Why Are Fewer People Studying Science and Engineering?


Good morning John. Guess what’s behind this
thing? New York City! And guess what’s behind this thing? It’s me.
I’m at home again. I was in New York because SciShow just got
a big new sponsor, and we we doing press tours, talking to people, anyone who would listen
to us about science education and stuff. You may have noticed that we’ve never, ever
done a branded video here on Vlogbrothers- this is not one of those. They don’t know
that I’m making this video. Emerson, for the most part, makes stuff that
you would never buy, unless you, like, own a power plant, or a Fortune 500 company, or
something. And so the advertisements we’re doing together
aren’t about getting people to buy their products, because that’s not the problem they have. The problem they have is that they solve big
engineering problems and big science problems and to do that they need scientists and engineers. And with not as many people graduating with
so-called ‘STEM degrees,’ and more people going to work for big new companies that you’ve
heard of like Google and and SpaceX and Tesla, they’re a little worried. And I share their worry, though for separate
reasons. I don’t hire engineer people- for the most part, I hire humanities people. Like
writers, and video editors, and artists, and stuff. I’m concerned because scientists and engineers
solve a lot of the big problems that we need to solve, like how do we get clean water to
more people? And how do we continue to power this amazing lifestyle that I get to lead
without destroying the world? So yeah, when this came to SciShow, I was
like, “Oh, this makes sense, actually. We will do that.” That STEM toolkit is a very valuable one,
and one that is being developed less often by people. And what I kept being asked by
people on TV and radio was “Why? Why are fewer people doing this?” And I’m not an expert on that; I went through
school one time. That’s pretty much all my data. But as with most things, my guess is
it’s a lot of different reasons. And one reason is that I think it’s really
hard, and we just kind of sugarcoat it sometimes, but it is hard, and that’s huge amount of
information to stick into your brain. But I think, more than that, we’re also told
that there’s a certain type of person who becomes a scientist or an engineer, and they’re
just good at it. They’re just good at math, and they’re good at science, and just engineering
geniuses! And that’s a really dangerous myth, because
everyone I know who went through a science or engineering degree, it was really hard
for them. It was really hard for me. Nobody is born being good at math. I think
some people are born really liking that challenge. That’s the thing that all of the scientists
I know have in common. Like, there’s no other common trait amongst
them. They’re mothers and rock climbers and punk rockers. Some are into politics, or sports,
or spend their evenings on Tumblr. The only thing they have in common is that
passion for solving hard problems. And there are certainly non-science problems that need
to be solved as well. That’s why I hire lots of artists and animators and video editors
and stuff. I think often when we tell people to get into
STEM careers, it’s not because it’s interesting or fascinating or cool, it’s because that’s
the best way to get a good job, so do that. If you don’t do this terribly difficult thing,
then you will never get a good job. And I think that’s a terrible thing to do to a child,
who is like fifteen years old. They’re in high school, and you’re telling them, “Okay,
just start panicking now. A decade before you will be done learning all of these things.” That’s-that’s terrifying! We can’t we, instead,
treat this like every other big problem and take it one step at a time, being driven by
not the end goal, but by, you know, interests, and fascinations along the way. And I wanna say the most interesting toolkit
you can have is one that includes both and technology, engineering and liberal arts.
That’s the education I had, and I’m so grateful for it. Anyway, this really is a career path that’s
open to everyone. So that’s why I was in New York; I was doing things with them. And seeing
lots of my friends and hanging out with cool people, that was fun too. The advertisement we made together, just encouraging
people to be interested and fascinated by science, is running now. There’s also a link
below — you can see it on YouTube. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Hank,
you were in New York City and you did not tell me and I did not get to see you that
is so uncool,” I was very busy. But also, I will be back! In April! With Harry
and the Potters, Driftless Pony Club, Andrew Huang, Rob Scallon, playing music all, from
like Chicago, all the way to New York, there’s like eight stops. You can check out more information
in the link in the description. Tour Because Awesome: East Coast! John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.

100 thoughts on “Why Are Fewer People Studying Science and Engineering?”

