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Last year, Mitchell Erickson earned what he believed would be his ticket to a lucrative new career: a bachelor s degree in computer science and software engineering from the University of Washington, Bothell.

Erickson, a former community-college philosophy instructor, feared his days of making a living teaching symbolic language and logic couldn t last. So sensing an intellectual similarity between philosophy and computer coding, Erickson decided to go back to school.

Though he was then in his late 50s, Erickson figured the drumbeat of complaints from Microsoft and other tech companies about a dearth of good applicants promised an easy career switch.

Nine months past his graduation, however, Erickson has yet to find full-time work.

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