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'[EE] Where have all the technicians (and jobs) gon'
2009\04\04@010919 by Joseph Bento

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I'm sure my situation isn't unique.  This situation looks to be  
similar in the USA, UK, and elsewhere.  I'm a professional electronics  
tech.  I troubleshoot to component level, am comfortable with SMD  
rework, etc.  I and 15 others in my department have also recently been  
downsized, made redundant, laid off - whatever you care to call it.  
We were no longer part of the board of directors' short-term goals for  
a quick buck return to investors.

I have a couple strikes against me - I'm 45 years old.  I received my  
electronics education and training through 10 years in the Navy.  I do  
not have a formal degree.  I have previously worked in jobs requiring  
a BSEE degree, but my past experience in the military has counted as  
equivalent.  In today's crappy market, I'm finding my military  
electronics training means less and less, and companies aren't willing  
to 'take a chance', so to speak on prior job performance.  I'm also  
noticing that salary offerings are dropping SUBSTANTIALLY for  
available tech jobs.  Where I was making 45-50k prior to my  
termination, I'm now seeing listings for similar work for $12 - $15 /  
hour.  What the hell's up with that?

I'll be perfectly honest in saying that I'm very concerned about my  
future as an electronics tech.  The jobs are no longer here,  
everything is throwaway, and even board stuffing and assembly is all  
offshored, along with basic troubleshooting and repair of non-
functioning assemblies.  I can't help but feel a bit miffed over  
postings here wanting to know a good Chinese board house.  (I can name  
a few here in Utah that are laying off people because there isn't  
enough work.  I'm sure they'd like to see a 10,000 board order.)

With the dropping wages in high tech, I guess we'll eventually reach  
an equilibrium with India, China, and Vietnam.  We could exploit the  
African continent next for cheap labor, I suppose.  Perhaps we'll  
start seeing the reverse offshore syndrome as cheap labor is once  
again available in the USA.

Sorry... yes, I'm venting.  Prospects do not look promising in this  
field that I once felt so secure.  I no longer see a prosperous future  
as a tech, and it scares me as it's all I've ever done.  Guess we  
should have been bankers or lawyers - at least then if your company is  
in dire straits, you can still be guaranteed a comfortable retirement.

Joe


2009\04\04@014639 by cdb

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If you notice as well, any advertisments that are about are becoming
very very specific, "must know an have (put here a numbers of years)
experience with such and such hardware/software", which especially in
the case of software, unless you've worked for that organisation or in
that specific field, you are unlikely to have.

there is a current advert here in Brisbane, for someone who has
knowledge of uC/uP  serial comms etc, but must have - 1. Military
clearance and 2. Have a specific certificate pertaining to a
particular laser operated equipment. They've been advertising since
December on and off, so it would be apparent that there aren't many
non military industry employed Techs looking for or have those
qualifications.

Yes pay scales have been going down - many university/government
technician jobs here have moved down a pay band, and, of course if you
come from outside of the university or government body, will always go
on the lowest pay rung.

My experience suggests it is not so much a lack of positions, but the
criteria as mentioned above - hey 92 job applications (since January)
and counting!

Colin
--
cdb, spam_OUTcolinTakeThisOuTspambtech-online.co.uk on 4/04/2009

Web presence: http://www.btech-online.co.uk  

Hosted by:  http://www.1and1.co.uk/?k_id=7988359







2009\04\04@094125 by John Ferrell

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If I were in your situation I would take a hard look at service/maintenance
opportunities. They are seldom as interesting as R&D or building but usually
pay better. The hours are often poor, but that raises the pay.
Service/maintenance cannot be kept in a warehouse or moved off shore,
Teaching in Community Colleges & High Schools used to be popular but will
likely require additional certification. Also, that field has got to be
getting crowded.
Think twice about accepting offers in hostile countries or places so remote
they have to pump daylight in. Big Bucks come with incredible risks.

John Ferrell  W8CCW

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do
nothing." -- Edmund Burke
...."The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other
people's money."
  MARGARET THATCHER
http://DixieNC.US


{Original Message removed}

2009\04\04@102425 by olin piclist

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Joseph Bento wrote:
> I'm sure my situation isn't unique.

It's not.  It also should not be unexpected either though.

> I have a couple strikes against me - I'm 45 years old.

That shouldn't be a strike.  That experience can work in your favor.

> I'm also
> noticing that salary offerings are dropping SUBSTANTIALLY for
> available tech jobs.  Where I was making 45-50k prior to my
> termination, I'm now seeing listings for similar work for $12 - $15 /
> hour.  What the hell's up with that?

Supply and demand.  Yours isn't exactly a skill anyone can do but the
principle still roughly applies.  When anyone can do something, those
needing the service are going to find a lot of cheap anyones, possibly in
far corners of the world where they are happy to get $1 and a bowl of rice a
day.  As I said, yours isn't a commodity skill, but a lot of anyones have
been trained in it in the last decade or two in cheap corners of the world.

> I'll be perfectly honest in saying that I'm very concerned about my
> future as an electronics tech.

You should be.  Of course you should have been 10 years ago too, and then
done something about it when the doing was a lot easier.

> The jobs are no longer here,
> everything is throwaway, and even board stuffing and assembly is all
> offshored, along with basic troubleshooting and repair of non-
> functioning assemblies.

Exactly.  Note that none of this happened suddenly.

> I can't help but feel a bit miffed over
> postings here wanting to know a good Chinese board house.

That is silly, counterproductive, and shows a attitude problem you would do
well to loose when talking to prospective employers.  This is how the free
market works to the benefit of most everyone, almost certainly including you
up to this one recent drastic episode.  Do you own a television set, a VCR?
Go around and look at the consumer items you have in your house and see how
few were made in the USA.  Most consumers, most likely you included, have
voted with their wallets for low cost goods that can't be manufactured where
the workers can easily form unions, want the standard of living you have
been used to, the government dictates a minimum wage, and various laws
intended to protect the workers makes it expensive to have them and
difficult to get rid of them when you need to.

