View Full Version : Regarding Careers - need advice

12-30-2001, 06:27 AM
Hi everyone:

I am a 17-year old male and I just finished my first semester in college, the major being Computer Engineering. However, my mind is still not made up about what I want to do for a living. I have three options in mind: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Dentistry. I know, dentistry is a totally different major. I have a few questions. A lot - and I do mean a lot- of people are currently studying to be programmers and computer engineers in the future, won't this affect the job openings in the future or by the time I graduate, also do these jobs offer -especially engineering- offer security, flexibility, and have a good pay? I'm really confused

Thanks in advance

12-30-2001, 11:00 AM
You are looking at three high profile well payed jobs, private dentists in the uk can earn up to 60K per year, pro programmers can earn up to triple that. Youll spend more time at uni for dentistry, so its down to which will give yo more job satisfaction - thats something you have to decide for yourself.

12-30-2001, 11:43 AM
What about the job openings for computer science and engineering in the near and far future?

12-30-2001, 12:51 PM
What's the most fun for you?

12-30-2001, 01:14 PM
Well, I really prefer computer engineering to computer science, I just don't want to sit at the PC 24/7 writing programs. But I can't decide between that and dentistry.

12-30-2001, 02:00 PM
The jobs will be there if you have a dream and pursue it to its fullest. Many jobs, you can make for yourself.

Even if there was only one position in the entire world for what you want to do... if you want it bad enough, you will get it eventually. So don't worry about the jobs being there. They are there... and will continue to be for those that want it bad enough.

Computers are a good field. There is a huge amount of diversity.

I have a friend that works with Video Motion Detection Systems. He knows a good degree of VB programming and C programming. He also knows a large amount about networking and computer hardware. He isn't a full time software writer, but he does it from time to time to support his companies needs. He also does VMD installation and camera installation. What he knows fits the company that he works for quite well and he isn't a software engineer or a computer engineer persay. He makes over 85K a year.

My point: There are distinct jobs like software engineer and network engineer, and computer technician... but there are also a large quantity of jobs that will allow you to use what you know without having to sit in front of a terminal and type out code all day long. (Still, programming it is a good thing to know.)

Finally don't worry about it to much... just learn what you can. It will help if you decide whether or not you want to work with computers/electronics or dentistry. But I imagine there are people needed in the dentistry field that can work on computers and dental machinery.

I am 27 years old. I have a associates in CS and am working on an associates in Network Engineering. Then I will be completing my bachelors in Computer Science. I also have several certifications and certificates in computer programming, electronic theory, security systems, and more.

When I started all this at 22, I wanted to be a Botanist. Go figure.

Life will lead you where it should. You will do fine.... best of luck.

12-30-2001, 02:07 PM
I don't know any out of work dentists.

12-30-2001, 04:31 PM
The way i see it you are going to spend more time in school to become a dentist. It seems like an ok job, if you don't mind working with peoples mouths all day.
I am majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer and Systems Engineering. The economy has just begun to downward slope, but i hope by the time i graduate it will begin to climb upward again. And the other thing i think about is that since i am doing a dual with ee/cse, and almost all the new technology in homes has some kind of electrons in it, i should be able to find a job.
Being a dentist you would have to join a practice, or start your own company, in that case you would want to take some business classes during school.
Pick whatever makes you happy, but i can tell you this, I am in the second year of college and i love my classes now. My first year was pretty stupid. I didn't learn anything specific towards my major, just the basis for everything. I took calc, physics, cs, some humanitys and some core engineering classes. Now i am starting to take interisting classes, so dont base your desicion of the stupid freshman level classes you have to take.

12-30-2001, 10:14 PM
it is estimated in Europe alone by 2005 there will be a shortage of over 1 million IT professionals - with a computer science degree you are virtually guaranteed a good job.

it depends whats more iimportant to you - money, job environment or job satisfaction.

Do you really want to spend the next 40 years of life
*staring into peoples mouths
*at a monitor
*at motherboards and hard drives

which appeals most?

12-31-2001, 03:57 AM
>Do you really want to spend the next 40 years of life
>*staring into peoples mouths
>*at a monitor
>*at motherboards and hard drives

Hmmm. Well I don't really agree with this. Ofcourse, if you like to, you can stay computer engineer and programming you're whole working life. But many people who started as computer engineer worked up to some higher functions. They became architect, requirements manager or something like that.

In Europe, when having a computer engineering degree, there is quite a lot of work. Though, at this moment many computer technology related companies have stopped recruiting starting engineers. Some experts say that at the end of 2002 the economy will be better and there will be more work. But at this moment companies who do recruite, only recruite quite experienced people.

But the most important question, in my opinion, is: what do you want to do over say 10 years? I would prefer having nice work above having to do terrible work.

01-01-2002, 06:35 AM
So how can one gain experience without being employed?

