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(The Atlantic)   45% of recent college graduates still live with their parents. The other 55% were unavailable due to no phone in their parents' basement   (theatlantic.com) divider line 20
    More: Fail, college graduate, basements, The Atlantic, graduates, parents  
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1325 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 Mar 2013 at 2:24 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-02 04:44:11 PM  
3 votes:

Generation_D: Somaticasual: quickdraw: When I was 18 in 1979 I had a part time minimum wage job that easily covered my rent, food and utilities. There was no credit check when I rented a nice apartment in a good neighborhood.

Now a part time minimum wage job would pay for my food if I didn't eat out and that's about it. My credit sucks, because during a difficult period three years ago I was late twice paying a credit card bill by 2 weeks, so if I had to rent I would be screwed.

The world has gotten much harsher in the last 30 years.

It really has. What the boomer generation doesn't get when it dishes out the classic "just get a job" advice is that it hasn't been simple since maybe the late 70s. The jobs they could take to make ends meet have transformed into "39 hours and you're never going full-time" so companies can do away with the things that were available for our parents' generation (IE, decent pay, company health insurance, and even the faintest traces of company loyalty)

cripes, like 12% inflation for 6 years in a row in the mid 70s to early 80s wasn't a beatdown. And despite what your history books are claiming, the minimum wage of $2.25 an hour then did not buy you a comfortable apt. Full time at 2 minimum wage jobs could pay rent in a 1 room sh*thole but that was about it. Zero internet, no online anything, jobs were whatever local food joints had work or else some lucky guys worked construction or farming.

Education was probably cheaper because the boomers hadn't yanked funding away from that yet.

But an education was not a guarantee, it never is.

I whined about it in my early 20s too. Which only kept me back longer, i'd complain then go smoke bowls (always money for weed!) than actually try and think of a way out or up.


Sure it wasn't all peachy back in the day, but it's relative. You didn't have internet, your parents didn't have a phone or a car. These new tools are necessary as the game changes and they cost money.

My generation is the first one predicted to not do as well as the previous. All told, we are more screwed than the generation before us. I've been laid off 5 times in 7 years and I've got friends who've had it worse.

I was told in my innocent youth that college as the way to success and financial security, so I went and studied the sciences. Turns out I was lied to. Not 30-something me, but young, innocent me who was told that the loans were worth it. Now I'm on the hook for the debt and the job market for my generation is crap. It sucks and I've got to dig my way out. But constantly screwing over the next generation as they start out their lives will not sustain a country. I have no problem using socialism as a wedge to get back what was taken from me in my inexperienced youth.

The kids you raise are the ones that take care of you in your fragile and defenseless old age. They are the ones at your bedside adjusting your pillow. How you treat them determines which side of your head they put the pillow on.
2013-03-02 11:34:52 PM  
2 votes:
As a recent college graduate who lives with his parents, I would like to comment on this topic.

1.  It has always been common.  Then it became "uncool"
2.  My room was empty, and through high school and college I pretty much neglected my parents.  We all appreciate the two years that I will have lived with them.  In particular since I am moving across the country after this year for graduate school.  I find it amusing that everyone hates living with their parents then they complain that they did not spend enough time with their parents.
3.  We all recognize the massive financial gain I have by living with them for these two years.
-My car is paid off essentially (Money is in a bank account with automatic withdrawal because fark yeah 0%).
-I have been able to start a retirement fund (and have money set aside to continue funding them for the next 5 years while I am at grad school).
-I have other savings that will likely mostly get eaten up with moving and buying a few new things I will need.
4.  The cost to my parents through all of this is food essentially (they would be paying the same on the house either way same thing with a lot of insurance, plus tax benefits)
5.  I do a lot of the cooking and most of the outdoor housework (shoveling, mowing the lawn, raking), and general house maintenance (house is safely in that aging faze where everything begins to break).  In part because I enjoy a lot of it, in part because they are good skills to have (home maintenance), and I see no reason to to pay someone a lot of money to fix something I should be more than capable of fixing myself.  So it is actually a net gain for my parents because I moved back.

Through it all what really surprises me is how FEW people do it.  It is a beneficial to all parties involved.

I don't know when crippling debt and financial insecurity suddenly became cooler and more mature than going back an living with your parents for a year or two, but it is something that should probably be reversed.  Having lived with my parents for the last two years I would not trade it for anything.  I have always been moving forward in a direction that would get me out of the house and I think that is important, there was always a time frame for me to move out.  People that are still living with their parents for decades after graduating (with the exception of some instances often medical related on the part of either parent or child) that would be a problem
2013-03-02 05:46:14 PM  
2 votes:
The real problem is that there really aren't any jobs out there FOR new college grads.

