Monday, October 20, 2008

Bad Times a Good Time for Tech?

Microsoft's Craig Mundie visited UC San Diego on Friday Oct 10, in order to connect with Jacobs School students and faculty as well as univeristy administrators.

After Mundie's tech demo, he sat down with Alex Pham from the Los Angeles Times, which resulted in a Q&A. Read the full Q&A here. The final question is below.

Do you see a problem with the quality of American computer science graduates?

It is a serious problem, especially in the U.S. For us, our raw materials are smart people. Our culture for the last few decades does little to celebrate engineers and scientists and a lot to celebrate entertainers and athletes.

Parents in the U.S. also are just more decoupled from the academic interests of their kids. They are less demanding of their kids academically and perhaps even encouraging their kids into whatever the parents see as the quickest way to make a lot of money. Taken together, that is creating a somewhat acute shortage of American kids growing up with any passion for math and science.

There is a silver lining in this economic turmoil. Perhaps fewer of our best students will now go to Wall Street. Maybe some will even stay and build things. We need smart people to tackle the hard, long-term problems society faces. It can't be done by politicians and entertainers. It's going to be done by engineers and scientists.

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