Choosing a career

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nimo956
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by nimo956 »

There are so many careers I wasn't even aware of in high school. It might be useful to discuss growth trajectories of different industries.

In general, if you are in a mature industry that has low growth or is declining, it's more difficult for companies to increase profits on the turnover side, so they have to focus on cost controls. This means there will be downward pressure on salaries and more limited opportunities for career advancement. I'm thinking of journalism as an example. Also, if the number of applicants exceeds the number of available jobs then it will be impossible for some people to break into an industry.

On the other hand, if you are in a rapidly growing market, then it's much easier for a company to grow revenue. They often are looking to increase headcount rather than keep it flat/shrink it. There will be more opportunities to advance/get different experience, take on new responsibilities, you will advance quicker, and your salary will grow faster.

I always found the questions like "where do you see yourself in 10 years" a bit useless because it is so hard to plan that far into the future and things in your life will change. But I will say it is important to have a sense of what that next step in your career will look like and how you will get there. A big part of this is building a network, talking to people, putting together a plan, and executing that plan. Early in your career, you want to be advancing to the next stepping stone every ~2 years or so at a minimum.
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mr_brightside
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by mr_brightside »

i would impress upon them the concept of scarcity

the free market will always place a higher economic value on commodities which are scarcer relative to demand

why does a neurosurgeon make so much $$ ? because his / her skills are extremely scarce relative to the number of people needing brain care

etc etc

beyond that -- science / technology is key and will continue to be at the forefront.
remember Enron?? I do
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topper1296
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by topper1296 »

I'll just keep this pretty broad and say go into something STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) related.
dts_12
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by dts_12 »

Keenobserver wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:04 pm My bro in law is in IT and was telling his son to go into IT security.
I think everyone gets jaded about the negatives of their profession at some point. As someone in IT security its not nearly what it looks like on the surface and has plenty of soul crushing elements to it. That said if you can get your foot in the door somewhere good its decent pay and usually fairly stable, security risks never go away.
flaccidsteele
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by flaccidsteele »

tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
+1 this
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

flaccidsteele wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:00 am
tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
+1 this
I found the sales track late in my career. Before that I was neck deep in technical stuff, I knew what I needed to know.

In short time in the sales oriented position I found out I knew people, and that was the difference in $$$ and $$$$$.

A DD is an account manager, a position that was not as populated by women in the past in certain industries. She worked her way through the sales support positions at three large international companies, and then was recruited by another international company as an account manager.

She is obviously smarter than I was, as sales-oriented positions is all she has ever held.

Despite the internet, a lot of business is done in person. And there is money to be made if the customer is happy.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
supalong52
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by supalong52 »

vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?"
This is the wrong question to ask. Conflating career with pay is like saying food is only worth the number of calories they provide. I would explore the question by asking questions about what they like, are good at.

Image

What's the point of telling an artistic young person that a doctor is guaranteed a lot of money? Even if they pursue medicine, they will likely regret it later because they will subconsciously realize they sold out, especially during the grueling years as a resident. They might enjoy and be better suited to be an architect or interior designer.

On the flip side, someone who's analytical and good at math might find that other pursuits better match their skills and interests.
wfrobinette
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by wfrobinette »

sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:51 am
vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am I am asked to discuss career options in an high school. Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?" I wanted to given an honest and best possible/data based answer.

I can thinking of specialty doctors like Cardiologist, Entrepreneurs in software/robotics/future technologies and investment bankers as the top 3 things. My intent is to get some data on effort to get to these roles, pathways and rewards.

Anything else? What advice would you give your young self? Thanks for any insights.
I think it is a great question. Kids these days are given horrible advice of just follow their passion. This teaches them nothing. In real world, you have to make money, unfortunately. If food, rent, healthcare was free and paid by someone else, yes of course, you can follow your passion. But if you have to pay for everything in your life, you better have a good paying job. I just wish more high school kids were actually taught of how much particular field will pay approximately, instead of throwing them cliche advice "do what your passion is and you will be rich" or "if you work your dream job, you never have to work in your life"
I don't consider that to be horrible advice if given with the right context as you say. It's not only about the passion it's about being good at it and figuring out how to make money doing it.

Seriously, if it was all about $ who would ever go into teaching or social services both of which are severely underpaid professions.

I think the kids are shown what the salary ranges are for these jobs. What they don't have if the financial literacy to understand what that means and to realize that you don't start out in the 75% percentile of pay either.

What they really should be teaching in high school is financial and business literacy. Core required courses all 4 years.
wfrobinette
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by wfrobinette »

supalong52 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:24 am
vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?"
This is the wrong question to ask. Conflating career with pay is like saying food is only worth the number of calories they provide. I would explore the question by asking questions about what they like, are good at.

Image

What's the point of telling an artistic young person that a doctor is guaranteed a lot of money? Even if they pursue medicine, they will likely regret it later because they will subconsciously realize they sold out, especially during the grueling years as a resident. They might enjoy and be better suited to be an architect or interior designer.

On the flip side, someone who's analytical and good at math might find that other pursuits better match their skills and interests.
Frankly, If I was the OP I'd print this graphic out on poster size paper and take it with him/her and focus the conversation right here.
wfrobinette
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by wfrobinette »

tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
That's just not true.

You need to be a competent doctor or a salesperson.
dknightd
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by dknightd »

vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am I am asked to discuss career options in an high school. Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?" I wanted to given an honest and best possible/data based answer.

I can thinking of specialty doctors like Cardiologist, Entrepreneurs in software/robotics/future technologies and investment bankers as the top 3 things. My intent is to get some data on effort to get to these roles, pathways and rewards.

Anything else? What advice would you give your young self? Thanks for any insights.
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bwalling
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by bwalling »

wfrobinette wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:36 am
tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
That's just not true.

You need to be a competent doctor or a salesperson.
For sales, yes competence is important. For a doctor, there will always be more demand. You have to be really incompetent for them to take your license.
sd323232
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by sd323232 »

moneywise3 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:34 am Income follows passion. When you're passionate about something, you do extremely well there. Then the money follows. If you follow money, you're by definition shutting down your passion. Everyone is born with special talents that need to be identified and nurtured. Real satisfaction comes when you do something for others good - being rewarded financially is an inevitable side effect of that.
Good to know my passion in left-handed-pupettery will work out one day. Getting my phd now, money will follow.
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gatorking
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by gatorking »

vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am I am asked to discuss career options in an high school. Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?" I wanted to given an honest and best possible/data based answer.
The one that gets you to CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
:D :wink:
Kelrex
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by Kelrex »

bwalling wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:17 am
wfrobinette wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:36 am
tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
That's just not true.

You need to be a competent doctor or a salesperson.
For sales, yes competence is important. For a doctor, there will always be more demand. You have to be really incompetent for them to take your license.
Depends on the kind of doctor and where you are.
Here, we have a problem of specialists who can't find enough work, especially surgeons.