The vast majority of positions that would have been aimed at new bachelor degrees no longer exist, because the recession has spoiled companies for choice. There are loads of un- and under-employed competitors that also want those jobs, so now every resume needs to have years of experience in the field, which is completely unattainable to new graduates.

Full-time positions are an endangered little money as legally possible and for as little benefits as legally possible. Companies have a historically high war chest of cash, but it's not going to the employees; it's going to the leadership and to the lobbyists to ensure that we never return to an age when a high school graduate could expect to get a job, buy a house, and start a family with little difficulty. Nowadays, you can't reasonably expect to do any of that without a multi-thousand-dollar investment in college, and then adding the gamble of picking a field that isn't going to get outsourced or otherwise make it hard for you to find work.

/it's a rigged game
2013-03-02 03:17:21 PM  
2 votes:

quickdraw: When I was 18 in 1979 I had a part time minimum wage job that easily covered my rent, food and utilities. There was no credit check when I rented a nice apartment in a good neighborhood.

Now a part time minimum wage job would pay for my food if I didn't eat out and that's about it. My credit sucks, because during a difficult period three years ago I was late twice paying a credit card bill by 2 weeks, so if I had to rent I would be screwed.

The world has gotten much harsher in the last 30 years.


It really has. What the boomer generation doesn't get when it dishes out the classic "just get a job" advice is that it hasn't been simple since maybe the late 70s. The jobs they could take to make ends meet have transformed into "39 hours and you're never going full-time" so companies can do away with the things that were available for our parents' generation (IE, decent pay, company health insurance, and even the faintest traces of company loyalty)
2013-03-02 01:13:24 PM  
2 votes:
I had no idea that many people were incapable of paying rent and working and paying down a school loan at the same time. You guys are amazing. Have a trophy.
2013-03-03 02:43:49 AM  
1 votes:

StarlingFive: meyerkev: pellies: StarlingFive: namatad: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Was pretty much straight-up lied to by college advisors about how in-demand my program was when I was a freshman, didn't know any better than to trust 'em.

and um you are too embarrassed to admit what that major/program was?
seriously, basket weaving and buggy-whip making is not in demand???

I'm in his same boat. My degree is in electron microscopy. Its a bio major with a chemistry minor tacked on, plus 4 semesters of graduate level microscopy courses. 5 years ago they were shipping guys out with jobs as good as their professors. Or so they kept telling us. Right now I'm crossing my fingers on a lab-tek job for 14 an hour and praying I can tread water in that long enough to go back to school or find a real job.

Yup PhD in Biochemistry. There's not a god damn thing out there. I can think of many causes for this, but I'm gonna keep it short and blame the leaders of the free world.

If you've done some programming, try to switch.  We're not quite at Dot-Com boom days, but the whole "outsource everything to India" craze is over (since they tend to produce massive, unmaintainable balls of code), and if you're good, you'll get plenty of offers.

Got any specific suggestions for websites or self learner books? Or what would be the best starting language? I'm a self learner with way to much time on my hands, and programming would look really good in the field I want to get into anyway.


So the short answer is: I have no clue as far as websites or starter books go.  If you ever want to do C, pick up Kernigan and Ritchie, if you ever want to do C++, pick up the latest Stroustrup (coming out this May), and at some point grab Gang Of Four.  I picked this stuff up at school, and even took a software engineering course just to make me better at this design stuff.  A lot of this stuff just kind of comes with experience.  Do something, have questions, go to Google to answer them.  If you find yourself returning to one particular set of tools (langauge or otherwise), go grab a book on that tool, because you've no doubt reinvented the wheel a bunch of times since you didn't know the wheel existed, and books are really good at filling in holes in your knowledge.

As far as "How to Program" instead of "How to write code in [language]":
Some of the  http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?cat=66  Twenty Sided Tale stuff is really good, especially the bits where he basically narrates how he coded things.   http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?page_id=16458
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ - He's stopped writing, and some of this stuff is somewhat dated, but the rest is really, really good.
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/
http://thedailywtf.com/ - What not to do.  No seriously, if you don't understand WHY these things are WTF's, think about it, and then go into the comments.

