Bagless Vacuum Inventor Wants More Engineers, Less Game Devs

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Bagless Vacuum Inventor Wants More Engineers, Less Game Devs

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Sir James Dyson reckons web design and video game development are to blame for the UK's shortage of engineering graduates.

Oh, the life of a game developer. Money, women, fame, the respect and admiration of other creatives; developers generally receive none of these things, but that hasn't stopped young students from flocking to game design courses. The "glamor" of game development and website design is drawing young Britons away from traditional engineering, at least according to bagless vacuum inventor, Sir James Dyson.

Yes, that Dyson. There's very little chance of us getting through this topic without at least one "sucks" joke, so you'd best get it over with.

"I am heartened that the government has shown a willingness to make the U.K. a high technology exporter," said Dyson during an interview with Radio Times magazine as quoted by the Telegraph. "But I am concerned that we are sometimes distracted by the glamor of web fads and video gaming rather than the development of tangible technology that we can export."

By Dyson's estimation, the UK is facing a deficit of 60,000 engineering students this year. His proposed solution is to offer incentives to prospective students and ensure high salaries are waiting for them when they graduate. The UK government recently announced plans for a 25 percent tax break for "video games, animation and high-end television industries" that pass a "cultural test" proving their Britishness. Expect a lot of games about sarcasm, mild xenophobia and binge drinking, in other words.

"Our future technology depends on nurturing bright minds to develop technology for export, but there is a shortage of engineers in the U.K.," Dyson later told Sky News. "To help businesses the government needs to encourage more students into engineering subjects."

This isn't the first time Dyson has raised concerns about the UK's competitiveness in the tech industry. In 2011, he sparked a minor controversy when he suggested that educating foreign nationals might harm the nation's technological advantage in the long run.

"Britain is very proud about the number of foreign students we educate at our universities," he told the Sunday Times, "but actually all we are doing is educating our competitors."

Source: The Telegraph via Polygon

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He makes a point, of sorts, but I can't help but feel like this is sour grapes from the guy that sells vacuums for $3,000 a pop

Might be more concerned with his own business than the future of technology

Good. More (hopefully better) games for me in the future.

And who needs vacuum cleaners anyways, I hate those bloody things.

Zombie_Moogle:
He makes a point, of sorts, but I can't help but feel like this is sour grapes from the guy that sells vacuums for $3,000 a pop

Might be more concerned with his own business than the future of technology

and those bladeless fans, you could fill a whole room with ordinary fans for the price of one of those things. I think the engineers in Britain's future should work towards taking what he makes and making it far more affordable. Also because it's obligatory in a topic like this Dyson as a company sucks, their overpriced stuff blows.

this idea suuuuu

Grey Carter:
The UK government recently announced plans for a 25 percent tax break for "video games, animation and high-end television industries" that pass a "cultural test" proving their Britishness. Expect a lot of games about sarcasm, mild xenophobia and binge drinking, in other words.

Too bad Bulletstorm has already been made! :P

Xan Krieger:

Zombie_Moogle:
He makes a point, of sorts, but I can't help but feel like this is sour grapes from the guy that sells vacuums for $3,000 a pop

Might be more concerned with his own business than the future of technology

and those bladeless fans, you could fill a whole room with ordinary fans for the price of one of those things. I think the engineers in Britain's future should work towards taking what he makes and making it far more affordable. Also because it's obligatory in a topic like this Dyson as a company sucks, their overpriced stuff blows.

Yeah. I think those bladeless fans are very cool, just not $1,000+ cool

Uh, those two careers require radically different skillsets. I'm 3 years into a comp sci course, and I've yet to do any maths! Seriously, there's almost no overlap.

If the bit about the tax incentives is true, then that's certainly something worth discussing. Assuming the first principle of economics holds true then that would definitely cause a shift in education and in industry. Beyond that, I haven't met too many people who take on a rigorous major such as engineering or computer science (or game design, for that matter) without already being personally invested in that career path. If people attending universities want to study game design, then removing the new tax incentives might not stop them from doing that so much as make it more likely for them to end up unemployed after getting their degree.

