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Code.org: Give Us More H-1B Visas Or the Kids Get Hurt

Soulskill posted 1 year,10 days | from the send-in-S.W.A.T. dept.

Education 271

theodp writes "Fresh off their wildly-hyped Hour of Code, Code.org headed to Washington last Thursday where H-1B visas were prescribed as the cure for U.S. kids' STEM ills. 'The availability of computer science to all kids is an issue that warrants immediate and aggressive action,' Code.org told Congress. "Comprehensive immigration reform efforts that tie H-1B visa fees to a new STEM education fund,' suggested Code.org co-founder Hadi Partovi, is 'among the policies that we feel can be changed to support the teaching and learning of more computer science in K-12 schools. We hope you can be allies in our endeavors on Capitol Hill.' Also testifying with Partovi was inventor and US FIRST founder Dean Kamen, who also pitched the benefits of H-1B visas (PDF). 'We strongly encourage Congress to pass legislation that directs H-1B visa fees to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools to participate in FIRST,' Kamen testified. 'Specifically, these fees should support efforts to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools to participate in FIRST.'"

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Train the kids in valuable skills (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964055)

Like asking if you want fries, or how to fill out forms to receive government cheese.
Train what you have, fix what you have, rather than importing more of the problem. It's like selling a product at a loss, but making up the profit on volume.
Dean Kamen is a cool rich guy, and like most rich guys, can afford to advocate things that don't impact him.

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964299)

Training them to get government cheese would probably be more useful than teaching them programming. At least then it wouldn't get their hopes up that there are actual jobs awaiting them at the end. It's my experience that most advertised IT jobs these days are just mirage jobs. They're posted for legal reasons and so that tech companies can run to Congress and say "Look at all these jobs we can't fill! We need more H1-B visas!" But if you actually waste your time trying to GET one of those jobs, you'll find that they're as fake and inaccessible as a closed movie set.

And even the jobs that ARE real have their wages kept artificially low by all the H1B's. And god help you trying to get anything these days in programming if you're over 35 (only hip kids can code, I guess).

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964385)

most advertised IT jobs these days are just mirage jobs. They're posted for legal reasons

I love the term "mirage jobs" and I'll have to remember to use it sometime. Thanks!

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964423)

Looks great from the ad, but the closer you get, the more you see it's not real.

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964709)

Congress doesn't care about what is real. All they care about is lobbying. So get out there and make this public!

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964565)

Exactly how does programmer or IT person get a job that requires minimum 2 years Win9 experence ? They can't so the company hires H1b and states no local talent.

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964567)

All so we can pour money into India, to keep the Chinese out.

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (1)

roman_mir (125474) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964643)

Except that now, that USA doesn't produce much to feed itself (500Billion USD/year trade deficit) once the importers decide that the USD is not worth the paper it's printed on and won't buy US bonds anymore, the only government cheese that those, trained to get it will get is dick-cheese, and if I understand the term correctly, it wouldn't provide much of any nutritional value.

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (5, Insightful)

w1kL3f (316139) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964645)

There's a lot of ageism now in the software engineering sector. I'm over 40, first began programming BASIC and C in the 1980s, and have kept current: I now program in Python and JavaScript. Does the latter matter to employers? Not that I see. I'm unemployed and can barely get an interview or a meeting, let alone get hired after they see that I have a couple of strands of grey hair (I still have all my hair, though). Doesn't matter how I dress, or if I wear a hoodie and chucks. I'm old, and apparently that means I'm worthless in this market.

these people need to be beaten with sticks (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964747)

You're not 22 anymore, so they can't hoodwink you into working 70 hour "crunch time" 52 weeks a year. You probably expect paid vacation, also.

Also, regarding these code.org people:
WHORES! FILTHY SYPHILITIC WHORES! Burning alive is too good for these people.

but, but, racism and diversity is strength! (3, Insightful)

Cryofan (194126) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964761)

get with the program--multiculturalism is COOL and if you are against mass immigration you are a bigot and probably the next Hitler.

The fact that multiculturalism and mass immigration makes millionaire investors richer is just a coincidence. Just keep saying that....Just keep saying that....Just keep saying that....

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964751)

Train what you have, fix what you have, rather than importing more of the problem.

Really? Are you actually suggesting that I should stop importing foreign children to be trained as IT specialists when they grow up? That I should actually try to train Americans to work in America to meet the future needs of America?

Let me tell you something, mister know-it-all. *I* don't make any money on training American children to be contributing members of society, and other businesses can't keep wages down in IT if we have to pay future American workers instead of their more qualified, less outspoken, thankful for any chance foreign counterparts.

Won't someone think of the (non-America) children?

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964869)

Dean Kamen is a cool rich guy, and like most rich guys, can afford to advocate things that don't impact him.

The term "limousine liberal" comes to mind.

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (3, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964937)

Dean Kamen is a cool rich guy, and like most rich guys, can afford to advocate things that don't impact him.