Companies get their goods manufactured how and where they think it is most
economical to do so.  If the overall cost of making something is half as low
in China as it is here, then having it made in China is a reasonable thing
to do.  In fact, I'd say in that case it would irresponsible not to.  We
have all benefitted from this in the form of lower cost of manufactured
items we purchase.  That leaves more of our $$ to spend on other things.
This is not a USA loose China win scenario at all.

> I can name
> a few here in Utah that are laying off people because there isn't
> enough work.  I'm sure they'd like to see a 10,000 board order.

Probably, but not happy enough to charge a attractive price.  The only way
most local manufacturers can compete is by high automation (labor rate
doesn't matter when you don't have to pay for it), superior quality, and
excellent service.  A few have catered to this and are successful.  Many
were unwilling and unable to do this and have gone under or are in the
process.  It's definitely not nice when you're caught up in it, but this is
the normal and necessary weeding out that happens as markets and economies
change.

> With the dropping wages in high tech, I guess we'll eventually reach
> an equilibrium with India, China, and Vietnam.

I think that's still a long time away.  We need to look foward to the future
industries and technologies.  If we continue to stay ahead technically,
we'll continue to be the right place to develop the technologies of tomorrow
and reap the benefits of their commercialization, even if the low level
labor is done elsewhere.  Of course what is leading edge high end today will
become the low level commodity of the future, so we can't stand still.

> We could exploit the
> African continent next for cheap labor, I suppose.

It's not about exploitation.  If you offer a Chinese peasant farmer twice
his normal income to work for you, is he going to feel exploited?  As long
as there is free choice it's not exploitation.

However, I agree eventually Africa will be a good place to get things
manufactured cheaply, but I also think it's a while away.  There is still
way too much political and armed squabbling and corruption.  This isn't
going to change until ordinary africans have had enough, which isn't going
to change as long as they identify people more by their clan and tribe and
race than by the job they do.  They also have to stop keeping score which
clan/tribe/race did what to which other clan/tribe/race and how much
retribution is warranted once power flips from the doers to the doees.  I
don't see much evidence this is changing, with part of South Africa being a
notable exception.

> Sorry... yes, I'm venting.

Exactly, with all the negative impressions that conveys upon you.  You got
caught with your head in the sand for ten years, don't blame the rest of the
world.

The real question is what to do about it.  Complaining will only get you
labeled and then dismissed as childish.  Grow up and tackle the problem head
on.

>From your description of your abilities and experience, I suggest
transitioning into manufacturing engineering.  One drawback of manufacturing
in distant places is that a total of more effort is required to manage the
process, with some of which inherently needs to be here.  I've seen
companies blow off technicians and then hire manufacturing engineers at
twice the wage.  They are realizing that while manufacturing in China and
other remote places is overall cheaper, they need people here that can
bridge the gap between design engineering and manufacturing.

Stuff happens.  The thingy may fit into the whatsit 999 times out of 1000,
and the Chinese manufacturer just keeps right on going and welds on the
cover anyway.  They don't care.  They don't want to, and they hope you don't
notice.  Such is the ethic in China.  It all becomes part of the overall
cost.  Stuff happens that isn't necessarily anyone's fault.  It takes
someone with good mechanical electrical and manufacturing intuition to
figure out what's going on, work with the remote manufacturer, and come up
with fixes.  You don't need to be able to design the product, but need to
know enough to understand it once it's explained.  You also need to be
willing to dig in and investigate problems the design engineers don't want
to hear about because they're on to the next thing.  You need to know enough
to get their cooperation by first getting their respect, but you don't need
to know enough to do their jobs.

This role isn't simple, but you're probably not that far away.  Companies
are more and more realizing they need people like that.  It also pays more
than being a technician ever did.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\04\04@113808 by Richard Seriani

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Bento" <.....josephKILLspamspam@spam@kirtland.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <piclistspamKILLspammit.edu>
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2009 1:09 AM
Subject: [EE] Where have all the technicians (and jobs) gone?


{Quote hidden}

Joe,

There are jobs out there for people with your stated skills, especially if
you can communicate with the subject mater experts (engineers and
technicians) and then write about it. No degree required, but it does
require exceptional critical thinking, attention to detail, and writing
skills. If your experience includes any demonstrated writing ability, you
may want to consider this. Creating logistics support documentation for both
government contractors and civilian industry is still a booming business, at
least in the areas I work (Virginia and Florida). Starting salaries and
benefits, including tuition reimbursement, are very competitive. There are
also several jobs for engineering technicians and field technicians (both
seem to fit your skill set).

The catch? Maybe none of this exists in your area and your previously stated
unwillingness to relocate will work against you. Also, they require that you
obtain a security clearance.

That said, if you are anywhere within commuting distance of a military
installation, find out who their major contractors are and check their job
postings. Some of the major contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, General
Dynamics, and L-3, have offices nearly everywhere there is a military
presence, and they seem to always be advertising for techs, tech writers,
and curriculum developers. If you have training on a particular system, even
if 20 years ago, that skill may be in demand at one of several repair
facilities. After all, the military training today is generally NOT for
component-level, and sometimes not even board-level, troubleshooting and
repair.

So, if nothing in your area, consider getting the things in order that are
preventing you from relocating. There are jobs out here for someone with
your stated skills. Hit your local library for a good book on resume writing
and tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. Oh, and as Olin
mentioned, lose the attitude before your first interview. If you go in on a
soapbox, I guarantee you won't get the job.

Good luck,
Richard
Not sure where you have been looking, but a very quick check at Career
Builder and at the L-3 site shows L-3 has several applicable job listings in
your area, including engineering tech and field tech positions that you may
qualify for. Have you already applied for these?


