did.
But you haven't acknowledged that this is a game of semantics, and this doesn't really matter. The point is that the nature of these jobs have changed dramatically to the point where they are pretty much different jobs than they used to be, even if the title remains the same.
     
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Jun 8, 2013, 12:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
New jobs aren't always simply existing jobs with slightly expanded skill sets. New jobs are often highly specialized, with skill sets that are almost completely exclusive to that job, beyond the most generic things.
I agree. The thing is jobs like these are unusual and/or rare. It requires fundamental shifts in technology. Even then they usually go to workers who are highly experienced. And they're usually in the science/engineering fields. They didn't recruit the first astronauts from college students. They knew no-one had the skills so they went for experience, guts and grace under pressure. Most changes these days and for quite some time is are simple going to be "add a computer" or the more specific "add a robot" excluding of course "pay someone somewhere else 1/10 as much"

The point is that the nature of these jobs have changed dramatically to the point where they are pretty much different jobs than they used to be
I disagree.
     
 
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