The term "limousine liberal" comes to mind.

Because there is no catchy pejorative coined for right-wing billionaires pushing their own policy preferences?

Re:Train the kids in valuable skills (2)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964893)

The problem with 'rich guys' is that as a society we highly prize wealth and associate it with superiority in general. If one knows how to make lots of money then usually they are seen (and see themselves) as being generally more intelligent then people who do not. Some get really wrapped up in this perception and forget that they are domain experts, really good at a narrow (but profitable) field but not necessarily skilled in other fields. It is the same basic problem we see in tech sites like slashdot (I am an engineer! that means I understand sociology and economics better then those experts that make half my income!) and why the small business lobby is so easy to manipulate (I made a bunch of money, so I understand how to build a good economy!). Scale up to richer people and the effect can get even more pronounced.

They're not even trying... (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964063)

... to make sense anymore.

They might as well say "Wombat refuges must be funded so as to secure America's future in space exploration.

The whole thing is a non sequitur.

Visas have nothing what so ever to do with the academic success of American kids. Nothing.

Aliens could come bubble out of the 10th dimension and seal the US off in a pocket universe... and guess what... they could still get a decent education. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!?! Because immigration has nothing to do with education. The US could be utterly isolated and yet have a fantastic education system.

Example? Look at Japan... notice how their education system is terrible because they don't have really permissive immigration policies.

Oh wait, their education system is great despite having pretty tight immigration.

Stupidity. Anyone that honestly gets suckered into such arguments should get the word "moron" tattooed on their forehead. Just for efficient identification.

Re:They're not even trying... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964153)

It's worse than a non-sequitur:

Let's play EC101 for a second here:

1. Not enough students are persuing 'STEM' education.

2. Hypothesis: 'STEM' education needs to be improved, to improve retention and attraction and/or the rewards of pursuing 'STEM' education need to be more visible, greater, or both.

3. Ergo, we should issue more H-1B visas in order to lower the real wages for workers in 'STEM' fields and thus incentivize more students to study the (even if rewarding, quite challenging) 'STEM' subjects!

A non-sequitur would be downright sensible by comparison. At least disconnected statements tend to not be internally contradictory...

If you are having difficulty recruiting students for a subject, why would you possibly want to reduce the rewards for studying a subject? That's the opposite of what you want to do. Now, admittedly, some non-STEM students or STEM-abandoning students are motivated more by shitty teaching or other similar factors than they are by future job prospects; but unless you want to abandon basically all theories of human motivation underlying vaguely capitalist economies, you have to admit that expected payoff is sort of a major factor in whether to stick with hard math or go and do something else.

This one strikes me as similar to the (also surprisingly common and equally absurd; but self-interested) "We can't attract enough good talent, also wages are too high!" whining from employers. Hey, dumbass, supply curves, no? If you can't attract good talent, how can you also be paying too much? Unless your work environment is brutally fucked on various social levels, if you were overpaying, talent would be knocking down the door to come join you...

Re:They're not even trying... (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964227)

Stop reading Slashdot headlines.

It sounds like Code.org is pushing to have H-1B visa fees earmarked for education programs, rather than just going to general funds.

I skimmed through TFAs (poorly-organized as they were), and I didn't see anything implying they want more H-1Bs. Rather, the most I saw was implying that there could be an increase in H-1Bs, so it would make sense if that increase also increased STEM funding so we don't need H-1Bs in the future.

Re:They're not even trying... (5, Informative)

theodp (442580) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964387)

From the link to Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC: "Modifications to the guest worker program must also include an increase in the number of H-1B visas". Many of Code.org's backers are also FWD.us backers.

Re:They're not even trying... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964469)

If H-1B visa fees are earmarked for education then more visas means more fees means more education. So yes it's implied that more H-1B visas would be better. For the children, of course.

Re:They're not even trying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964725)

If H-1B visa fees are earmarked for education then more visas means more fees means more education. So yes it's implied that more H-1B visas would be better. For the children, of course.

Maybe they want to raise the H-1b fees which means more money for education? Just kidding, they want more H-1b visas.

Re:They're not even trying... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964809)

If cigarette taxes are earmarked for smoking cessation programs then more cigarettes being purchased means more non-smokers. So yes, it's implied that more cigarette sales would be better.


Re:They're not even trying... (5, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964373)

As painfully obvious as is the logic, it's a way to present a distasteful, wage-lowering piece of immigration reform in a positive light.

Your Congressional representative can always use a positive spin to sign something favorable to large campaign contributors.

For the children.

Re: They're not even trying... (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964201)

I didn't see anything in your post that indicated you knew what the arguments were.

Kamen et al think they have found a revenue stream in the fees collected from H1-B visas that could be used for additional funding of STEM programs. It has nothing to do with more permissive immigration policies being sold as a way to improve the education system (other than through money only).

Unfortunately, I expect the gov't to be losing money on the H1-Bs due to inefficiencies, but I don't know for sure.