Zombie_Moogle:
He makes a point, of sorts, but I can't help but feel like this is sour grapes from the guy that sells vacuums for $3,000 a pop

Okay, forgive me if $3000 was you being deliberately flippant, but seriously?!

An expensive Dyson is about $5-600 (the equivalent of) here in English land, the cheaper ones half that. It's not cheap but they last for years and they stock spares for old models. Someone's making a killing selling them for $3k...

The annoying thing about Mr Dyson is that he tends to be right a lot, which keeps making him richer. Even more annoying is that Dyson is registered to the UK and he pays his taxes, so you can't even hold that against the man, arse.

Speaking of which, there are a whole bunch of completely worthless 'game development' degree courses in the UK where graduates come out with some top-down shooter and a couple of walk cycles to show for three years work...

you know what?
he is right.

on both points.

i want my damn jetpack in real ife and not in a shitty game!

fix-the-spade:

Zombie_Moogle:
He makes a point, of sorts, but I can't help but feel like this is sour grapes from the guy that sells vacuums for $3,000 a pop

Okay, forgive me if 3000 was you being delierately flippant, but seriously?!

An expensive Dyson is about $5-600 (the equivalent of) here in English land, the cheaper ones half that It's not cheap but they last for years and they stock spares for old models. Someone's making a killing selling them for $3k...

The annoying thing about Mr Dyson is that he tends to be right a lot, which keeps making him richer. Even more annoying is that Dyson is registered to the UK and he pays his taxes, so you can't even hold that against the man, arse.

Speaking of which, there are a whole bunch of completely worthless 'game development' degree courses in the UK where graduates come out with some top-down shooter and a couple of walk cycles to show for three years work...

goddamn goody two-Shoes!

and his bladeless fans make a hell of a great projectile accelerator for devastating office wars.
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On the subject of rubbish vacuum jokes; at uni one day the lecturer was discussing the cleverness of marketing adverts that can affect you, and asked the class, "For example, why are Dyson so successful?"

I pipe up, "Because they suck."

(I feel an odd mixture of shame and pride at that one)

rhizhim:
you know what?
he is right.

on both points.

i want my damn jetpack in real ife and not in a shitty game!

I'm afraid lack of engineering students is not what's stopping you getting your jetpack. :(

All jokes aside, this whole idea that we have a lack of engineering students is - as far as I can make out - a complete myth, repeated by the government to provide an easy explanation of why the country isn't out front in the tech race. We have a lack of engineering jobs, caused by all our big engineering companies either shutting down or moving abroad.

I studied Electronic Engineering at university, while my boyfriend studied Mechanical Engineering. Our experience (and the experience of other people on both our courses) is that it's really hard to get an engineering job in this country. Every graduate opening has dozens (sometimes hundreds) of students applying. I became a programmer because it was easy for me to get a job. Other people on my course (and on the mechanical course) became accountants or moved abroad.

My boyfriend was one of the few who stuck with it, going to interview after interview, and getting more and more depressed with each one. (He has a first class honours degree from one of the best engineering universities in the country - you would think that would be enough.) The first job offer he got was to work as a programmer!

He finally did get an engineering job, but the pay is only slightly better than the admin job he did before university.

fix-the-spade:

Zombie_Moogle:
He makes a point, of sorts, but I can't help but feel like this is sour grapes from the guy that sells vacuums for $3,000 a pop

Okay, forgive me if $3000 was you being deliberately flippant, but seriously?!

An expensive Dyson is about $5-600 (the equivalent of) here in English land, the cheaper ones half that. It's not cheap but they last for years and they stock spares for old models. Someone's making a killing selling them for $3k...

The annoying thing about Mr Dyson is that he tends to be right a lot, which keeps making him richer. Even more annoying is that Dyson is registered to the UK and he pays his taxes, so you can't even hold that against the man, arse.

