Does the current working class have it harder than the baby boomers and generation x

Jan 2019
My brother had a BS in comp science, and a MS in it too. He did little but learn languages, C++, all that nerd stuff. Utterly useless too, because by the time he graduated everything he learned was obsolete. Worse, this was the early 2000s, so whereas all the graduates were being headhunted right from school by corporations throwing money at them to be basic coders, suddenly nobody was headhunting them, so him, his classmates didn't even know how to land jobs, because nobody in school bothered teaching them that. He didn't even get a real legit job for years, because the industry figured out they could outsource basic CS entry level grunt work to barely educated Indians and get the same work done. It was only when my brother possessed a skill they didn't have (he became an expert on Sharepoint) did he possess a skill that earned him a good job, because it was in demand. He could build something other people couldn't, therefore he was of value.

Supply and demand dominates employment. If one learns nothing in school, they are valueless. They can be dumb as a box of rocks but if they learn the basics of being a people person, and the importance of knowing people (networking), they will likely be a success. The rest who can only regurgitate a text book, either they don't get jobs, or the ones they get are garbage. If they have useful skills, especially if the field is in great demand for those skills (like most hard STEM fields), then they hold the cards, and good jobs are offered to them. What they know and the skills they supposedly possess are in demand, and they're rare, so they get better pay, because then the employees hold the cards.

You tell me of this list which majors are sought out, useful, desired: Description of Majors

What an employer wants from an engineering grad is someone who is an engineer, who can do engineer stuff. They aren't hiring calculators, don't sell yourself short, being an engineer is quite a bit more than just learning formulas. I am related to some and know others, I would definitely say that anyone with an engineering degree probably has the potential for success because just graduating in those programs means someone is smart, has their stuff together, and kind of understands how things work (though not always understanding how people work, which is even more important). If your bosses found a way to automate most of your particular job, good for them, it means they can pay you less and there is nothing much you can do while employed to them unless you can regain the upper hand. But if you actually understand engineering, which you should if you do it as a long term career, you can land another job, because you know a skill in great demand.

Compare that to an undergrad business school graduate. They are supposed to know enough about business, management, sales, etc to make the company they work for money. Are we really going to try to make the case that a 22 year old has those abilities because some 60 year old failure in life with PhD at the end of their name made them read some outdated and insignificant books? Hell no, most of them are utter catastrophes in even their personal finance, which is why there are so few entry level jobs for them. Because the last thing anyone with any brain cells wants to do is hand a 22 year old lots of fiscal responsibility. The deciding aspect in business employment success isn't an undergrad degrees (which doesn't teach much that is useful, the good stuff usually isn't even learned until in an MBA program), its networking (which is also where MBA programs shine too, as many taking them are either about to go onto big things, or they joined the programs after years of previous business employment, so knowing those people helps one land good jobs). Getting in the door is more about gaming their resume and bullshitting an interview, probably laying on their maximum charm and personality to try to make themselves seem more confident and knowledgeable than they really are. If they have success, they get promoted up the chain and maybe some day end up as C-levels. Most don't, because most aren't actually really helping the company make money because most don't have a damn clue about business, even with a degree in it.
In regards to your message in bold. Not at all. That wasn't my intention. I am saying that a degree is an important first step.

In regards to a CS major. I was seriously considering going down that path. You do learn C++, but hardly enough to be a developer. You may have 1 or 2 projects in your portfolio depending on your internship. If he learned C++, that is arguably one of the most important object oriented languages you could know. That is just one course though. The rest is filled with algorithms, data structures, compiling (some language there), architecture, LOTS of math. The reason for that is that programming has a very algorithmic approach to how it should be structured, called syntax Now a days, you may take an entry level python course. Although, don't expect them to be developing. Almost all of that is learned after the fact, or in the great programmers cases.. before.

A person could make a case that great engineers are born, just like salesmen. Look at the most iconic developers of our age, most of them were developing software long before college and never finished. Which actually lends to your point a bit..


Forum Staff
Apr 2010
T'Republic of Yorkshire
I don't have much experience in the salaries of tradesman. I did a search and found that the scale goes up to about $60,000 a year. Is that accurate? You figure out of college a person can make more than that.
You ever tried calling an emergency plumber out on a Sunday?
Only if you base it on metrics like home ownership, safe employment and a big pension. In 20 years time we'll just change the metrics to suit the new work environment and say "Millenials were so lucky being able to travel the globe, start up new businesses on a Smartphone & watching Youtube 24/7".
Feb 2016
Baby Boomers: born after the Great Depression, WWII and the Korean War (in other words, born during a stable time); born during a good economy; easier entrance exams; cheaper tuition; cheaper fuel; cheaper to buy a home; grew up with active outdoor activities; healthy when they were young; school shootings were unheard of; and where I live in, they didn't experience any severe air pollution

Generation X: At a very young age, they witnessed a time of great hope for peace with the ending of the Cold War. Although they were aware of the nukes, they were too young to have felt the level of fear that their parents did. The X-Generation in general still grew up with active outdoor activities although many of them were also starting to do video games. The majority of them were in good shape. Computers and the internet became more widespread when they were students. Thus, they could adjust to these new technologies more quickly than the previous generations.

Millennials: During their young adult lives, it became easier for them to gain information thanks to the internet. It became easier to research and make a report (as long as they could differentiate fact from fiction). And when they were young adults, it became easier to start a business thanks to the internet at a time of the huge increase of the internet market. It became easier to gain information on distant countries and make new friends there. Thus, more Millennials (and Generation Z) travel far at distances and at frequent times at the rate that the previous generations only dreamed of when they were young.
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