Re:They're not even trying... (3, Interesting)

njnnja (2833511) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964311)

This makes sense once you realize that it isn't about what they are claiming it is about. Tech businessmen want cheap labor - everyone here on slashdot gets that. But the other half is more about transferring wealth from the middle and upper middle class (in this case, through the lowered wages of developers, a moderately well paying profession in America) to the poor by providing funding for inner city schools.

We can't tax the rich since they have the ability to control their income, and the poor can't provide funding for their own schools or else they wouldn't be poor. So the funding for programs for the poor has to come from the middle class and those with high incomes in high cost of living areas who have relatively little wealth and therefore can be easily taxed either explicitly or implicitly.

Re:They're not even trying... (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964339)

Visas have nothing what so ever to do with the academic success of American kids. Nothing.

No, but they DO have something very much to do with your chances of getting a job when you leave academia, and the wages you're going to make.

Atlernate sources of funding (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964389)

TFS is not very clear, but if you read it closely (twice, in my case) it appears these guys are suggesting diverting the money collected from H1-B visa applications into "STEM" (how I hate that acronym) education for poor American kids. That makes a little bit more sense insofar as, if you stand on your head and squint, it looks like a token effort to tax immigration to pay for education in the US.

It's funny how everyone who makes his living on research or advocacy for a particular problem says the solution to that problem is to provide more funding for his organization. That is what TFS appears to be really saying - a bunch of people working on STEM education want more government funding for STEM education. Film at 11. ;-)

I don't know how much an H1-B visa fee is, but it must be less than the salary difference between an H1-B guest worker and the actual labor rate set by the domestic market. Otherwise no one would make money off H1-B workers and there would not be this constant clamor for more of them. This small amount of money, collected from a relatively small population of H1-B workers, will never be more than crumbs from the table anyway. It might be enough to fund a dog and pony show like FIRST, but not nearly enough to effect systemic change in the educational system.

In September 2013, the IEEE magazine ran a special series [ieee.org] on the STEM "crisis," and based on that, I am now convinced that crisis is nothing more nor less than wishful thinking that high-tech industries can someday, somehow get skilled workers for less than the fair market rate.

Re:They're not even trying... (1)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964451)

Did you actually even read the summary? They aren't saying, "Visa will magically allow us to train better STEM" or even that more STEM people will help train new ones at home. Instead, what they said was "Give us more H-1B Visa, but put the fees from them towards funding STEM education & activities like FIRST." In other words, allow companies more H-1B Visas to meet the immediate need while using the funds generated to train up locals to fill those gaps when the Visas run out.

Re:They're not even trying... (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964549)

Not particularly realistic. Every tax...er...."fee" is being glommed to band-aid the yawning budget deficit. Prying those funds away from the pork salesmen just isn't a realistic goal. Once fees/taxes pass through the US government's fiscal event horizon, it just disappears.

Re:They're not even trying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964713)

"for every wombat refuge you create, if you give a million dollars to NASA, NASA will gain a million dollars - clearly wombat refuges will save the American space program"

Japan, not exactly a shining example (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964721)

With its student suicide rate and lost generations. You also need the jobs at the end of the tunnel

Re:They're not even trying... (1)

Cryofan (194126) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964783)

it's just word-salad and word-association stuff.

Kids and mulitculturalism is cool, man! What are you, a racist?

Destroy-Your-Own-Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964069)

Don't Allow your Citizens to Work.

Re:Destroy-Your-Own-Economy (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964383)

Citizens have all these pesky rights to quit, ask for raises, etc. that you don't have to worry about when you're employing someone who knows they're going to get booted out of the country if they don't do exactly what you tell them to do.

Makes it likely to move overseas operations (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964079)

Seems like a positive idea.
The balance is that its easier to shift workers overseas rather than import aliens.

All because they don't want to pay people (5, Insightful)

Thantik (1207112) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964083)

what they're worth. Flood the market with H1Bs, so they can tank the amount paid because then there is lots of competition. STEM education is there, the people are there, the (large) businesses simply don't want to pay them the $100k+ they deserve. They want a large pool of $20k/yr workers.

Re:All because they don't want to pay people (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964655)

How do we decide what people are worth though? If there are lots of people who want to do a job, for a low amount of money, maybe that's all the job is worth. What does it matter what country the people are from. Especially in this case where the people filling the jobs live in the same country. It's one thing to complain about companies moving jobs overseas, but if there's jobs in your area, and there's people who will do the job cheaper than you, then you need to adjust your expectations. I don't see how hiring H1-Bs is any different from hiring people fresh out of college (or even before they graduate), because they don't have as many financial responsibilities, or may just be more accustomed to living frugally.

teaching and learning (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964097)

You can teach them, but you can't make them learn.

