Skip to comments.Math is Power Ad Campaign
Posted on 12/31/2001 11:20:33 AM PST by SBeck
For a real hoot that will make a lot of folks laugh with a little nervousness click on the following links:
One: The math wizes rarely are running the show. They typically lack the social skills. It's usually the "salesman" type personality that makes it to the top. They may or may not have good math skills but are at least cunning.
Two: It's all well and good to advertise that studying math will help you with your career. The problem is who the kids are learning from. There is a severe lack of educational fortitude when it comes to teaching math and sciences so kids usually lose interest.
Three: Students who become lawyers are not typically mathematically inclined (I've known quite a few!). However, if you ask a sophomore in high school, what profession he wants to enter and why, he'll tell you "law and money".
Four: I bet if the commercial showed the math and engineering majors sitting in the science library until midnight on a Friday night while the liberal arts and business majors were getting sloshed at a party, they wouldn't be too convincing. Yet that is what it takes to understand Calculus and such.
Now, I say all this as an Electrical Engineering major with a minor in Math. Later I got an MBA and breezed through Economics, Statistics and other classes compared to those who did not have a mathematical foundation. Engineers make a good salary but unless they figure out the business they're in and how to market themselves, they tend towards dead end careers themselves. Albeit not minimum wage, but enough to be dissatisfied when the know-nothing, young MBA comes in and starts telling him what to do.
Show another sequence of a tech graduate getting laid off every 9 to 18 months (this even during the boom years). Then show an interview scene where supplicant gets told that his technical skills aren't relevant or that his 2,3 or 5 years of experience dont contain enough of the technical fad du jour.
That's no joke. I'm a mechanical engineer. I got my bachelor's two years ago. My freshman Engineering 101 (Intro to Engineering) class had literally 400 people in it. The class was in a decent sized auditorium and there was a butt in almost every seat. By the end of sophomore year, about 3/4 of them were gone. By graduation, there was only about 50 of us left.
Most of the students drop during sophomore year when the classes start getting hard. They're stuck in the sci-tech library till midnight every night doing 4 homework problems that take 5 hours and then working on a computer program in FORTRAN that has to numerically solve a system of differential equations. Then they take a look around at their buddies who are poly-sci and business majors. They all crank out their homework between classes. They're going to parties every night getting lucky while the engineering students are stuck in the dungeon every night. Is it any wonder so many sophomore engineering students say 'To hell with this!'?
Engineers make a good salary but unless they figure out the business they're in and how to market themselves, they tend towards dead end careers themselves.
I'm already seeing that. I'm glad I finished my engineering degree and I like my job but I can see that engineers hit the glass ceiling and stop unless they are able to step up into administration.
A successful engineering student generally will have MORE discipline and more capability to tackle other degrees and jobs than a political science or other liberal arts student. As with everything though, it depends on how much you put into it. I've known engineers who failed for lack of effort and motivation as well as pol-sci students.
Point taken, however, I believe that those who perservere and focus through four to five years worth of hardship end up getting what they want in the end.
I didn't have much of a social life in college but I sure have some open doors that I didn't have before and I can't gripe about the starting salary!
Ask any downsized dot-com programmer or AT&T engineer if math skills assure any better chance of not being laid off than the average textile-mill worker has.
Ask any of the horde of American Ph.D.s whose doctorates are in math-related fields but are grossly underemployed.
I majored in math. At the time (graduated 1981), the U.S. already had a gross oversupply of people with degrees related to math. It needed more lawnmower repairmen, plumbers, electricians - not more people with advanced math skills.
As a personal example, I was successful in my previous career, but I felt that there was something missing so I decided to do a complete career course correction and now I am fulfilling that goal. I never would have been able to pull this off if I didn't have the linear thinking skills, the ability to research my objectives and lay out the requirements necessary, and the personal perserverence that I acquired as a result of applied discipline. Math gave me that.
I completely agree. Whenever I'm at my old high school's "career day", I always remind them to take challenging courses, especially in mathematics. Most US born Caucasian, Hispanic and African-American kids simply choose not to challenge themselves.
I graduated from Marquette University in 1987. Even then, I would go to the computer lab at 1:00AM since that was the only time you could get quality time on the VAX/VMS computer system (PC were just getting introduced). I was the only white guy there at that time. Most were Asian including a good friend who escaped Vietnam as a boy in a boat with his Aunt and Uncle. His parents were dead.