Speaking of which, there are a whole bunch of completely worthless 'game development' degree courses in the UK where graduates come out with some top-down shooter and a couple of walk cycles to show for three years work...

What he said basically. He's annoyingly not as much of a prick as I'd wish. I'm from the South West, I remember there being something on the news about him trying to build an engineering school in Bath, but the people of Bath are snobby pricks and didn't like the design or something. I'm not sure where that's gone, but at least he's putting his money where his mouth is.

I noticed my cheapskate university has fitted Dyson hand dryers in all the new toilets, so they can't be that dear.

I'm not sure I'd go as far as to call web design courses and things a 'fad' though, but he's got a good point.

Nimbus:
Uh, those two careers require radically different skillsets. I'm 3 years into a comp sci course, and I've yet to do any maths! Seriously, there's almost no overlap.

There's some overlap in turns of problem-solving skills. I did an electronic engineering course and am now working as a programmer.

"I am heartened that the government has shown a willingness to make the U.K. a high technology exporter,"

Says the man who moved all his business to China...

Anyway, he may have a point, but I would also add that maybe the UK's budding generation of nerds would be more inclined to pursue careers in science and engineering, rather than turning to fantasy, if these industries were given enough backing by governments around the world to actually do anything interesting. If, rather than NASA's funding being cut to the extent that they can't even afford to run the technology they do have any more, let alone innovate, they and others like them were instead given the support they need to make things like jet-packs and long-hall space travel a reality, then it might actually seem like a more attractive concept than making a video game where we can pretend these things are a reality.

Grey Carter:
The UK government recently announced plans for a 25 percent tax break for "video games, animation and high-end television industries" that pass a "cultural test" proving their Britishness.

OK, I know this is going off-topic, but for fuck's sake this pisses me off...

"Britishness" is not a thing! Our culture is not an easily definable entity that can be measured by a test; and even if it could, I can't be the only one who thinks that art that can 'prove' it's 'Britishness' (aka. Art that is patriotic and supports the notion of whatever the hell our government seems to think "Britishness" is) being given preferential treatment is pretty fucking creepy. This isn't all that far away from what Iran is doing with it's game industry, because who needs honest artistic expression when you can have propaganda right? This shit would not fly in the British film industry that's for sure.

Britain is historically one of the most multi-cultural places on Earth. If there's anything about British culture that we should be celebrating, it's how malleable we are. The sort of skin-head, flag-touting bigots who like to make such a big deal about what it means to be truly 'British', don't seem to realise that to be 'British' is to be, ethnically speaking, equal parts Italian, German, Danish and French, at least! Asking anyone or anything to 'prove Britishness' is nothing more than empty, xenophobic, nationalistic wank-speak to appease clueless Daily Mail readers!

Right, I'm done. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Grey Carter:
Expect a lot of games about sarcasm, mild xenophobia and binge drinking, in other words.

I would definitely play it.

Anyway, we have shitloads of engineering multinationals here in the uk which fill their graduate schemes. If there is a shortage of engineers at a particular company it's because they are apathetic about recruitment or training or their company is shit. I could go and work for a huge management consultancy company in London which will pay me to train up and travel the world with my 2:1 in Engineering I'm expected and funnily enough I don't see the appeal of working in a shitty industrial estate in the middle of nowhere and get paid less.

Fact is if we aren't getting enough engineers going into engineering jobs it's because these companies aren't placing enough of a premium on the engineering degree. Every engineering graduate comes out head and shoulders over your average graduate as they've got experience in group projects, a hefty work schedule, budgeting, management principles not to mention all the engineering specific knowledge and better than average maths and computing skills.

I'm an engineering student. He should stop whining and hire me :P

Grey Carter:
.....The UK government recently announced plans for a 25 percent tax break for "video games, animation and high-end television industries" that pass a "cultural test" proving their Britishness.....

What the.... Wha.... Why...