Also, the path to medicine leaves a lot of poor saps in its wake. It's not like you get to decide that you want to be a doctor and just like that, you get to be a doctor.

As for careers, the biggest myth out there is that you have to get a specific type of education to work in a specific type of industry. That's just nonsense.

If an industry is booming and you want to be part of it, there are countless ways to get there, and many of the side paths are just as interesting and lucrative than the main path.

If you want a tech job, you don't need to be a programmer. If you want to work for an engineering firm, you don't have to be an engineer. If you want to work in the dental industry, you don't need to become a dentist.

All industries have space in them for an enormous range of skills and backgrounds. If someone wants to be an engineer, programmer, accountant, lawyer, or doctor, then cool, have at it, but STEM degrees and professional degrees are NOT the only paths towards success in those industries.

Some of my most successful friends are those with soft skills who burrowed their way into STEM type industries and are indispensable now compared to the very replaceable technically trained staff who are churned out of schools every day.

Often, the best way to be enormously valuable is to have two complimentary skill sets in a combo that few people have. That way there's never a cheap new grad who can replace you.

Lastly, as someone who used to work in staffing, and used to work in scientific research, I can firmly say that A LOT of STEM degrees lead to an absolute dead end professionally unless the person just keeps on going with school, and by design, so few will get in to those advanced programs that many are left with an essentially useless degree.

I can't tell you how many Chem, Biochem, bio, neuroscience, and physics grads I've known with virtually ZERO marketable skills. People joke about a philosophy degree leading to a barista job, but what jobs do people think are out there for a neuroscience major with just an undergrad degree? At least the philosophy major's research and writing skills are actually useful for a lot of jobs...not so much the neuroscience major's.

SO just hired 4 new grads to work on a project in the tech sector. It's mostly research work that requires reporting on how internationally tech corporations handle certain government policies. All of his new grads have humanities degrees and are perfectly capable of doing the job, which pays nearly 6 figures. A STEM grad would probably be lost.

It's not a one to one ratio of STEM degree to "good job", that's just not the way it works. And to write off the skills learned in humanities degrees in terms of their career utility is also risky.

That's not to say that STEM degrees are bad and humanities degrees are good. Not at all. Just that there's a lot more nuance to it.
knowledge
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by knowledge »

There will be careers in all sorts of categories that you can't even predict so focus on the areas you can - your reputation, people skills, communication - I can't think of a career where those won't be important, from a pizza maker to a hedge fund manager. Like the prior chart posted, mix in your aptitude for things and what people will pay for and you can find yourself in a career that should be lucrative. That doesn't mean you'll find it purposeful, but a career isn't life.
flaccidsteele
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by flaccidsteele »

wfrobinette wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:36 am
tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
That's just not true.

You need to be a competent doctor or a salesperson.
From my experience this isn’t true
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
sd323232
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by sd323232 »

Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:50 am
bwalling wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:17 am
wfrobinette wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:36 am
tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
That's just not true.

You need to be a competent doctor or a salesperson.
For sales, yes competence is important. For a doctor, there will always be more demand. You have to be really incompetent for them to take your license.
Depends on the kind of doctor and where you are.
Here, we have a problem of specialists who can't find enough work, especially surgeons.

Also, the path to medicine leaves a lot of poor saps in its wake. It's not like you get to decide that you want to be a doctor and just like that, you get to be a doctor.

As for careers, the biggest myth out there is that you have to get a specific type of education to work in a specific type of industry. That's just nonsense.

If an industry is booming and you want to be part of it, there are countless ways to get there, and many of the side paths are just as interesting and lucrative than the main path.

If you want a tech job, you don't need to be a programmer. If you want to work for an engineering firm, you don't have to be an engineer. If you want to work in the dental industry, you don't need to become a dentist.

All industries have space in them for an enormous range of skills and backgrounds. If someone wants to be an engineer, programmer, accountant, lawyer, or doctor, then cool, have at it, but STEM degrees and professional degrees are NOT the only paths towards success in those industries.

Some of my most successful friends are those with soft skills who burrowed their way into STEM type industries and are indispensable now compared to the very replaceable technically trained staff who are churned out of schools every day.

Often, the best way to be enormously valuable is to have two complimentary skill sets in a combo that few people have. That way there's never a cheap new grad who can replace you.

Lastly, as someone who used to work in staffing, and used to work in scientific research, I can firmly say that A LOT of STEM degrees lead to an absolute dead end professionally unless the person just keeps on going with school, and by design, so few will get in to those advanced programs that many are left with an essentially useless degree.

I can't tell you how many Chem, Biochem, bio, neuroscience, and physics grads I've known with virtually ZERO marketable skills. People joke about a philosophy degree leading to a barista job, but what jobs do people think are out there for a neuroscience major with just an undergrad degree? At least the philosophy major's research and writing skills are actually useful for a lot of jobs...not so much the neuroscience major's.

SO just hired 4 new grads to work on a project in the tech sector. It's mostly research work that requires reporting on how internationally tech corporations handle certain government policies. All of his new grads have humanities degrees and are perfectly capable of doing the job, which pays nearly 6 figures. A STEM grad would probably be lost.

It's not a one to one ratio of STEM degree to "good job", that's just not the way it works. And to write off the skills learned in humanities degrees in terms of their career utility is also risky.

That's not to say that STEM degrees are bad and humanities degrees are good. Not at all. Just that there's a lot more nuance to it.
I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
Kelrex
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by Kelrex »

sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
sd323232
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by sd323232 »

Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
GreendaleCC
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by GreendaleCC »

sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I think you’re still missing the point.

For example, if someone wants to go into sales or marketing in the software industry, you would recommend that they get a CS or engineering degree?
Kelrex
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by Kelrex »

sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I would never say that STEM folks in general lack people skills, but STEM degrees don't teach nearly as many soft skills as humanities degrees.

I know because I majored in both.
sd323232
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:45 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by sd323232 »

GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:39 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I think you’re still missing the point.

For example, if someone wants to go into sales or marketing in the software industry, you would recommend that they get a CS or engineering degree?
Why not? Imagine someone coming and trying to sell u a device or program. And that sales person has engineering degree and can tell u all about the program or device.

Or u can get a sales person with no engineering background who will say "I dont understand how it works I just sell them, if u need more tech info here is number u can call to ask technical questions"

Big difference
Soon2BXProgrammer
Posts: 1157
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:30 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am I am asked to discuss career options in an high school. Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?" I wanted to given an honest and best possible/data based answer.

I can thinking of specialty doctors like Cardiologist, Entrepreneurs in software/robotics/future technologies and investment bankers as the top 3 things. My intent is to get some data on effort to get to these roles, pathways and rewards.

Anything else? What advice would you give your young self? Thanks for any insights.
Well this is complex because you are asking for "high probability" i would argue that all the items you stated are "low probability" for the "average-ish" person to make it "big".
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:50 am Also, the path to medicine leaves a lot of poor saps in its wake. It's not like you get to decide that you want to be a doctor and just like that, you get to be a doctor.
Hence the desire for a plan B for something that competitive.
As for careers, the biggest myth out there is that you have to get a specific type of education to work in a specific type of industry. That's just nonsense.