What the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964105)

No, putting more money into education from taxation reform, reduced congressional spending on war, spying, and all the other stupidity and shenanigans that they've gotten up to the past three decades is what will fix it. I don't want to sound like the "They took are jobs" crowd, but isn't this what it breaks down to? First they farmed out our industrial base to other countries because it was cheaper, to the point where we do not have the infrastructure to even be competitive anymore, now they're attempting to farm out most of the STEM fields to cheaper foreign labor in the name of better education? As the great Gary Burbank aka Earl Pitts said, "WAKE UP AMERICA!"

Analysis of another option... (4, Insightful)

JD-1027 (726234) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964111)

So what if we allowed zero H-1Bs? Wouldn't wages for these positions go up, which would attract more people to the fields requiring workers. If they need workers so bad, why isn't anyone willing to pay increased wages for it? (tongue firmly planted in cheek) By the way, this is coming from someone who recently helped hire a great programmer and wonderful person from India on this very type of visa.

Re:Analysis of another option... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964297)

That, or perhaps the jobs would just be outsourced to Indian contractors instead.

Re:Analysis of another option... (1)

danheskett (178529) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964653)

You would need two things:

1. Raise the demand by limiting H1B's and other pressure values.

2. Heavily tax overseas labor.

People respond to incentives. Smart people right now are doing frivolous things like games and entertainment instead of things people say we need - like STEM. The key factors to getting people to respond are (1) MONEY - how much you pay them and (2) QUALITY OF LIFE. IT can be hard on #2, but #1 should be easy to solve for.

Re: Analysis of another option... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964759)

The argument from many tech execs is that they want to bring in top talent from anywhere. The real effect however will be wage erosion

I say give the execs exactly what they say they want. As many h1Bs as they want at an administrative cost of 100k per year per visa

but how are the rich gonna get richer that way? (2)

Cryofan (194126) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964825)

remember, above all else, the USA was from the start set up to make the rich richer.

James Madison, the designer of the federal constitution, wrote that the structure of the fed govt created by the constitution was to preserve wealth inequality by making it harder for the majority to control the govt.

Don't you love the constitution?

Inner city kids don't give a fuck about software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964113)

Let's be real here. I was a social worker for many years, and the very last thing that inner city American youth are interested in is programming, software, or computers.

They're interested in pretending to be thugs, consuming drugs, engaging in gang violence for the hell of it, prostitution, and otherwise rejecting the so-called "white man's" education (even when all of their teachers are black).

There's no hope for these kids. I finally realized this after many years of working with them. It's not even worth it for the 1 or 2 (out of tens of thousands in total) who manage to make something positive of themselves. That's the underlying problem, of course. Many of these kids don't want to improve their situation, and so they don't do what it takes to be better off.

We shouldn't waste our time with them. We should shun them, isolate them, and otherwise keep them away from real society. There's no hope for them.

Re:Inner city kids don't give a fuck about softwar (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964219)

What we need is more vocational training and real life workplace training for kids rather than feeding them all this bullshit that they'll never amount to jack squat unless they go $50k in debt and attend a college that they may or may not graduate from, and that may or may not land them a decent job if they do. With vocational training, they could be welding, building, learning a trade right out of high school, and rather than going $50k in debt they could have positive $50k in the bank by the time 4 years is up. That's a nice start on a retirement nest egg at that age. The current system is fucked and benefits only the schools and the institutions who are generating the loans that hobble young people for years if not decades at a crucial point in their life when they could be good, productive members of society.

Re:Inner city kids don't give a fuck about softwar (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964279)

We should shun them, isolate them, and otherwise keep them away from real society. There's no hope for them.

You were a social worker, and your plan to fix society is to remove the undesirables? Why can't we all get along, social worker? Why? I'll tell you why: because you don't want people to get along.

I was an inner city American youth, and I was interested in programming, software, and computers. Social workers like you actively prevented me from working in IT because "you live in the inner city so you must be a thug."

Admit it, social worker. Social workers like you would be out of a job without thugs, wouldn't you? A social worker's real job is to perpetuate social stereotypes, isn't it? You are the problem with society, social worker. You are the problem.

Re:Inner city kids don't give a fuck about softwar (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964325)

So we (reform groups, government or private) need to go after the media artist to push a message and the labels to punish artist that don't play ball? The parents grew up with the same messages the kids are now getting. That cycle seems pretty well set; maybe we can try to influence instead of breaking it.

I agree with your sentiment, but I refuse to give up.

catcha: retrofit

Re:Inner city kids don't give a fuck about softwar (1)

Cryofan (194126) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964865)

de-reference that pointer, homie, or I'll put a cap in yo ass!

Fuck off (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964117)

There are plenty of coders in the country ready, willing and able to take these jobs. You're just too cheap to pay them what they're worth or willing to wait the three months it will take to get them up to speed.

Hauling in people from other countries who are no better than the ones here is just an excuse.

Again, you want the unemployment rate to decline? Hire people who are unemployed. They'll work harder and better for you than someone who has a job because they don't want to go back.