The plain truth is that majoring in mathematically challenging fields is widely viewed as something for dweebs and geeks and especially foreign dweebs and geeks. (And those that post on internet BBSs on New Years Eve! :-D ) America is overrun with native born lawyers but engineers, we have to import. Something for all the foreigner bashers to take into account.
Given even all of that!
In the middle of freshman year, my Calculus professor announced to the class of 200+ that the School of Engineering had done a study. A question asked to engineering alumni was, "Do you use Calculus in your everyday work?" 90% responded "No". We all cheered since we were already sick of triple integration. The next question was: "Do you think three semesters of Calculus should be required as part of an Engineering curriculum?" 100% responded "Yes." Of course we all booed and hissed at that answer.
He went on to explain that he wasn't really there to teach us Calculus. He was simply using Calculus as a means to teach us how to think. It didn't make us feel any better at the time but I used a similar line in my application to grad school and was commended on it!
So yes, figuring out the volume of a function as it moves towards infinity is important but just as important is understanding what you like to do, and do it well. But even that is not enough, you need to let others know how well you do it. And you need to be able to mentor others to do likewise.
I come from an industrial, blue collar town where I grew up with a parking lot for a back yard. My parents didn't go to college but they understood the value of a good education and challenged me to reach my full potential. I don't regret my Friday nights in the library. Today I'm financially independent and that's a freedom many of my beer guzzling buddies will never know.
The chance of someone without a college degree becoming the next Bill Gates is as remote as someone winning one of those super lotteries - yes, it could happen, but I wouldn't bank on it.
Yet some students graduate with high GPA's without acquiring the above. The excuse? "It wasn't in the textbook". And some with ten years experiencce I hear "I've never done anything like that before, I've never had the training course on that before, yada yada." They've learned the textbook stuff, yet anything new you would think they would use this foundation to figure it out/ It is really rampant in the engineering and construction companies, where you will find many engineers scrambling to find the cookie cutter. Any cookie cutter. (BTW I work for one of those E&C's, one of the larger ones, as a process controls and industrial automation engineer).
What else did you need to learn, besides math, to earn 106K a year?
A bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma. Fifty years ago, they said, "Can you get a job without a high school diploma? Sure! But if you want a good job, you need to finish high school." Now, they make the same statement about a college degree. In order to really get ahead now, you have to have at least one Master's.
I agree. I was one of those kids that was lousy at math. I worked my ass off and eventually made it through basic calculus in college, but I was never good at math. I think we spend too much time in school focusing on abstract math concepts rather than real-world applications.
There's no excuse for a high-school graduate not to be able to make change from a dollar, determine the acreage of a plot of real estate, calculate payments and interest on a loan, etc, but we see it all the time.
Maybe we should put more emphasis on "consumer math." What good does it do you to know the quadratic formula if you can't balance your dang checkbook?
But math certainly isn't the only subject to do so. They used to teach something called "Logic" way back when.
Wow, you found an old thread to resurrect...
Wow... I didn’t even notice the date on the thread.
And to think YOUR name is Sloth! LOL
I agree....in about 5 years from now (if not already) a bachelor’s degree will be the equivalent of a high school diploma. Employers’ will look to see if a qualified candidate will have a Masters degree. The reason for bachelor’s degree losing its value is because more people have a bachelor’s degree.
160K, not 106, but unimportant since the number is now over a may....
It ain't the folks who CAN balance the checkbook I want designing elevators or bridges....I want a LOT better than that....for our own safety/good/protection.
Which also, I think, explains why Lou Dobbs (brawn) middle class of the past is being replaced by machines and the Brains are now making the bucks..No more $50/70 an hour employees at GM driving those completed cars down to the parking lot.
You misunderstand math types. They don’t want to “run the show.” In general, they hate management jobs and the politics that go along with them. They’d rather be working on solving interesting problems, where interesting varies according to the individual. :p
LOL, disregard previous comment, I fail. :p
...and here I was wondering why the links didn’t work. LOL.
Yes, I have a degree in abstract math.
What do you mean when you say “Logic”?
Hello, I am currently looking for the videos posted above. If anyone has these videos could you please e-mail me or direct me to where i could find them.
Thanks in Advance.
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