Posts about Career

Google Summer of Code is Accepting Application Now

Google Summer of Code 2011 is accepting applications. This is a great initiative I have highlighted previously: Google Summer of Code 2009, Google Summer of Code 2008. The deadline for applications is April 8th.

Google Summer of Code is a program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects. The program has brought together over 4,500 students with over 300 open source projects, to create millions of lines of code. Participants (including students and mentors) have represented over 85 countries. The program, which kicked off in 2005, is now in its seventh year.

Participating organizations include: R Project for Statistical Computing, Debian Project, WordPress and the Marine Biological Laboratory. (9 of the 175 participating organizations list Ruby as part of their project :-).

For 2010 the effort had a budget of $5,000,000 and accepted 1026 students partnering with 150 Open Source organizations. This year they plan on 1,150 – 1,200 student positions. For 2007 they had 6,200 applications and 7,000 in 2008. I don’t see any data on applicants for 2009.

As for the application it should include the following: your project proposal, why you’d like to execute on this particular project, and the reason you’re the best individual to do so. Your proposal should also include details of your academic, industry, and/or open source development experience, and other details as you see fit. An explanation of your development methodology is a good idea, as well.

Related: Engineering Majors Hold 8 of Top 10 Highest Paid MajorsHow To Become A Software Engineer/Programmerposts from my management blog on software development

Students Will Spend Year Doing Career-Changing Research Thanks to HHMI

This year, 116 medical, dental, and veterinary students from 47 schools across the country will take a break from memorizing molecular metabolism and studying drug interactions to spend a year in a lab doing hands-on research. The break from regular coursework, funded through a $4 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) initiative, is intended to give students an opportunity to immerse themselves in science and consider whether they want to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.

Nearly 500 medical students applied for the research year through the HHMI-National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars and HHMI Medical Research Fellows programs. Both efforts seek to strengthen and expand the pool of medically-trained researchers. The funding HHMI provides is a great resource.

“We want medical, dental, and veterinary students to become immersed in the life of academic science for at least a year. And we hope they get so engaged in the process and life of scientific research that they will decide to continue it for the rest of their lives,” says Peter Bruns, HHMI’s vice president for grants and special programs. “We need more doctors who do basic research to improve human health.”

As part of its commitment to fostering the translation of basic research discoveries into improved diagnoses and treatments, HHMI has developed a range of programs to nurture the careers of researchers who bridge the gap between clinical medicine and basic science. In addition to the programs for medical students, the Institute supports medical training for Ph.D. students in the basic sciences and has made specific efforts to fund top physician-scientists as HHMI investigators.

The medical research scholars and fellows programs are open to medical, dental, and veterinary students enrolled in U.S. schools. Most have completed the second or third year of their professional program when they spend a year working in a lab either at the NIH or at an academic medical center or research university they select. During the last 25 years, more than 2,100 students have participated.

The HHMI Medical Research Fellowships program allows medical, dental, and veterinary students to pursue biomedical research at a laboratory anywhere in the United States except the NIH campus in Bethesda. Each student submits a research plan to work in a specific lab with a mentor they have identified. Since 1989, about 1,200 students have participated.

This year, 74 students from 26 medical schools and two veterinary schools were chosen as fellows from a pool of 274. While most students elect to stay at their home institution to do their research, this year 17 fellows will work in labs at a different school. Their research topics include schizophrenia, wound healing, organ development, and many other important biological questions.

The HHMI-NIH Research Scholars program was established in 1985 to encourage medical students to pursue research by allowing them to take a year off from their medical studies. The program has since been expanded to include dental and veterinary students. It has enabled about 1,000 students to work in NIH labs.

Students selected as research scholars often enter the program with only a general idea of what type of research they would like to do. As soon as they are accepted, they begin researching the more than 1,100 laboratories at NIH. They meet with a number potential mentors before finalizing which project to pursue under the guidance of their NIH advisor and HHMI’s staff. The students are sometimes called “cloister scholars” because they live in apartments or dorm-style rooms in a refurbished cloister on the NIH campus in Bethesda.

This year, 42 students from 28 medical schools and one veterinary school were chosen as research scholars. More than 200 students from 93 schools applied.

Related: Directory of Science and Engineering Scholarships and Fellowships$600 Million for Basic Biomedical ResearchHHMI Expands Support of Postdoctoral ScientistsGenomics Course For College Freshman Supported by HHMI at 12 Universities

IBM Fellow Grady Booch on the Value of Engineering?

In this webcast IBM Fellow Grady Booch discusses the critical role engineering plays in moving society forward. And he explores the history of science and engineering. This interesting webcast would be a good video to show children, or anyone, to bring out the desire to study engineering and encourage them to study so they can join the many engineers shaping our world and our future.

