Which College degrees are worthwhile?

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alex123711
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Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by alex123711 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm

Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?

Normchad
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Normchad » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm

I wouldn't come at it from that direction, but.....

Currently, there is an insatiable appetite for Computer Science/Computer engineering degrees, and the new grad salaries are skyrocketing.

oldfort
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by oldfort » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:53 pm

If you go by highest starting salaries, engineering and CS majors have the highest starting salaries. Then, can be somewhat misleading because not everyone intends to get a job immediately after the BS. A lot of biology majors go to med school. A lot of liberal arts majors go to law school. Major is one piece of the puzzle. How prestigious is the college where you got your degree? What was your GPA? What internships did you do? An engineering degree by itself doesn't guarantee anything. I received my BS and MS in electrical engineering, and never was able to find a software development/ electrical engineering job. For the job I have now with the government, college major is completely irrelevant. I could have ended up in the same place if I had chosen a major at random from the college catalog.

https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/comp ... ees-level/

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Watty
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Watty » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:54 pm

It may take some digging on web sites or even some phone calls to colleges but you can usually find out what percent of graduating seniors have job offers when they graduate.

Also be sure to look at the colleges graduation and retention rates. I have seen some state colleges where barely 50% of entering freshmen graduate. Even if the graduates get good jobs you should know ahead of time if only 50% of students will graduate.

It would just be anecdotal but you may also be able to find some ways to connect with seniors in a major you are considering to get some feedback from them. That might be especially important with the pandemic going on.

It was a while back but when my son was getting ready to go to college but NACE had a lot of good information on their press releases.

https://www.naceweb.org/about-us/press/

https://www.naceweb.org/about-us/press/ ... g-degrees/

As I recall to access a lot of their other information you needed to have a subscription. Your high school counselor or public library may have a subscription.

Big Dog
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Big Dog » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:08 pm

Big Data analysis is in great demand, so any major will work as long as one takes a bunch of quant electives.

New Providence
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by New Providence » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
"Worthwhile" and "likely to lead to employment" are two different questions.

The worth of knowledge is defined by your value system. For me, any college degree is worthwhile because I value knowledge and education in itself.

MathWizard
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:44 pm

Many majors are worthwhile, but you also need to support yourself.
Unless you have been given money from your parents, that means a job.

Generally, you want to study something that involves
critical thinking. You may not use the skills directly, but the logic can be used in many areas. Specific technical skills should not be what one should look for in a college education. These might go out of date before one graduates.

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alex123711
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by alex123711 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:02 am

New Providence wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
"Worthwhile" and "likely to lead to employment" are two different questions.

The worth of knowledge is defined by your value system. For me, any college degree is worthwhile because I value knowledge and education in itself.
MathWizard wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:44 pm
Many majors are worthwhile, but you also need to support yourself.
Unless you have been given money from your parents, that means a job.

Generally, you want to study something that involves
critical thinking. You may not use the skills directly, but the logic can be used in many areas. Specific technical skills should not be what one should look for in a college education. These might go out of date before one graduates.
Yeah that was my point, I'd rather do something that leads to a related job, rather than something where there wasn't anything related and you have to do something unrelated to support yourself.

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alex123711
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by alex123711 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:05 am

Normchad wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm
I wouldn't come at it from that direction, but.....

Currently, there is an insatiable appetite for Computer Science/Computer engineering degrees, and the new grad salaries are skyrocketing.
The problem for me with computer science is there don't seem to be any professional accreditation, e.g an accountant can became a CA/CFA, lawyers and engineers get registration which are sought after and not easily attainable, where computer science doesn't have this differentiator, which leads your skills becoming quickly redundant as you get older (if you don't keep up) whereas an older accountant with a CFA would be still be sought after for their knowledge.

MathWizard
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by MathWizard » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:13 am

If you are looking for some specific major areas.

STEM majors ( science technology engineering math)

Business majors, accounting, MIS, logistics,business analysts

I have found most people who went into graphic design did not do anything like what they studied. Exercise science is it a good area for getting a good paying job. The people I know who went into those areas are basically doing jobs that only require a HS diploma, or are going back for another area of study. These studies didn't give skills that would easily transfer to another area.

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wander
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by wander » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:52 am

College dropouts are worthwhile, there are many of them now billionaires.

