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(NBC News)   Liberal arts grads no longer doomed to be unemployed for the rest of their life   (nbcnews.com) divider line 76
    More: Interesting, policy analyst, unemployment  
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2672 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 Jan 2014 at 9:43 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-23 09:19:48 AM  
Everyone, regardless of interest, passion, or ability, should be an engineer.

/things I have learned on Fark
 
2014-01-23 09:35:03 AM  
Here's the thing, if you're going to college, you should come out the other side as a well-rounded individual. If not, you're just a highly-trained monkey.

I'm very much in favor of a liberal arts education for everyone, regardless of their specialization. That means the engineer should get some poetry and literature and art, but it also means that the artist should get some physics and math.

I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.
 
2014-01-23 09:48:09 AM  
Doesn't really say anything...They lumped humanities in with social sciences.  That covers a lot of ground.  And what does pre-professional mean?  of course if you stop with just a pre-med (biology), the salary isn't going to be that great, but ideally that degree is preparing you for med school which will.
 
2014-01-23 09:49:41 AM  
I just looked at the salary ranges for my age and cried......

///need a new job
 
2014-01-23 09:49:44 AM  
That was one of the worst written articles I've read in a long time. Here's the chart they present in the article:

media2.s-nbcnews.com

The article then says stuff like this: "Using Census data, Humphries found that over the long run of their careers, liberal arts majors eventually catch up with-and slightly outearn-classmates with professional and pre-professional degrees. But it takes an advanced degree to close the gap; liberal arts majors with only an undergraduate degree still end up at the back of the salary pack throughout their careers."

Then the liberal arts major is entirely irrelevant. Once you have a masters or doctorate nobody cares what your B.A. is in.

They then continue with this gem: "by their late 50s. Engineers end up on top of the salary scale, making peak salaries of $98,000."

Really? Then why is there a bright red line that's higher for natural scientists and mathematicians.

And finally, the nice little touch at the end: "A lot depends on the careers liberal arts majors end up pursuing: Those who go into the legal profession earned $127,000 a year at the peak, while those in service jobs topped out at $37,000. "

So the mean is a very useless stat here since the standard deviation is so high. Basically, liberal arts majors really do make no money unless they become lawyers or paralegals. In which case they're not relying on either their college degree or work experience, but on a totally different degree than what they got in college.

This article was clearly written by a someone with a liberal arts degree.
 
2014-01-23 10:00:37 AM  
Liberal arts != humanities:

In the 5th century AD, Martianus Capella defined the seven Liberal Arts as: grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

Modern usage
Mathematics, science, arts, and language can all be considered part of the liberal arts.
 
2014-01-23 10:03:50 AM  
I'm an English major who works for a private utility in an pseudo-engineering role, I can't math. According to that chart, I am right in line with a real engineer.
It's just too bad I live in the 8th most expensive place in the US and it means all that goes right out the window.
 
2014-01-23 10:11:04 AM  

Land Ark: I'm an English major who works for a private utility in an pseudo-engineering role, I can't math. According to that chart, I am right in line with a real engineer.
It's just too bad I live in the 8th most expensive place in the US and it means all that goes right out the window.


Shouldn't an English major know that your sentence should use a semicolon, specifically: "role; I can't math."?

/sorry, i'm not really a grammar nazi, i just couldn't resist the opportunity to snark.  its a genetic weakness that i have.
 
2014-01-23 10:11:10 AM  
Sooner or later, you get to manage that McDonald's.
 
2014-01-23 10:20:26 AM  

Arkanaut: Modern usage
Mathematics, science, arts, and language can all be considered part of the liberal arts.



you missed this part: [citation needed]
 
2014-01-23 10:25:15 AM  

Fubini: Here's the thing, if you're going to college, you should come out the other side as a well-rounded individual. If not, you're just a highly-trained monkey.

I'm very much in favor of a liberal arts education for everyone, regardless of their specialization. That means the engineer should get some poetry and literature and art, but it also means that the artist should get some physics and math.

I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.