If an industry is booming and you want to be part of it, there are countless ways to get there, and many of the side paths are just as interesting and lucrative than the main path.
There is a difference between getting into an industry and getting into a career. For many careers a specific type of education is required. For example doctors...
If you want a tech job, you don't need to be a programmer. If you want to work for an engineering firm, you don't have to be an engineer. If you want to work in the dental industry, you don't need to become a dentist.

All industries have space in them for an enormous range of skills and backgrounds. If someone wants to be an engineer, programmer, accountant, lawyer, or doctor, then cool, have at it, but STEM degrees and professional degrees are NOT the only paths towards success in those industries.
Most of those alternate careers, other than management, are not as well compensated.
Some of my most successful friends are those with soft skills who burrowed their way into STEM type industries and are indispensable now compared to the very replaceable technically trained staff who are churned out of schools every day.
The fact that you think highly trained technical staff are "very replaceable" indicates to me that you are biased.
Lastly, as someone who used to work in staffing, and used to work in scientific research, I can firmly say that A LOT of STEM degrees lead to an absolute dead end professionally unless the person just keeps on going with school, and by design, so few will get in to those advanced programs that many are left with an essentially useless degree.

I can't tell you how many Chem, Biochem, bio, neuroscience, and physics grads I've known with virtually ZERO marketable skills. People joke about a philosophy degree leading to a barista job, but what jobs do people think are out there for a neuroscience major with just an undergrad degree? At least the philosophy major's research and writing skills are actually useful for a lot of jobs...not so much the neuroscience major's.
This is true. A BS in Chemistry leaves you professionally qualified to be a lab technician. Most Science undergrad degrees can be best considered as "Pre-something else" whether that is pre-med or pre-phd.

Engineering and Comp Sci is different.

In any case, there is data on the average salaries of the graduates of different majors.

Lets see...

Median annual earnings of 25- to 29-year-old bachelor’s degree holders

EE $78.7K
CompSci $70.1K
General Engineering $68.9K
Math $54.6K

Median: $50.6K

English Lit: $44.6K
Liberal Arts and Humanities: $40.3K

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_sbc.pdf

Starbucks Assistant Store Manager: $43.7K
Barista $25.1K

https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Starbu ... PT1020.htm
SO just hired 4 new grads to work on a project in the tech sector. It's mostly research work that requires reporting on how internationally tech corporations handle certain government policies. All of his new grads have humanities degrees and are perfectly capable of doing the job, which pays nearly 6 figures. A STEM grad would probably be lost.
Why would a STEM grad be lost? It appears to me that you have some kind of axe to grind against folks with STEM backgrounds.
It's not a one to one ratio of STEM degree to "good job", that's just not the way it works. And to write off the skills learned in humanities degrees in terms of their career utility is also risky.

That's not to say that STEM degrees are bad and humanities degrees are good. Not at all. Just that there's a lot more nuance to it.
Not that much nuance when a Starbucks Assistant Manager on Glassdoor earns about the same as a median Liberal Arts/Humanities degree holder.

STEM degree in general may not be a 1 for 1 ratio for "good job" but it IS the way it works for Engineering degrees.

But for engineering vs humanities:

"Electrical engineering degree holders had median annual earnings of $78,700 and an average unemployment rate of 1.9 percent. Nursing degree holders had median annual earnings of $58,700 and an average unemployment rate of 1.7 percent. English language and literature was the only field for which bachelor’s degree holders had both below-median annual earnings ($44,600) and an above- average unemployment rate (4.4 percent)."

CompSci ended up a little weird:

"In addition, computer and information sciences was the only field for which bachelor’s degree holders had above-median annual earnings ($70,100) and an above-average unemployment rate (5.6 percent)."
...

"Only computer and information sciences had higher median annual earnings in 2018 than in 2010 ($70,100 vs. $64,900). All other fields discussed in this indicator had 2018 median annual earnings that were not measurably different from those in 2010."
Kelrex
Posts: 241
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:32 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by Kelrex »

nigel_ht wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:17 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:50 am Also, the path to medicine leaves a lot of poor saps in its wake. It's not like you get to decide that you want to be a doctor and just like that, you get to be a doctor.
Hence the desire for a plan B for something that competitive.
As for careers, the biggest myth out there is that you have to get a specific type of education to work in a specific type of industry. That's just nonsense.

If an industry is booming and you want to be part of it, there are countless ways to get there, and many of the side paths are just as interesting and lucrative than the main path.
There is a difference between getting into an industry and getting into a career. For many careers a specific type of education is required. For example doctors...
If you want a tech job, you don't need to be a programmer. If you want to work for an engineering firm, you don't have to be an engineer. If you want to work in the dental industry, you don't need to become a dentist.

All industries have space in them for an enormous range of skills and backgrounds. If someone wants to be an engineer, programmer, accountant, lawyer, or doctor, then cool, have at it, but STEM degrees and professional degrees are NOT the only paths towards success in those industries.
Most of those alternate careers, other than management, are not as well compensated.
Some of my most successful friends are those with soft skills who burrowed their way into STEM type industries and are indispensable now compared to the very replaceable technically trained staff who are churned out of schools every day.
The fact that you think highly trained technical staff are "very replaceable" indicates to me that you are biased.
Lastly, as someone who used to work in staffing, and used to work in scientific research, I can firmly say that A LOT of STEM degrees lead to an absolute dead end professionally unless the person just keeps on going with school, and by design, so few will get in to those advanced programs that many are left with an essentially useless degree.

I can't tell you how many Chem, Biochem, bio, neuroscience, and physics grads I've known with virtually ZERO marketable skills. People joke about a philosophy degree leading to a barista job, but what jobs do people think are out there for a neuroscience major with just an undergrad degree? At least the philosophy major's research and writing skills are actually useful for a lot of jobs...not so much the neuroscience major's.
This is true. A BS in Chemistry leaves you professionally qualified to be a lab technician. Most Science undergrad degrees can be best considered as "Pre-something else" whether that is pre-med or pre-phd.

Engineering and Comp Sci is different.

In any case, there is data on the average salaries of the graduates of different majors.

Lets see...

Median annual earnings of 25- to 29-year-old bachelor’s degree holders

EE $78.7K
CompSci $70.1K
General Engineering $68.9K
Math $54.6K

Median: $50.6K

English Lit: $44.6K
Liberal Arts and Humanities: $40.3K

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_sbc.pdf

Starbucks Assistant Store Manager: $43.7K
Barista $25.1K

https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Starbu ... PT1020.htm
SO just hired 4 new grads to work on a project in the tech sector. It's mostly research work that requires reporting on how internationally tech corporations handle certain government policies. All of his new grads have humanities degrees and are perfectly capable of doing the job, which pays nearly 6 figures. A STEM grad would probably be lost.
Why would a STEM grad be lost? It appears to me that you have some kind of axe to grind against folks with STEM backgrounds.
It's not a one to one ratio of STEM degree to "good job", that's just not the way it works. And to write off the skills learned in humanities degrees in terms of their career utility is also risky.