As far as languages go, I actually have 4 separate answers that you can sort of merge to your circumstances

1) It depends on what you want to do.  You want to write games, go C/C++.  You're doing websites, take a look at the whole HTML, JS, server-side stack.  Enterprise is usually some combo of Java and/or .NET (though .NET will lock you into MSFT, which is a bad thing for writing code.  Outside of my 2  game design classes, I never ever wrote code on Windows.  I always used Linux.)  Figure out what people in your industry are using and use that.

2) "What language should I be learning?" is really the absolute wrong question to be asking.  What you really need to know is things like Big-O, data structures (and Big-O thereof), inheritance concepts, and design patterns (and source control.  Knowing how to use git/mercurial and github is nearly as important as knowing how to write the code in the first place).  A good programmer can take pretty much any modern language and be 90% up to speed in a matter of days or weeks, because it's just applying same concepts, different syntax.

3) Whatever languages you use, there are a few things that you should probably understand.

#1: Pointers (Figure out how to reverse a C++ linked list before doing any interviews.  That was a question in about 50% of my coding interviews.).  C++ is probably the canonical language for doing so.

Basically, pointers are a way of saying: I store the location of an X.

So I can say:

int n;
int * n_ptr;

n= 4; //Let's pretend that n_ptr is at memory 100
n_ptr = &n; //Set n_ptr to point at n.  n = 4, n_ptr = 100.  Literally n_ptr = reference to n
*n_ptr = 2; //set the value that is pointed to by n_ptr to 2.  n= 2, n_ptr = 100.
int * n_ptr2 = n_ptr// point n_ptr2 at the same thing that n_ptr is pointing to
int n2 = *n_ptr; //Set n2 equal to the value that is pointed at by n_ptr.

Now then, let's have some fun:

int n1 = 1, n2 = 2;
int * p1 = &n1;
int * p2 = &n2;

n1 = *p2
p1 = p2
*p2 = 3
*p1  = n1
*p1 = *p2 + n2
p2 = &n1
*p2 = n1 + *p1

What are n1 and n2, and what variables are p1 and p2 pointing to?  (And I could have made this way worse, by adding int **, which are int pointer pointers.)

#2: First-class functions which let you pass functions as objects (which you can't do in C. (Okay, you can, but you won't want to because function pointers suck)) See  http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/08/01.html for why this is so cool.

#3:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_system (use the links in the box on the top right) - namely, Dynamic vs. Static, Strong vs. Weak and duct typing.  If at all possible, spend least a little bit of time in languages with all of those features to figure out why they all suck in different ways.

4) (And a longer version of this is the 2nd linked wall of text below) If you forced me to pick one, start with C.  Because it's dead-dog simple.  Pointers will screw you (and string manipulation is at its best an ice-cold biatch), but there are no classes, very few API's, just you, some basic data types, simple logic, structs, and functions (and manual memory allocation/deallocation, which while annoying is good to know).  For learning basic concepts, it's probably the best language in existence because it's uncluttered.  You can learn if/else-if/else, for, while, case, etc. without being distracted.

Then in a month, toss out the C compiiler, and bring in the C++ compiler (and all your old code will still work because C++ is backwards-compatible).  Go learn C++ with templates and classes and inheritance and the STL and all that jazz.  Pick up Stroustrup's new book in May for C++11.  Learn OOP and software design in the process.  See my software design course at the University of Michigan for some good resources:  http://www.umich.edu/~eecs381/.

Once you really, really know C++, you're about 90% of the way to learning Java and C# (because they're basically C++ with nicer syntax and no pointers).  Take a day or two and figure out what they removed and what they added (Namely the whole interface vs. class thing).  Congrats, you're now quite good at Java and C#.  (And sadly, it doesn't work the other way.  C++ -> Java is fun.  Java -> C++ is hard.)

And then you can take your C++-oriented brain over into the scripty side (Python, Ruby, JavaScript, etc), figure out what lambdas are, get used to the ability to pass around functions as objects, and then you're good.  Most of the new stuff with the scripty languages (other than dynamic typing) is not new concepts, it's just things that make writing code easier (and lets you do Map-reduce: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/08/01.html).

Now if you just want to write some small scripts, and not be a software developer, ignore that whole thing and head over and learn basic Python or Ruby (General rule, basic == "Things that are in C, minus pointers (which don't exist at a level that you care about anyways), plus basic classes and Exceptions".  You don't need to know decorators or generators or things like that at first).  The dynamic typing is a bit weird at first, but they're fairly easy, flexible languages to learn.