2009\04\04@121105 by Joseph Bento

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On Apr 4, 2009, at 8:25 AM, Olin Lathrop wrote:
>
>
>> I'll be perfectly honest in saying that I'm very concerned about my
>> future as an electronics tech.
>
> You should be.  Of course you should have been 10 years ago too, and  
> then
> done something about it when the doing was a lot easier.

Then the colleges and job forecasts are all wrong.  Even today, the  
college handbooks and counselors talk of what a growing demand there  
will be for electronic technicians.  Here? In the USA or EU?  To  
service what, when anything consumer is throwaway?  There are  
certainly specialized areas where there is demand such as military  
contracts and the like.

>
>> The jobs are no longer here,
>> everything is throwaway, and even board stuffing and assembly is all
>> offshored, along with basic troubleshooting and repair of non-
>> functioning assemblies.
>
> Exactly.  Note that none of this happened suddenly.

The USA is becoming a service based country.  Perhaps in some  
respects, even an ET performs a service, though I've always tied  
electronics closer to manufacturing.  Even service, if it is tied to a  
phone line or Internet connection is disappearing.  What then is left  
for most of us, as there are only so many managers, bankers, lawyers,  
etc needed.

>
>
>> I can't help but feel a bit miffed over
>> postings here wanting to know a good Chinese board house.
>
> That is silly, counterproductive, and shows a attitude problem you  
> would do
> well to loose when talking to prospective employers.

Do you honestly think that I'd convey any thoughts like that to a  
prospective employer?  I've certainly worked for companies where our  
primary products were manufactured overseas, but design,  
troubleshooting, and repair would still be done in-house.  Even that  
aspect of the job is leaving.


> This is how the free
> market works to the benefit of most everyone, almost certainly  
> including you
> up to this one recent drastic episode.  Do you own a television set,  
> a VCR?
> Go around and look at the consumer items you have in your house and  
> see how
> few were made in the USA.

Like my TV comment above, I still have one Panasonic TV that was made  
in the USA.    There is another issue, though unrelated to this  
discussion.  With cheap goods also comes questionable quality.  The  
quality I'm referring to is how long an item will last.  I don't  
expect my LCD TV will last over 15 years like the Panasonic CRT set.  
My latest Black and Decker drill (corded) lasted two, replacing a  
previous made in USA Black and Decker drill that lasted 20.  Cost of  
these items has admittedly reached the point where that two years is  
acceptable, since it's so cheap to replace.   I cannot agree in all  
cases that this is a good thing, however.

> Most consumers, most likely you included, have
> voted with their wallets for low cost goods that can't be  
> manufactured where
> the workers can easily form unions, want the standard of living you  
> have
> been used to, the government dictates a minimum wage, and various laws
> intended to protect the workers makes it expensive to have them and
> difficult to get rid of them when you need to.

We never had a choice in most instances.  Once the trade laws were  
created, companies started outsourcing.  I never made a decision that  
I would quit buying linens made in North Carolina because they were  
more expensive than those made overseas.  The parent companies simply  
closed the shops and imported.

{Quote hidden}

Well, as a technician, I was never as highly paid as an EE, but 45k is  
not a bad salary.  Consider that now I have no income other than an  
unemployment check, so it's unlikely I'll be buying any high priced  
items soon.  Also, if I have to take a $15 / hr job, I won't be buying  
nearly as many high-priced items as might have previously.  I think we  
are indeed on a path of equalization.  The Indian programmer is now  
making nearly 20 times what he made several years ago.  Still cheaper  
than an American IT worker, but American salaries are falling.


{Quote hidden}

But when it reaches a stage where dodgy is OK because it's cheap, and  
you can replace it after a year...

{Quote hidden}

I agree. The future brings exciting things.  We in the USA are no  
longer equipped to be competitive, though.  Kids are not embracing  
engineering - what's the future for an American worker?

{Quote hidden}

Well, in the past, we turned a blind eye to sweatshop labor, horrid  
factory conditions, and the like - all for a cheap products.  If  
that's not exploitation....  Fortunately in that regard, conditions  
have improved, but not to the point where most Western workers would  
ever feel comfortable working in the factory.

>
>> Sorry... yes, I'm venting.
>
> Exactly, with all the negative impressions that conveys upon you.  
> You got
> caught with your head in the sand for ten years, don't blame the  
> rest of the
> world.

Then the entire Western world got caught up in the same game, as it's  
happening to a LOT of people.

> The real question is what to do about it.  Complaining will only get  
> you
> labeled and then dismissed as childish.  Grow up and tackle the  
> problem head
> on.

You know, Olin, I generally value your opinion.  You have a unique way  
of 'Constructively Chastising' someone.  Hey, venting and complaining  
are different.  :-)  I've just been laid off from a job I really  
liked, from a company I perceived as doing very well, and being caught  
completely off guard since none of the group saw this move coming.  
The management even conveyed surprise.   I'm a bit bitter, perhaps,  
yes.  More so because any future opportunities look bleak for the near  
future.  I can't take classes, else the state revokes your  
unemployment - which I currently need.  I don't have a lot of options  
other than to continue searching within my present field.  I guess I'm  
lacking the confidence required for self employment, though I have  
began to agree to some contract / consulting work.  Perhaps that's a  
start.

{Quote hidden}

So you are the intermediary between the engineer and manufacturer?  I  
have worked as a test engineer in the past where that was partial  
responsibility.  The connection was blurred since everything from  
design, testing, and manufacturing was done under one roof, and  
everyone was accessible.  Convincing a company of your capabilities,  
despite the lack of a formal degree is becoming harder to overcome.  
It's more difficult to make it to the interview stage than in the  
past.  I'm generally good at presenting myself given the chance.

Thanks for the feedback.