What is the point of that? Im sorry, but i just couldnt concentrate on anything else after seeing this. Is that common?

Holy shit is this stupid!

Frankly i see two things that could have happened here - either someone lobbied hard to get some cash back, or this is some kind of thinly veiled racism.

Id assume both...

As to why people flock to gaming industry, i have no idea. Probably they think game development = playing games a lot. And it is kinda true. Go ahead, and play one game for the next 2 years, then tell me how much fun it is :P

Im doing ICT at the moment, and this is because the government of our country said "WE NEED MORE PEOPLE RIGHT HERE!" and a couple of other "engineer" related studies. And i most probably wont have trouble finding job after this.

They even considered making "technical studies" free of charge iirc.

I'm mostly nodding along to his point about exporting education. The problem of course is financial; foreign students a charged a shitload more for their studies here so it's most profitable for the unis to take on as many as possible. The end.

And yeah, it's a common note that we don't make anything in the UK any more. We're a reseller, trading in imported guff and financial services; we barely make anything of our own to sell out. Long term, that's not sustainable.

Does this guy not realise that video games are just as, if not more exportable than technology? This would be even better if the government offered tax breaks to video games without the arbitrary "5 beef-eaters and 2 double-decker buses" requirement.

There's also the fact that many people interested in game design have nowhere near the mathematical skills required for engineering.

You know you're and old man when you claim the only useful profession is your own, such nonsense has been uttered by every old geezer who ever lived.

in related news german companies have complained for years that those famous german engineers increasingly don't start working in Germany after graduating. they have been crying their beady little eyes out trying to figure out why, turns out it's simple, they don't want to pay them like proper engineers.

ot: yeah, he is pretty much right.
btw are we talking about people who study engineering or about people who graduate? because engineering has a pretty high drop out rate, of the people who started with me only about 20% survived the first 3 semesters.

MetalMagpie:

rhizhim:
you know what?
he is right.

on both points.

i want my damn jetpack in real ife and not in a shitty game!

I'm afraid lack of engineering students is not what's stopping you getting your jetpack. :(

All jokes aside, this whole idea that we have a lack of engineering students is - as far as I can make out - a complete myth, repeated by the government to provide an easy explanation of why the country isn't out front in the tech race. We have a lack of engineering jobs, caused by all our big engineering companies either shutting down or moving abroad.

I studied Electronic Engineering at university, while my boyfriend studied Mechanical Engineering. Our experience (and the experience of other people on both our courses) is that it's really hard to get an engineering job in this country. Every graduate opening has dozens (sometimes hundreds) of students applying. I became a programmer because it was easy for me to get a job. Other people on my course (and on the mechanical course) became accountants or moved abroad.

My boyfriend was one of the few who stuck with it, going to interview after interview, and getting more and more depressed with each one. (He has a first class honours degree from one of the best engineering universities in the country - you would think that would be enough.) The first job offer he got was to work as a programmer!

He finally did get an engineering job, but the pay is only slightly better than the admin job he did before university.

if thats the case, i demand more engineer jobs!
image

i want small engineer jobs, big engineer jobs, silly engineer jobs, intelligent engineer jobs, well paid engineer jobs, pictures of engineer jobs, short stories of engineer jobs, poems about engineering, tall engineers, short engineers, slutty engineers...

i want everything that is and is about and around engineering on my desk and I want them on my desk before you start, and before you finish get me some coffee.
and after you finish i want a jetpack and a holodeck before 10 o'clock! its now 8 o'clock. get it done or you are fired! what are you waiting for?

another mayan apocalypse?

some times i read the credits of my video games. i have never read the credits for my vacuum. If im going to have the lowest rung job in the company, at least with games i get credit for such.

teebeeohh:
in related news german companies have complained for years that those famous german engineers increasingly don't start working in Germany after graduating. they have been crying their beady little eyes out trying to figure out why, turns out it's simple, they don't want to pay them like proper engineers.