To be fair, there are a lot of fine arts and humanities courses to choose from, so you can take something to meet the requirement that you'd find at least somewhat interesting. For example, I took music history (covered everything from first forms of written music through the dreck they play on the radio now), because I really like music in general. Other people I know have taken art history, modern dance, drawing...whatever suits their taste to meet that requirement.

Calculus, though, you have 8 classes to pick from. Calculus 1, Section 1 (MWF 8:30-9:20), Section 2 (TR 9:00-10:15), Section 3....
You get the idea. What would be awesome is if they'd actually make calculus relevant to your major and offer sections based on that. Everybody would still come out with the same knowledge, but might learn it a bit better if they can apply it to their discipline.

Also, because math education generally sucks at actually explaining things(at least my experiences with it), you might not drag STEM majors into a straight up math class kicking in screaming, but I've only ever run across ONE that actually enjoyed taking those courses.
 
2014-01-23 10:32:44 AM  
But it takes an advanced degree to close the gap; liberal arts majors with only an undergraduate degree still end up at the back of the salary pack throughout their careers.

/and reading comprehension.   Must read entire article.
 
2014-01-23 10:34:56 AM  

buzzcut73: Calculus, though, you have 8 classes to pick from. Calculus 1, Section 1 (MWF 8:30-9:20), Section 2 (TR 9:00-10:15), Section 3....
You get the idea. What would be awesome is if they'd actually make calculus relevant to your major and offer sections based on that. Everybody would still come out with the same knowledge, but might learn it a bit better if they can apply it to their discipline.


I kind of agree, but also kind of understand what they're doing.  If you can't do well in calculus, you will probably not do well in any of the fields that require calculus to get a relevant degree in that field.  For example, software engineers probably will never calculate a integral in their professional lives, unless they are working on a project that involves calculating integrals (which would be fairly uncommon).  However, integral calculus is required for every computer science degree that I have ever looked into.

So, in some cases, I see those classes more as a weed-out mechanism than trying to teach you skills that you'll actually use.  Not really the most enjoyable concept, but there is at least some amount of reason to flunk the people who can't devote the time or energy to learn highly technical skills earlier in their college "career", so that there is more room for those who can.

Also - the math classes that I have taken in college actually have spent quite a bit of time explaining WHY the mathematical concepts work and what they're actually useful for.  I enjoyed these classes very much.  I'm sure that's not true in all schools, but it should be.  I agree with you: if I simply had to memorize how to do the calculations without having been taught the concepts or why the concepts are useful, I would hate hated calculus, too.
 
2014-01-23 10:37:36 AM  
Insurance companies love Lib Arts degrees for claims shops because nobody else will hire them and turnover is expensive.
 
2014-01-23 10:39:30 AM  

Gunny Highway: Everyone, regardless of interest, passion, or ability, should be an engineer.

/things I have learned on Fark

 
2014-01-23 10:51:41 AM  

nmrsnr: Arkanaut: Modern usage
Mathematics, science, arts, and language can all be considered part of the liberal arts.


you missed this part: [citation needed]


Plenty of citations for the other stuff, so it doesn't matter.  Liberal arts is about learning for the sake of knowledge and self-improvement, and math and science can all be included.
 
2014-01-23 10:53:19 AM  

Nightjars: Also - the math classes that I have taken in college actually have spent quite a bit of time explaining WHY the mathematical concepts work and what they're actually useful for. I enjoyed these classes very much. I'm sure that's not true in all schools, but it should be. I agree with you: if I simply had to memorize how to do the calculations without having been taught the concepts or why the concepts are useful, I would hate hated calculus, too.


I barely passed college Calculus with a C, but passed Physics, using the very same formulas and concepts, with an A.
I just could not keep looking at unaffiliated numbers and keep them straight, and pretty much all my Calculus was was a sheets of numbers. I'd forget to square this or that variable, go back and look and know something was wrong, fix the wrong thing because all these god damn numbers look the same, and then I'd wind up with a 17 on an exam.
Physics? I actually had reference. I could actually see how the number fit together, what the equation was for, not just some random numerals leading to other numerals, and it was suddenly the easiest thing in the world.
 