Oh, and Slashdot, the fuck off applies to you as well. Your interface just plain sucks and selecting 'Classic' doesn't do shit. Hmmm, maybe we do need more H-1B visas so you can read this site.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964305)

Well technically coders should work for minimum wage plus an adjustment for the cost of paying off their student loans. I mean, fast food workers work for minimum wage .. why can't coders? Are coders better human beings than fast food workers?

Until the cost of a coder drops to near minimum wage -- say $15 an hour, there is a shortage of them.

Why is there unemployment? There wouldn't be unemployment if people were willing to work for less. Clearly people are refusing to work for less than 50K, which is what ENTRY LEVEL coder salaries are at .. isn't it. Coders should take a pay cut so that more of their fellow coders can be hired. If coders were working for $25K instead of $50K we would have double the amount of coders and an increase in availability of coded products and software (therefore those things would be cheaper).

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964495)

As a teacher and tutor, I'd have to disagree. About 50% of students in CS101 just don't get it, they have an extreme time taking a process and breaking it down into smaller and smaller steps, or converting a real life action in to a math function. Of the remaining 50%, I've seen less that 10% who I feel could be competent professional coders. Most minimum wage jobs can be taught in a few days at most, coding doesn't seem to qualify for such short training.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964523)

And what do you do for a living?

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964323)

The idea that there are plenty of coders must come from the Bay Area or Seattle: In most of the Midwest, hiring is a challenge. Let's take my current position, which I just got a month ago: It uses a relatively uncommon stack: Scala, Couch, Coffeescript, for scientific visualization. They were willing to hire locals with no actual experience in either of the three technologies.

The 'you are paying too little' argument doesn't really work very well on aggregate, because it's not like developers sit on their asses without taking a job for months. If you pay more, you will get better talent, but the problem of having an unfilled position isn't gone, just transferred to the place you took the developer from.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964623)

In most of the Midwest, hiring is a challenge.

Here in Metro Atlanta - there are plenty of qualified people and since Lockheed has been canning folks, a lot more.

It uses a relatively uncommon stack: Scala, Couch, Coffeescript, for scientific visualization. They were willing to hire locals with no actual experience in either of the three technologies.

OK, so you're in the Midwest and having a hard time getting people to work with your highly esoteric development stack doing what is probably some very niche work. And if a kid who just got out of say NorthWestern and gets an offer from your company, Google or Apple, I wonder which one he's gonna choose - Hmmmmmm.

Long story short, I had my resume sent to an employer via a friend here in Metro Atl. Feedback: They got flooded with people with, not only the technical qualifications, but also the industry experience too (banking).

tl;dr: If you are having problems getting people, pay more or relocate the company to a coastal metro area.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964411)

or willing to wait the three months it will take to get them up to speed.

If I were an employer, why the hell should I pay someone $15k for three months of "getting up to speed", when I could bring in a guy from India who can start being productive now, because he's spent the last three months of his own time becoming an expert in the new up-and-coming buzzword technology this project will be using, while the American candidate was brushing up on his old COBOL skills, because he knows that will give him "job security" just as soon as he can find a job that needs it?

Hauling in people from other countries who are no better than the ones here is just an excuse.

If the foreign worker can be ready to go now, that's "better". If the foreigner has been focusing on skills for a new career on the other side of the planet, rather than just continuing an old career with a new company, that could be "better". If the foreigner won't be demanding a raise every time he learns a new skill, because his education didn't teach him that his pay must reflect his skills more than a complex economic balance, that's "better", too.

Of course, if I were an employer, I couldn't actually say publicly that Americans are too self-centered to fit the job. I'd go with some PR-approved line like "the foreign candidate was better qualified", even though it'll piss off the highly-educated American COBOL specialist. .

It's not just the SV billionaires. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964441)

There are plenty of coders in the country ready, willing and able to take these jobs.

Able? Not according to many of the folks who make the hiring decisions here on Slashdot.

Or how many times have you heard, "We need someone to hit the ground running." when talking to an employer? The thing is to have someone come in and know everything required for the job from the development stack, languages to the business.

And now, being unemployed makes you unqualified.

Why so picky? Because they can. There are plenty of people out there and unfortunately, the qualification bar has been set so (unreasonably) high that very few people are "qualified".

Here's something I saw (I can't find it anymore) about recruiting in Silicone Valley.

This head of development was looking for JavaScript Engineers. As soon as she said that, I had this image of her HR people looking for 'BSJSE' on people's resumes.

She then said that there are only 25 JavaScript engineers in the World who can do what she needs and half of them work at Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

Her product? Just another advertising-social media-shit. And I got the impression that all she wanted to do was poach and by developer osmosis, get technology from other companies.

When you have everyone thinking that their project is rocket science-the most innovative thing EVAR, you get this mentality that one needs the best of the best of the best, when in fact the 3.0 IS grad is perfect for the job.

Re:It's not just the SV billionaires. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964659)

And now, being unemployed makes you unqualified.