Related: What is an Engineer?Engineer Tried to Save His Sister and Invented a Breakthrough Medical DeviceThe Engineer That Made Your Cat a PhotographerEngineers Should Follow Their Hearts

Engineering Majors Hold 8 of Top 10 Highest Paid Majors

In August, employers responding to a NACE survey reported plans to trim their college hiring, hiring 7% for 2010 graduates from 2009. In addition, just 29% of those employers said they would increase their starting salary offers for the Class of 2010.

Most, but not all majors, experienced salary decreases. In fact, as a group, graduates with computer-related degrees (computer programming, computer science, computer systems analysis, and information sciences/systems) posted a 6.1% increase – the highest increase reported, which pushed their average up from $56,128 to $59,570. Among those earning a computer science degree, the average rose 4.8% to $61,205.

As a whole, engineering graduates also fared well. Their average salary offer as a group is up by 1.2% to $59,245. Although that increase is modest, engineering majors account for eight of 10 top-paid bachelor’s degrees in the Winter 2010 Salary Survey.

Major Average Salary Offer
Petroleum Engineering

$86,220

Chemical Engineering

$65,142

Mining & Minteral Engineering (incl. geological)

$64,552

Computer Science

$61,205

Computer Engineering

$60,879

Electrical/Electronics & Communications Engineering

$59,074

Mechanical Engineering

$58,392

Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering

$57,734

Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering

$57,231

Information Sciences & Systems

$54,038

Related: Another Survey Shows Engineering Degree Results in the Highest PayS&P 500 CEO’s: Engineers Stay at the TopThe Software Developer Labor MarketMathematicians Top List of Best Occupations
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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, Fulfillment and Flow

“After a certain basic point, which translates, more or less, to just a few thousand dollars above the minimum poverty level, increases in material well being don’t see to affect how happy people are.”

The speech includes, the first purpose of incorporation at Sony:

To establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society, and work to their heart’s content.

Excellent books by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1991. People enter a flow state when they are fully absorbed in activity during which they lose their sense of time and have feelings of great satisfaction.
Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning.
Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1997. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with exceptional people, from biologists and physicists to politicians and business leaders to poets and artists, the author uses his famous “flow” theory to explain the creative process.

Related: Honda EngineeringThe Science of HappinessCurious Cat Management: posts on psychologyEngineers Should Follow Their HeartsThe Purpose of an Organization

Feynman “is a second Dirac, only this time human”

Oppenheimer recommendation of Feynman, page 1

Great quotes from Oppenheimer’s recommendation of Richard Feynman

“He is by all odds the most brilliant young physicist here, and everyone knows this. He is a man of thoroughly engaging character and personality, extremely clear, extremely normal in all respects, and an excellent teacher with a warm feeling for physics in all its aspects. He has the best possible relations both with the theoretical people of whom he is one, and with the experimental people with whom he works in very close harmony.”

Bethe has said that he would rather lose any two other men than Feynman from this present job, and Wigner said, ‘He is a second Dirac, only this time human.”

Oppenheimer recommendation of Feynman, page 2

Images of letter from Oppenheimer to the University of California – Berkeley Recommending Richard Feynman for a position, November 4, 1943 (from Big Science at Berkeley).

via: He is a second Dirac, only this time human.

Related: Vega Science Lectures: Feynman and MoreThe Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard P. Feynman and Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands – posts on physics

Kids Not Clamoring for Engineering Careers

Engineering careers with experiences

Engineers are terribly misunderstood. Which might be one reason 85 percent of kids say “no way” to an engineering career. “The stereotype of the engineer is just wrong,” says Warren Miller, a retired Florida engineer who e-mailed me after I wrote about the short supply of workers in science and technology.

They think it’s “someone who is half-robot super genius” and “way more interested in machinery or circuitry than people.”

Part of the misunderstanding starts with adults who influence future workers. The survey found that only 20 percent of parents have encouraged or will encourage their children to consider an engineering career. More girls say their parents are likely to encourage them to become an actress than an engineer.

The National Science Foundation estimates a shortage of 70,000 engineers by 2010. To reverse the trend, we need to apply the engineer’s biggest tool: logic.

Based on the title of this blog you can guess I am in favor of engineers. Engineers can find great rewards in their careers from interesting work to high pay and leadership positions. In the modern world you need an understanding of science and engineering just to be a literate member of society.

Related: What is an Engineer?The Importance of Science EducationEngineering the Future EconomyWhat do Science and Engineering Graduates Do?

Movie Aims to Inspire College Students With Tales of Successful Minority Scientists

African American women are still rare in many science professions, despite their increasing representation in undergraduate science classes. The documentary – Roots to STEM: Spelman Women in Science—seeks to explore how these women were able to succeed and to hold them up as role models.

Tarsha Ward remembers begging her mother for a stethoscope so she could be the star of career day at her kindergarten class in Charleston, S.C. Her mother presented her with something that proved more prophetic: a white lab coat.

