Academic Investment and Engineering Careers Guides

Generation Jobless from CBC

The documentary Generation Jobless from CBC, caused quite a stir recently in university discussion:

… delves into why so many young Canadians are overeducated and underemployed.  The reality is that today’s twenty-something’s are entering  an economy in the throes of a seismic shift where globalization and technology are transforming the workplace. Automation is replacing tens of thousands of jobs at a time.  Companies fixated on the bottom line are outsourcing jobs and wherever possible getting computers to do the work.  Employers are placing a higher premium on experienced workers, unwilling to invest in training new entrants to the workforce……

Another two interesting readings: Speech in University Of Toronto by JD Clark and the Youth Unemployment in Canada: Challenging Conventional Thinking, published by CGA Canada.

ROI for University Degree

In the productive conversation from National Post titled Canada must streamline education to turn degrees into jobs, it sounded an alarm bell:

The overabundance of general degree graduates in Canada has led to dismal underemployment figures, Ms. Bell explains. “What statistics don’t tell you is that the system is churning out more BAs than we can possibly absorb. In fact, OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] ranks Canada as No. 2 in underemployment of youth. Only Spain is ahead at 50%.”

In another conversation titled When does a university degree really pay off, it stated:

Everyone has heard the argument that education begets fortune and career success. But there are countless graduates who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in a university education, only to find themselves starting on a career path that barely covers their loan payments, or lining up with hundreds of other similarly qualified hopefuls for a job. … The question that looms large for many is: When is the return on investment (ROI) worth the effort? … The problem, however, is that education costs more and more, while graduates are getting jobs that pay less and less, Mr. Swail says. “The only things visibly increasing are engineering and medical degrees. Those do pay off. But, overall, society has done a poor job of linking the job market to what higher education is doing. More and more people come out of school asking, ‘What do we do now?’ ”

Engineering degree seems to be a good investment

The WSJ has some public available data mined from PayScale Inc for the past 10 years, and it clearly shows the engineering degrees really worth the investment in general, at least for now. However, there is no 100% certainty in any investment, including an academic degree.

Furthermore, although the ROI is somehow related to the major / subject of degree, it will also depending on the tech skills acquired by the person during years.  There is an interesting post on Business Insider claiming that 30 Tech Skills That Will Instantly Net You A $100,000+ Salary. Another list is the dice high paying skill lists.

How to become an engineer

I am studying engineering and find this ( Engineer Career Guide ) is useful. It is career-focused, rather than course-focused. It can immediately connect you with the job situation in the market. Another non-nonsense ebook is from TalentEgg.com.

Deep Dive of Computer Related Degrees

ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the highest professional body governing computer science and engineering related careers published the detailed report in 2005 : Computing Curricula 2005 The Overview Report covering undergraduate degree programs in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Information Systems, Information Technology, Software Engineering which is the only formal source of descriptions of various streams. Please don’t rely solely on those marketing documents from universities and colleges. Use the above document to make well-informed decisions when choosing universities / colleges and comparing them in how they implement the courses and degrees. You will see the how much those degrees worth, and which one is the most cost-effective school.

ACM and IEEE will make updates in the upcoming Computing Curriculum: Computer Science 2013 (CS2013) ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Task Force

The following is the detail areas of the  specialization (please always refer to the original document for any clarification)

Area Performance Capability

CE

CS

IS

IT

SE

Algorithms Prove theoretical results

3

5

1

0

3

Develop solutions to programming problems

3

5

1

1

3

Develop proof-of-concept programs

3

5

3

1

3

Determine if faster solutions possible

3

5

1

1

3

Application programs Design a word processor program

3

4

1

0

4

Use word processor features well

3

3

5

5

3

Train and support word processor users

2

2

4

5

2

Design a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel)