2014-01-23 10:55:10 AM  

Gunny Highway: Everyone, regardless of interest, passion, or ability, should be an engineer.

/things I have learned on Fark


Screw that, everyone should just drop out of high school, pick up a book on how to pass the MCSE tests and become an independent IT contractor with thirty years experience in ten year old technologies, with experience like that you don't need a degree to just sail from job to job on a rose-tinted nostalgic journey through the early days of the high tech industry.  You get to be your own boss and the best part is you can tell everyone else your secret because it will never work that way for anyone else ever again.
 
2014-01-23 10:55:50 AM  
I have an English degree.

It's turned out to be a huge waste of money.
 
2014-01-23 10:59:05 AM  

Nightjars: I kind of agree, but also kind of understand what they're doing.  If you can't do well in calculus, you will probably not do well in any of the fields that require calculus to get a relevant degree in that field.  For example, software engineers probably will never calculate a integral in their professional lives, unless they are working on a project that involves calculating integrals (which would be fairly uncommon).  However, integral calculus is required for every computer science degree that I have ever looked into.


My CS degree required three semesters of calculus--everything up to and including partial differentiation and multiple integration. Very little of it is of practical use in everyday life. I think it had something to do with the fact that the CS department at my school grew out of the math department, and not the EE department. There was no requirement for a CS student to take even a basic DC circuits class, which (from what I've seen) is very common in schools where the CS department grew out of the EE department.

Another interesting thing about the intersection of calculus and physics and CS: much of classical mechanics can be described using derivatives (e.g. acceleration being the derivative of velocity WRT time), but that is of no practical use when writing code. The algebraic solutions are actually much more useful in that case.
 
2014-01-23 11:09:21 AM  

Fubini: Here's the thing, if you're going to college, you should come out the other side as a well-rounded individual.


It seems like there was a time when this was expected; now the conversation always sounds either-or, never both.  Is it because back in the day, college was only for a small elite, and now we're trying to extend it to the vast majority of people?  Or maybe the workplace has become more complex and specialized, such that well-rounded 1940s Yale Guy wouldn't survive in a cubicle in front of a computer?
 
2014-01-23 11:13:35 AM  

Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.


Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.
 
2014-01-23 11:15:58 AM  
Liberal Arts is a maligned major, but it is really not a bad one, if you are using it as a stepping stone to an advanced degree. Then again getting a Bachelor of Arts in any STEM degree is better than getting a Bachelor of Science.  While the BS might have better skills coming out of college the BA makes better analysts and analyst is usually a stepping stone to management.
 
2014-01-23 11:18:50 AM  

Cybernetic: The algebraic solutions are actually much more useful in that case.


Trigonometry, is what I've used the most with my CS degree and it was not required in and off itself, but was a requirement to take calculus. Trig is used for graphics and real world position problems, like if you are programming robots.
 
2014-01-23 11:23:25 AM  

Yankees Team Gynecologist: It seems like there was a time when this was expected; now the conversation always sounds either-or, never both.  Is it because back in the day, college was only for a small elite, and now we're trying to extend it to the vast majority of people?  Or maybe the workplace has become more complex and specialized, such that well-rounded 1940s Yale Guy wouldn't survive in a cubicle in front of a computer?


I think there's a language mashup problem.

The term "college" and "university" are used interchangeably by most people, and very different institutions use them to describe themselves as though they were the same.

My home state has a good example of this. There are two public universities: Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Truman State University.

The former is primarily an engineering school (they do have a school of arts and sciences, but it is very small). The latter is a liberal arts school. The typical education at the two places is wildly different- the engineering degrees typically require a rigid 4 year schedule with just a few elective slots and a few state required courses. The liberal arts degrees are full BS/BA degrees, but they add an additional eight required liberal arts courses that cover everything.

The two degrees are entirely different. The liberal arts degree is more of a well-rounded classical college education, and the engineering degree is very focused. They're both called a BS degree from a university. If you told people you were getting an engineering degree, or if you told people you were getting a liberal arts degree in computer science, it would make the distinction a lot clearer.
 
