Marc Andreessen: Software Is Eating the World

September 6, 2011

People in the U.S. and around the world lack the education and skills required to participate in the great new companies coming out of the software revolution. This is a tragedy since every company I work with is absolutely starved for talent. Qualified software engineers, managers, marketers and salespeople in Silicon Valley can rack up dozens of high-paying, high-upside job offers any time they want, while national unemployment and underemployment is sky high. This problem is even worse than it looks because many workers in existing industries will be stranded on the wrong side of software-based disruption and may never be able to work in their fields again. There's no way through this problem other than education, and we have a long way to go.

Related to this point about education, here's a CNN piece on why would-be engineers end up as English majors.

All across America state and local school district are cutting funding and laying off young and energetic teacher. Most of the public school kids are left to study in deteriorating environment. Teachers’ salaries and benefits been continually diminishing. What do you expect?

I know many tech companies are contributing more than in other industries but then they need the skilled workers more. I heard similar comments from Bill Gates before, but his answer was to extend immigration visas to foreign students. I do agree to his proposal but I believe taking care of our kids should be given a priority.

Maybe, Mr. Andreessen should call for industry summit and start a massive effort to correct the situation. Not as a charity, but look at it in the long term view and consider it a survival strategy for America tech companies.

knam25 [+1]
Sep 6 11 at 1:52 pm

A country as large and socioeconomically diverse as the United States is going to naturally have a pretty normal distribution of intellect and work ethic. Suggesting that we have an employment problem because education isn’t turning out enough software engineers and their related brethren is tremendously naive.

The only resolution to our employment situation is to increase the production/manufacturing content of our economy. Those are they type of jobs we need to match up with the skills we have. Education is not going to turn production skilled workers into iPad app designers and social media sales people. Not everyone can be in the front end of the bell curve.

Gates is right, we need more visas to solve the technology jobs problem, but we need massive growth in production oriented economic activity to satisfy our labor skilled to perform such work.

Buck Roy
Sep 8 11 at 7:16 pm

By *not* actively supporting primary, secondary and higher education, we are robbing generations of younger people, their future. We are being eclipsed by cultures that strive for excellence in education and work-force training.

Seldom could be worse than in my native Louisiana where descendants of our landowning, slave-holding and plantation gentry *refuse* to support public education and health services.

Robert Bigelow [+49]
Sep 9 11 at 6:39 am


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