Master's degrees - part of the H1B scam?

So, if you look around the campus programs for the computer science Masters and related fields in most modern universities, foreign students are frequently the majority - often the vast majority.

And, in my fruitless job search for a job with my newly minted Computer Engineering degree, every listing I could possibly find wanted a Master’s or a bunch of experience. Naturally, if you have that 3-5 years experience, there were many listings.

So, this got me thinking. I have a computer engineering degree, one that is supposed to be in great demand, so much that they import hundreds of thousands of people from India to do this job and the computer programming jobs. Yet, for some weird reason, despite companies needed to import all these people, I can’t seem to find anyone willing to hire me to get that initial experience.

(I ultimately started doing contract work and have actually made a lot more money than I would have, but I don’t have a salaried position yet)

So, uh…first of all, why isn’t there some website where companies are *required *to post the jobs that they want to hire an H1B for. There should be a place where if there *are *Americans that can do the job in question, they can apply and companies would need to justify with evidence why they cannot hire each American applicant.

And, second, this Master’s degree thing appears to me to be kind of a scam. Companies appear to be able to just say “we don’t consider anyone without a Master’s”, even for a job like a test engineer, and essentially that is why they can then turn around and get an H1B - few American’s have these degrees as they are really expensive and a pain in the neck.

Maybe I’ll get a Master’s eventually, but from what I have seen, the local programs appear to have limited value. There’s another 30 hours of courses using mathematical techniques I don’t actually need (I’ve written a QAM modem that works on FPGAs, and I did it *without *having to solve the various transfer functions by hand) and/or thesis projects that are less sophisticated than systems I’ve already built.

Because we do not live in a socialist country. The government does not control businesses or tell them how to operate, and laws on hiring practices are extremely limited. Basically the only laws that exist are those intended to protect against discrimination. It is not the government’s job to tell a business owner who they must hire.

Further, if the business prefers to hire immigrants it must be because they find it advantageous to do so. The government is generally averse to ordering businesses to do things that would make them less profitable or less efficient. If you were a business owner, would you appreciate the government ordering you to hire a certain person?

The employer / employee relationship is a contract between two people, and it is up to you to convince them that you are so valuable that they should spend their money on you.

A very common complaint. The degree system in America is definitely broken. Business owners know that many people have degrees, and they use a college degree as a screening mechanism for even the most menial jobs. At the same time, the value of a college degree has been diluted to the point where a bachelor’s is the new “mandatory minimum” and a Master’s degree is basically what a bachelor’s used to be. Colleges know that a degree is a commodity that people cannot live without, so they are able to charge whatever they want.

Welcome to capitalism!

So you DID in fact find someone to hire you to get that initial experience?

Maybe these companies want people who don’t think Master’s degrees are a pain in the neck and are willing to get them in order to get a better job?

I don’t see what you are complaining about. You have a 4 year degree and a job that is getting you experience for better jobs. You can get a Master’s degree for even better jobs. What more were you expecting?

I don’t have a big corporate job, although that seems to be a good thing at the present. I’m not complaining so much as annoyed that companies get to scam the system.

I have no problem with companies hiring what makes sense to them, I have a problem with them getting to just scam the system. The U.S. government has decreed that they can only import foreign experts through H1B for positions where citizens are not available.

In reality, that’s basically a lie and they are using it as a way to cheat the very country that hosts them. I’m fine with companies getting to do whatever they want…as long as they aren’t incorporated in America and don’t expect any of the advantages of America.

BUT in the OP’s case, the law is (at least used to be) that a company could not hire a foreign national on a work visa unless they could demonstrate that there were no Americans who could do the job. Perhaps I am misinterpreting the law but that is my (and maybe the OP’s) understanding.

Why would you expect to get a big corporate job directly out of college?

Plus you seem to be complaining you don’t have a big corporate job, while at the same time stating that NOT having that big corporate job is suiting you better.

I think this is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

I don’t think so. Socialism has nothing to do with it.
True, the government does not control business…but it does control the country’s borders. The governemt controls who is allowed to cross the borders, who is allowed to stay for a while as a student, who is allowed to stay for a while and work, and who receives permanent citizenship.

A website like the OP suggests would be possible.( Not that it will ever happen.)

This is true, but the “demonstration” part is very lax, especially for technical professionals. Basically some job ads, made so specific that they only match the person who want to bring in, will do the trick.