2014-01-23 11:23:57 AM  

Yankees Team Gynecologist: It seems like there was a time when this was expected; now the conversation always sounds either-or, never both.


If you limit your set of observations to internet comments, this is true. However, the vast majority of undergraduate students in the US attend liberal arts colleges and take a liberal arts curriculum even if they get a BS in a STEM major.
 
2014-01-23 11:30:40 AM  

Saiga410: Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.

Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.


PSA: Don't take 8:00 AM calculus if you are bad at math.
 
2014-01-23 11:31:23 AM  

Slaves2Darkness: Then again getting a Bachelor of Arts in any STEM degree is better than getting a Bachelor of Science. While the BS might have better skills coming out of college the BA makes better analysts and analyst is usually a stepping stone to management.


This depends heavily on which school you are talking about. At my school, the BA was just the BS for people who were too stupid/lazy to take real math classes. You didn't get any extra electives or gen ed classes, you just got to take remedial counting or whatever the hell math classes they give to college students who aren't capable of calculus.. At my sister's school, the BA was just the BS except you didn't have to do a thesis. These were both liberal arts schools, though, so even the BS students had to take liberal arts classes.

In either of those cases, I can't see a single benefit to a BA over a BS. However, I am glad to have gotten my BS from a liberal arts school as opposed to a tech school.
 
2014-01-23 11:37:35 AM  

thurstonxhowell: This depends heavily on which school you are talking about. At my school, the BA was just the BS for people who were too stupid/lazy to take real math classes. You didn't get any extra electives or gen ed classes, you just got to take remedial counting or whatever the hell math classes they give to college students who aren't capable of calculus.. At my sister's school, the BA was just the BS except you didn't have to do a thesis. These were both liberal arts schools, though, so even the BS students had to take liberal arts classes.


At my school, a liberal art's school, the BA slightly emphasized foreign languages and the BS slightly emphasized science. I think the BS required one year of any language, but the BA required two. The BA required one science/math/CS class, the BS required Calc 1 and a science/math/CS class.
 
2014-01-23 11:55:21 AM  

Fubini: thurstonxhowell: This depends heavily on which school you are talking about. At my school, the BA was just the BS for people who were too stupid/lazy to take real math classes. You didn't get any extra electives or gen ed classes, you just got to take remedial counting or whatever the hell math classes they give to college students who aren't capable of calculus.. At my sister's school, the BA was just the BS except you didn't have to do a thesis. These were both liberal arts schools, though, so even the BS students had to take liberal arts classes.

At my school, a liberal art's school, the BA slightly emphasized foreign languages and the BS slightly emphasized science. I think the BS required one year of any language, but the BA required two. The BA required one science/math/CS class, the BS required Calc 1 and a science/math/CS class.


At my school, the difference between a BA and a BS was a certain number of credit hours in a foreign language.

More PSA: also, do not take a statistics class right after lunch if you are bad at math. (Boring topic + droney prof + after lunch sleepies = zzzzzzzzzz)
 
2014-01-23 12:01:02 PM  

Slaves2Darkness: Cybernetic: The algebraic solutions are actually much more useful in that case.

Trigonometry, is what I've used the most with my CS degree and it was not required in and off itself, but was a requirement to take calculus. Trig is used for graphics and real world position problems, like if you are programming robots.


I definitely agree. I have used way more trig than any other type of higher math. Linear algebra has also been handy.
 
2014-01-23 12:49:52 PM  
Lol: Im going to write this article and post this picture and hope no one notices that they are mismatched.

Some damned fine journalism there, Lou.
 
2014-01-23 01:28:33 PM  

Gunny Highway: Everyone, regardless of interest, passion, or ability, should be an engineer.

/things I have learned on Fark

 
2014-01-23 01:31:49 PM  

Saiga410: Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.

Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.


Then I would not have a degree. I barely made it through the lowest levels of college math and begged my way through statistics. Twice.

/I married an engineer so it's all good
 
2014-01-23 02:54:31 PM  

Ivandrago: Saiga410: Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.

Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.

Then I would not have a degree. I barely made it through the lowest levels of college math and begged my way through statistics. Twice.

/I married an engineer so it's all good


I started out thinking I was going to be an Electrical Engineer, but after realizing that every day I showed up at my friend's apartment saying "I FARKING HATE ENGINEERING!" I decided to go with a BA in English.

I still have all the math and science training (up through Calc III, Physics II, Chem II, Stat, CompSci, etc etc) from my first two years and it's probably what gave me the knowledge basis for what I do now (programmer). Still, most of what I picked up is because I taught myself, not because I learned it in school.

/I attribute my hate of engineering to going to a research university that actively tries to not educate undergraduates until they survive the grist mill of the first 3 years.
//Well that, and bad faculty.
 
2014-01-23 03:05:16 PM  

Fubini: Here's the thing, if you're going to college, you should come out the other side as a well-rounded individual. If not, you're just a highly-trained monkey.

I'm very much in favor of a liberal arts education for everyone, regardless of their specialization. That means the engineer should get some poetry and literature and art, but it also means that the artist should get some physics and math.

I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.


The worst STEM people will do in liberal arts classes is be bored.  The worst that Most liberal arts people in STEM classes will flunk, pulling down their GPA.
 
2014-01-23 03:43:24 PM  
 
2014-01-23 03:54:15 PM  

Ivandrago: Saiga410: Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.

Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.

Then I would not have a degree. I barely made it through the lowest levels of college math and begged my way through statistics. Twice.


Second this, some of us just don't have brains that math very well. I took the lowest-qualifying 100-level math course at my school, and failed it the first time. Why? because at that level, we had to master non-base-10 mathematics. That stuff should be taught  in the CS department, a criminal justice major shouldn't need it.
 
2014-01-23 04:29:30 PM  

nmrsnr: So the mean is a very useless stat here since the standard deviation is so high. Basically, liberal arts majors really do make no money unless they become lawyers or paralegals. In which case they're not relying on either their college degree or work experience, but on a totally different degree than what they got in college.

This article was clearly written by a someone with a liberal arts degree.


I was a liberal arts major (communication/political science). I only have a BA. I do not work in a legal profession. At the plot point for my current age and income on that chart, I am just a smidge (maybe a couple grand) below the dark green line representing an engineering salary.

I'm not saying some liberal arts majors aren't garbage (it helps that I went to a pretty highly regarded liberal arts college). But if you're reasonably smart and work hard, you shouldn't have any trouble making your way in the world, no matter what you studied. And besides, something more focused and applied like CompSci or Engineering or any of the hard sciences seemed incredibly boring to me when I was 18, and it still does now. Yeah, good job prospects maybe, but all that math, introversion and neckbeardification would make me want to go live in a shack and plot to bring down the government.
 
2014-01-23 04:30:12 PM  

buzzcut73: Calculus, though, you have 8 classes to pick from. Calculus 1, Section 1 (MWF 8:30-9:20), Section 2 (TR 9:00-10:15), Section 3....
You get the idea. What would be awesome is if they'd actually make calculus relevant to your major and offer sections based on that. Everybody would still come out with the same knowledge, but might learn it a bit better if they can apply it to their discipline.


two things:

educators would like to offer 'flavored' math courses specific to certain majors...problem comes from not every history major wants to take history flavored calculus at 8am.  so you create classes that don't make, sad but the reality.

next: there can be multiple offerings of math for the math requirement, problem is the discipline doesn't begin to branch or fan out much until after the calculus level. arithmetic is like learning letters and the sounds they make.  algebra is forming sentences, calculus is ability to write essays and read novels.  Hard to delve into a lot of branches or areas of study in math without some of those basic skills.
 
2014-01-23 04:33:45 PM  

Pontious Pilates: I was a liberal arts major (communication/political science). I only have a BA. I do not work in a legal profession. At the plot point for my current age and income on that chart, I am just a smidge (maybe a couple grand) below the dark green line representing an engineering salary.


See? A science degree would have taught you that anecdote != data.
 
