Better to be a software developer than a college professor?

Other than the headline, which is amusing, I am not sure about the methodology or significance of this study in US News (do they still exist?). And it seems that many professions, e.g. College Professor, don’t even get mentioned. Is it because they don’t even make the top 100? I doubt it. Anyway, Here’s more about the US News and World Report’s assessments:

“All jobs aren’t created equal. In fact, some are simply better than the rest. U.S. News 100 Best Jobs of 2014 offer a mosaic of employment opportunity, good salary, manageable work-life balance and job security. Some careers offer just the right mix of these components – for instance, nearly 40 percent of our picks are health care jobs – but the list also includes strong showings from occupations in the social services and business sectors. And for the first time, our No. 1 pick is a technology job. Read more on how we rank the best jobs, and check out our complete list.” Read the whole article and see the report in US News and World Report.

 

Learn to make something

This bit of advice rings very true to me. Read the whole article, but here’s a tasty bit. 

@andrewchen: New essays for 06/03/2013:

1) Learn to make something. Anything. First and foremost, I think it’s important to learn to make something. Anything. It could be an app, blog, table, YouTube channel, video tutorial, or anything else. Then study the people who have become successful enough to support themselves in this craft, and study them, copy them, stalk them, and meet them.

 

Friedman, mentioning Olin College: again about inventing your own job

Tom Friedman, quoting Tony Wagner, describes what he thinks should be taught today (that isn’t really being taught:)

““Today,” he said via e-mail, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ” (from NYT – Need A Job? Invent It!

You know, what’s amazing, this is exactly what the philosophy at Olin College of Engineering is! I’ve been teaching there for the last several months, a course in entrepreneurship, and as I’ve gotten to know the students and the other faculty, I’ve begun to understand their unique approach there.

Another quote:

“We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need, and facts that they can Google and will forget as soon as the test is over,” said Wagner. “Because of this, the longer kids are in school, the less motivated they become. Gallup’s recent survey showed student engagement going from 80 percent in fifth grade to 40 percent in high school. More than a century ago, we ‘reinvented’ the one-room schoolhouse and created factory schools for the industrial economy. Reimagining schools for the 21st-century must be our highest priority. We need to focus more on teaching the skill and will to learn and to make a difference and bring the three most powerful ingredients of intrinsic motivation into the classroom: play, passion and purpose.” (from NYT – Need A Job? Invent It!

If this interests you, you should read the whole article. And don’t miss the end:

“In the U.S., 500 K-12 schools affiliated with Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning Initiative and a consortium of 100 school districts called EdLeader21 are developing new approaches to teaching 21st-century skills. There are also a growing number of ‘reinvented’ colleges like the Olin College of Engineering, the M.I.T. Media Lab and the ‘D-school’ at Stanford where students learn to innovate.” (from NYT – Need A Job? Invent It!

Really good advice

Robert Krulwich gave this graduation speech. While it is aimed at Journalism students, it has some good stories:

“As I say, he was a news writer, writing copy off in a corner, sometimes for Murrow, but he’s pretty much an indoors guy, and he’s dreaming of course, of getting outdoors where things are happening and one night – in the middle of the night, on the graveyard shift, two a.m.—the bell on the wire ticker goes off and says an airplane has just fallen short of the runway at LaGuardia Airport and is sinking in the East River, right now.” (from Robert Krulwich Graduation Speech)

That story is about Charles Kuralt. You will have to read the speech to see how it ends.

The speech also has lots of good advice, for anyone:

Suppose, instead of waiting for a job offer from the New Yorker, suppose next month, you go to your living room, sit down, and just do what you love to do. If you write, you write. You write a blog. If you shoot, find a friend, someone you know and like, and the two of you write a script. You make something. No one will pay you. No one will care, No one will notice, except of course you and the people you’re doing it with. But then you publish, you put it on line, which these days is totally doable, and then… you do it again.” (from Robert Krulwich graduation speech)