america stem opt workers talent

Does America need International STEM OPT Students? Looking at the thousands of negative comments posted against the proposed STEM OPT Rule, one thing is clear, Americans don’t want non-immigrants take their jobs. At the same time, people in the tech field know that it’s really hard to find and hire a talented STEM employee.

While this STEM OPT Proposed Rule is a hot topic, don’t forget the reason why you came to Study in USA (or work in USA) as a legal, high-skilled non-immigrant. When you read Akshay’s article below, you could perhaps get rekindle the lost feeling or it will be like a booster shot that you always wanted. He wrote the a comment at 24 Months STEM OPT Updates that deserves to be posted as a blog post (right below).

Hello Folks,

I would, first of all, congratulate Raghu and all of you for contributing to this wonderful blog. You guys are doing an efficient job maintaining this blog but let us all just step back and take a deep breath. We must ponder over a few things:

1. American Economy

  • The American Economy needs us – The biggest myth and lie of all times.
  • The American Economy needs talented people – The honest truth.

2. STEM OPT Extension

Oh, MY GOD, I need STEM OPT – That’s’ the wrong approach in life.

Instead work hard in your fields and try to do best, all good things will follow.

3. Make use of  your time

Make the most of your time here in the US. Do a doctoral study or create something useful. When you create something of value,  you will get more satisfaction in life rather than a fake masquerade of an American life.

4. Worry About Things You Can Control

There are some things in life we all can control like [highlight]hard work, outcomes, projects, GPA, skill development and somethings that we cannot control for example H-1B Visa, STEM OPT and Green Card.[/highlight]

It’s better to worry about things we can control than ones we cannot. Worrying will not get you anywhere nor will it pay your bills, or get you your dream job.

5. Evaluate yourself

Make right choices. [highlight]Get into a good program in a good university. You will learn more and grow more.[/highlight] Wasting 6-9 years of your life running after consultants and joining small schools to maintain status will not help you succeed.

6. Avoid Easier Routes

Do Not fall prey to easier routes. [highlight]Easier routes do not teach you anything in life.[/highlight] They may look attractive initially, but as the story unfolds are not intellectually or financially fulfilling in the long run.

7. Live a Little and Then Some 

Live a little.  Do not drink or do drugs but do things that make you feel alive. i.e.[highlight]Go to places you always wanted to go. Do things you always wanted to do.[/highlight] If not here where else? Bike riding, trekking, scuba, body building.

8. Try to dream big

Dream big and not small. India is not a dangerous country to return to. IT Engineering and other fields are doing marvelously well there. If a guy from Somalia or Syria says he doesn’t want to go back, I get it! But when Indians say, so it is hurtful.

Is saving 80-90 Lakhs (optimistically) in a time frame of 9-12 years by doing small time jobs worth staying away from home friends and family? Your call, you decide.

[highlight]Isn’t a guy who is doing well in India and making visits to all his dream destinations in the US or Europe once a year better? Think about it.[/highlight]


9. If you work hard

I have learned that you WILL achieve whatever you want in life sooner or later, if you work hard, do well and stay positive.

10. Be needed

I am currently running a data center in California. I worked a few years in San Francisco quit my job, then finished a doctoral degree and was hired and later sponsored by my employer just because he had nobody in the analytical end to take care of business.

11. Be specific

There are so many evolving fields in the USA. Most of them have a tremendous amount of scope and future applications.

Why don’t you guys worry and discuss those things than having meaningless discussions about what will happen to work permits in future?

12. Really interested?

After 12 years of experience in the field let me tell you one thing, If someone is given five years to accomplish a project or a task and yet he doesn’t do so, apparently he does not want to do it. His interests lie somewhere else.[highlight]Why not be what you want than wasting life and time doing things you are not interested?[/highlight]

13.  Needs differ

Finally, I understand you have different needs and aspirations in life. Also, you have families to support hence, all the worry about visas and work permits. But in the end, remember [highlight]your future generations and colleagues will recognize you from the work you do and not by work permits and green cards.[/highlight] Don’t worry, good jobs you can get anywhere India or the US.

14. Earn your life

All big shots and inspirational people did not live and die for a green card but did exceptionally well in their respective fields. That creates an ecosystem where one prospers and grows. Their love for their fields defined their actions and hence, earned them a life we all are fighting so hard to get.

– An ex-student, current learner, American Job eater and a Berkeley Product


  1. Shankar on March 4, 2016 at 2:50 AM


    Is there a difference in salary for people on OPT vs regular US citizens/Green card holders?

    If a US employer is giving job to an Indian on OPT, will he eventually be willing to sponsor his H1B as well?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 4, 2016 at 5:06 PM

      Why do you ask this question?

      • Shankar on March 5, 2016 at 1:44 AM

        I have an admit from a US university for MS in Business Analytics. I have also read your other article “3 options after master in USA…” I am trying to understand how job market will look at me vs a citizen/green card holder.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on April 3, 2016 at 9:40 AM

          Check the YouTube Video I did for Data Analytics. It’s in the YouTube Channel.

  2. Abhi on January 22, 2016 at 12:08 PM

    Seriously? What’s wrong with you?