That's not to say that STEM degrees are bad and humanities degrees are good. Not at all. Just that there's a lot more nuance to it.
Not that much nuance when a Starbucks Assistant Manager on Glassdoor earns about the same as a median Liberal Arts/Humanities degree holder.

STEM degree in general may not be a 1 for 1 ratio for "good job" but it IS the way it works for Engineering degrees.

But for engineering vs humanities:

"Electrical engineering degree holders had median annual earnings of $78,700 and an average unemployment rate of 1.9 percent. Nursing degree holders had median annual earnings of $58,700 and an average unemployment rate
of 1.7 percent. English language and literature was the only field for which bachelor’s degree holders had both below-median annual earnings ($44,600) and an above- average unemployment rate (4.4 percent)."

CompSci ended up a little weird:

"In addition, computer and information sciences was the only field for which bachelor’s degree holders had above-median annual earnings ($70,100) and an above-average unemployment rate (5.6 percent)."
...

"Only computer and information sciences had higher median annual earnings in 2018 than in 2010 ($70,100 vs. $64,900). All other fields discussed in this indicator had 2018 median annual earnings that were not measurably different from those in 2010."
I have no bias against STEM degrees, I have one myself. I have a bias against the stance that I see repeated often that humanities education is essentially worthless and STEM degrees are *the* pathway to success.

I also don't think quality STEM professionals don't have value, but I do know of many, many mediocre ones who got into it because their parents pushed them into STEM and they aren't exceptional at it. I can't tell you how many of my highschool classmates ended up mediocre programmers in dead end careers.

I was also making the point that someone who has a unique combination of skills is less *replaceable* than a position that can be staffed by a specific type of fairly common professional.

For example, in the dental world, the dentists may be highly valuable, but it's a thousand times easier to replace a dentist that it is to replace a senior admin or dental manager. I never said that person makes more, I said they're less replaceable.

Being less replaceable can often lead to negotiating power that others don't have, I can speak from experience that it's allowed me to demand some crazy concessions from my employers, which can make for a very cozy job.

Being replaceable doesn't mean being less valuable, it just means that there's someone nipping at your heels for your job and they have the credentials to do it. This means employers can exert more pressure.

As for career prospects, absolutely, professional degrees like engineering, law, medicine, etc, do directly lead to above average careers, and that's great for those of us who truly want to do those careers.

What doesn't make sense is to take that statistical fact and compare it to all other grads and say "look, that means that these degrees are better for all kids". That's just not the case.

Again, nothing against STEM, it's just my personal and professional experience that the attitude that it's STEM or failure is misleading and a huge disservice to young people looking for career guidance.

If one wants to pursue STEM and has a career in mind that they think they would excel at and enjoy, then great! That's a wonderful path. However, if someone excels at humanities and wants to study poli-sci and philosophy, then great! It's going to take more savvy, networking, and creativity, but there are a ton of great options out there for them as well, even within the STEM industries.
JPM
Posts: 161
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:29 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by JPM »

I can speak to medicine from experience and decades of close observation, other professions only from observation at a greater distance.

Most doctors seem happy in it. You make a good income, can do (almost have to do) something useful and constructive every day, and generally your clientele is working with you toward the same goal and nobody except insurers are trying to stop you. It does eat up a lot of your time but allows for hobbies, family life, and sometimes even side occupations. Nevertheless some are not happy in it for various reasons. Some seem unhappy due to lack of skill in their chosen specialty. I have observed that these people develop substance problems more often than others. Some would rather be doing something else but not for less money. Some never wanted to be in it at all and entered it at someone else's behest. Some learn early and quit early in training to do something else. I knew a guy in HS and undergrad who quit med school to be a semi successful professional athlete and coach. Pursued his passion. Has had a few wives, not usually the record of a happy guy.

Among non physicians, my circles are much smaller. Accountants seem to be a pretty happy bunch. Very interesting and constructive work much of the time for those I deal with professionally. Engineers and scientists in industry seem to be happy in their work. Attorneys have it tougher unless in large successful firms or lucrative niches. Somebody is always trying to frustrate you in law even when you are doing a right and generous thing. They all make good money, some more than others as is true of all professions. The richest are the successful attorneys (a small percentage of the attorneys) and biological scientists and engineers who achieved success in industry. I live near a biotech center. If I lived in Texas or Oklahoma maybe petroleum and chemical engineers would be the economic royalists.

I know some successful small and not-small contractors in the building trades. One guy decided college wasn't for him. With no military draft, he put his college fund aside for a few years, learned masonry, and used his college fund to start his own masonry contracting business and has done very well with it and he is quite happy in it.

Underappreciated in this thread is the crucial nature of a reasonably happy and successful personal life. And that not even the most successful personal and professional lives are peaches and cream all the time. Professional life and making good money often mean little to those with frustrating unhappy personal lives from what I have seen. Perhaps someone should mention that to high school kids amid the career discussions.
oldfort
Posts: 1930
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by oldfort »

GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:12 am
oldfort wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:56 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:56 pm I find the high school’s speaker prep questionable.

In any case, I think there’s middle ground between passion vs income maximization. Either extreme is not wise in my book.

I would encourage any career explorer to think of their possible options as a Venn diagram and focus on the overlap between “What I’m interested in and enjoy” and “What can lead to a comfortable living.”

This example might get torn apart here, but if one of my kids one day wanted to study Fine Arts in college, I would encourage them to figure out how to get enough exposure to finance or accounting to have a reasonable shot at jobs with organizations dealing with art investments, auctioning, museum management, etc. (Art stuff would not be my first choice, but this is the kind of approach I’m mentally preparing for.)
What if there's not much overlap between what you enjoy and what you can get paid for doing. I enjoy golf and surfing, but could never get paid to golf or surf all day. I like watching sports, but don't expect to ever get a job as a sports announcer. Perhaps it's better to look for overlap between jobs I can tolerate and jobs which lead to a comfortable living.
I think you’re taking my comment too literally. If you have an interest in surfing or golfing, consider the entire industries around those sports that employ tons of people in different capacities who are not the ones competing professionally.

Plus, if you were a high school student who liked loved watching sports, you probably could become a professional sports announcer (or sports journalist) - if you thought strategically, made good choices to create your own luck, and played your cards right.
Most of the professional sports announcers I know of first either competed or coached the sport at a high level.
oldfort
Posts: 1930
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by oldfort »

Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:02 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I would never say that STEM folks in general lack people skills, but STEM degrees don't teach nearly as many soft skills as humanities degrees.