Joe


2009\04\04@130411 by olin piclist

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Joseph Bento wrote:
> Hey, venting and complaining are different.

Not really.  I'm sorry you lost your job, but I didn't cause it, think it's
largely your own fault, and definitely don't want to hear you whine about
it.

> I'm a bit bitter, perhaps, yes.

Get over it.  Complaining to those who can't do anything about it just
irritates them.  Not a good idea when you are asking them for a favor, or a
job.

> So you are the intermediary between the engineer and manufacturer?  I
> have worked as a test engineer in the past where that was partial
> responsibility.  The connection was blurred since everything from
> design, testing, and manufacturing was done under one roof, and
> everyone was accessible.  Convincing a company of your capabilities,
> despite the lack of a formal degree is becoming harder to overcome.
> It's more difficult to make it to the interview stage than in the
> past.  I'm generally good at presenting myself given the chance.

I'll answer just this one time despite the earlier whining.  Don't get used
to it.

Companies are realizing that "manufacturing experience" is valuable in
itself.  It sounds like you worked closely (or in?) manufacturing when you
were a technician.  If you were exposed to manufacturing processes and have
some understanding what works and what doesn't, you may be qualified for
this role with maybe a little expanded knowledge of electronics.  I don't
know how much electronics you know, but a little more than "technicial
level" would be a good idea.  Understanding mechanical processes like how to
get people to specify the right tooling for plastic molds, what constraints
there are on customizing them after the fact, etc, are all very useful.

Don't be put off by seemingly high requirements of a job ad.  A lot of those
are wish lists or to provide a defense against accusations of unfair hiring.
The employer needs to be able to show that someone they didn't hire didn't
meet the stated requirements.  Read between the lines to try to understand
what the job really is and apply if you think you can do it.  Use networking
contacts to find the hiring manager directly and give him a phone call.
Resumes that don't look like a match may not get to him even though he might
hire you after a interview.  The bigger the company the more likely this is.
And remember, the best jobs are never advertised in the first place.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\04\04@141017 by John Day

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At 01:04 PM 4/4/2009, Olin Lathrop wrote:
>Use networking
>contacts to find the hiring manager directly and give him a phone call.
>Resumes that don't look like a match may not get to him even though he might
>hire you after a interview.  The bigger the company the more likely this is.
>And remember, the best jobs are never advertised in the first place.

This is the best advice anyone can give you. In 37 years I have never
once replied to an ad. Several times I have been head-hunted but
never accepted the job. I have 'advertised' in different places over
the years and gotten work from that. But pretty much everything I
have done has been the result of networking.

As an example, an acquaintance I made on a Yahoo list had some work
that needed doing for the company he worked for. He asked if I was
interested and what sort of work I liked doing. So we chatted. He got
me some contract work, which kept on going and going and after 6
months of that I was asked if I was interested in a full-time job.

I accepted!

Don't worry about being 45. I got this new job when I was 55. And as
a matter of interest out of nearly 30 in my department only about 4
or 5 would be under 45. Most of our tech's either came from the
testing areas in the factory or they have come from the ranks of
service techs at places like Canon, Fujitsu etc. Of the actual design
engineering team we have one guy 36, one 46 and the rest of us are
between 50 and 65. I am older than my boss (the engineering manager),
his boss and I am only three years younger than the divisional president / CEO.

Go and learn new stuff. Be relevant, and go out and get a college
diploma or some such in your now abundant spare time. If you turn up
for an interview with me that will count for a lot. Be as old as you
must be, but have a young energetic mind.

And get that chip off your shoulder, it is amazing how easy it is to
detect that sort of attitude in an interview in a candidate and you
should never underestimate how the interviewers perception of your
attitude colours his perception of you. And even more important, take
samples of your work with you tro the interview. Remove company names
or whatever if you need to, but proven ability is far more important
than paper ability.

John

2009\04\04@170544 by olin piclist

face picon face
John Day wrote:
> And get that chip off your shoulder, it is amazing how easy it is to
> detect that sort of attitude in an interview in a candidate and you
> should never underestimate how the interviewers perception of your
> attitude colours his perception of you.

Absolutely.  And it's not only perception but also the concious act of
thinking this guy is going to be difficult to work with or cause a morale
problem.  You may think you're hiding it, but most likely it will get thru
anyway.  Attitude problem is second only to not knowing your stuff when it
comes to reasons you don't get hired.  Money is lower on the list than most
people seem to think.

> And even more important, take
> samples of your work with you tro the interview.

Be careful with this.  I wouldn't show something unsolicited, but might have
something ready in case asked or the right time comes up.  The best way to
have it ready is to have it on the web at a URL that is clearly generic
enough so that the interviewer can tell it wasn't put up just for his
comsumption.  For example, I keep my resume at http://www.embedinc.com/olin so that
everyone can see that it's the same version everyone else sees.  I've gotten
jobs by referring people to my PIC development environment and its code
samples when asked.  Of course any samples you show had better be top notch.
You're basically showing people your guaranteed-not-to-exceed quality level.

I've also decided not to hire people that showed up with samples.  One guy
still sticks in my mind from 1985 or so.  He proudly showed off about 2
inches of bound up line printer listing of some assembler he'd written.  The
problem was most pages didn't have a single comment.  I terminated the
interview and threw him out on the spot.

By showing something off unsolicited you basically say you think it is a big
deal and your best work.  People tend to overestimate how big a deal stuff
they've done is, and more than once have made themselves look Mickey-mouse
by unsolicitedly showing off something that should have been matter of fact.
That's why it's better to have some examples on the web and point to them
only when asked to or to answer a closely related question.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\04\04@174048 by Listas de Correo

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face
Joseph Bento wrote:

..... I think we are indeed on a path of equalization.  The Indian
programmer is now
making nearly 20 times what he made several years ago.  Still cheaper
than an American IT worker, but American salaries are falling......