  1. Here is a theory: Fewer American (and European) people are studying science and engineering because more people in India and China are studying science and engineering, and the benefits of Warsaw pact science and engineering are available to the world. When I got my undergraduate engineering degree, Mao was a fresh corpse and China wasn't an economic power. India spoke English, but didn't do call centers or H1B visas. Ukraine was part of the USSR, not a provider of accounting software. Maybe the fraction of folks studying science and engineering was a historical distortion previously just like well paying factory jobs?

  2. Imagine if Americans with STEM degrees could get a foreign visa and make $200K at entry level and get 20 percent raises every year until they are 65. Does ANYONE think that Americans wouldn’t be getting STEM degrees is massive numbers?

    Instead, Americans with STEM degrees face global competition (H-1b visas) and are usually considered unemployable by the time they are 40 unless they are EXTREMELY lucky. It’s a MUCH better investment to study medicine, law, or finance – which is why medicine and law have HUGE barriers to entry, and finance often relies on having personal connections in the field.

  3. I hate chemistry, in 7th grade it was good, and in eight great my professor left the school. I got a new chemistry teacher but she's horrible and made me hate chemistry.

  4. Because our country is being flooded with people who will work in stem for half the price. Isn't immigration great?

  5. Ill tell u why. Because it is hard and it doesnt pay very well unless you get lucky form the get go. It takes a while to make the real monies so that definately puts people off.

  6. Well, I think, because:

    I studied electrical engineering, and I was good at math, physics etc., but I can't say that I learnt a ything useful in regards of real engineering and basic electrical engineering principles etc. So it was very discouraging and scary, thinking that I couldn't understand anything + "they don't teach anything for real". Also, teachers were like very discouraging, too, and they treated us like we were senior engineers who knew all already and they didn't explain much in detail, even more, I saw some who got pretty angry if we couldn't so anything well. So, the first reason: it makes you feel lacking skills-knowledge, falling behind others and not ready to work. I hated university a lot.
    Secondly, jobs are most of the time not satisfacting. They say "you learn all at the job", but I haven't seen any friendly company who didn't try to abuse your unexperience and again not discouraging you to pay you lower than you can ask for… also, work stress can be too much. Most of the times, you feel like you don't have a real profession. It is not like being a teacher, a doctor or a pilot. It is a broad definition and your responsibilities may vary. In most countries bosses make you feel like you are replacable, not much deserving respect etc.

    But, all in all, i think the main reason is because of the attitude or pre-judgemental thoughts of engineering companies being a scary place where they look down on you if you don't know much, not much friendly looking etc. It looks threatening, so people hesitate to try their chances (experienced or inexperienced)

  7. Rich kids have no motivation to study chem engineering. Poor kids don’t have good enough schooling.

  8. fewer people studying science and engineering? brother come to India​… my buildings security guard is an engineer

  9. 1) This guy is cringy af. 2) his arguments are basically the same as in other videos about low popularity of stem degrees 3) why this is in my recommendations?

  10. Actual truth : BECAUSE Feminist administrators have arranged it so colleges discriminate against white males, and whites males are the ones most talented in Science and Engineering.

  11. Most American student studying Engineering have no clue as to what they are doing, that's why there are so many lousy Engineers in the US and a lot of them without a job
    and that's also why many companies manufacture parts of their products from Germany because German Engineers are one of the best in the world, your iPhone parts are created in Germany because the Engineers there do such a wonderful job of design and implementation
    while the parts of the iPhone are assembled in China
    USA only ships iPhone from other countries, even though Apple is an American company,
    the reason once again is, a lot of American Engineers are very terrible at what they are doing
    and it's not their fault, it's the failure of the American colleges, that lack teaching potential
    Students are forced to memorize so many concepts in such little time without any help, and professors lack motivation and knowledge in the subject they are teaching, forcing the students to study Engineering on their own
    which is why many Students do bad
    American Engineering colleges need to be revamped

  12. It's because of outsourcing to India and China
    companies in the US will fire you if they can find a cheap Indian or Chinese on an H1B visa to do the same job you are doing

  13. I am a ComputerScientist, just completed my Network+, Cisco CCENT, and Cisco CCNA and I am currently looking for an associate or entry level System or Network Engineering position. I am currently a Specialist for the U.S Navy here in Newport, RI. If there's any company's CEOs/managers or any one knows some one looking for motivated individual like myself PLEASE send them my way ! Thank you all !