I know because I majored in both.
A lot of what gets labeled soft skills is close to a set of personality traits. If someone's ASD, they won't have a high level of emotional intelligence whether they major in history or CS.
sd323232
Posts: 743
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:45 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by sd323232 »

oldfort wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:51 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:02 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I would never say that STEM folks in general lack people skills, but STEM degrees don't teach nearly as many soft skills as humanities degrees.

I know because I majored in both.
A lot of what gets labeled soft skills is close to a set of personality traits. If someone's ASD, they won't have a high level of emotional intelligence whether they major in history or CS.
Great point! I agree
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:44 pm
nigel_ht wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:17 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:50 am Also, the path to medicine leaves a lot of poor saps in its wake. It's not like you get to decide that you want to be a doctor and just like that, you get to be a doctor.
Hence the desire for a plan B for something that competitive.
As for careers, the biggest myth out there is that you have to get a specific type of education to work in a specific type of industry. That's just nonsense.

If an industry is booming and you want to be part of it, there are countless ways to get there, and many of the side paths are just as interesting and lucrative than the main path.
There is a difference between getting into an industry and getting into a career. For many careers a specific type of education is required. For example doctors...
If you want a tech job, you don't need to be a programmer. If you want to work for an engineering firm, you don't have to be an engineer. If you want to work in the dental industry, you don't need to become a dentist.

All industries have space in them for an enormous range of skills and backgrounds. If someone wants to be an engineer, programmer, accountant, lawyer, or doctor, then cool, have at it, but STEM degrees and professional degrees are NOT the only paths towards success in those industries.
Most of those alternate careers, other than management, are not as well compensated.
Some of my most successful friends are those with soft skills who burrowed their way into STEM type industries and are indispensable now compared to the very replaceable technically trained staff who are churned out of schools every day.
The fact that you think highly trained technical staff are "very replaceable" indicates to me that you are biased.
Lastly, as someone who used to work in staffing, and used to work in scientific research, I can firmly say that A LOT of STEM degrees lead to an absolute dead end professionally unless the person just keeps on going with school, and by design, so few will get in to those advanced programs that many are left with an essentially useless degree.

I can't tell you how many Chem, Biochem, bio, neuroscience, and physics grads I've known with virtually ZERO marketable skills. People joke about a philosophy degree leading to a barista job, but what jobs do people think are out there for a neuroscience major with just an undergrad degree? At least the philosophy major's research and writing skills are actually useful for a lot of jobs...not so much the neuroscience major's.
This is true. A BS in Chemistry leaves you professionally qualified to be a lab technician. Most Science undergrad degrees can be best considered as "Pre-something else" whether that is pre-med or pre-phd.

Engineering and Comp Sci is different.

In any case, there is data on the average salaries of the graduates of different majors.

Lets see...

Median annual earnings of 25- to 29-year-old bachelor’s degree holders

EE $78.7K
CompSci $70.1K
General Engineering $68.9K
Math $54.6K

Median: $50.6K

English Lit: $44.6K
Liberal Arts and Humanities: $40.3K

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_sbc.pdf

Starbucks Assistant Store Manager: $43.7K
Barista $25.1K

https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Starbu ... PT1020.htm
SO just hired 4 new grads to work on a project in the tech sector. It's mostly research work that requires reporting on how internationally tech corporations handle certain government policies. All of his new grads have humanities degrees and are perfectly capable of doing the job, which pays nearly 6 figures. A STEM grad would probably be lost.
Why would a STEM grad be lost? It appears to me that you have some kind of axe to grind against folks with STEM backgrounds.
It's not a one to one ratio of STEM degree to "good job", that's just not the way it works. And to write off the skills learned in humanities degrees in terms of their career utility is also risky.

That's not to say that STEM degrees are bad and humanities degrees are good. Not at all. Just that there's a lot more nuance to it.
Not that much nuance when a Starbucks Assistant Manager on Glassdoor earns about the same as a median Liberal Arts/Humanities degree holder.

STEM degree in general may not be a 1 for 1 ratio for "good job" but it IS the way it works for Engineering degrees.

But for engineering vs humanities:

"Electrical engineering degree holders had median annual earnings of $78,700 and an average unemployment rate of 1.9 percent. Nursing degree holders had median annual earnings of $58,700 and an average unemployment rate
of 1.7 percent. English language and literature was the only field for which bachelor’s degree holders had both below-median annual earnings ($44,600) and an above- average unemployment rate (4.4 percent)."

CompSci ended up a little weird:

"In addition, computer and information sciences was the only field for which bachelor’s degree holders had above-median annual earnings ($70,100) and an above-average unemployment rate (5.6 percent)."
...

"Only computer and information sciences had higher median annual earnings in 2018 than in 2010 ($70,100 vs. $64,900). All other fields discussed in this indicator had 2018 median annual earnings that were not measurably different from those in 2010."
I have no bias against STEM degrees, I have one myself. I have a bias against the stance that I see repeated often that humanities education is essentially worthless and STEM degrees are *the* pathway to success.
The available data shows that the Engineering part of STEM degrees are *the* pathway to success for undergraduate only degrees.
I also don't think quality STEM professionals don't have value, but I do know of many, many mediocre ones who got into it because their parents pushed them into STEM and they aren't exceptional at it. I can't tell you how many of my highschool classmates ended up mediocre programmers in dead end careers.
Mediocre folks tend to make mediocre salaries. Most folks will cluster around the median.

Better to have a "dead end" career making 70K+ a year than one making $40K a year.
I was also making the point that someone who has a unique combination of skills is less *replaceable* than a position that can be staffed by a specific type of fairly common professional.

For example, in the dental world, the dentists may be highly valuable, but it's a thousand times easier to replace a dentist that it is to replace a senior admin or dental manager. I never said that person makes more, I said they're less replaceable.
If this were true then in a semi-efficient labor market a senior admin or dental manager would make thousand times more money than a dentist. Given that this is demonstrably false...even with a relatively large supply of dentists entering the workforce and concerns of oversupply...it makes it unlikely that you are correct.
As for career prospects, absolutely, professional degrees like engineering, law, medicine, etc, do directly lead to above average careers, and that's great for those of us who truly want to do those careers.
Or folks that just truly want to make a decent living...
What doesn't make sense is to take that statistical fact and compare it to all other grads and say "look, that means that these degrees are better for all kids". That's just not the case.

Again, nothing against STEM, it's just my personal and professional experience that the attitude that it's STEM or failure is misleading and a huge disservice to young people looking for career guidance.

If one wants to pursue STEM and has a career in mind that they think they would excel at and enjoy, then great! That's a wonderful path. However, if someone excels at humanities and wants to study poli-sci and philosophy, then great! It's going to take more savvy, networking, and creativity, but there are a ton of great options out there for them as well, even within the STEM industries.
Folks that are more savvy, do more networking and have more creativity do better yes. That's almost a tautology.

So it's not STEM or failure but it's STEM or a lot more effort, skills and luck. If you get a bachelors of liberal arts degree from Harvard you're likely going to do well. One from Podunk Private U, not so much and the ROI terrible.