Honestly, other than some Java in high school and bypassing C straight for C++, this is the path I took.  (Simple C++ -> more advanced C++ -> really advanced C++ as part of software design (and 2 weeks of pure C here) -> Hey, Java is gimped C++, but the garbage collector means I don't have to delete things -> hey, scripting languages are really easy to write, and don't need a compiler.)

So I've written 2 separate walls of text in other threads about what you should be learning along with a small booklist in the second one.

http://www.fark.com/comments/7618752/82791338#c82791338
http://www.fark.com/comments/7476988/81185221#c81185221 - And this is basically a longer version of #4.

Things I'd add to my lists:

1) Don't learn languages, learn to do things.  Don't just wake up and say "I'm going to learn HTML today", wake up and say "I'm going to write and deploy a website today". Because in the process, you'll learn Unix, [your chosen backend web server of choice], [your chosen backend language of choice that isn't PHP because PHP sucks (and follow through to PHP: A Fractal of Bad Design)], HTML, Javascript, and some bash scripting to get the stupid thing deployed (and now you have something to show off to potential employers).

Knowledge of a language without experience using it is worse than no knowledge of the language at all. Most of the really, really important stuff (Big-O, data structures, algorithms) is fairly language-agnostic anyways.

2) I've said it before, but it's worth saying again.  The most important thing you'll learn is not how to write code, but how to engineer code.  The highest goal of code is to be easily maintainable and understandable.
http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=4166 - Software Engineering,  http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=12271 - Learning to Program vs. Learning to Write Software

3) Whenever you pick up a new language, google for some quick guides to canonical code style for that language (Capitalization is the big gotcha.  PascalCase vs camelCase vs under_scores.  What gets named what is always interesting).  Figure out how other people are going to expect you to write your code.  When I started doing Ruby, I spent 2 weeks doing a back and forth code review because I writing perfectly functional "C++ code in Ruby" and not "Ruby code".  I learned more in those 2 weeks than I did in the previous 3 years at school.

For a fairly good overview of some of the various back and forths from a self-taught C/C++ perspective:http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=18368 - Coding style part 1 of 4, where a guy analyzes the id software style guide.  (And read the comments.  Always interesting to hear what people think)
2013-03-03 02:24:13 AM  
1 votes:
Millenials get shat on all the time, but they really are getting a raw deal.  They are graduating during the worst economic period that has occurred in any of our lifetimes at a time when a college education is more expensive than ever in real terms.  Many, who would have gone on to lead productive middle upper-middle class lives had they graduated in the 90s will instead be shuffled into whatever retail work they can get all while being crushed under the weight of non-discargable student loan debt.

On the other hand, they still have more luxuries than 99.99% of humans throughout history.  J.P. Morgan didn't have central air conditioning or an Ipad, but the guy making your coffee at Starbucks probably does.
2013-03-03 12:55:07 AM  
1 votes:
I lived at home for a little over 3 years after graduating from college.  Parents said this is your home and always will be.  I was able to help them out (health problems for both, especially Dad) and in the meantime save up more than enough for a down payment on a house and things to put in said house.  After 3 years I was more than ready for my own place, but I'll be forever grateful to them.
2013-03-02 10:43:02 PM  
1 votes:
I remember when I graduated high school, I was called an idiot by the other kids in my IB classes because I took a year off after HS to work for a race team before I went to college. I got an athletic scholarship so luckily I never had to worry about student loans etc., but I wanted to get experience working an honest job.

Fast forward just over a decade, and that job with the race team has paid more dividends than my 4 years of school. I have still never used my degree (and no, it's not a liberal arts degree or some crap like that) and I couldn't be happier.

I count myself as one of the lucky ones.
2013-03-02 09:22:35 PM  
1 votes:

namatad: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Was pretty much straight-up lied to by college advisors about how in-demand my program was when I was a freshman, didn't know any better than to trust 'em.

and um you are too embarrassed to admit what that major/program was?
seriously, basket weaving and buggy-whip making is not in demand???


I'm in his same boat. My degree is in electron microscopy. Its a bio major with a chemistry minor tacked on, plus 4 semesters of graduate level microscopy courses. 5 years ago they were shipping guys out with jobs as good as their professors. Or so they kept telling us. Right now I'm crossing my fingers on a lab-tek job for 14 an hour and praying I can tread water in that long enough to go back to school or find a real job.
2013-03-02 09:09:46 PM  
1 votes:

BumpInTheNight: Major in whip-buggery? Some times it takes two runs through with an unfortunate pause between (my own case), at least I can confirm this: Man you will rock those classes going in as a determined adult instead of a temperate I don't know what I really want to do teen-young adult.