Is this bad?

Hi, my name is Mauricio and I'm from Argentina. First off all, I sincerely
wish you the best of lucks finding a new job.

Now, regarding some of the comments. Although Argentina is not a
manufacturing country, like China, we have seen an increasingly higher rate
of growth in the software field. I particularly began doing consulting (EE)
and although I have the normal experience the normal roller coaster that
this kind of job is, it is mostly growing, and people is trying to
manufacture thing locally.

Now, seen from my position, and equalization in the status of the job
positions in China, USA, and any other country, seems fair. I know this is
probably and utopia and is negative for some countries (and positive for
others), but, again, why should a USA Electronic Technician earn 45K$ a year
and an Argentinean ET earn 8K$?

Anyway, again I wish you the best of lucks and hope you find a good job
soon.

Regards,
Mauricio

2009\04\04@174838 by John Day

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At 05:06 PM 4/4/2009, Olin Lathrop wrote:
>John Day wrote:
> > And get that chip off your shoulder, it is amazing how easy it is to
> > detect that sort of attitude in an interview in a candidate and you
> > should never underestimate how the interviewers perception of your
> > attitude colours his perception of you.
>
>Absolutely.  And it's not only perception but also the concious act of
>thinking this guy is going to be difficult to work with or cause a morale
>problem.  You may think you're hiding it, but most likely it will get thru
>anyway.  Attitude problem is second only to not knowing your stuff when it
>comes to reasons you don't get hired.  Money is lower on the list than most
>people seem to think.

Amen


{Quote hidden}

Yes, you had better be prepared to show that your work is better than
anyone else's! But for example, I have been interviewing PCB
Designers, one who can present me a sample board and discuss how he
went about producing it is going to get a lot more credit than a guy
who just says he can do it.


>By showing something off unsolicited you basically say you think it is a big
>deal and your best work.  People tend to overestimate how big a deal stuff
>they've done is, and more than once have made themselves look Mickey-mouse
>by unsolicitedly showing off something that should have been matter of fact.
>That's why it's better to have some examples on the web and point to them
>only when asked to or to answer a closely related question.

You are right. Wait until I say "and do you have anyhting you have
done that you can show me" before you jam it under my nose :)

John


2009\04\04@214408 by Tony Smith

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face
Contrast this:

> Then the colleges and job forecasts are all wrong.  Even today, the
> college handbooks and counselors talk of what a growing demand there
> will be for electronic technicians.  Here? In the USA or EU?  To
> service what, when anything consumer is throwaway?  There are
> certainly specialized areas where there is demand such as military
> contracts and the like.

With this:

> I agree. The future brings exciting things.  We in the USA are no
> longer equipped to be competitive, though.  Kids are not embracing
> engineering - what's the future for an American worker?

Tony

2009\04\04@215916 by Joseph Bento

face
flavicon
face

On Apr 4, 2009, at 7:42 PM, Tony Smith wrote:

> Contrast this:
>
>> Then the colleges and job forecasts are all wrong.  Even today, the
>> college handbooks and counselors talk of what a growing demand there
>> will be for electronic technicians.  Here? In the USA or EU?  To
>> service what, when anything consumer is throwaway?  There are
>> certainly specialized areas where there is demand such as military
>> contracts and the like.
>
> With this:
>
>> I agree. The future brings exciting things.  We in the USA are no
>> longer equipped to be competitive, though.  Kids are not embracing
>> engineering - what's the future for an American worker?
>
> Tony


Are you suggesting a contradiction?  They talk of the demand.  Where  
is the demand as well as the students to take the classes?

Joe

2009\04\05@011813 by Tony Smith

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face
> >> Then the colleges and job forecasts are all wrong.  Even today, the
> >> college handbooks and counselors talk of what a growing demand there
> >> will be for electronic technicians.  Here? In the USA or EU?  To
> >> service what, when anything consumer is throwaway?  There are
> >> certainly specialized areas where there is demand such as military
> >> contracts and the like.
> >
> > With this:
> >
> >> I agree. The future brings exciting things.  We in the USA are no
> >> longer equipped to be competitive, though.  Kids are not embracing
> >> engineering - what's the future for an American worker?
> >
> > Tony
>
>
> Are you suggesting a contradiction?  They talk of the demand.  Where
> is the demand as well as the students to take the classes?


On the surface it appears someone has gotten something wrong.  After all,
what happens if you hold a class and no-one comes?  Anyway, no-one has ever
accused colleges & recruiters of being on the cutting edge.

The demand may be there, but not from Western countries.  The bulk of this
thread makes that clear.  Colleges want to make a profit, they don't care
about the nationalities of the students, so the classes are held for
Chinese/Indian/etc kids, who go home when they've completed the course.

It's entirely possible the definition of 'electronic technician' has
changed.  To what, who knows.  Remember when 'professional' meant doctor or
lawyer, whereas now it means you rock up to work in a suit?

Tony



2009\04\05@022823 by Joseph Bento

face
flavicon
face
Hello Mauricio,


On Apr 4, 2009, at 3:40 PM, Listas de Correo wrote:

> Joseph Bento wrote:
>
> ..... I think we are indeed on a path of equalization.  The Indian
> programmer is now
> making nearly 20 times what he made several years ago.  Still cheaper
> than an American IT worker, but American salaries are falling......
>
> Is this bad?

Certainly it isn't bad.  Am I being selfish?  I was making 45k, for  
example, I would hope to continue making that sum of money, since my  
lifestyle has adjusted to such a sum at the current cost of living in  
my locale.

Assuming your numbers are correct, can an ET in Argentina live  
comfortably on 8k?  Can you support your family, nice house, drive a  
reasonably nice car, afford the fuel, etc?