3

4

1

0

4

Use spreadsheet features well

2

2

5

5

3

Train and support spreadsheet users

2

2

4

5

2

Computer programming Do small-scale programming

5

5

3

3

5

Do large-scale programming

3

4

2

2

5

Do systems programming

4

4

1

1

4

Develop new software systems

3

4

3

1

5

Create safety-critical systems

4

3

0

0

5

Manage safety-critical projects

3

2

0

0

5

Hardware and devices Design embedded systems

5

1

0

0

1

Implement embedded systems

5

2

1

1

3

Design computer peripherals

5

1

0

0

1

Design complex sensor systems

5

1

0

0

1

Design a chip

5

1

0

0

1

Program a chip

5

1

0

0

1

Design a computer

5

1

0

0

1

Human-computer interface Create a software user interface

3

4

4

5

4

Produce graphics or game software

2

5

0

0

5

Design a human-friendly device

4

2

0

1

3

Information systems Define information system requirements

2

2

5

3

4

Design information systems

2

3

5

3

3

Implement information systems

3

3

4

3

5

Train users to use information systems

1

1

4

5

1

Maintain and modify information systems

3

3

5

4

3

Information management Design a database mgt system (e.g., Oracle)

2

5

1

0

4

(Database) Model and design a database

2

2

5

5

2

Implement information retrieval software

1

5

3

3

4

Select database products

1

3

5

5

3

Configure database products

1

2

5

5

2

Manage databases

1

2

5

5

2

Train and support database users

2

2

5

5

2

IT resource planning Develop corporate information plan

0

0

5

3

0

Develop computer resource plan

2

2

5

5

2

Schedule/budget resource upgrades

2

2

5

5

2

Install/upgrade computers

4

3

3

5

3

Install/upgrade computer software

3

3

3

5

3

Intelligent systems Design auto-reasoning systems

2

4

0

0

2

Implement intelligent systems

2

4

0

0

4

Networking and Design network configuration

3

3

3

4

2

communications Select network components

2

2

4

5

2

Install computer network

2

1

3

5

2

Manage computer networks

3

3

3

5

3

Implement communication software

5

4

1

1

4

Manage communication resources

1

0

3

5

0

Implement mobile computing system

5

3

0

1

3

Manage mobile computing resources

3

2

2

4

2

Systems Development Manage an organization’s web presence

2

2

4

5

2

Through Integration Configure & integrate e-commerce software

2

3

4

5

4

Develop multimedia solutions

2

3

4

5

3

Configure & integrate e-learning systems

1

2

5

5

3

Develop business solutions

1

2

5

3

2

Evaluate new forms of search engine

2

4

4

4

4

Engineering, Combined / Double Degree/Majors/Options

The list of interesting discussion forums:

1. University Of Western Ontario

Combined Degree Options
The combined degree program is similar to concurrent degree but is offered with one of Western’s professional Faculties: the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Richard Ivey School of Business, and Western Law. Combined programs with Western Engineering include:

  • The Richard Ivey School of Business with Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Software, Mechanical and Integrated Engineering (BESc and HBA)
  • The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry with Biochemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Integrated Engineering (BESc and MD)
  • Western Law with Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Software, Mechanical and Integrated Engineering (BESc and JD)

MD/BESc Program

Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry together with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Western Ontario offers a seven-year program leading to a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree and an MD degree. The program is aimed at high-achieving students and requires high admission performance standards. Combined studies in Engineering and Medicine prepare students for a career in technology-dependent medicine.

Three seats will be set aside each year for applicants to the MD/BESc Program.  Please note only applicants who are pre-registered in the MD/BESc program in the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Western Ontario are eligible for these seats. The combined program is available in conjunction with the Biochemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Integrated Engineering programs.

For further information, please visit the combined programs websites at

http://www.eng.uwo.ca/undergraduate/Chemical/BiochemicalwithMedicine.pdf

http://www.eng.uwo.ca/undergraduate/Civil/CivilandMedicine.pdf

http://www.eng.uwo.ca/undergraduate/Electrical/ElectricalwithMedicine.pdf

http://www.eng.uwo.ca/undergraduate/Integrated/IntegratedandMedicine.pdf

http://www.eng.uwo.ca/undergraduate/Mechanical/MechanicalandMedicine.pdf

2. Mcgill University

Major Computer Science and Biology

3. UOT

Skoll BASc/MBA Program

4. University of Waterloo

Engineering programs:

with program options eg life-science option