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What kinds of majors and jobs have to do with technology?

by x1800yolk / March 22, 2007 7:34 AM PDT

I'm graduating this year, and I'm going to college soon afterwards. I've always been into technology and development, as well as science and mathematics. I'm having a really hard time picking a major, and was wondering what kind of majors lead to what types of fields. Thanks! -Brian

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Oooh
by maxiusha / March 22, 2007 7:55 AM PDT

Computer science all the way man! It's a blast. Oh, and any kind of media study is fun though kinda broad.

I did philosophy too but that has sod all to do with tech, but the conversations are thrilling!

Nate L.

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Depends on what you mean by 'technology'.
by navsimpson / March 22, 2007 11:45 AM PDT

I think things depend on whether you actually want to work with technology specifically - i.e. designing or diagnosing it - or just generally be in the field: you can be a generally non-techie marketing person and still work for Samsung or ATI right? Or, like our intrepid podcasters, you could also focus more on the technology media and journalism side of things. Which are you leaning towards - the hands-on or hands-off approach?

-Nav

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some q's for you and some ideas...
by shawnlin / March 22, 2007 12:39 PM PDT

some q's for you and some ideas...

Nav has some great points. I'd also suggest considering the following questions and ideas:

Which magazine gets you goin'/thinkin' on all cylinders?:
Popular Science (http://www.popsci.com) (smattering and surface level plus some description of technology of all sorts)
The New Atlantis (http://www.thenewatlantis.com) (academic take on technology and society, technology/engineering/science & public policy)
International Design (http://www.idonline.com) (journal dedicated to the creative arts, industrial design, and innovation - very international too)

Do you want to read the news and comment on it (reviewer, learned critic)? Do you feel most naturally gifted in writing the news for others to enjoy and be informed with (tech-journalist)? Or do you want to do stuff that is news worth reporting, the one in the trenches doing the creating, discovering, etc. (engineer, scientist)? Or do you want to do a LOT of statistical mathematics while using tech-insights to provide data that would bolster great technology solutions for public policy (tech-economist)?

Any personal projects you're personally proud? Any that make you a standout amongst your peers? Any projects you really want to tackle? Do you enjoy being part of a team or are you genuinely, truly most at ease and vibrant when you're on your own doing a project?

When I was in high school, I wrote the heads of a few companies telling them (briefly/concisely) of my talents, interests, and a couple trends I picked up on by myself and asked their asked them for some career advice. They did respond (one even sent a nice book) and it was helpful to read their response.

I'm currently doing systems engineering which could lead into a position title of "technologist" or "technology developer" after some experience. One option for you would be do to 'general engineering'/'systems engineering'/'engineering management'...or things that are strongly related.

And..honestly, do stuff that is fun to do even when they going gets tough (due to critics, bosses, industry slump, etc.). Every industry has a cycle - but if you enjoy the process (the "during") and not just achievements (the "goals/end"), then I think you'll feel great about what you do and what you contribute to no matter what the health of the industry is. It takes a lot of different people to make the world go 'round...and don't guilt yourself if your not more than 1 at the same time ;-P

It's a great thing you're asking these questions!

Best wishes to you,
Shalin

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oh - a biggie...
by shawnlin / March 22, 2007 1:21 PM PDT

are you a hands-on person that feels most energized when you're in a shop/laboratory? Or do you want to do coordinating from afar? Note, there are positions that mix a little of both.

be aware - you may go through a lots of different types of positions through your career. before I was a systems engineer, I had an operations engineering position.

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Interest Inventory
by Renegade Knight / March 23, 2007 12:29 AM PDT

I think you should take some time and take an interest inventory. Just in Case you have not heard of these or they changed the name recently it's a question and answer session to capture your interests. Those interests are then used to find the careers and jobs where people who have similar interests tend to do.

It's a great starting point. Looking back the only thing that was listed as a good match that I have not done is become a Doctor. Too much school to do that at this point in my life.

If you can take more than one I'd do it. They don't allways line up the same, but if you take a few of these tests the trend should start showing up.

Oh, and from expereince Engineering Degrees lead to Engineering Jobs. Happy

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College Major
by arthurt / March 23, 2007 12:51 AM PDT

I majored in marketing, but I've always worked for tech companies.

The good news is that you can change your major in college. I would stack your first semester schedule with as much general classes (the ones that everyone has to take, regardless of major). That way, you can use the first semester to talk to professors and students who are enrolled in your majors of interest.

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Suggestions
by gwchemguy / March 23, 2007 1:01 AM PDT
In reply to: College Major

If you pack in as many Gen Ed's into your first semester (which I highly suggest), make sure you take a science. If you decide that you don't like it, you've gotten a lab science out of the way, but if you do like it, you're in a good position not to have to double (or triple) up on classes in the future. I had some friends who thought they were a bio major to only want to be a chemistry major. They didn't take the gen classes early enough and ended up not being able to chem b/c they'd have to double up Organic with Physical chemistry. Something I would not suggest. Practically any major can be geared to tech. I have a friend who was a history major who is going to law school for tech-based law. Remember to have fun in college.

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Majors
by bol_reality_check / March 23, 2007 6:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Suggestions

Almost all major have technology-related fields now. Just don't think it's all fun and games. I have taken computer science classes where people just want to program in "Windows" or mess with games. You have to deal with some drudge work, but learning the basics gets you to the point where you can diversify.

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Wow, thank you
by x1800yolk / March 23, 2007 7:36 AM PDT

All of you have already been a big help. There are a bunch of things here that I will have to look into, that I know will help me. I'll post some more info on what I'm doing once I figure out a few more things. I want to spend a lot of time planning my future, but right now I'm bombarded with calculus and physics work, and that makes things hectic. Thanks again, Brian

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Best wishes with Calc and Physics...
by shawnlin / March 23, 2007 7:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Wow, thank you

Glad to lend a hand.

As a general rule of thumb for life...I wouldn't spend TOO much time planning...and thinking too much only gives you a headache. A lot of impressive people I know get ~80% of the info they need and then make a decision using the cold facts and their gut-feeling/intuition. mainly because, well, getting the remaining 20% could take forever! :-P

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