You gotta have a job to get a job. The unemployed aren't qualified to be employed.

It's not just the SV billionaires. (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964669)

I have always hated the comment about hitting the ground running. It is effectively impossible for anyone to do so since they don't know the internal structure and political climate of the company. At best they can make educated guesses but they don't truly know what they're getting into until they're working for a few weeks.

Any time an interviewer uses that phrase should send up warning signals to the interviewee that the company doesn't really know what they want and the job will not be what is advertised.

If you want someone to hit the ground running, hire from within.

Re:Fuck off (1)

bmajik (96670) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964489)

I'm not sure you are in a position to make this claim.

I've been interviewing candidates for software engineering jobs since I was in college. I constantly talk to people I cannot hire because of raw smarts issues.

My current employer is paying obscene amounts of money to hires of all ages, but especially entry level positions.

The base comp package at my company has grown significantly during my career, often in response to market pressures. Furthermore, there are legally required flyers that post job titles and salary ranges in each kicthenette that are there to help prevent abuse of h1-b workers by making sure nobody is in the dark about prevailing salaries for a given job.

The bottom line is that in my 15 plus years in interviewing and hiring, finding good people is hard, even if you're throwing around big money.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964597)

My experiences are much the same. People apply but when you interview them, they give a lackluster performance. Can't handle basic problem solving or information gathering exercises. Even asking them to pseudocode n! or fibonacci(n) gets less than satisfactory answers, and those are common exercises they should have already had plenty of exposure to. The funny thing is, half of these candidates are H1Bs too -- as a hiring manager I'm typically more worried about finding the right fit than where they come from. No point worrying about their immigration status until I find someone I actually want to hire.

Re:Fuck off (1)

danheskett (178529) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964687)

The bottom line is that in my 15 plus years in interviewing and hiring, finding good people is hard, even if you're throwing around big money.

Guess what.. most people are idiots! Sorting the wheat and chaff has been around for a while. Julius Caesar often complained about how hard it was to find good general staff.

The attitudes! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964929)


I constantly talk to people I cannot hire because of raw smarts issues.


Guess what.. most people are idiots!

The attitudes! And people wonder why kids are reluctant to go into the field.

"Hey kids! You need to learn coding! You won't get jobs though because you are stupid! So, sign right up kids!"

See, if it were me - just lowly stupid-unintelligent me - I'd be creating a campaign to show HOW kids and current coders are coming up short.

Like, "Hey educators! The analytical skills are coming up short, so how about concentrating on that instead of the technology du jour?"

And if you are currently having problems finding people, how about ignoring Dice, LinkedIN and other lamoe places.

But hey! I'm stewpid.

inner-city schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964125)

There are inner-city schools? Are you sure you don't mean inner-city prisons?

My own proposal for fixing H1-B (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964137)

Drop the program and most of the INS madness. Instead for a fixed cost, say around that of a cheap new car, allow anyone to enter and stay indefinitely on a green card.

Re:My own proposal for fixing H1-B (1)

danheskett (178529) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964695)

This is how a lot of countries work. You can buy citizenship in several countries, although it's keep fairly confidential. You make a large investment in many foreign countries and you get "free" citizenship or at least legal status.

Yes, a lot of countries love socialism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964767)

The primary reason people buy citizenship is for the welfare benefits.

Now, green card holders aren't eligible for all the benefits a full citizen would, but what with the US being such a welfare state, there's still plenty for them to collect. Furthermore, even the poor in the US lives better than many middle class people in poorer countries. Likewise, the few welfare that green card holders can collect is still better than the welfare they could have collected elsewhere.

Welfare includes welfare granted and controlled by the feds (which is growing by the day). This move is brilliant, since green card holders can't vote in federal elections. In other words, you'll end up with a larger segment of the population which are powerless to the federal government, so the feds have more bodies to freely exploit.

When the feds want to increase spending and government power, they'll appeal to helping those "poor green card holders". Hey, the stats show there's so many of them! You can't deny numbers and SCIENCE*

(*bold face lies, but not like voters will notice)

When the feds want to appear to be fiscally responsible, they can stab those green card holders in the back and cut them off. There's minimal risk to the feds' jobs, since again, green card holders can't vote in federal elections.

Oh but what if those green card holders become full citizens later and remember the feds' past transgressions? Guess who's in control of approving their citizenship? Guess who has made them dependent on government welfare and unable to uplift themselves? *Evil laughter*

What? where? who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964139)

... directs H-1B visa fees to enable underserved inner-city and rural schools ...

So immigrant workers can be code monkeys and teachers? What is the goal here? Immigrant teachers would see the under-sized pay-packet as a jackpot: Just wait until they meet those American parents.

Isn't it interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964157)

Isn't it interesting that there is also a "shortage" of physicians and you don't see an organization trying to get docs from overseas?

The "shortage" of nurses ended years ago: kids saw the writing on the wall and jumped into nursing schools.