Yup, it’s all a scam. Well not exactly a scam, just another screwed up system. Screwed up systems are an American specialty so it shouldn’t be surprising. So we have tons of technically capable people in the job market, but they don’t necessarily want many of the jobs available, or they might not be pre-qualified in terms of experience. Some of the jobs aren’t in great locations, or can’t pay enough, or aren’t leading edge glamorous positions. And there are a ton of smart well educated people who just aren’t good workers. So you use some narrow specifications for experience and education and suddenly you can’t find any Americans to take the job.

I’ll get too far off track if I go into the degree scam here, but that one is basically a system for re-distribution of wealth into the colleges and their graduates. Nothing new there at all.

Classmates with better connections did get them. What I am complaining about is not having the option for such a job, at least not particularly easily, despite the claim that there aren’t any Americans who can do the work and therefore companies get special treatment from the Federal government.

What I want to know is what skills employers are looking for that leads them to believe that only a person with a master’s degree can do them. Surely the job does not depend on the entire curriculum, so it should be possible to break apart what they really need from the pure academic stuff. Then we can set up additional ways to demonstrate those skills, like exams, portfolio reviews, etc. Why can’t we do this?

For example, if an employer says, “I’m looking for master’s degree holders because, in my experience, most people with only a bachelor’s degree don’t understand the binary language of moisture vaporators. The rest of the stuff is bachelor’s level, yeah.”, then we can set up a National Moisture Vaporator Binary Language Exam that people with bachelor’s degrees can take to qualify for these jobs.

A national qualifying exam for one employer’s specific needs seems a bit like overkill.

One of those advantages of being in the US is, that they can hire who they want.
You are complaining about the things, you claim to be ok with.
A company looks only at the bottom line and if they get away with it, they try to get away with it.

In my 20 years of hiring and managing computer engineers, I would say your perception is off.
The companies I have worked for don’t like hiring H1-B applicants because it is an added expense to sponsor a full time foreign worker.
Rather, what happens is that work is farmed out to foreign contract companies who supply workers that actually work in your facility but are not employed by you. Engineering a product has a very well defined scope and it is easy to say “design me a blue widget that ties shoes and is wi-fi enabled” to a foreign company.
The engineering work left in this country is defining those projects and overseeing the work, and that is not an entry level position.

I don’t see what the “scam” part is about. Companies are going to hire the best employees they can find and retain. If they think the best employees have MAs then that’s who they’re going to hire. I assume you think they go through all of this to justify hiring an H1B employee?

I’m a software engineer and I’ve been involved in the hiring process for multiple tech companies and H1B status has never–never–been a consideration. By far the too most important qualities we look for is skill and passion.

why do you think you deserve a “big corporate job” right out of college?

I’ve never heard such entitled whining in my life. Keep getting experience and work on your degree. The job you want will come.

The H1B employees I work with all worked their butts off to get Master’s (and sometimes doctorate) degrees and experience. And they don’t whine when they need to take additional education. Take a page from that book.

I have to hire software developers sometimes, and I don’t think a master’s necessarily teaches them useful job skills. But it certainly demonstrates they are willing to put in time and effort to achieve something, which is exactly a quality I look for.

Like GrumpyBunny and others said, why do you think all these companies should have hired you right out of college? You had no track record to demonstrate your skills. You show an unwillingness to make the extra effort, expecting the great job should be handed to you sight unseen. There are certainly companies willing to take a chance on a complete unknown (as demonstrated by you landing a contract), but it takes more effort to find those. Quit complaining that you needed to actually make an effort.

Requiring an entire master’s degree because you need 5% of the skills taught in one also seems a bit like overkill.

Also, the exam wouldn’t necessarily have to be “National” - you could have, for example, a coalition of Texas employers set up a Texas Job Skills Evaluation Council Exam In Moisture Vaporator Binary Language.

I came back to mention that the days of getting a degree, then joining a company and moving up in that company based solely on work are LONG gone. Pretty much everyone hopscotches around to get a better job. And pretty much everyone commits to continuing education throughout their career.

I’ve worked in my field for 20+ years. I still get additional education, go to conferences, and go to webinars, because I have to learn more in the field. I’m getting certification in a skill my company needs (and it has only one other person certified in that skill). I’m working on a master’s degree. So, even when you get that big job, you still have to keep learning and growing.