Chemical engineering graduates get paid higher than other engineering majors.

dak
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by dak » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:01 am

What is the student interested in and what aptitude does he/she display in those areas? Without both interest and aptitude, a successful academic career is unlikely - in that respect, lists of the hot jobs are not overly relevant.

TechFI
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by TechFI » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:09 am

CS. MBA.

BGeste
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by BGeste » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:28 am

Accounting, Finance, BBA

sfnerd
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by sfnerd » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:29 am

alex123711 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:05 am
Normchad wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm
I wouldn't come at it from that direction, but.....

Currently, there is an insatiable appetite for Computer Science/Computer engineering degrees, and the new grad salaries are skyrocketing.
The problem for me with computer science is there don't seem to be any professional accreditation, e.g an accountant can became a CA/CFA, lawyers and engineers get registration which are sought after and not easily attainable, where computer science doesn't have this differentiator, which leads your skills becoming quickly redundant as you get older (if you don't keep up) whereas an older accountant with a CFA would be still be sought after for their knowledge.
Older engineers, if they keep up with current technology, will make a lot of money. I regularly hire engineers that are in their 50s and 60s. At that age though, most are multimillionaires and don't need to work.

Certifications are available in CS/CE... But nobody cares.

It's a good profession, but I recommended only doing it if you're passionate and have solid math and analytical skills. The people that get laid off every other year are typically people who hate the profession and don't stay up to date.

The great thing is, unlike say heart surgery, you can take an online class and see if you like it. If you do well and are interested in building things, you can devote yourself to it and make a ton of money.

raamakoti
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by raamakoti » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:03 am

Chemical engineering with Instrumentation design as speciality is very rare skill to have. If you can master these two and gain around 5 years of experience you will be able to write your own ticket. Thats what my mentor told me. Beyond any particular skill watch this and understand clear difference between System vs Goal. Be a life long student in any area you choose. Enjoy learning
https://youtu.be/oJVxkr9eE9A

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camillus
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by camillus » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:33 am

Nursing

Valuethinker
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:29 am

alex123711 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:05 am
Normchad wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm
I wouldn't come at it from that direction, but.....

Currently, there is an insatiable appetite for Computer Science/Computer engineering degrees, and the new grad salaries are skyrocketing.
The problem for me with computer science is there don't seem to be any professional accreditation, e.g an accountant can became a CA/CFA, lawyers and engineers get registration which are sought after and not easily attainable, where computer science doesn't have this differentiator, which leads your skills becoming quickly redundant as you get older (if you don't keep up) whereas an older accountant with a CFA would be still be sought after for their knowledge.
Accountants are CPAs. Certified Public Accountant? (I am not entirely familiar with the US terminology).

CA is the Canadian & Scottish designation for a chartered accountant (technically Scotland the institute is ICAS; in England & Wales you are an ACA and the institution is the ICAEW).

Hence the Canadian ad for the profession "CA, eh?" ;-). (it's a joke on a distinctive Canadian verbal tic, the tendency to say "eh?" ("ay") when Americans might say un-huh, and Scots would say "aye".

What it prepares you to do is to audit financial accounts and to publish them - so statutory accounting (for external consumption) as opposed to management accounting. You need to have worked in the audit function, normally, as well, to qualify.

CFA is a completely different thing - Chartered Financial Analyst. A rigorous series of exams focused on investing - stock market, bond markets etc. It's not required for anything, but you tend to find the younger sell side analysts and portfolio managers on the buy side are CFAs. The first thing you learn when you do the CFA is you cannot say "I am a CFA" ;-).

You don't need a CFA to do anything in particular.

One of my siblings is both a CA & a CFA. Glutton for punishment ;-).

Valuethinker
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:30 am

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
If you go to a very high prestige American college almost anything.

Otherwise the "practical" degrees: Business, Accounting, Engineering, Computer Science + probably some vocational degrees like Nursing.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:42 am

My undergraduate degree was in economics and sociology. I have never worked in economics, but economics has helped me throughout my life, from buying cars to shopping for a mortgage, from managing our family finances to participating in my employer's annual budget process, and even to being able to make semi-intelligent comments as a member of a charity's finance committee.

Sociology seemed like a liberal arts indulgence when I took it, but I have been impressed how it has helped me understand interactions with other people, and appreciate how people from different backgrounds approach, and perceive, issues differently.