  3. Sunil on December 24, 2015 at 6:30 AM

    US share of world economy (PPP)

    1985: 23%
    1990: 22.5%
    1995: 20.6%
    2000: 21.8%
    2005: 19.8%
    2010: 17.1%
    2015: 16.2%
    2020: 15.2% (projected)

  4. Raj on December 22, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    What is the point of this article?

  5. praj on December 22, 2015 at 1:55 AM

    amazing article Akshay….

  6. Basha on December 11, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    Good post. i always had a positive feel towards points in point 8.

  7. Irvin Pinto on December 6, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    Its really sad to see Indians deviate from the soul purpose of why they came to America. Lets face it. Today a large number of Indians join any run of the mill university to get a job in the US. Its become a fad, and that’s not good. I too want to settle in the US, but not at the cost of running to a consultancy and working in an area I don’t like to just because I want to stick on in America. I fully agree with the author that you need to come to America to study primarily and everything else will follow. If you waste big bucks on a university just to get a job that you would have got back in India, you really are wasting your time.
    Bottom line, if you can prove that you know your work, you WILL be hired, OPT extension or not. Companies and universities want quality and not people holding out begging bowls.

  8. Manoj on November 19, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    Interesting article. But you get almost same type of advice from people who are in US from last 10-15 years.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 19, 2015 at 3:46 PM

      You should ponder – Why so?

      What sort of experience they are having to say so?

      Is there something that folks who not here in the US can learn from?

      As a new student in US, one could say “I deserve the job”, but deep down you would know, I’m just another average Joe.


      • Manoj on November 19, 2015 at 5:25 PM

        I am not saying it’s a bad advice. After 10-12 years when you have everything (ex: citizenship ) lot of people comes with advisory for people who just came here for study or job. I have same experience in US as Akshay said in his article/comment; but when you are in that situation it’s whole different case for everyone.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2015 at 9:17 AM

          Students who that level of maturity go further with their career and life than an Average Joe? You can look around your friends and it shouldn’t be hard to find examples.

  9. Sabu on November 17, 2015 at 6:23 PM

    good post

  10. Max on November 13, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    Nice one ….

    If you see deep, the problem lies in the mind , comfort zone and thought process.
    Every body needs a jump/ break from status quo to get into the Rhythm.
    Going to US is the jump .Its good, but what matters is how you use it rather than getting into comfort zone .
    If you go back to India its a jump again if you look at it positive and keep the rhythm flowing..
    But if you are not ready it is only because it is not somethin new or exciting you already know it , it is always there for you like the mango tree in your garden.Not really exciting.

    But when you don’t have a choice or if you are prepared to jump back..

    May be we should start looking at the Mango tree from different perspective a woodpecker that drills a hole for home in it not as a person living near it.

    • Kaushik M on November 16, 2015 at 4:38 PM

      This is an extremely poorly written article . It does little to explain the bold opening statements. In reality according to NAFSA refer below links

      the benefit that F-1 students bring to the country’s economy is immense.

      While not every F-1 student is valuable(, as these days individuals with pathetic gre scores are misusing this opportunity to bring the filth from their country to this beautiful country)
      there aren’t enough qualified individuals to take up jobs demanding specialized knowledge.

      Please get your facts right before posting in such public forums. Lastly talking about what is the right approach or wrong, it is purely a matter of personal opinion and is highly subjective.
      You are one of those who was just lucky to get here sooner than the others, so neither did you have the need to have a loan of 25lacs nor do you understand the discrimination f-1 students face by adding them to the same pool as the regular drones from tcs wipro . . .

      its a shame after all those years you spent in the usa your english so bad and this article has been written so poorly.

  11. Shubhendu on November 13, 2015 at 12:50 PM

    Great read. Great reflection of my own feelings. We define ourselves, not our work status. If we have really spent our time learning the skills and used our time to gain experience, no matter where we will work, it will turn out to be great!


    • Tarun on November 13, 2015 at 6:58 PM

      I know few Indian students who would go to school and kick back instead of learning new skills, which could help them land new opportunities. Many Indian graduates would spend hours discussing OPT and H1-B rules, and their plans after they get either one. Next minute, they are found to be watching YouTube videos or preparing to go to clubs. When I came to USA, my priorities were to study, personal and professional growth, and be honest with myself. I am doing good in my field, still I feel that there is no point of living away from family and friends. I will be going back soon to explore new opportunities in India.

  12. Dhruva Kumar on November 13, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Hi Akshay,

    I agree with every word you have said, just to add that its good for students or for anyone to be aware of what is going on around them, which includes OPT, GC etc. But the focus should be on learning and growing rather than on worrying about things, which we cannot control.

    A person’s being successful is not dependent on living in USA, people in India, China and other parts of world are also successful.

    So moral of story is that spend your time and energy only and only on learning and doing a value adding work. Be positive and stay away from negative people and thoughts, have lot of courage, take risk, follow your dream and keep your head held high.

    Dhruva Kumar

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 13, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      100% Agreed. One more habit to pick up – Read Books. My next book in the reading list is Willpower Instinct –

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