The Big Bang Reality

By Dr. John W. Mitchell

What if we created the perfect education system, the perfect certification programs, and the perfect jobs. If people don’t attend and apply, does it even matter?

One of the biggest challenges facing places of employment like the electronics and technical industries is that they are difficult. Quite frankly, there are many other career sectors that are easier. I understand that no career path is stress-free, but let’s say the starting salary is around $60,000 for an engineer with about five years of hard schooling to earn that degree.  Furthermore, if you leverage that with physics to obtain your engineering degree, you will come to realize that it’s even harder than it looks! Now, this concept may upset some people, but someone could go get a degree in international business and, not only that, could do it in three years and get paid around the same starting salary when done. I’ll also add that it’s “sexier.” What do I mean by that?  

In the cultural zeitgeist, there have only been a couple of shows in the last several decades that highlighted the engineer. And, in fact, even when they were doing that, they were making fun of the profession and people. Think about The Big Bang Theory, for example.  It was a huge hit show. But the premise is, “Let’s make fun of the scientists.” It was not, “Wow, these scientists are really great, look what they are inventing.” Instead, it was, we have the gorgeous waitress next door who’s surviving just fine—without attending university. She had her struggles, but she is actually in the more desired state than her neighbors who work and have their PhDs. In contrast, you might watch a show like Suits, and here is what that tells viewers. It says, “Hey, these lawyers can make a ton of money by manipulating people and look good doing it in Hugo Boss.” Mad Men did the same with advertising. 

So where is our cultural shift? How can we change the way we look at the more technical, “difficult” career paths?


When I was working on my doctorate in education, we took a tour of China visiting educational institutions and trying to understand the differences between their system and ours. I was able to meet with the Ministry of Education. We were discussing some issues, and he said that one of the challenges that they, too, are facing right now is that that also have a big need in this certain technical area, and they were just not getting enough people to pursue that path. I assumed, because of the power of their government in their citizens’ lives that they could just only open that job and only open those types of roles in their universities. They have more complete control as the government there.

I came to discover they did not use that approach. We do not either, obviously. We do not have that luxury, power, or ability in the United States. We cannot force people to fit into certain slots.

Since that is the case, for the good of our country and people, and for the technology and advances we all want as part of our lives in the coming decades, let’s work together as media, education, corporations, government, etc. to make studying for and training for these critical jobs for the future affordable, attractive, and with enticing positions and careers at the end of that hard work.  Wouldn’t it be great if the federal government offered the best programs a tuition forgiveness grant for each A-grade achieved!  Now that might get some more motivation in the areas that we desire to improve in!

It is crucial for employers to balance the difficulty of a job with adequate support, resources, and opportunities for growth to ensure employees can thrive in these challenging roles. While there can be burnout and decreased morale in those more difficult positions to fill, there are also plenty of valuable opportunities for personal and professional development, working on some of the most cutting-edge technological advancements and on the products and things that make our modern world convenient and innovative.