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:56 am

Normchad wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm
I wouldn't come at it from that direction, but.....

Currently, there is an insatiable appetite for Computer Science/Computer engineering degrees, and the new grad salaries are skyrocketing.
+1 to both parts of the above.

You do have to pay attention to getting good work after college. My B.A. was in Political Science. I ended up going to a technical school for programming in the 1980’s. Turns out I liked the puzzle of making good solid solutions to business problems. **** find a type of job you enjoy *** and you will do well.

X528
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by X528 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:02 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:30 am
alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
If you go to a very high prestige American college almost anything.

Otherwise the "practical" degrees: Business, Accounting, Engineering, Computer Science + probably some vocational degrees like Nursing.
Students graduating from ivy or other highly ranked schools can still have problems. More than one would think:

https://theivylie.com

New Providence
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by New Providence » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:25 am

alex123711 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:02 am
New Providence wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
"Worthwhile" and "likely to lead to employment" are two different questions.

The worth of knowledge is defined by your value system. For me, any college degree is worthwhile because I value knowledge and education in itself.
MathWizard wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:44 pm
Many majors are worthwhile, but you also need to support yourself.
Unless you have been given money from your parents, that means a job.

Generally, you want to study something that involves
critical thinking. You may not use the skills directly, but the logic can be used in many areas. Specific technical skills should not be what one should look for in a college education. These might go out of date before one graduates.
Yeah that was my point, I'd rather do something that leads to a related job, rather than something where there wasn't anything related and you have to do something unrelated to support yourself.
I see, that makes sense. In that regard, I'd say technology and medical industries offer the greatest chance of quickly finding employment after college. Note that college is a small piece of the puzzle. Your hassle, or lack thereof, outside of college in terms of self-learning, networking and personality will play a key role.

Sconie
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Sconie » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:32 am

wander wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:52 am
College dropouts are worthwhile, there are many of them now billionaires.

Chemical engineering graduates get paid higher than other engineering majors.
Nope----try petroleum engineering.....

https://www.trade-schools.net/articles/ ... ing-majors
I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. - Alan Greenspan

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by SubPar » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:41 am

I have not regretted my Accounting degree, nor becoming a CPA. I may not make huge :moneybag like some of the other professions/degrees mentioned here, but my career progression has not waned — nine years in, I have gotten raises literally every year of my working career — and I earn a comfortable living by my standards.

If I had a mulligan, I would've/should've thought little more seriously about augmenting my CPA/Accounting background with a "good" Finance-focused MBA program.

oldfort
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by oldfort » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:55 am

If I had a mulligan, I would have majored in something biology related and tried to go the med school route instead of engineering. Working for the government, I know a lot of people with engineering degrees who will never make more than $140k in their lives.

Ependytis
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Ependytis » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:07 am

I think any degrees that leads to a job would be worthwhile. For example engineering, accounting, finance, physical therapy, nursing, marketing, etc. would be worthwhile. I would recommend going to a community colleges first then transferring to a state school. This will minimize the cost while maximizing the pay off. Paying for private school just can’t be justified except for a few majors. If someone says they’re worthwhile, ask them to show you the data of what their majors make 10 years after graduation versus the same majors from state schools.

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TechGuy365
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by TechGuy365 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:09 am

alex123711 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:05 am
The problem for me with computer science is there don't seem to be any professional accreditation, e.g an accountant can became a CA/CFA, lawyers and engineers get registration which are sought after and not easily attainable, where computer science doesn't have this differentiator, which leads your skills becoming quickly redundant as you get older (if you don't keep up) whereas an older accountant with a CFA would be still be sought after for their knowledge.
The differentiator is you. As a CS/technology professional, you're valued for what you bring to the table at any time during your career. If one expect to learn something early on in career and cruise for 40 years, sure - this can happen, but of course one will be vulnerable as new talents come in. But if you have the right mindset, are always learning, leverage your experience and passion, mentor the new comers and constantly reinventing, the top earning years definitely are later in career.

vtjon02
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by vtjon02 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:14 am

Accounting by far. It might be boring but if you work in public accounting for 5 years and become a cpa, you will have a well paying job for the rest of your life.

aristotle'sfootprint
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by aristotle'sfootprint » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:20 am

Here are salary data for various undergraduate majors, which are broken down by average starting salary, mid-career median, etc. Note that the survey didn't include people with graduate degrees.

https://online.wsj.com/public/resources ... -sort.html

fusspot
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by fusspot » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:21 am

If it's teaching, Intervention Specialist (special education) is the way to go.