2014-01-23 04:35:06 PM  

Nightjars: If you can't do well in calculus, you will probably not do well in any of the fields that require calculus to get a relevant degree in that field. For example, software engineers probably will never calculate a integral in their professional lives, unless they are working on a project that involves calculating integrals (which would be fairly uncommon). However, integral calculus is required for every computer science degree that I have ever looked into.


there is more to calculus than derivatives and integrals...summations, tests for convergence, limits, behaviors at infinity (Big O anyone?)...go back thru a calculus book and you will see a lot of procedures have some boolean algebra in them..AND statements, OR statements are heavily found in calculus...those logical skills are what is being developed in calculus that software engineering needs.  If you can understand the coordinate system, then you should have no problems understanding a 2D array.
 
2014-01-23 04:43:56 PM  

ThatGuyFromTheInternet: Second this, some of us just don't have brains that math very well. I took the lowest-qualifying 100-level math course at my school, and failed it the first time. Why? because at that level, we had to master non-base-10 mathematics. That stuff should be taught in the CS department, a criminal justice major shouldn't need it.


why shouldn't a CJ major know how number systems work?  Do you think criminals will never use alternate means to record or transmit data?  I imagine any pattern recognition exercise would be desired for CJ majors.
 
2014-01-23 04:44:17 PM  

Ivandrago: Saiga410: Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.

Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.

Then I would not have a degree. I barely made it through the lowest levels of college math and begged my way through statistics. Twice.

/I married an engineer so it's all good


women aren't suppose to be good at math though, its okey
 
2014-01-23 04:46:27 PM  

nmrsnr: Pontious Pilates: I was a liberal arts major (communication/political science). I only have a BA. I do not work in a legal profession. At the plot point for my current age and income on that chart, I am just a smidge (maybe a couple grand) below the dark green line representing an engineering salary.

See? A science degree would have taught you that anecdote != data.


Ha, that's funny. I just wanted to drive the point home that we're not all just well-read baristas. But since you obviously understand outliers, you must know that.
 
2014-01-23 04:49:11 PM  

BumpInTheNight: Screw that, everyone should just drop out of high school, pick up a book on how to pass the MCSE tests and become an independent IT contractor with thirty years experience in ten year old technologies, with experience like that you don't need a degree to just sail from job to job on a rose-tinted nostalgic journey through the early days of the high tech industry.


As a college dropout who received his MCSE certification in '98, I'm getting a kick out of this reply.

I took about a year's worth of evening classes on Windows network administration at the local voc-tech before attempting my MCSE certification.  The classes covered a lot of things that either weren't covered or were barely covered in the MCSE coursework.  Those classes got me to the front of the hiring line since they proved that I had more than just a paper certificate in hand.

With later jobs, I found they didn't care if you had a college degree if you were willing to work evenings or weekends, were willing to work on-call pager duty, or were willing to travel.  Not only did those things kick down hiring barriers, but they paid better, too.

The only major barrier I've encountered in lacking a degree is with promotion into management.  So I've effectively hit a glass ceiling. 

I've considered the independent contractor route, but there is a LOT more to it than technical skill.  It really is all about who you know and building relationships with customers and others in the field.  Advertising and cold calling are very hit and miss.  I've seen a lot of bright people with years of experience crash and burn because they were never able to get a sizable client base.
 
2014-01-23 04:50:02 PM  

Hyjamon: Nightjars: If you can't do well in calculus, you will probably not do well in any of the fields that require calculus to get a relevant degree in that field. For example, software engineers probably will never calculate a integral in their professional lives, unless they are working on a project that involves calculating integrals (which would be fairly uncommon). However, integral calculus is required for every computer science degree that I have ever looked into.

there is more to calculus than derivatives and integrals...summations, tests for convergence, limits, behaviors at infinity (Big O anyone?)...go back thru a calculus book and you will see a lot of procedures have some boolean algebra in them..AND statements, OR statements are heavily found in calculus...those logical skills are what is being developed in calculus that software engineering needs.  If you can understand the coordinate system, then you should have no problems understanding a 2D array.