I'm better off advising my kid to get a restaurant management AA from the local community college and work super hard for a Starbucks manager slot while parking $120K into VTI for him rather than pay for a liberal arts degree...at least he can have a decent retirement even if he never saves another dime.
phxjcc
Posts: 573
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:47 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by phxjcc »

A LOT of the above is touchy feely “do what you love” which is the indulgence of the upper and middle classes.

The only thing—that must considered is “how are you going to provide for yourself and your family”?

The shortest path to that goal is trade school. Salesperson? Doctor? Lawyer?

Ok. But the universal truth is that everyone needs a skill that others are willing to pay for.

So, identify a skill that you can acquire and can become competent at and that you will be paid well to perform.

The touchy feely stuff is gravy.
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

phxjcc wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:03 pm A LOT of the above is touchy feely “do what you love” which is the indulgence of the upper and middle classes.

The only thing—that must considered is “how are you going to provide for yourself and your family”?

The shortest path to that goal is trade school. Salesperson? Doctor? Lawyer?

Ok. But the universal truth is that everyone needs a skill that others are willing to pay for.

So, identify a skill that you can acquire and can become competent at and that you will be paid well to perform.

The touchy feely stuff is gravy.
Yep, figure out how to meet the bottom of the Maslow hierarchy first. A lot of the touchy feely stuff IS very valuable but all the way at the top for self-actualization.

I'm inclined to assert that self-actualization is easier as a billionaire than as a pauper...
onourway
Posts: 2724
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by onourway »

sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm
I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
As a non-Engineer with a humanities degree employed at an engineering company, I have to say that Kelrex's examples fit my own experience and what I've witnessed in the industry quite well.

In our highly technical field, Engineers are outnumbered about 5:1 by non-engineers (many of whom are doing plenty of high level engineering in their own right). Engineers make about the median salary, and while this is not true in our particular company, in many of the companies we work with, the Engineers work on many of the least interesting projects (their work is quite repetitive and little room for creativity).

The most highly compensated and most difficult to replace employees are almost entirely non-Engineers. Some are computer programmers (really, software engineers). Most though simply have a wide variety of skills and a deep industry knowledge.

I fully agree with Kelrex that there is plenty of highly paid and immensely fulfilling work in many highly technical fields, even for those of us who initially chose a broader field of study.
Last edited by onourway on Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GreendaleCC
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:24 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by GreendaleCC »

oldfort wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:31 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:12 am
oldfort wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:56 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:56 pm I find the high school’s speaker prep questionable.

In any case, I think there’s middle ground between passion vs income maximization. Either extreme is not wise in my book.

I would encourage any career explorer to think of their possible options as a Venn diagram and focus on the overlap between “What I’m interested in and enjoy” and “What can lead to a comfortable living.”

This example might get torn apart here, but if one of my kids one day wanted to study Fine Arts in college, I would encourage them to figure out how to get enough exposure to finance or accounting to have a reasonable shot at jobs with organizations dealing with art investments, auctioning, museum management, etc. (Art stuff would not be my first choice, but this is the kind of approach I’m mentally preparing for.)
What if there's not much overlap between what you enjoy and what you can get paid for doing. I enjoy golf and surfing, but could never get paid to golf or surf all day. I like watching sports, but don't expect to ever get a job as a sports announcer. Perhaps it's better to look for overlap between jobs I can tolerate and jobs which lead to a comfortable living.
I think you’re taking my comment too literally. If you have an interest in surfing or golfing, consider the entire industries around those sports that employ tons of people in different capacities who are not the ones competing professionally.

Plus, if you were a high school student who liked loved watching sports, you probably could become a professional sports announcer (or sports journalist) - if you thought strategically, made good choices to create your own luck, and played your cards right.
Most of the professional sports announcers I know of first either competed or coached the sport at a high level.
Only 4 of the Yankee’s 11 “broadcasters” played professional baseball. The others have developed careers in sports-related radio, television, and print media.

https://www.mlb.com/yankees/team/broadcasters
GreendaleCC
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:24 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by GreendaleCC »

sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:08 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:39 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I think you’re still missing the point.

For example, if someone wants to go into sales or marketing in the software industry, you would recommend that they get a CS or engineering degree?
Why not? Imagine someone coming and trying to sell u a device or program. And that sales person has engineering degree and can tell u all about the program or device.

Or u can get a sales person with no engineering background who will say "I dont understand how it works I just sell them, if u need more tech info here is number u can call to ask technical questions"

Big difference
That’s why sales enablement teams train sales forces, and why there are often technical sales specialists (or similar roles) for more advanced discussions with customers, depending on the product.
Last edited by GreendaleCC on Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lessismore22
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:02 pm
Location: USA

Re: Choosing a career

Post by lessismore22 »

tainted-meat wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:03 am Be a doctor or a salesperson and you'll be employed forever.
+1

Sales career here, now into ownership. Make more than nearly every doctor I meet with.
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

onourway wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:57 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm
I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
As a non-Engineer with a humanities degree employed at an engineering company, I have to say that Kelrex's examples fit my own experience and what I've witnessed in the industry quite well.

In our highly technical field, Engineers are outnumbered about 5:1 by non-engineers (many of whom are doing plenty of high level engineering in their own right). Engineers make about the median salary, and while this is not true in our particular company, in many of the companies we work with, the Engineers work on many of the least interesting projects (their work is quite repetitive and little room for creativity).

The most highly compensated and most difficult to replace employees are almost entirely non-Engineers. Some are computer programmers (really, software engineers). Most though simply have a wide variety of skills and a deep industry knowledge.

I fully agree with Kelrex that there is plenty of highly paid and immensely fulfilling work in many highly technical fields, even for those of us who initially chose a broader field of study.
So in your highly technical field, 85% of the professional staff (as opposed to support staff) do not have STEM degrees but simply have deep industry knowledge and broad knowledge.

Right.

I'm going to ask what this "highly technical" field is.

And yes, programmers do count as engineers in this context.
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:17 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:08 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:39 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:23 pm
Kelrex wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:58 pm

It's not true that there are no other roles in tech and engineering firms? There's an engineering firm in my old building that yes, hires mostly engineers, but also has HR staff, sales staff, technical writers, etc. I know someone who has an arts master's who is a major communications player for a huge engineering firm.

Likewise, the software companies I know hire a lot of artists and writers, not as many as they do programmers, but enough that an individual could easily aim for a job in the software industry without pursuing programming.

My point is that a STEM degree isn't the only pathway into these industries, not that non STEM degrees are the easiest way in.
I see ur point.

But isnt it simply better get STEM degree if u wanna get into STEM industry?

Also, it is a myth that STEM college grads have no people skills, probably becuase of Office Space movie. I have extraordinary people skills.
I think you’re still missing the point.

For example, if someone wants to go into sales or marketing in the software industry, you would recommend that they get a CS or engineering degree?
Why not? Imagine someone coming and trying to sell u a device or program. And that sales person has engineering degree and can tell u all about the program or device.