01-01-2002, 07:57 AM
A method of gaining experience is doing some private programming projects, alone or with others. At college you will learn about software design methods, use them in your own projects so that you get a bit experience in using them.

And why not doing some programming work besides college, I mean holiday work?

01-01-2002, 02:00 PM
But what is the difference between software engineering and programming?

01-02-2002, 04:19 AM
A programmer receives the specifications of the program or a module and implements and tests it.

Software engineering includes all activities from requirements, to architecture, detailed design, implementation and testing. So programming is a part of software engineering.

01-02-2002, 11:00 AM
For us Americans: The first guy said dentists in the UK (privately) earn up to 60K a year. Last time I checked the exchange rate, that would work out to about 420,000 a year. Now THAT's a good career choice.

01-02-2002, 12:34 PM
I thought 1 UKP roughly 1.6 USD.

01-02-2002, 02:02 PM
yah it is, went there last year, 1.5 something but they took a charge for changing the money.

60k pounds ---- roughly $90,000

01-03-2002, 06:33 AM
Originally posted by Shiro
A programmer receives the specifications of the program or a module and implements and tests it.

Software engineering includes all activities from requirements, to architecture, detailed design, implementation and testing. So programming is a part of software engineering.

Does that mean that both computer engineers and "computer scientists" if I can call them, can both specialize in Software Engineering? And if so, which one of them has the advantage?

Thank you...

01-03-2002, 06:51 AM
Both a computer engineer and a computer scientist can specialize in software engineering. There is not really an advantage.

Perhaps the computer scientist has some more knowledge about theoretical aspects, like algorithms and datastructures. And the computer engineer has some more knowledge of electronics.

In fact people with various backgrounds can become software engineer. For myself, I studied electronics. Many of my colleges have, some have studied computer science, mathematics or even physics.

01-04-2002, 09:10 AM
Don't waste your time trying to be a really good software developer-- it isn't appreciated by anyone but other developers. Instead, learn to kiss #ss really well.

Here's why:

Bean counters who run companies consider you a loss and would be happier without you. They want _sales_ people. They consider sales people part of the money chain and hence part of the 'profit' side of the business.

If you choose to be a developer, understand that you are not able to achieve more than 100%. And in fact, you will be expected to achieve this as your _normal_ retinue. Others are allowed to top out and 80% and get rewarded if they "over achieve" and get something higher. And what resources will you be given to do your job? None. You will be expected to be a slave to the company and use up as much of your personal time as necessary to achieve immutable goals established for you by bean counters above you who are so short-sighted they can't really think beyond 1 month (and that is a strain). They would prefer to look good on the books this month, and repurchase everything net month at twice the price, rather than paying a little more this month and solving a problem in the long-term.

Furthermore, bean counters see you as a unit. Anybody can do your job, just as you can do anyone else's job. Except the bean-counter's, of course. Executive Management thinks of themselves as valuable-- what a gas!

You will be blamed for everything that goes wrong with the computer and will always find yourself having to know not only your job, but everyone else's better than they do, so you can defend yourself when backed into a corner and shut them up.

You only get the 'glamorous' life if you do something really great, or run in the right 'developer circles' and become a recognized name... it can take a long time if ever to achieve this.

If you don't achieve this, you've sacrificed your quality family time, and all other aspects of your life into a box nobody understands. Remember, it's just "magic" to most of the people around you.


Now that I've painted the bleak picture... if you still choose to continue, I suggest you become an Oracle expert. Be a DBA and do programming on the side for your own pleasure. bean counters see DBAs as part of the profit side of the business. In fact, they will fire _everyone_ else no matter how valuable before they chop the DBA...

Just a personal observation born from decades of experience. I got lucky-- I ran in the right circles early and became a name.

01-04-2002, 09:41 PM
Hello, I'm a 17 year old male too, and I'm in a bigger trouble, at least you can decide your future, I would like to become a computer scientist, but in my country (Colombia) that career isn't available, so I took Systems Enginnering (I'll start next month!!!), it's the only program similar to CS, but, as long as that program (at least for me and in my country) is extremely easy to take and here you can't double major, I would have to take Electronic Engineering (only to fulfill the requirements of my "knowledge hunger") in the nights, but I'm not satisfied at all, if I only could find a good program, something to delight my brain with keeping the posibilities of a good future .... I'm so confused...


01-05-2002, 04:59 AM
Sayeh, though I have only a few years experience being a software engineer, I recognise the things you wrote. Managers talk about the engineers in terms of resources. I once was in a meeting of some projectleaders where the talked about how many resources would be needed to finish the project earlier and that kind of stuff.

It was quite demotivating when I realized that they see us just as resources which they can use to do the work. On the other hand this has inspired me to go further and learn more in order to grow into some higher function. Like architect, then you have more influence then a software engineer.

They don't look at how you optimized the software in order to be fast and small. They just look at how the costs and how the client reacts.

You said you have decades of experience. Can you tell a little bit of your career?