  14. Considering quitting college. They taught me almost nothing practical because as soon as I tried hands on stuff at home I realized just how little I knew. Other than programming which I learned a lot from online tutorials a lot of college is useless classes. Teachers all said I was good student and I usually I got at least A- grade.

  15. As a biochemistry student I can certainly say while I love learning biology and chemistry from a textbook, It was so much more fun and fascinating to do things like PCR, swabbing for samples, and DNA analysis since it's more hands on and you see these things taught in textbooks in a physical entity. To me it all boils down to the stereotype that only nerds with pocket protectors and big glasses can only study science, in my 3 years of college so far I haven't seen that person at all in any of my classes. Teachers especially in high school need to encourage their students to study whatever they are the most passionate about.

  16. Going through a crisis. I really did love math when I was 12 and 13. Highschool really crushed it because our education system employs teachers who don't actually teach a subject. I'm contemplating death tbh. I'm in my last year of highschool and not at all have I learnt math well enough to save me because my maths teachers have always been so bad. I now have the worst teacher of them all for the hardest subject, calculus, and she just gives us a few print outs of paper and sits back down at her desk without explaining any concepts. I'm so fucking lost. I don't think I'll do engineering anymore. My motivation to pursue anything in engineering and science has absolutely been crushed and I know I won't make the qualification to get into it anyway.

  17. Imagine that when you're in the lecture, you learn how to add 1 and 1. Imagine that in the the exam, the test questions are about multiplying 10 and 10.

    To people who say that students must learn the basics in university, I respond with that scenario to inform them that students aren't necessarily tested on the basics. What matters is how well you can get through the exams because that determines if you pass the class. What makes the situation more stressful is that many merit scholarships have GPA requirements. These kinds of classes makes it harder for students to maintain their funding. They might need tutors or other students for help.

    I think there isn't much coordination between K-12 and universities. In K-12, students are encouraged to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math for a better future. That encouragement doesn't prepare students for the rigors at the university level when professors try to weed out students.

    I never understood why the education waits until the university level to weed out students. To me, that sounds more like a high school's role.

  18. I’m studying computer science, and one of the big things that changed my studying (and more importantly my attitude) was to focus on how interesting a problem was, not how hard it was. I always felt that way about the comp sci classes, but taking that to math and physics classes really made them a lot more fun.

  19. I'm procrastinating studying for my (3rd-year engineering) exams and found this saved deep in my bookmarks, simply called "inspiration." It's exactly what I needed right now.

  20. Its funny to hear this since I come from India. Literally EVERYONE wants to become an engineer/doctor. Even parents force their kids into science studies.

  21. Many people studying a STEM field in university transfer to a humanities field because grades are incredibly inflated in humanities, which makes it easier to get a degree in that area of study. And also, while not everyone who studies a STEM field finds it easy and fun, quite a few people do find it to be that way.

  22. the reason i didint go into STEM is its heavy bias against people with non-materialistic views on the world and i dont want to get a major in psychology (which i originally wanted) only to be isolated and shunned by my compatriots for not towing the line like what happened to Jordan Peterson.

  23. Companies are not hiring STEM graduates. According to the US Dept of Commerce, 54% of STEM jobs are held by non-STEM graduates. 75% of STEM graduates have left the STEM fields by 10 years after graduation. its hard as hec to get, and the rewards are no longer there. The prestige, job security, and compensation are not what they used to be.

  24. I can only talk of my experience at reading chemistry. The degrees are difficult not only because of the subject matter but also because of the resources needed and the time to master certain subjects. You are expected to understand, learn and master things without real tutorship. The degrees are a big burden on personal life and relationships with countless breakups during thesis years and due to work or study commitments. The best years of your life are spent competing in an academic unrealistic environment full of excentrics. You will follow ideas that may not work and may ruin you financially for life. Do not study science if you do not have an alternative calling.