Holy journalistic spin, Batman! (3, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964171)

So let me get this straight... Code.org wants to tie H-1B visa fees to education programs, and somehow that's twisted into the headline saying they want more H-1Bs?

It sounds more to me like they're saying "if you're going to bring in a foreign tech worker because Americans aren't good enough, you're going to pay for American STEM programs so Americans are good enough in the future". I can't really object to that idea.

Re:Holy journalistic spin, Batman! (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964547)

This is exactly the argument your Senator will use when he signs the bill for you.

Use the smell test.

A major employer of nerds wants to import hordes of foreign nerds to work for less money than our local chaps during a prolonged dearth in the job market..

Re:Holy journalistic spin, Batman! (3, Informative)

Sez Zero (586611) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964707)

Ok, I read the testimony.

You are right, Kamen specifically didn't ask for more visas. Instead, he asked that the visa fees, at least in part, be directed to his program, FIRST. TL;DR: Give me money.

Partovi barely mentions visas, but also wants part of the fees to go to a new STEM education fund and wants changes to E-Rate (internet/telecomm to school libraries). He's got his fingers in a lot of pies, so skeptically I'm assuming one of them would benefit from unspecified E-Rate "changes".

Jona, a prof at Northwestern, basically wants more scientists to be involved in teaching STEM. No visa mention.

Cornwall, an ME, writes like an ME and doesn't mention visas; instead focuses on education.

So, yes, there's a lot of spin in the headline. Because headline.

This is already being done (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964183)

The Department of Labor has a call out right now for proposals through the Youth CareerConnect Program. This program utilizes fees from H-1B visa applications to fund STEM initiatives for all high school students. Here's the call for proposals. http://www.dol.gov/dol/grants/20131301.pdf So without rtfa I have to ask, why don't these lobbyists know about the existing program?

Re:This is already being done (3, Insightful)

Koby77 (992785) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964341)

As a side note, the United States is already one of the biggest spenders on education, and yet gets very mediocre results.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/25/where-u-s-stands-in-education-internationally-new-report/ [washingtonpost.com]
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/ [cbsnews.com]

So even if they decide to throw a lot more funding for this STEM education it is unlikely to have any real impact.

Re:This is already being done (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964723)

From the opening statements, Congress allocates about $3 billion to STEM education already.

FIRST soured me (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964205)

Lego and Robotics, sounded like great things to get my boy involved in STEM, when I was asked to help coach I was shocked to find it was $800 for a team of 6 kids (the cost is per team, we just happen to be on a small private team) most of these teams are school funded so tax dollars pay for it. I'd love to see the financial breakdown of that organization. BTW Up to the state level I never found a employee, just volunteers. Still wondering where the money went.

Another fact I found annoying, It mattered little how good you were at STEM it was more about cheer leading and exposure. The kids from that team went to state, and while all the other teams were nice and friendly, they did not appreciate watching teams who lost on the field advance because essentially team spirit was 50% of the the score. I understand professionalism and all, but "rah rah, go team go" won't help you in a career like real results.

None of those kids wanted to participate this year. They don't think it's a fair competition.

Indentured servants or bust! (0)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964231)

"We must keep American wages artificially low!" Bill Gates told the kids. "Yes, by bringing back indentured servitude we will pave the way for a bright future!" said Tim Cook. "Jobs for everyone (from India and China)!!" said Melissa Mayer

Re:Indentured servants or bust! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964739)


And don't forget, using slave labor to mow your lawn, clean your house, and make your sammich is awesome, since these are jobs Americans (US citizens) don't want!!

Culture that hate STEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964251)

If you change the culture that hate STEM, you will see more people picking STEM.

Kids avoid something that is poorly paid and not respected. I say make the right decission.
Every TV program or movie that make STEM people looks like undesirable, make STEM undesirable. Is not something complex at all.

Getting "mercenaries" for the USA empire to do the job of his citizens may end as well as did for the Roman empire.

Kill H1B & Enforce ITAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964295)

How about killing H1B visas totally, enforce ITAR restrictions, pass laws saying that 95% of anything remotely ITAR restricted needs to be designed and built in the US. Pass laws that make anything critical (electric grid, etc) is restricted like ITAR. Companies are using H1B to import people, train them then export them with their job overseas mostly to India. They work on military tech that would be ITAR restricted had it been developed in the US.

So much statism on slashdot today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964303)

What the fuck happened to slashdot? It used to be that here was one of the few places you could have an intelligent conversation about the free market with other like minded intellectuals and tech geeks. Nowadays its all about left wing liberal idiocy mixed with ignorance about economics and education. This whole thread is a JOKE, you guys are attacking people who are trying to fix our common GOVERMENT problem! Get your fucking heads out of your asses, kids, I think you will find that if you are a smart and effective person, the code.org folks are on your side. Only the stupid and incompetent need to fear the free market, that is why it is US against the goverment.