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by KlangFool » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:30 am

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
When you asked the wrong question, you would never get the right answer!

The correct question is

What degree is worthwhile for me and leads to employment?

Chasing the hottest degree may not be the right fit for a particular person.

KlangFool

stoptothink
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by stoptothink » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:55 am

What a loaded question. You're going to get a lot of CS/engineering recommendations, but IMO, as long as it isn't underwater basket-weaving (which is pretty close to my, unemployed, sister's Ivy undergrad and Oxford and NYU MAs), pretty much any degree is "worthwhile" as far as helping develop a successful and stable career. I even have one mentioned in this thread as not worthwhile (exercise science), and I even doubled down with related MS and PhD, but I have a well-paying and enjoyable career. I don't regret not going into engineering (which I considered) because I have a job that is much more rewarding for me. Just Google list of degrees with worst ROI and probably avoid those, but otherwise do what you are good at and interested in.

tibbitts
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:03 am

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
A degree you actually get is probably worthwhile. Most Bogleheads are for the most part extremely intelligent, and most could succeed is almost any degree program, so they tend to assume all degree choices will result in an equal probability of success. That's simply not the case for many of the rest of us, who might be here on the forums due to some combination of luck and minimal skill. So when we say a CS degree is in demand, what we mean is that someone who comes out of a degree program with well-above-average ability to immediately contribute - which we assume everyone will - is in demand. And probably if you look at top-ranked schools - again, what Bogleheads tend to assume - that's the case; it's just not the case for nearly everyone.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:04 am

KlangFool wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:30 am
alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
When you asked the wrong question, you would never get the right answer!

The correct question is

What degree is worthwhile for me and leads to employment?

Chasing the hottest degree may not be the right fit for a particular person.

KlangFool
Agree...My degree, obtained many decades ago, was in philosophy and religion with a minor in history. Rather than finding it useless, I found it extraordinarily helpful. To understand where people are "coming from" to be able to relate to people from all walks of life and with all types and levels of education, to think outside of the box (there was a time when that term was novel) helped me in my career and still helps me. My career started out in personnel (back when few had such a major) to enforcement to administration. Today, I suppose, if I had that degree I would go to graduate school, but that would pigeon hole me and not have been as rewarding. After retirement, that degree and experience led me to volunteer as an aide to a state legislator, the only way to describe that was "fun." (Not as fun as gardening, but still fun.)

X528
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by X528 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:08 am

alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
Taking an aptitude test before deciding on a major and career can be helpful:

https://www.jocrf.org

oldfort
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by oldfort » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:16 am

Here are some benefits to a health care career.

1) COVID-19 shutdowns aside, medicine is recession proof.
2) Not up or out. A lot of high paying careers in finance, management consulting, or big law are notorious for aggressively weeding people out early in the career. The compensation can be astronomical for the partners, but how many new hires get the brass ring?
3) With an aging population, demand will continue to grow for medical services.
4) Compared to tech, less age discrimination, real or perceived.

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:24 am

To keep this actionable, the OP is looking for a degree that leads to future employment for his/her situation.
alex123711 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:02 am
...Yeah that was my point, I'd rather do something that leads to a related job, rather than something where there wasn't anything related and you have to do something unrelated to support yourself.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Kennedy
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by Kennedy » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:45 am

Several people mentioned nursing. In my area, new nurses are coming out of the wazoo. The hospitals are looking for experienced nurses, but the community colleges and four year colleges have turned out so many new nurses in the last few years that it is hard to get a job as a new graduate.

Along that line, there is an over-abundance of nurse practitioners in most specialties other than psychiatric nurse practitioners. Psych nurse practitioners are in huge demand and make a great income as they can collect from insurance companies 80% of what a psychiatrist can, without the medical school debt on their back. (This is pertinent to those working in states that allow them to practice on their own without needing supervision from a physician.)