“For me that was the beginning of a career,” said Ward, who is working toward her doctorate in biomedical sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., focused on cancer research. “Ever since then everything was about science.”

“If you get into a bind you have to think it out yourself,” she said. “A Ph.D. has really taught me to think on my own. You’re here thinking in the midnight hours and there’s no book to tell you what’s right. You just have to see if it works.”

Such struggles have already paid off. “In seven months, I published my first paper. I worked on it day and night,” said Ward, a 2004 Spelman graduate. “I (loved) the fact that I could find something no one else could find and actually publish it.”

Read the full press release

Related: Documentary on 5 Women Majoring in Science and Math at Ohio StateNational Girls Collaborative Project for STEMWomen Working in ScienceWomen Choosing Other Fields Over Engineering and MathHHMI Expands Support of Postdoctoral Scientists

S&P 500 CEO’s: Engineers Stay at the Top

2008 Data from Spencer Stuart on S&P 500 CEO (link broken so it was removed, it is so sad that companies still pay people to manage web sites that don’t even understand basic web usability principles such as web pages must live forever) shows once again more have undergraduate degrees in engineering than any other field, increasing to 22% of CEO’s this year.

Field
   
  
% of CEOs
2008
   
2007
   
2006
   
2005

Engineering 22 21 23 20
Economics 16 15 13 11
Business Administration 13 13 12 15
Accounting 9 8 8 7
Liberal Arts 6 6 8 9
No degree or no data 3 3

In 1990 Engineering majors accounted for 6% of the bachelor’s degrees in the USA (1970 5%, 1980 7%). Business accounted for 23% of the majors in 1990 (1970 14%, 1980 21%). Liberal arts 3% in 1980 (1970 1%, 1980 2%).

The report does not show the fields for the rest of the CEO’s. 39% of S&P CEOs have MBAs. 28% have other advanced degrees. The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard tied for the most CEO’s with undergraduate degrees from their universities at 13. Princeton and the University of Texas had 9 and Stanford had 8.

While the CEO’s have engineering education backgrounds the work they have done is often in other functions. The top function that CEO’s that have worked in during their careers: Operations (42%), Finance (31%), Marketing (24%), Sales (17%), Engineering (11%).

Data for previous years is also from Spencer Stuart: S&P 500 CEOs are Engineering Graduates (2007 data) 2006 S&P 500 CEO Education StudyTop degree for S&P 500 CEOs? Engineering (2005 study)

Related: Another Survey Shows Engineering Degree Results in the Highest PayScience and Engineering Degrees lead to Career SuccessThe Future is Engineering

HHMI Science Internships

Undergraduate Scholars Live the Scientific Life at Janelia Farm

With Janelia Farm lab heads as their mentors, the students have delved into projects that include identifying the neurons that control feeding behavior in fruit flies, designing better labeling molecules for use with sophisticated microscopy techniques, increasing the longevity of dragonflies, and developing computer programs for automated image analysis. The Janelia environment, they said, provides a unique opportunity to focus intently on research.

The summer program offers students more than just hands-on experience in the lab – it aims to expose them to a more complete picture of what it is to work and think as a scientist does. An important component of the program is a weekly seminar in which students present their work to one another and field questions. Likewise, scholars are encouraged to attend the campus’s frequent seminars, conferences, and journal clubs, for exposure to research other their own.

For Gloria Wu, who is majoring in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, the interdisciplinary nature of research at Janelia Farm and the diversity of backgrounds among her fellow scholars were important assets. “A lot of students are coming from math or computer science backgrounds, and that really stimulates a lot of discussion between us, so we can see other approaches to solving biological questions. That is something really wonderful about this program,” she said.

Related: Summer Jobs for Smart Young MindsInternships Pair Students with Executivesscience internship directory

Another Survey Shows Engineering Degree Results in the Highest Pay

The PayScale salary survey looked at both starting and mid career salary. Engineering topped both measures. Of the top 10 mid career salaries, 7 were engineering degrees – including the top 4. The survey is based upon data for full-time employees in the United States who possess a Bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees and have majored in the subjects listed above.

The top 11 paying degrees are:

Highest Paid Undergrad College Degrees
Degree Starting Median Salary Mid-Career Median Salary
Aerospace Engineering $59,600 $109,000
Chemical Engineering $65,700 $107,000
Computer Engineering $61,700 $105,000
Electrical Engineering $60,200 $102,000
Economics $50,200 $101,000
Physics $51,100 $98,800
Mechanical Engineering $58,900 $98,300
Computer Science $56,400 $97,400
Industrial Engineering $57,100 $95,000
Environmental Engineering $53,400 $94,500
Statistics $48,600 $94,500

Related: Engineering Graduates Paid Well Again in 2008High Pay for Engineering Graduates in 2007Engineering Graduates Get Top Salary Offers in 2006posts on science and engineering careersposts on engineering education