If salaries fall in the USA, everything else should fall equally.  
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I paid $1500 a month for a  
1 bedroom flat, and that was considered cheap.  It took a modest  
salary to just keep up with food and housing.  I've heard economists  
say that your housing shouldn't cost more than 30% of your salary.  If  
that's the case, that same flat would have to rent for no more than  
$200 a month to fall in line with an $8000 salary.  Is this the case  
in Argentina? Are wages keeping pace with inflation?

What we are beginning to see is unprecedented.  They can talk  
historical recovery of the markets all they like, but the US economy  
is no longer tied to just the USA.  If we are seeing the beginning  
stages of global equalization, We Americans have a lot of lifestyle  
changes to make, else our entire monetary system may require  
readjustment along with the perceived value of goods and housing.


> Now, seen from my position, and equalization in the status of the job
> positions in China, USA, and any other country, seems fair. I know  
> this is
> probably and utopia and is negative for some countries (and positive  
> for
> others), but, again, why should a USA Electronic Technician earn 45K
> $ a year
> and an Argentinean ET earn 8K$?

I have heard it said in India that an IT worker earning $30k is  
wealthy beyond imagination.  $30k for a family of four here in the USA  
would not be impoverished, but they would have to watch their spending  
to stay out of debt. We could also factor in health care costs, but  
that's another issue.  (One quarter of my unemployment check will be  
used to continue my current health coverage.  It's rather expensive  
when your company no longer picks up the tab.)

> Anyway, again I wish you the best of lucks and hope you find a good  
> job
> soon.

Thank you.  Please forgive me if I implied workers outside the USA  
were not entitled to a comfortable wage.  That was not the intent.


Regards,
Joe

2009\04\05@075737 by Listas de Correo

flavicon
face
Joseph,
   I was just planting a seed and nothing else.
   I think you were being selfish, as I'm sure I would be if I was put in
the same spot.

   To be honest, you make me think of this, since this is not something
that I usually care about.


Assuming your numbers are correct, can an ET in Argentina live
> comfortably on 8k?  Can you support your family, nice house, drive a
> reasonably nice car, afford the fuel, etc?
>

Well, that depends on what you call nice, but overall the answer is no.

hat's the case, that same flat would have to rent for no more than
> $200 a month to fall in line with an $8000 salary.  Is this the case
> in Argentina? Are wages keeping pace with inflation?
>

No, neither. Wages are stuck for a couple of years and prices keep going up.
Recently, due to the economy crisis and the lower demand of goods, most
prices have gone done however.
To give you and idea of rent, a 1 bedroom apartment with a kitchen and
dining room (40 sq meters) is nearly 350 USD.


>
> I have heard it said in India that an IT worker earning $30k is
> wealthy beyond imagination....


30K is not "wealthy beyond imagination" in Argentina, its is a good wage.
Probably for a MD or a manager of some sort. There are higher salaries, of
course. But that salary would give the worker some room to live nicely and
save some money.


> Thank you.  Please forgive me if I implied workers outside the USA
> were not entitled to a comfortable wage.  That was not the intent.
>

Non taken. As I stated before, I was just trying to make you see other
realities, just that.

Have a nice day.
Mauricio

2009\04\05@080930 by olin piclist

face picon face
Tony Smith wrote:
> On the surface it appears someone has gotten something wrong.  After
> all, what happens if you hold a class and no-one comes?  Anyway,
> no-one has ever accused colleges & recruiters of being on the cutting
> edge.

Remember that colleges telling you there is demand for students trained in
whatever they run classes on is just a sales pitch.  It shouldn't be
surprising that it might be a tad incorrect our outdated.  The stupid thing
is that apparently people were buying the sales pitch without thinking for
themselves.

> Remember when 'professional' meant
> doctor or lawyer, whereas now it means you rock up to work in a suit?

No, "professional" only means you make money at the activity.  I think in
general use it means more strictly you make your living or a good chunk of
your living from the activity.  I see no problem with someone saying they
are a professional car mechanic, for example, if they work at a gas station
fixing cars most of the day.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\04\05@082136 by olin piclist

face picon face
Joseph Bento wrote:
> What we are beginning to see is unprecedented.  They can talk
> historical recovery of the markets all they like, but the US economy
> is no longer tied to just the USA.  If we are seeing the beginning
> stages of global equalization,

We are not beginning to see it.  Where have you been the last 20 years!!?
Globalization has been going on for quite a while already.  This probably
explains why you got stuck getting dumped instead of seeing it coming and
doing something about before it was too late.

This reminds me a lot of when DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) started
going downhill in the mid 1980s.  They were very big in this area, and
everyone knew a few people working for DEC.  Their slide into
uncompetitiveness was obvious to anyone with half a brain, so those people
got out when they could over the course of 5 years or so.  There were some
good people working there.  Then the inevitable happened and there were
large layoffs.  I knew several hiring managers that told me that any resumes
from somone layed off from DEC automatically go into the "last resort" pile.
There were a few rare good people that stayed to the end because they had a
good thing going, but mostly those left were bozos that were too dumb to see
the ship was sinking or too incompetent to get on anyone else's ship.  If
you've got more resumes than you have time to read, you go with
probabilities to cut down the pile.  Weeding out by DEC made sense.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\04\05@104624 by Joseph Bento

face
flavicon
face

On Apr 5, 2009, at 6:22 AM, Olin Lathrop wrote:

> Joseph Bento wrote:
>> What we are beginning to see is unprecedented.  They can talk
>> historical recovery of the markets all they like, but the US economy
>> is no longer tied to just the USA.  If we are seeing the beginning
>> stages of global equalization,
>
> We are not beginning to see it.  Where have you been the last 20  
> years!!?
> Globalization has been going on for quite a while already.  This  
> probably
> explains why you got stuck getting dumped instead of seeing it  
> coming and
> doing something about before it was too late.