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by IowaFarmWife » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:46 am

fusspot wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:21 am
If it's teaching, Intervention Specialist (special education) is the way to go.
Yes, I agree, or OT/PT/SLP in either a medical or educational setting.
“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” —Will Rogers

X528
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by X528 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:50 am

IowaFarmWife wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:46 am
fusspot wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:21 am
If it's teaching, Intervention Specialist (special education) is the way to go.
Yes, I agree, or OT/PT/SLP in either a medical or educational setting.
What is "OT/PT/SLP"?

IowaFarmWife
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by IowaFarmWife » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:51 am

X528 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:50 am
IowaFarmWife wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:46 am
fusspot wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:21 am
If it's teaching, Intervention Specialist (special education) is the way to go.
Yes, I agree, or OT/PT/SLP in either a medical or educational setting.
What is "OT/PT/SLP"?
Occupational therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist
“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” —Will Rogers

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:53 am

Employment in computer science has and continues to skyrocket. Common objections are:
  • It's concentrated in a small number of HCOL areas
  • It's vulnerable to offshoring
  • You need to work 60-80 hour weeks to be successful
  • The number of six-figure jobs in CS are small
  • You have to attend an elite school to have a chance
IME, none of those are true. The big tech companies don't use much (if any) offshoring and work-life balance can be good, but is very dependent on your specific team. Remote work and satellite offices offer ample opportunity in MCOL areas like Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Austin.

My napkin-math comes to a couple hundred thousand jobs at companies with Silicon Valley-level compensation.

Demand for new grad software engineers continues, even during this recession. My employer hasn't cut back our new grad hiring program at all. We also hire from a far larger list of schools than many expect, including lots and lots of state schools. You don't have to attend Stanford or CMU to have a chance. Most of my coworkers attended CU Boulder or Colorado School of Mines.

What is true about this field:
  • Those who enter CS just for the money usually burn out quickly. This is a mentally demanding field
  • Getting hired can involve a lot of dumb luck, especially at the entry level
  • There is intense stratification in compensation. Software engineers are non-tech companies see their comp cap out fast while comp at tech companies quickly rises into the mid six figures

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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by tiburblium » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:58 am

I am surprised there are not more proponents of software development as a career path.

I graduated in 2003 and have been doing Software Development for my entire career. So far I have never been unemployed, nor have I ever felt at risk of of being unemployed. I have switched employers 5 times, each time by personal choice when I was ready for something different and each search led to multiple offers in a short amount of time. My individual income is currently over 300% of the median family income for the city I live in, I still really enjoy the work I do, and I have always had flexibility with regards to WFH.

I don't even have a degree in Computer Science, I have a Bachelors in Business from an "unranked" state school (one that pretty much anyone would be accepted to... :mrgreen: ). Despite that, I have worked for some pretty big name technology companies. So I would assume that, all other things being equal, someone with an actual CS degree from a ranked university would have it even better.

random_walker_77
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by random_walker_77 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:04 am

College will help you develop your thinking process and probably teach you some useful skills: how to analyze an argument, how to communicate clearly, how to persuade, how to think critically. You will hopefully hone your analytical skills, learn context about the world we live in, and learn more about people and societies. In the process, you'll also demonstrate your ability to pursue a long-term objective and perform well enough to graduate. You'll also learn how to learn. You might also pick up a marketable skill. I'd argue that all of this is worthwhile.

For a financial ROI, you'll want to look at the intersection of your skills and interests, vs job fields both in terms of size and compensation. Keep in mind the success rates -- just as there are very few professional basketball opportunities, there are limited numbers who will get rich off of management consulting or i-banking.

To employers, a college degree signals an individual with the persistence to complete a degree. Keep in mind that many don't have a degree, either because they never tried, or dropped out. At some schools, the graduation rate is under 40% (pay attention to that on the school you choose!).

Furthermore, the specific school can also signal high-potential candidates. A student at a highly selective "famous" college was accomplished enough to get in. On top of that, specific majors have a reputation for difficulty. As an example, your typical physics or engineering major will likely have the analytical skills to handle your junior financial analyst position.

Note that average compensation is tightly correlated to major rather than school. On average, it's financially much better to be a Chemical Engineer from a Cal State than an English Lit major from Berkeley.

Engineering is pretty applied but leaves you with strong analytical skills that prepare you for many different jobs. It's a difficult course of study and I wouldn't recommend it unless you truly enjoy it. Nursing has a strong job market and trajectory, coupled with decent compensation.

