Engineers on the brink of extinction threaten entire tech ecosystems

Rupert Goodwins:

The graph the company showed at the latest VLSI Symposium, however, was a real shocker.

While computer science course take-up had gone up by over 90 percent in the past 50 years, electrical engineering (EE) had declined by the same amount. The electronics graduate has become rarer than an Intel-based smartphone.

That part of the technology industry which makes actual things has always been divided between hardies and softies, soldering iron versus compiler, oscilloscope versus debugger. But the balance is lost. Something is very wrong at the heart of our technology creation supply chain. Where have all the hardies gone?

Engineering degree courses are a lot of work across a lot of disciplines, with electronic engineering being particularly diverse. The theoretical side covers signal, information, semiconductor devices, optical and electromagnetic theory, so your math better be good. There’s any amount of building-block knowledge needed, analogue and digital, across the spectrum from millimetric RF to high-energy power engineering. And then you have to know how to apply it all to real-world problems.