As an instructor, I can confirm that I like to see a few token respectable adults in the class, because it means someone will actually be paying attention.
2013-03-02 06:22:44 PM  
1 votes:

Mugato: Pincy: Here here! And with a computer science degree to boot.

What does a CS degree even mean nowadays? I didn't even need one to get a programmer job back in '99. Now you have to have 10 years experience in 5 different languages to get an entry level gig.

/recovering software developer, video editor/VFX guy


Depending on your school (and chosen classes), a CS degree can mean several things:

1) Pure theory.  Stuff with algorithms, and Turing machines, and P=NP.  Hopefully, the school has a Software Engineering degree, because the CS kids suck at development.
2) The optimal course.  Pure applications.  They spend 4 years practicing the art of software engineering.  Hint: These kids will NEVER, EVER have a class containing [language name] on their transcript.  You don't take C++ classes, you take "Operating Systems", and learn C++ in the process.
3) Java schools.  They teach stupid stuff like "Java 101, 4 credits", and totally skip over the software engineering and theory portions.

#2's will often be quite good software developers, #1 and #3 not so much.  Hire #2's.

/And plugging my alma mater, the University of Michigan is a very good #2.  We ship about 30 kids to MSFT and 20 kids to Google every year.
//C, C++, Verilog, a fake turing-complete assembly language created specifically for that class, Python, PHP, Javascript, Java, a tiny bit of x86 assembly.  Currently a Python/Ruby/tiny bits of bash dev.
2013-03-02 05:58:32 PM  
1 votes:

Pincy: EvilEgg: unlikely: Is this news? After College most of the people I knew moved back home while they looked for jobs. Were they just anomalies?

Unless you were recruited straight out of college, yep.

Yay for me graduating during Clinton boom.

Here here!  And with a computer science degree to boot.

I think I'd probably kill myself if I was graduating today.


Nah.  If you don't mind working 80 hour weeks, you can walk out with 90K + 90K signing bonus in the Pacific NW.

/Or 70K in the Bay Area plus some stock in exchange for 60 hour weeks.
//Or 60K near Detroit (at 1/3rd the COL of the Bay Area) for 50.
///Or 50K in Chicago.
2013-03-02 05:21:03 PM  
1 votes:

mrlewish: This could be fixed by raising the minimum wage to $12 and hour and only allowing a companies controlling officers to draw their bonuses from money left over after paying federal taxes.


Because Lord knows you can't do it on your own.
2013-03-02 05:17:20 PM  
1 votes:
This could be fixed by raising the minimum wage to $12 and hour and only allowing a companies controlling officers to draw their bonuses from money left over after paying federal taxes.
2013-03-02 04:18:59 PM  
1 votes:

unlikely: Is this news? After College most of the people I knew moved back home while they looked for jobs. Were they just anomalies?


No. There were just jobs then.
2013-03-02 03:49:42 PM  
1 votes:
I would like to see these statistics broken down by major.
2013-03-02 03:02:39 PM  
1 votes:

randomjsa: But the economy is clearly getting better.

On the other hand I'm just wondering... When did it become taboo precisely to live with your parents? It used to be extremely common but now suddenly... it's a bad thing. If you are paying your bills and living your life, what difference does it make?


I think it has to do with differing definitions of "adulthood."  In a lot of societies, adulthood begins when you get married, so you live at home until you get married.  In others, it's when you have kids, so even married couples will live with one set of parents until they begin their own family.  In the US, we see adulthood as beginning when you leave school and (presumably) get a job.  You're only really an adult if you can support yourself financially.  The implication being, that if you're living at home it's because you can't afford to support yourself, something that an "adult" should be able to do.

As for the post-graduation thing, I don't see the big deal.  I've known a lot of people who live at home for a few months while they look for jobs.  That age (assuming you have the family support) is one of the few times in your life when you're able to be picky about what job you take, so it can be better to hold out for something good rather than taking anything just to make ends meet.
2013-03-02 02:31:55 PM  
1 votes:
Mrs. Henry & I have concluded that our "downscale" house will need a spare bedroom for one of our four kids.
"Sh*t happens" with a LOT more regularity these days.
2013-03-02 01:25:27 PM  
1 votes:
This is why I'm glad I never got a degree*.  I have my OWN basement to live in (thankyouverymuch)

*was too busy learnin to get one.
 
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