No, Olin.  I did something about it three years ago.  The company I  
was working for was in PHEV  (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)  
development with ideas and concepts that are not available in any  
currently developed vehicle.  I can neither 'show off' nor discuss my  
work with any potential employer beyond the most generic descriptions  
due to confidentiality agreements.  All our work completed thus far  
will likely be sold off to an unnamed partner.

I was not at a bench fixing two-way radio and TVs - I got out of that  
business years ago.  With the vehicle development, we were led to  
believe by the CEO and investors that what we were doing was so  
valuable, that our stock options would eventually skyrocket.  There  
was no reason not to believe them with the current demands for  
alternative energy.  The job was exciting, working with new  
technologies.  That morning a couple weeks ago was a bombshell to all  
involved when we were all called into the conference room as a group,  
and then individually to discuss our severance.

Two way radio and working for public safety years ago was 'safe' but  
not terribly well paying.  I took the gamble with something I thought  
had a great future, and now I'm looking because of it.

Joe

2009\04\05@110030 by Tony Smith

flavicon
face
> > Remember when 'professional' meant
> > doctor or lawyer, whereas now it means you rock up to work in a suit?
>
> No, "professional" only means you make money at the activity.  I think in
> general use it means more strictly you make your living or a good chunk of
> your living from the activity.  I see no problem with someone saying they
> are a professional car mechanic, for example, if they work at a gas
station
> fixing cars most of the day.


Not really, you have car mechanics & you have amateur car mechanics.  The
term professional didn't get applied, whether you made money or not.

Technically the difference between pro & amateur is money, buy that's not
how the terms were used.

For example, the Oz Government had a department (now renamed) for the
unemployed called the Commonwealth Employment Service, they also had a
parallel department called the Professional Employment Service.  Mechanics
went to the former, not the latter.

Probably another one of those regional things.

It was very common in dating services to use the term professional to
specify a degree, eg doctor, lawyer.  Now it means you wear a suit, typical
white collar stuff.  It makes picking out the rich ones a bit harder, lord
only knows how the country clubs weed out the impostors.

Tony

2009\04\05@190849 by Funny NYPD

picon face
well, I have been following this topic since it starts.
On the surface, we saw the US and world economy is sinking and people losing jobs. At first, everybody says, "Oh, it is just a USA problem", and now, "Oh, it is a world-wide problem due to the economy-tie and bank-ties".

I have started thinking why this is happening, since all the economy pain starts. And I have listened to the medium (radio, TV, news papers) from time to time to know who is being blamed at the time.

Listening to those "free-medium" opinions but not being brain-washed is not a easy job. (Today's medium has done a marvelous job on brain-wash regular Americans for the government and for the bankers. If you still think USA a real "free" country, probably not true in the medium world. When you turned on TV or Radio, most likely you will hear the same voice/opinion: the government voice ~= the banker's voice.)

I am not sure I totally understand what's going on, but from what I have seen, the US is losing competition capability on overall size.

>From eduction quality to company management, the whole US society is slowly falling behind the creative/innovation leaders of the world. Maybe the MBA education system is the root-cause of this failure? Who knows.

The management (for business or government) itself is science and art. But none of the MBA graduates I knew really knows what science is or what art is.

So, when cooking the finical books just became the main stream of the street this country will be lead into trouble. (if you know how to cook the book, you will be qualified for big bonus by bailed-out money, maybe, the tax-payer's money. Thank god, now most of them will be taxed back due to the new law, bad news, isn't it?) First, Enron, WorldCom, now the Madoff ponzi scheme, and the broken bank system. Is there a tie on all those event? Wall street, people may say. Maybe? But is Wall street the root-cause? I personally don't think so. (No public-medium seems to be interested on finding out how Madoff be the chairman of wall street for such a long time and how to prevent this kind of Madoff-the-second happen all over again.)

What we have seen is more and more fake financial system for quick money and less and less innovation/creation on science and technology. Spending more time for easy money rather than spending time on the hard and boring mathematical and science  has been popular for years on this society, and this may be the root-economy-cause of this country. Can this be reversed in one day? I don't know.

It may take couple of generations to get all those lost root back. Hopefully, American will still be strong, so will be the US $.

Funny N.
Au Group Electronics, http://www.AuElectronics.com




________________________________
From: Joseph Bento <.....josephKILLspamspam.....kirtland.com>
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public. <EraseMEpiclistspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu>
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2009 10:46:19 AM
Subject: Re: [EE] Where have all the technicians (and jobs) gone?


On Apr 5, 2009, at 6:22 AM, Olin Lathrop wrote:

{Quote hidden}

No, Olin.  I did something about it three years ago.  The company I  
was working for was in PHEV  (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)  
development with ideas and concepts that are not available in any  
currently developed vehicle.  I can neither 'show off' nor discuss my  
work with any potential employer beyond the most generic descriptions  
due to confidentiality agreements.  All our work completed thus far  
will likely be sold off to an unnamed partner.

I was not at a bench fixing two-way radio and TVs - I got out of that  
business years ago.  With the vehicle development, we were led to  
believe by the CEO and investors that what we were doing was so  
valuable, that our stock options would eventually skyrocket.  There  
was no reason not to believe them with the current demands for  
alternative energy.  The job was exciting, working with new  
technologies.  That morning a couple weeks ago was a bombshell to all  
involved when we were all called into the conference room as a group,  
and then individually to discuss our severance.

Two way radio and working for public safety years ago was 'safe' but  
not terribly well paying.  I took the gamble with something I thought  
had a great future, and now I'm looking because of it.

Joe

2009\04\05@195741 by Bob Blick

face
flavicon
face
> well, I have been following this topic since it starts...

Sorry, this has gone too far.

End thread.

