2013 February 08 Friday
Harvard Degree Worth Less Than South Dakota School of Mines?

$56,700 beats $54,100.

Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after a decade-long commodity bull market created shortages of workers as well as minerals.

Employers need brains that can do specific kinds of work. They'll pay highly for the right skill sets.

Maybe the average Harvard grad's income goes up faster. But the average Harvard grad has a higher IQ. That will help the Harvard grad become more productive and make better career decisions, with or without a Harvard degree.

I suspect the percentage of high cognitive load jobs that require specialized training is rising. The Harvard grad with a degree in English can still fit into many management positions. But in high tech someone with an engineering or computer science degree can make as much money in the 1st or 2nd rung of the management ladder as someone makes in the 3rd or 4th rung in other less demanding industries. How much does a manager of a fast food place make? Not much. Ditto a bank branch manager.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 February 08 06:50 PM 

bbartlog said at February 9, 2013 7:39 AM:

I expect that pretty well everyone who goes to the SDSMT is there to acquire a specific technical skillset, and then go make some money by doing useful things. At Harvard that probably describes a minority of the students. Probably makes a difference in terms of just how productive they really are at the moment they graduate.
As an aside I see that the student body of SDSMT is 74% male. Probably not a party school.

shiva1008 said at February 11, 2013 10:23 PM:

Mining and energy currently have a lot of demand for skilled workers, and you would get to travel alot. But ethically, I don't think it's such a good industry to get into. Being able to work in ethically-neutral (or positive, if those exist) fields is a luxury... which is why SWPLS tend to avoid the military and energy sectors.

Randall Parker said at February 12, 2013 6:11 PM:


SWPLs who major in humanities do it mainly because humanities are easier. Think about your ethical framing: If ethically positive fields of work do not exist this is tantamount to saying that humans are evil. If the only ethically positive fields are ones which are not sufficient to maintain civilization then you are saying civilization is immoral. Up to you if you want to think that way. But is that really how you think?

Is fossil fuels extraction ethically negative? Imagine we shut down what SWPLs view as ethically negative industries. What would happen to the world's population?

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