The Atlantic recently posted a contrarian article. Author Michael S. Teitelbaum says the “conventional wisdom” that America has a shortage of math, science, and engineering professionals is just echo-chamber hearsay and not true at all.
A compelling body of research is now available, from many leading academic researchers and from respected research organizations such as the National Bureau of Economic Research, the RAND Corporation, and the Urban Institute. No one has been able to find any evidence indicating current widespread labor market shortages or hiring difficulties in science and engineering occupations that require bachelors degrees or higher.”
When I entered engineering in the late 1970s, I expected a boom and bust profession. Although I was lucky with my employment, Teitelbaum documents three “boom/bust” cycles during my career.
This does not mean that students should ignore their science and math courses. I agree with Teitelbaum that “Every high school graduate should be competent in science and mathematics—essential to success in almost any 21st century occupation and to informed citizenship as well.”
We live in a world that increasingly relies on technologies that few of us understand, which can leave people feeling helpless and victimized; easy prey for conspiracy theories, magical thinking, and charismatic crackpots.
We all need to make a living and we all hope to follow our dreams. Sometimes we can’t bring those two things together into a single career, but we have an opportunity to learn and participate as a citizen-scientist no matter what our education or job. I contribute to CoCoRaHS; what’s your interest?