Thanks,

Bob "Trilateral Commission"

2009\04\06@202423 by SM Ling

picon face
> Joseph Bento wrote:
> > What we are beginning to see is unprecedented.  They can talk
> > historical recovery of the markets all they like, but the US economy
> > is no longer tied to just the USA.  If we are seeing the beginning
> > stages of global equalization,
>
> We are not beginning to see it.  Where have you been the last 20 years!!?
> Globalization has been going on for quite a while already.  This probably
> explains why you got stuck getting dumped instead of seeing it coming and
> doing something about before it was too late.
>

It may not be true particularly during this period because of the
sudden and huge disruption caused by the financial meltdown.
Perfectly OK companies can be caught totally off guard first by the
sudden drop or disappearance in sale as everyone is holding back, and
secondly, not being able to get loan to tie over.  And at the last
resort, companies without enough reserve are cutting all they can or
cannot just to survive.

I think locally present electronics technician shall always have some
inherent advantages, not for consumer electronics but for huge dollar
installations and infrastructure.  The problem is it shall take a long
while for the main-street to pay for wall-street mess.

Ling SM

2009\04\07@015342 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
I was just about to comment and then when I grouped the messages together
saw Bob's message.

This should not have been in EE in the first place.
Putting it in OT is liable to give it  alonger life, although probably not
an indefinite one.

The thread is interesting, but not about things electrical or electronic
that you can build yourself.
It's related to things electrical but not about them per se.

If this sort of party is wanted, and it seems a relevant and useful one,
then OT is the place to hold it.




      Russell


Subject: Re: [EE] Where have all the technicians (and jobs) gone?


>> well, I have been following this topic since it starts...
>
> Sorry, this has gone too far.
>
> End thread.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Bob "Trilateral Commission"

2009\04\10@161253 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Joseph Bento wrote:

> If salaries fall in the USA, everything else should fall equally.  

No, that's not really how it works. The salaries are only part of the
cost of some things, and the cost is only part of the price.

The relative high wealth in the USA used to be mostly based on very
cheaply available almost unlimited resources, then based on a
comparatively high productivity, and for some time now slowly moving to
be based on borrowed money, borrowed based on the assumption that the
next generations somehow will pull this cart out of the hole where it is
sinking into; nobody really knows how.

Sooner or later this will come to an end -- you can only borrow so much
before your credit is all used up. So either we find again freely
available resources (unlikely), or we bring productivity up above global
levels by former margins (also unlikely), or wages will mostly equalize
with other places, globally.

And prices mostly, too... but not in the same pace, and not equally
distributed. Between the wages and the prices, the actual "what you
have" will fall...

> When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I paid $1500 a month for a
> 1 bedroom flat, and that was considered cheap.  It took a modest
> salary to just keep up with food and housing.  I've heard economists
> say that your housing shouldn't cost more than 30% of your salary.
> If that's the case, that same flat would have to rent for no more
> than $200 a month to fall in line with an $8000 salary.  

Again, this is not how it works. What they say is that if you only make
$8k/y, you should look for a place that doesn't cost more than $200 a
month. This means /not/ the same flat. Maybe not even the same area.

> Is this the case in Argentina?

Not so sure about Argentina, but probably not. E.g. in Brazil, what many
people do is they share a 2-bedroom flat that costs 200% of their salary
among 8 people. They probably haven't read these economists, but they
just know what they can afford. Others build a shack in one of the
shanty towns that exist around and in all big cities. Is often cheaper,
but has "collateral costs".

Being laid off is hard everywhere, but believe me, even though the USA
is not a real "social" economy, you're still on the sunny side of the
street. You may have to cut back on many things you like, maybe move to
a less expensive area, but if you have your (mental) shit together, you
will be able to find a way to make a decent living (where "decent" has a
somewhat global meaning :). This is more than can be said for a person
in a similar situation in many other places.

> What we are beginning to see is unprecedented.  They can talk
> historical recovery of the markets all they like, but the US economy
> is no longer tied to just the USA.  If we are seeing the beginning
> stages of global equalization, We Americans have a lot of lifestyle
> changes to make, else our entire monetary system may require
> readjustment along with the perceived value of goods and housing.

There isn't much that changed. What changed is that now the USA is not
anymore top-notch in productivity. Chinese, Indian and many other
workers are now more productive (in the sense of "profit created per
worker cost"). It's as simple as that: if you want to make ten times as
much as someone else, in the long run, you need to be about ten times as
productive, and you need to be able to show this.

I'm sure there are many Chinese engineers that make a tenth of what I'm
making now. And I hope they manage to make about what I make before I
have to make what they make :) -- but in any case, I don't really see a
reason to complain about this. Also, I'm sure most of them work much
harder than I do and did. So if something goes from here to there, it's
mostly because I failed to keep my advantage. Which isn't surprising, as
it was an artificial (and unfair) advantage to boot. OTOH, so far I've
been able to keep afloat without great difficulties -- which, again, in
my situation is much better than many others have it that really
struggle hard. Doesn't actually make me feel guilty, but I hope I won't
have any hard feelings when (or better "if" :) I have to start
struggling... :)

Gerhard

2009\04\10@163136 by Bob Ammerman

picon face
THIS IS NOT EE!!!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gerhard Fiedler" <listsspamspam_OUTconnectionbrazil.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <@spam@piclistKILLspamspammit.edu>
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 4:12 PM
Subject: Re: [EE] Where have all the technicians (and jobs) gone?


> Joseph Bento wrote:
>
>> If salaries fall in the USA, everything else should fall equally.  

---- etc etc etc for several pages....



2009\04\10@175159 by Michael Algernon

flavicon
face
{Quote hidden}

Mankind  will find largely unlimited resources.  Carbon, Silicon, etc.  
that will
be transformed by nano-technology and cheap power ( solar, fusion,  
zero-point )
which will vastly increase productivity.  This will happen if ..( snip  
- snip politics )
MA
{Quote hidden}

> --

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