- Aug 11, 2011
- Basic Beliefs
- Peace on Earth, goodwill towards all
I know that it is popular for engineer type people to believe wholeheartedly that engineering degrees are objectively harder (and also more valuable) than other degrees. I don't believe that is objectively true. In term of rigor, I would match a degree in any hard science, or nursing (BS) or mathematics. In nursing, in addition to intellectual skills, one must master so called soft skills: relating to patients, gaining patient's confidence, etc. No one expects an engineer to be empathetic or a good listener.So, well before my time then.Interest on credit card debt was no longer tax deductible as a result of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
Well, those things are all true. Financially, engineering degrees are far more valuable on average than humanities degrees, outliers notwithstanding.I wasn't specifically referring to you, but to others. It is very typical for people to cite engineering degrees as the most valuable or most desirable or hardest to obtain, with the bar being assumed to be much lower for humanities.
Part of it is that those degrees are objectively harder, and fewer people will therefore pursue them.
I also do not believe that fewer people pursue those degrees because they are 'harder.' I think it is because the degree programs are extremely rigid and not particularly interesting to a lot of people. Financially, engineering degrees command greater monetary compensation because they are traditionally male dominated. Nurses are traditionally undercompensated, not because they have lower levels of education or because their skills are less valuable (we need far more nurses than engineers!) but because of differences in how society perceives and rewards male vs female career paths. There is currently and almost perpetually a shortage of nurses and yet, there is little movement towards making changes in compensation and work conditions that would encourage more nurses to stay in the field. Nurses face a great deal of burn out, not only to the demands and stresses inherent in the work but also because of the level of violence and threats of violence and because of the way nursing shifts are scheduled, and also, because when health care providers seek to limit costs, they often reduce the number of nurses.
Here's a bit about violence in health care--note that this was true PRIOR to the pandemic:
CDC - Blogs - NIOSH Science Blog – Free On-line Violence Prevention Training for Nurses -
In 2012, the Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) sector was amongst the largest industry sectors in the U.S. employing an estimated 19.4 million workers (13.5% of the total workforce). On average, over the last decade, U.S. healthcare workers have accounted for two-thirds of the nonfatal workplace violence injuries in all industries involving days away from work . Healthcare workers face the risk of both physical violence and non-physical violence, such as verbal abuse, on the job. These numbers represent only the assaults that resulted in time away from work and not the less severe physical injuries or the psychological trauma that HCSA workers experience from workplace violence. Additionally, these data only capture the reported incidents. The literature suggests that the number of assaults reported by healthcare workers is greatly underreported.
Teaching is another heavily female career path which is vastly undercompensated. Medical doctors, particularly those in general practice, family practice or pediatrics are less well compensated, comparatively compared with what they were 40 years ago--perhaps because more women are now physicians.
I would not say that skills in humanities are not needed or that we do not need English or History teachers. But the demand for such is obviously lower than for say people who design machines or computer chips. And I do not think universities are doing their students any favors if they admit more students to an English PhD program than society can reasonably employ. That just leads to frustration when they graduate and cannot find meaningful work in their field.
Really? It seems to me that we farmed out computer chip manufacturing a long time ago. And those are not jobs that require a high degree of education or training. Same with a lot of manufacturing of machinery. Maybe Biden will be able to bring some of those jobs back.