Of course - there's a reason why I specifically called out integrals as an example of something that isn't often used.
 
2014-01-23 04:52:21 PM  

imashark: I started out thinking I was going to be an Electrical Engineer, but after realizing that every day I showed up at my friend's apartment saying "I FARKING HATE ENGINEERING!" I decided to go with a BA in English.

I still have all the math and science training (up through Calc III, Physics II, Chem II, Stat, CompSci, etc etc) from my first two years and it's probably what gave me the knowledge basis for what I do now (programmer). Still, most of what I picked up is because I taught myself, not because I learned it in school.

/I attribute my hate of engineering to going to a research university that actively tries to not educate undergraduates until they survive the grist mill of the first 3 years.
//Well that, and bad faculty.


Replace EE with CS and English with Poli Sci and that's my story too, although I ended up with enough credit to minor in CS. Programmer now who basically spent my last two years of college becoming a lover of history and smoking weed.

It DID feel great to breeze through classes about third world development and election systems and international law after I got burned out on thermal physics and execution plan optimization. I was constantly conflicted about "here's what I'm good at that might make me a lot of money (CS stuff)" and "here's what actually makes me excited to go to class". Luckily I ended up in a pretty good job programming in an environment where I get to apply it to some of the sociological topics I enjoy.

One of my biggest issues, in addition to the grist mill mentality you mentioned which I guess they are stuck with, was that all my classmates were assholes or didn't speak english well. The computer geeks from high school did not all gracefully move into their professional careers, especially in an environment with fewer women and more sheltered reinforcement that engineers are of a higher human evolution than other majors. My EE roommate was the worst about this. Not a lot of well-rounded kids in those classes.
 
2014-01-23 04:57:49 PM  

ThatGuyFromTheInternet: Ivandrago: Saiga410: Fubini: I often hear the fine arts people bemoaning the lack of culture and literacy in people with STEM backgrounds. That's a legitimate complaint, but these are also people who you'd have to drag kicking and screaming into a calculus class. In my experience, the STEM types don't have a problem taking the fine arts subjects, you just have to make it a requirement.

Calculus should be a requirement for all majors.  It teaches problem solving skills and the ability to analyse trends.  I cannot think of the last time I did a dirivitive but I have looked at trend lines and I can better tell where the more important periods are.  Without the math experience most people will be looking at the wrong areas.

Then I would not have a degree. I barely made it through the lowest levels of college math and begged my way through statistics. Twice.

Second this, some of us just don't have brains that math very well. I took the lowest-qualifying 100-level math course at my school, and failed it the first time. Why? because at that level, we had to master non-base-10 mathematics. That stuff should be taught  in the CS department, a criminal justice major shouldn't need it.


So STEMs need all of those humanities in order to make them a more well rounded individual but BAs do not need to learn higher math systems because maths is hard and stuff.... though it will do wonders to increase logic abilities, ie more well rounded.
 
2014-01-23 05:00:09 PM  

thurstonxhowell: If you limit your set of observations to internet comments, this is true. However, the vast majority of undergraduate students in the US attend liberal arts colleges and take a liberal arts curriculum even if they get a BS in a STEM major.


That's what I would've thought too, but I suspect the actual number of "college students" getting that balanced education is relatively low.  Supposedly 43% of college students (and growing) are in community college.  Considering that there are a fair amount of utilitarian/tech/vocational programs even at some 4-year schools, this means that well over half are probably not getting a true "liberal arts" education.  I genuinely don't mean to put down CCs and other non-lib-art programs, as they do provide a valuable education and can lead to a good career, but most students there probably don't go for the "well-rounded" curriculum.

I think this is a function of more people going to, and having access to, some kind of college (overall a good thing), but also the increased complexity and specialization of jobs (probably also good).  Think about what a "nurse" was 50 years ago--basically just a female helping hand at a hospital.  Now nurses are almost doctors, need a shiatload of training, have to work their asses off, and deservedly make a very good living (probably better than the green "engineers" line on the graph) even though they can get their degree from a CC or vocational school.
 
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