  25. Too much leftist propaganda…. Every one thinking of going to college should look up a blogger by the name of Aaron Cleary. He will set you straight on the stem path… Also look up here on TY a man named DR. Bradley Ridder and his video "Stem vs worthless degrees"

  26. Ironically the market is saturated with Engineers, now and Engineering is very demanding and very stressful as a subject. The other sad part is, that math gets a bad rap from public schools since its not taught well enough to students

  27. Because the uni lecture walk into the room and tells them, I haven't got time to show you how to manipulate the formula you already know how to do it. so lots of students think no i dont and im going to fail ill leave and something else

  28. Human Biology and possibly biochem or cs on the side and ya hard asf can’t even party or hang with friends during school. 100% sacrifice

  29. Yes, I was thinking about studying math. However this semester my math class (calculus 1) has been horrible. I do not want to study math anymore. I have never had problems with math until now… And I am a little bit sad, because I was almost ready to declare my major in math. 😔

  30. There are billions of Chinese and Indians who study Calculus since kindergarten. From the billions of them, a million will be able to have almost perfect GPA (just because there are so many of them and they almost ALL go to STEM. so why even bother to compete with them?

  31. Hi.
    I want to complain.
    So, I'm a college student studying lab science. I honestly feel stupid, like I'm not good enough for science and college.
    and as you said in the video it seems that I believe that people are born good at science and I'm not one of them which I know is not a true belief but it is still stuck in my head!

  32. It's not rewarded by the system to study science and engineering. It is hard. They don't earn as much money as the business guys and they're not considered to be the cool kids.

  33. Thank you for this video Hank. I was sitting here really regretting my decision to major in a STEM field and this made me feel a little less despair so that I can get back to studying for the test I have in 9 1/2 hours. Wish me luck

  34. I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and the reason I would see for people not pursuing engineering and science is that the universities and ESPECIALLY big businesses that are employing engineering grads (lot of auto industry where I'm at) aren't doing enough to give the students and employees a creative release/component to their studies and it gets even worse in the professional world. It seems like companies are stifling creativity in their engineering departments maybe because they believe giving people that much free reign or agency is a bigger business risk, and schools follow suit in their offered curricula. The reality is that business will do better if its employees feel fully actualized to be creative in ways they see fit to add value to the company and even the consumers will benefit!

  35. I love Biology. I want to become a Doctor. But if I want to do that, I'll have to give the NEET exams here in India which are tough as shit and require me to learn a shit ton of Physics and Chemistry that I despise and I don't want to learn.

  36. Corporations outsource all the STEM jobs that is why many american students do not major in them except medical school. I went to university and I was one of the very few who wanted to be a scientist but everyone wanted to be a dentist, pharmacist, nurse, optometrist. Why? You cant outsource medical professionals because they are known to control the market with debt and number of openings. Engineers are paid great but when you hit your 50s you either retire or unemployed. A doctor can work till they die.

  37. I m currently doing physics chemistry and biology and gonna change to humanities the next year in university 😂😂😂

  38. I using the excuse that it’s hard is just full BS tbh if your talking about STEM

    The only reason why, is that the employment rate or the job itself in the future and how it makes money that’s it

    Let’s go practical here

  39. can we have a WhatsApp group that comprises of people who love science and engineering and we can share the idea of each one us?

  40. Computer science in regards to programming is easy, ditch digging and boring in my current view. Why? 1. Your entire purpose is to service or build a program. 2. Meeting the needs of the system accounts for 80% of your workload. 3. Your essentially learnimg repeatable skills that for the most part wont serve you any use outside of a computer. Take what i say with a grain of salt.

  41. Science is exploration of nature, full of effort to underdtand, and a skill that isnt used to its fullest

  42. I don'jjt know how common this is, but I think it's also because science is undervalued (at least where I live). I don't know why, but when people find out I like chemistry, you can almost see them cringe (this includes most people in my family). There was this one guy, practically a stranger that my cousin befriended out of nowhere and I had to just…. sit with them wasting time, and when he found out I was into science, he just shook his head and was like "business…." (I'm guessing he was gonna say everything). And on the inside, my reaction was "oh for…. just shut up you brainless waste of oxygen". If I wasn't so nice (and introverted), they'd have gone home crying that day.
    That, and the fact that engineering doesn't guarantee you a good career where I live, if you're an engineering student, it's a given that you'll move to some other foreign country for a job, and that can be quite a puch factor, I guess.