I dunno. The German arms industry is doing rather well. Speaking of which, if he's saying we're supposed to be worried about "faddish" industries, why not at least lament how much engineering talent is being devoted to destructive industries as well?

Engineering FTW! "Let me give you some advice, if you're a young person who writes poetry, throw it all away right now"

Grey Carter:
Expect a lot of games about sarcasm, mild xenophobia and binge drinking, in other words.

Hah! I feel like I should be offended at that but it's just so damn true. Genuinely made me laugh right there.

Translation: A shortage of qualified engineers is creating an employee's market where labor is too expensive. Please create a glut of overeducated engineers so I can depress wages, and/or provide a government subsidy to lower my costs. After all, a vacuum cleaner is just as important as cultural products like music, film and games, right?

On second thought, from reading the thread it seems there is no such shortage, so I don't know what Dyson is on about.

NinjaDeathSlap:
[quote="Grey Carter" post="7.398153.16275443"]The UK government recently announced plans for a 25 percent tax break for "video games, animation and high-end television industries" that pass a "cultural test" proving their Britishness.

I wonder how high Downton Abbey scored on this test.

"By Dyson's estimation, the UK is facing a deficit of 60,000 engineering students this year. His proposed solution is to offer incentives to prospective students and ensure high salaries are waiting for them when they graduate."

There's lots of factors at work but it is hard to love a vacuum cleaner you built vs a game world you built. Meat space continues to lose relevance to younger generations. Then there's doing something you love vs doing something that sucks but pays better. Wisdom in both but unless you have a wife and kids to support, even the extra money lacks appeal past a certain point. Not that you'll see much if any of that extra money with higheer tax brackets being what they are.

"Britain is very proud about the number of foreign students we educate at our universities," he told the Sunday Times, "but actually all we are doing is educating our competitors."

Yeah cause, whether two people are competing totally depends on whether they live far away from each other, and not at all whether they work for different companies trying to provide similar services. I'm not at all sure how video games aren't "technology we can export", the fact that they're not "tangible" shouldn't matter when it comes to sales. Assuming he's worried about the UK's economy, which is what it seems like to me. If he's actually worried about advances in technology ... I don't think "MOAR ENGINERRNG MAJRZ!" is going to help much. To clarify, this is a list of things I think may advance technology, in the future: quantum computing research, artificial intelligence research, battery research, aerospace research, things like that. Notice that I didn't include things like segways, phone teeth, virtual and gestural computer interfaces, roombas, and bagless vacuum cleaners.

Grey Carter:

plans for a 25 percent tax break for "video games, animation and high-end television industries" that pass a "cultural test" proving their Britishness. Expect a lot of games about sarcasm, mild xenophobia and binge drinking, in other words.

You missed off the culmination of those things into Britain's favourite passtime. . .

image

Oh, it's been done, I guess we don't need that tax break then. (it's an RTS of all things, believe it or not).

In all seriousness I quite respect Mr. Dyson. He made one hell of a hoover, the problem is that games are just significantly more interesting to most people than hoovers, so more people will want to work on them.

Fasckira:
On the subject of rubbish vacuum jokes; at uni one day the lecturer was discussing the cleverness of marketing adverts that can affect you, and asked the class, "For example, why are Dyson so successful?"

I pipe up, "Because they suck."

(I feel an odd mixture of shame and pride at that one)

Hell, I would be proud of that... also ima gonna steal it...

Fasckira:
On the subject of rubbish vacuum jokes; at uni one day the lecturer was discussing the cleverness of marketing adverts that can affect you, and asked the class, "For example, why are Dyson so successful?"

I pipe up, "Because they suck."

(I feel an odd mixture of shame and pride at that one)

Was the answer "because Dyson are the only vacuum cleaner company that bothers to advertise vacuums in the first place, and then when people actually buy their overly-complicated, over priced vacuums, they have to sink more money into the damn thing on repairs when it inevitably breaks down to justify spending so much money on it in the first place"?

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