Or u can get a sales person with no engineering background who will say "I dont understand how it works I just sell them, if u need more tech info here is number u can call to ask technical questions"

Big difference
That’s why sales enablement teams train sales forces, and why there are often technical sales specialists (or similar roles) for more advanced discussions with customers, depending on the product.
Mmmm..I did some consulting as a pre-sales systems engineer for some companies. I made quite a bit of money but the sales person made the sales and I was there to build demos for clients and answer technical questions.

I was Anderson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
onourway
Posts: 2724
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by onourway »

nigel_ht wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:32 pm
onourway wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:57 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm
I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
As a non-Engineer with a humanities degree employed at an engineering company, I have to say that Kelrex's examples fit my own experience and what I've witnessed in the industry quite well.

In our highly technical field, Engineers are outnumbered about 5:1 by non-engineers (many of whom are doing plenty of high level engineering in their own right). Engineers make about the median salary, and while this is not true in our particular company, in many of the companies we work with, the Engineers work on many of the least interesting projects (their work is quite repetitive and little room for creativity).

The most highly compensated and most difficult to replace employees are almost entirely non-Engineers. Some are computer programmers (really, software engineers). Most though simply have a wide variety of skills and a deep industry knowledge.

I fully agree with Kelrex that there is plenty of highly paid and immensely fulfilling work in many highly technical fields, even for those of us who initially chose a broader field of study.
So in your highly technical field, 85% of the professional staff (as opposed to support staff) do not have STEM degrees but simply have deep industry knowledge and broad knowledge.

Right.

I'm going to ask what this "highly technical" field is.

And yes, programmers do count as engineers in this context.
I tried to delineate between professional Engineers and everyone else who does engineering in their title (which would make up most of the company). I presumed @sd323232 was talking Engineers with a capital E of which - as every thread on the topic lays bare - software engineers, et al, may or may not count, depending on who you ask.

This pretty much proves the point, however. Lots of people with a wide variety of backgrounds do engineering work as their primary responsibility. You don't necessarily need to go the full STEM route to get there; very few people we hire have.
oldfort
Posts: 1930
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by oldfort »

GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:06 pm
oldfort wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:31 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:12 am
oldfort wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:56 pm
GreendaleCC wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:56 pm I find the high school’s speaker prep questionable.

In any case, I think there’s middle ground between passion vs income maximization. Either extreme is not wise in my book.

I would encourage any career explorer to think of their possible options as a Venn diagram and focus on the overlap between “What I’m interested in and enjoy” and “What can lead to a comfortable living.”

This example might get torn apart here, but if one of my kids one day wanted to study Fine Arts in college, I would encourage them to figure out how to get enough exposure to finance or accounting to have a reasonable shot at jobs with organizations dealing with art investments, auctioning, museum management, etc. (Art stuff would not be my first choice, but this is the kind of approach I’m mentally preparing for.)
What if there's not much overlap between what you enjoy and what you can get paid for doing. I enjoy golf and surfing, but could never get paid to golf or surf all day. I like watching sports, but don't expect to ever get a job as a sports announcer. Perhaps it's better to look for overlap between jobs I can tolerate and jobs which lead to a comfortable living.
I think you’re taking my comment too literally. If you have an interest in surfing or golfing, consider the entire industries around those sports that employ tons of people in different capacities who are not the ones competing professionally.

Plus, if you were a high school student who liked loved watching sports, you probably could become a professional sports announcer (or sports journalist) - if you thought strategically, made good choices to create your own luck, and played your cards right.
Most of the professional sports announcers I know of first either competed or coached the sport at a high level.
Only 4 of the Yankee’s 11 “broadcasters” played professional baseball. The others have developed careers in sports-related radio, television, and print media.

https://www.mlb.com/yankees/team/broadcasters
So out of the 9 men, 44% played professional baseball. I'm betting some of the other 5 played college baseball. This makes my point.
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

onourway wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:40 pm
nigel_ht wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:32 pm
onourway wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:57 pm
sd323232 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:05 pm
I dont mean to to disrespect anyone, but I'm an engineer with about 15 year experience (not much, I'm not too old, but not too young either, I have been in the industry for a while) but I would just say for sake of other people who might read what you wrote and they may actually believe it, but your post is simply not true.

To work as engineer in an engineering firm u have to be degreed engineer almost always.

You say some of your most successful friends borrowed their way into stem and are indespensivle compared to trained tech folk?

As an engineer who works in the trenches currently, i will say that actual real work is done by engineers, not soft skilled people who all they do is talk useless fluff all day. The actuall work is done be engineers. But isnt nice, when u have no have engineering background, be in charge of engineering team who do all work for u, and who are easily replaceable, and u collect all the fruits of labor, sitting at the top? And say that u are more valuable than the tech engineers who actually do all real work for u? Does this really qualify as success story?

And in places I worked most project managers and supervisors came from engineering backgrounds. Very rare I would see a non engineer at that position. Very rare.
As a non-Engineer with a humanities degree employed at an engineering company, I have to say that Kelrex's examples fit my own experience and what I've witnessed in the industry quite well.

In our highly technical field, Engineers are outnumbered about 5:1 by non-engineers (many of whom are doing plenty of high level engineering in their own right). Engineers make about the median salary, and while this is not true in our particular company, in many of the companies we work with, the Engineers work on many of the least interesting projects (their work is quite repetitive and little room for creativity).

The most highly compensated and most difficult to replace employees are almost entirely non-Engineers. Some are computer programmers (really, software engineers). Most though simply have a wide variety of skills and a deep industry knowledge.

I fully agree with Kelrex that there is plenty of highly paid and immensely fulfilling work in many highly technical fields, even for those of us who initially chose a broader field of study.
So in your highly technical field, 85% of the professional staff (as opposed to support staff) do not have STEM degrees but simply have deep industry knowledge and broad knowledge.

Right.

I'm going to ask what this "highly technical" field is.

And yes, programmers do count as engineers in this context.
I tried to delineate between professional Engineers and everyone else who does engineering in their title (which would make up most of the company). I presumed @sd323232 was talking Engineers with a capital E of which - as every thread on the topic lays bare - software engineers, et al, may or may not count, depending on who you ask.

This pretty much proves the point, however. Lots of people with a wide variety of backgrounds do engineering work as their primary responsibility. You don't necessarily need to go the full STEM route to get there; very few people we hire have.
Proves what point? First it's anecdotal. Second you still haven't indicated what "highly technical" field this is.

Software engineers count as engineers as much any other engineers count as engineers. The only "capital E" engineers are certified Professional Engineers and they make up a very small subset of the profession. Mostly civil and construction related fields where you offer engineering services...but if you are building product you don't need any PEs or stamps.
s8r
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Location: Northern Europe

Re: Choosing a career

Post by s8r »

supalong52 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:24 am
vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?"
This is the wrong question to ask. Conflating career with pay is like saying food is only worth the number of calories they provide. I would explore the question by asking questions about what they like, are good at.