Hire locally (2)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964351)

If I had a nickel for every "consultants by the pound" pitch where they sent in just barely competent coders for me to review, I'd be a millionaire (all of the big subcontinent body shops are guilty of this). Then they've got the balls to pay these poor saps peanuts and attempt to bill me $100-200/hour (depending on how many hours they've spent in front of an Idiot's Guide to C## training video). Then you see all the even poorer saps who are going through 2 or 3 layers of additional consultancies before they make it to our HR dept's door. I feel bad for them, but...I'd rather just recruit at local universities and get people who have identifiable skills, already speak English that most folks can parse, and won't get rotated back to the subcontinent randomly as one or more of their handlers has "visa issues."

Talk to your local university with a decent Engineering or Comp Sci curriculum and start recruiting. Save time, money, aggravation, and help our own college grads get into the game. I refuse to even take calls from the body shops anymore even though my corporate overlords are trying to force the issue. It's just not worth the hassle.

So lets deflate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964395)

wages with H1-Bs and lets deflate them by creating a glut of workers. Everybody wins!

Better yet... (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964473)

Better yet, instead of redirecting H1-B fees to inner schools, reduce the number of STEM related H1-Bs. This should allow wages in these fields to increase and with increased wages there will be more people wanting to pursue careers in those fields. You would think a country based on capitalism would understand how supply and demand works.

Re:Better yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964625)

Forcing people to hire Americans is artificially increasing the cost of doing business. If a product can be made for less, for a salary agreed upon by the worker, why should you put obstacles to that?

Re:Better yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964785)

Because a business will do what ever increases profits, even if it is ethically or legally wrong. I feel the government needs to lightly regulate business to keep it serving the community and country it resides in.

BTW good reason to support local businesses, these global issues don't apply to them, and social pressure is enough to keep them in check. Sadly, they can't compete in many global markets.

Re:Better yet... (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964917)

...a country based on capitalism...

Penny in the air...

No (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964557)

No Amnesty.. Reform = actually enforcing laws..

No more H1Bs - there are plenty of willing unemployed US citizens..

35% (4, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964571)

35% of IT related graduates over the past three years have failed to find gainful employment in their field. It would seem difficult for a company to justify H1-B employees given that. The only logical conclusion is that H1-B visas are being used for some other purpose than a shortage of skilled workers. I would posit, as many others have, it is to keep costs low to maximize shareholder value.

US First? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964647)

Obviously the US doesn't mean U.S.

How to get something you want done in Washington.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964671)

Add the following words to your lobbying efforts:
Inner city

Letting lower cost foreign labor into the US will only fly if you OMG THINK OF TEH CHILDRENZ!

I have a better plan. (3, Insightful)

Ken_g6 (775014) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964693)

First, force companies to pay H-1B workers a lot more - unless they pay for training of an American for the entire duration that the H-1B worker works for them. Then, if the American they trained does not work for that same company at least as long as the training period, penalize the company the salary difference they saved. This forces the company to pay the American what they're worth, or lose a lot of money otherwise.

Stop the PC games and get real... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964697)

I really wish the PC (political correctness) fountain of poo would just go away...forever. We are DROWNING in its poo. ENOUGH ALREADY. Start telling the damn truth and let's get on with REAL solutions... for example, the SECOND HIGHEST per student education spending in the USA is... drum roll.... WASHINGTON, D.C. Yet, the students there are among the lowest performers on "standardized testing". The lie that poor student performance really has anything to do with "poor (underfunded)" schools must end otherwise nothing will ever really change for the better-- NOTHING.

this is treason (1)

Cryofan (194126) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964705)

and should be punished as such

train us to work with stuff that works (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964733)

momkind to our rescue again http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stem+cells&sm=3

kreme of the kode contest seeing results? stay tuned..... little miss dna cannot be wrong

Re:train us to work with stuff that works (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964933)

I got an eye on your ass.

Makes as much sense as... (1)

Pollux (102520) | 1 year,10 days | (#45964803)

This makes about as much sense as when the Clinton administration opened trade with China [globalpolicy.org] by personally promising [dlc.org] reforms in Chinese government and an increase in Chinese demand for American cars and products, leading to an increase in manufacturing jobs. Yep, makes [economist.com] perfect [manufacturingnews.com] sense [epi.org] .

How about less h1b (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964855)

A lot less.

Fsckin A-holes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964919)

So increase the number of H1-B's so that the US kids won't have any jobs when they graduate. What kind of morons thin k this crap up. The motivation behind increasing H1-B visas is 100% GREED. The big companies want the slave labor.

Ok that's enough for me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#45964951)

I'm done with Slashdot. This "article" is absurdly misleading. I am rather critical of our work visa programs because I see abuse of it on a daily basis in my line of work. But the headline and summary of TFA... there are no editors here, just a company looking to make money just like every other sensationalizing "news" outlet.

Fuck you, Slashdot. You were great a decade ago... oh look what you have become.

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