OP, it really depends on your strengths, interests, and desires.

Final note: for those who are good at it, many b2b sales roles pay better than your typical engineering or MBA position.

oldfort
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by oldfort » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:08 am

tiburblium wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:58 am
I am surprised there are not more proponents of software development as a career path.

I graduated in 2003 and have been doing Software Development for my entire career. So far I have never been unemployed, nor have I ever felt at risk of of being unemployed. I have switched employers 5 times, each time by personal choice when I was ready for something different and each search led to multiple offers in a short amount of time. My individual income is currently over 300% of the median family income for the city I live in, I still really enjoy the work I do, and I have always had flexibility with regards to WFH.

I don't even have a degree in Computer Science, I have a Bachelors in Business from a 3rd tier state school. Despite that, I have worked for some pretty big name technology companies. So I would assume that, all other things being equal, someone with an actual CS degree from a ranked university would have it even better.
I'll let myself be the counter-example. I graduated with a BS and MS in electrical engineering, both with an emphasis in computer engineering: computer architecture, C/C++, compilers. I never found any job offers in engineering or software development. By average American standards, not bogleheads, I'm doing alright now, but I could have obtained the same jobs with a degree in medieval literature or underwater basket weaving.

jimmy2040
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by jimmy2040 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:14 am

did you do internships when you were in college?

I know someone who got his EE degree from UCLA and couldn't find a job for almost 2 years in 2005. He ended up doing tech support.

sd323232
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by sd323232 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:18 am

New Providence wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
"Worthwhile" and "likely to lead to employment" are two different questions.

The worth of knowledge is defined by your value system. For me, any college degree is worthwhile because I value knowledge and education in itself.
I think you missed what OP is actually asking for. Since this is a financial board, OP has a legit question.

OP has a true boglehead question, if he is gonna pay money for school, why not get the best bang for the buck?

To say that you got any degree just because you love education and dont care about job prospect/career is kind of financially irresponsible. It may be spiritually right answer, but not financially right answer.

Whether education is more important than being financially independent discussion is outside of this forum probably.

But you dont go into 100k debt to get 30K job (and you will be lucky to get hired with some degrees).

thats why it very important to make sure people get return on their investment when they go to college. pay 20k for school so they can get 70K starting job makes sense.

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AerialWombat
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by AerialWombat » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:29 am

I have an engineering degree from a no-name state school, but work in the accounting field — with no accounting degree. I also own a tiny software company — with no CS degree or much ability to write code. All 5 employees at the software company know vastly more than I ever will (or even care to) about software development and our tech stack.

My point is that interest and aptitude are far more important than major. Skills can be acquired outside traditional university walls. Being able to analyze problems, create solutions, source and correlate information, etc. — those are the important skills in the “information age economy”.

So pick a major that is interesting, and teaches these skills. Don’t ignore the value of a double major or a minor. For “soft” majors, psych and econ go well together. And if somebody loves art history but tacks on a CS or math minor for career practicality, I see nothing wrong with that if that’s what they love.

New Providence
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Re: Which College degrees are worthwhile?

Post by New Providence » Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:30 am

sd323232 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:18 am
New Providence wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:10 pm
alex123711 wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:26 pm
Which degrees are still worthwhile/ likely to lead to employment these days?
"Worthwhile" and "likely to lead to employment" are two different questions.

The worth of knowledge is defined by your value system. For me, any college degree is worthwhile because I value knowledge and education in itself.
I think you missed what OP is actually asking for. Since this is a financial board, OP has a legit question.

OP has a true boglehead question, if he is gonna pay money for school, why not get the best bang for the buck?

To say that you got any degree just because you love education and dont care about job prospect/career is kind of financially irresponsible. It may be spiritually right answer, but not financially right answer.

Whether education is more important than being financially independent discussion is outside of this forum probably.

But you dont go into 100k debt to get 30K job (and you will be lucky to get hired with some degrees).

thats why it very important to make sure people get return on their investment when they go to college. pay 20k for school so they can get 70K starting job makes sense.
Hey sd323232 - you missed my response at 8:25 am:

"I see, that makes sense. In that regard, I'd say technology and medical industries offer the greatest chance of quickly finding employment after college. Note that college is a small piece of the puzzle. Your hassle, or lack thereof, outside of college in terms of self-learning, networking and personality will play a key role."

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