  43. I see a map of Narnia on the wall. 🙂 That alone got this video a like. Narnia Chronicles were my childhood favs. Pertaining to the subject matter of the video, people hate math and science because they are taught by people who are good at their subject, but not necessarily good at teaching. They don't know how to break down the problem for the learner. I hated math because it looks like a bunch of pointless puzzles with no applications to life offered

  44. The real reason people are not doing this is cause it is freaking hard, it can be dangerous or boring and the fucking wages aren't getting any better for a BS degree. All the Science jobs are turning into outsourced international cheap contract work.

  45. reason : 1. lack of jobs, If you major in hard sciences and certain engineering (physics, chemistry… , mechanical, aerospace, chemical engineering ) it is actually very hard to find a job.
    2. work culture in engineering firms are terrible. The work is actually boring.
    3. the subjects are hard. If u are smart enough to study physics, why not just study coding and become a programmer.
    4. A Lot of trades pay close to and sometimes even more engineer. Electrician gets paid almost the same as an electrical engineer. But electrician gets paid to do apprenticeship, an electrical engineer get into debt to get a degree. a lot of people in construction trades make more money than civil engineers.
    5. school made engineering unnecessarily more difficult than it really need to be. Taught too much theory and NOT nearly enough hands on skills. Most engineer learn everything on their jobs. very few actually used what they learned in school. In fact if you are smart, you can learn everything as an engineer on your job without ever attending college.

  46. This is not complicated.

    People who have a natural gift for Science or STEM are very rare. There are some, it's true, who can learn such material — but without passion — and will not excel in the same way or to the same degree. After Sputnik America cranked-out Astrophysicists by the gross, NASA skimmed-off the top 10 percent, and sent the rest to Madison Ave. to write weapons-grade statistical algorithms, or to flip burgers.

    Today, the scenario would unfold thus: A highly unsatisfying job that, once the credentials are acquired, would be quickly undercut by foreign labor on a work visa.

    What is really desired are STEM types with a genuine creative twist to their mental makeup. Someone who has that innate mental GIFT! And we get those types as Nature bestows them.

    It's the difference between someone who is functionally bilingual, and someone who is fluent in 9 languages.

    God only makes a Mozart or a Beethoven now and then…most of the time we must get by on an army a Salieris…and business wants them Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

  47. Hi Hank, I’m revisiting this video three years later, and I’ve pivoted from thinking that I hated math, but I took calc I and calc II my junior and senior years of high school, and now I’m going to college for mech e this next semester in the fall. I think I’m a person who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and I hope that I can get through it. I love calc and solving problems, and I’m really excited to see where it takes me

  48. I agree with you.
    Just about every guy wants to be a football player.
    Just about every girl wants to be a supermodel.
    But we need more scientists and engineers than sports players and models.

  49. If you are feeling like there are less students in science and engineering I welcome you to INDIA there is an engineer in almost every well educated house and for a fact there are engineers who are selling vegetables in markets and selling ice cream because of no job. So if you have that feeling come here in India and adopt few engineers on a monthly basis and take them to America and give them jobs they deserve.

    Also by seeing this harsh reality there are more than 200k engineering aspirants every year giving a national level exam of JEE for getting admissions in IIT(Indian Institute of Technology)
    And there are less than 10k seats available among all IITs in India. And doing engineering in private University is just too costly to anyone to afford. Those who don't have money nd marks they seek different less reputed colleges and spoil their life.
    If you want to see competition come here in India. If you have the courage come in India and try JEE mains and JEE advance (two step exam)
    There are kids dropping 3 years straight to get into IITs or even NITs(National Institute of Technology).
    😏

  50. This is really strange to say because it seems like everybody and their dog is getting an engineering degree whether or not they have the slightest bit of passion about it

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