Image

What's the point of telling an artistic young person that a doctor is guaranteed a lot of money? Even if they pursue medicine, they will likely regret it later because they will subconsciously realize they sold out, especially during the grueling years as a resident. They might enjoy and be better suited to be an architect or interior designer.

On the flip side, someone who's analytical and good at math might find that other pursuits better match their skills and interests.
Regarding that picture: I believe it is rare to encounter someone who is NOT good at something he/she is highly interested in.

It is very likely that you will eventually become good at something you have a passion for.

Edit: typo
Last edited by s8r on Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
bluegill
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:15 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by bluegill »

What ever you career field you start in, you will probably not end in. You will probably change careers during your life. I know of one field to avoid, petroleum exploration. I did that. Exploration has very big ups (high income) and downs (no income).
Cruise
Posts: 1089
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Choosing a career

Post by Cruise »

s8r wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:05 am
supalong52 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:24 am
vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?"
This is the wrong question to ask. Conflating career with pay is like saying food is only worth the number of calories they provide. I would explore the question by asking questions about what they like, are good at.

Image

What's the point of telling an artistic young person that a doctor is guaranteed a lot of money? Even if they pursue medicine, they will likely regret it later because they will subconsciously realize they sold out, especially during the grueling years as a resident. They might enjoy and be better suited to be an architect or interior designer.

On the flip side, someone who's analytical and good at math might find that other pursuits better match their skills and interests.
Regarding that picture: I believe it is rare to encounter someone who is NOT at good at something he/she is highly interested in.

It is very likely that you will eventually become good at something you have a passion for.
I’d disagree. There are many who aspire to certain vocations/pro sessions, but who just don’t have the intellectual capacity or temperament to succeed.

OP: For your talk, I’d focus not on income potential, but developing an accurate self-assessment of interests, capabilities, and motivational level.
s8r
Posts: 131
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Location: Northern Europe

Re: Choosing a career

Post by s8r »

Cruise wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:16 am
s8r wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:05 am
supalong52 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:24 am
vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?"
This is the wrong question to ask. Conflating career with pay is like saying food is only worth the number of calories they provide. I would explore the question by asking questions about what they like, are good at.

Image

What's the point of telling an artistic young person that a doctor is guaranteed a lot of money? Even if they pursue medicine, they will likely regret it later because they will subconsciously realize they sold out, especially during the grueling years as a resident. They might enjoy and be better suited to be an architect or interior designer.

On the flip side, someone who's analytical and good at math might find that other pursuits better match their skills and interests.
Regarding that picture: I believe it is rare to encounter someone who is NOT at good at something he/she is highly interested in.

It is very likely that you will eventually become good at something you have a passion for.
I’d disagree. There are many who aspire to certain vocations/pro sessions, but who just don’t have the intellectual capacity or temperament to succeed.

OP: For your talk, I’d focus not on income potential, but developing an accurate self-assessment of interests, capabilities, and motivational level.
I wouldn't say there are many, just some. Aptitude or "talent" mainly determines how much time and effort you have to put in to master something. However, we do not have infinite time and energy, which is a practical issue. And of course there are fields such as arts and sports where you really cannot succeed by sheer hard work and passion.

But mostly I wouldn't discourage a motivated individual from pursuing a career that doesn't "fit" him/her.
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

supalong52 wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:24 am
vk22 wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:59 am Ahead of the meeting, the key question sent to me was "Which career has the high probability for maximum lifetime $, given all else being equal?"
This is the wrong question to ask. Conflating career with pay is like saying food is only worth the number of calories they provide. I would explore the question by asking questions about what they like, are good at.

Image

What's the point of telling an artistic young person that a doctor is guaranteed a lot of money? Even if they pursue medicine, they will likely regret it later because they will subconsciously realize they sold out, especially during the grueling years as a resident. They might enjoy and be better suited to be an architect or interior designer.

On the flip side, someone who's analytical and good at math might find that other pursuits better match their skills and interests.
I liked architecture and was good at it but my older friend who was 3 years ahead of me was better at it, won awards, etc ended up with a really low paying job out of school and he was one of the more successful ones (it was an internship at some higher end firm or something). I dropped pre-arch.

Interior designers make crap except a few elite ones.

I went to software that I was also good at and had a great career (lucky) and made more money. I did UI design for a long while. Imagine, programmer designed UIs that weren’t terrible.

I would never recommend architect or interior design.

Make your 1st million “selling out”, buy a reno property and design the hell out of that and flip it. Repeat until you can quit your “terrible” dead end corporate or medical “sell out” job to do that full time.

Hire an architect to do the scut work of actually making the plans and do the interesting creative design parts yourself.

What would there be to regret? You putting some years working really hard at something you’re good at that can make a lot of money so you can go do something you have a passion for but makes little to no money? Really? To have the opportunity to achieve FI at a relatively young age is regrettable in some way?

Even working there’s 168 hours in a week. Say you have to spend 148 hours working, sleeping, chores etc. That still leaves you around 20 hours for passion work most weeks.

Maybe not when the kids are young but when kids are young I’m thinking they should be your passion for at least a few years...at least until they learn how to use an iPad...

If you are unfulfilled in a high paying career it’s not the jobs fault...you can dial back in most of those and make a little less for a more normal work life balance.
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market timer
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Re: Choosing a career

Post by market timer »

nigel_ht wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:04 amwhen kids are young I’m thinking they should be your passion for at least a few years...at least until they learn how to use an iPad...
That was around age 4 months in my house.
nigel_ht
Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Choosing a career

Post by nigel_ht »

market timer wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:12 am
nigel_ht wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:04 amwhen kids are young I’m thinking they should be your passion for at least a few years...at least until they learn how to use an iPad...
That was around age 4 months in my house.
I’m glad you are encouraging STEM at an early age...
jeffarvon
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:15 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: Choosing a career

Post by jeffarvon »

Wonderful conversation. I appreciate the thoughtfulness. Keep it coming.

Career exploration is a hot topic in the high school program I work in. Collectively, our students would be considered at-risk of completing HS because they didn't thrive in a traditional education format due to indifference, trama, just wasn't their time yet, anxiety, attendance (home responsibilities, medical issues, substance, other). We have National Merit scholars and those that (at this time) drop out.

As background, I was a megacorp software engineer and in my mid-50's did a career switch and got an education degree to teach math.

I would solicit additional thoughts around jobs and skills that are achievable with less than a 4-yr college degree. Most students have an immediacy of thought that doesn't extend very far or they simply don't have those supports. They may thank us later by directing/preparing them for an area that has the potential for advancement.

For those Venn diagrammers above, here is one: Ikigai (http://www.forastateofhappiness.com/wp- ... Ikigai.jpg) that is making it's away around education circles (see what I did there), nicely adding that bigger altruistic aspect of what the world needs.

Image
"Enough is as good as a feast" - Mary Poppins
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