Friday, October 12, 2018

STEM shortage in St. Louis

From my weekly dose of pain (a Google Alert for "STEM shortage), this tidbit from a tech entrepreneur in St. Louis: 
Citing a tremendous demand for programmers, McKelvey said that many people don’t realize that every company these days is a technology company. 
“We definitely have a STEM shortage in the United States and frankly worldwide, but it is profound in the United States,” he said. “We’re trying to hire engineers now at Square in St. Louis and we see the job market, although it’s not as bad as I think it was seven years ago when Jack and I decided not to have a technical office here in St. Louis.” 
While LaunchCode is part of the solution as well as developments in the Cortex Innovation District, the tech shortage remains acute in the area. 
“There is a huge tech shortage,” McKelvey said. “It is so huge that literally it is constraining the growth of every corporation in St. Louis.”
Literally! Constraining! The Growth! (allow me to be a tiny bit skeptical of this)  

10 comments:

  1. I have no doubt that programmers / coders / developers are in massive demand in many parts of the economy.

    That doesn't mean that there is an overall STEM shortage.

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  2. That was my initial thought too, there is only really a shortage in the computer science related jobs. Chemistry and some of the other sciences have a surplus of people.

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  3. There is a shortage at the wages they are offering

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    Replies
    1. This is true also in computer science jobs. Yes, some companies pay huge wages, but the reality in less glamorous companies completely different.

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  4. Similar kind of article popped up in the Globe.
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/10/10/biotechperks/xDZmcGTpzGCMmOMmewjjKJ/story.html

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  5. Maybe St. Louis just has a bad reputation (https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/murder-map-deadliest-u-s-cities/)

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    Replies
    1. The town is corrupt, the police are corrupt and crime is through the roof.

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  6. From friend of the blog Lisa Balbes: “I live in St Louis. You have my permission to be highly skeptical."

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    1. +100. I live about 90 min north of STL and am skeptical.

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  7. This may indeed be hype. That said, learning a higher level language like python or R that permits chemists, especially those like myself who spent a 36 year career in an analytical lab, can be an advantage.

    I found that automating the key unit operations in my most frequent analyses paid big dividends in productivity and helped me survive many rounds of layoffs (until my employer cut 70% of the R&D staff.) Both the python and R communities are very helpful and have people developing packages that do many common tasks.

    The Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry organizations organize workshops and have their material online. Because these are open source, one can extend the capabilities and give back. Doing this increased my productivity, packaging common functions for reuse reduced re-writing the same code. Version control and unit tests saved my bacon many times. Because I had free access to these tools, I could continue my professional development when we had very limited travel and training budgets.

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