Hello people. I just have a quick question that calls out all those that work in the fields or at least took some college classes on these
Here is my question. I'm entering my Junior year in HS, so obviously, it's about time I start thinking of what I would like to major in in college.
I have already begun my search for careers that may interest me. Here were the initial fields of work I chose:
Black Helmet, I do not have a college degree in any of those disciplines, although I have been going to college more or less regularly since I
graduated from high school forty-two years ago, and have taken courses in all of those except for molecular engineering (although I have taken a lot
of engineering courses).
Here is my take on most of them, based on what little I know.
Astronomy*: (I took one general astronomy course and have a telescope that I play around with; the expert here would be Cmdrkeenkid). You’re not
going to be doing any serious research or get tenure at a University unless you have a Ph.D. degree, and the jobs typically don’t pay much. There
are a lot of different types of astronomy; all of them require intensive math and physics.
Geology* : I’ve taken three geology courses and my wife and I are avid amateurs, probably because we live in geology country (Arizona). Same
career path as astronomy, unless you want to work with civil engineers in evaluating subsoil strengths, or with hydrologists, or (of course) working
for an oil company as a petroleum geologist. Again, four or more courses in chemistry, including a couple of analytical chemistries, physics, and
probably math through diffie-Qs.
Archaeology* We took an “Archaeology of the Southwest” course and it was great fun, but you can’t do much with just an undergraduate degree,
and fieldwork (at least what we did on our trips) is backbreaking work. Again, no money, no settled home life. However, your best resource here is
Ms. Byrd, one of the super-moderators; her knowledge (and advice) for that field would be far superior to mine.
Ancient history: My favorite, and absolutely the worst
choice for a career. The woods are full of history majors, and most of them don’t
ever use their degree. Those who do usually end up teaching in high schools. Even so, there’s a plethora of them, and unlike a math or science
teacher, where you can pretty much pick your location, as a history teacher you will probably be glad to take whatever teaching position is offered,
typically on the reservation or the inner city.
Molecular Engineering Even though my second degree is in logistics engineering, I haven’t a clue what a molecular engineer does outside of the
fact that they try to mimic or replicate cytological processes or design and use nanostructures. Obviously, you’d need very
backgrounds in cytology, organic and biochemistry, in addition to the basics such as statics, dynamics, strengths, structures, fluid dynamics, heat
transfer, optoelectronics, and on and on. Certainly there’s a whole lot of potential for nanotech, but whether that will transfer into jobs on the
undergraduate level is something I don’t know.
Computers: It depends on whether you’re talking about IT, systems design, or software engineering. The last mentioned, which involves designing
and implementing software-hardware interfaces is a great future, especially in the aerospace and defense arena, and you can knock down about $60/hr as
a salary in most big companies with just an undergraduate degree and a couple hears’ experience. If you’re thinking web design, I wouldn’t
I assume from your post that you’re fairly strong in math and haven’t a clue as to what you want to be when you grow up. Don’t worry, my son
and I (ages 20 and 60 respectively) are in the same boat. My son finally settled on engineering as a major, and I am back getting an MBA so I can
teach when I retire from my company next year!
Here’s some advice to think about. If your ongoing math track will have you completing your first calculus course by the time you graduate (not
“pre-calc”, but actual calculus), you’re okay. If not, go to summer school. By the time you start college, you should have already taken
first-semester calculus and the three basic high school sciences: biology, chemistry, and physics. If you’re not there, get there; otherwise,
you’ll be starting off behind the learning curve.
Remember, you can always pick up various lit and history courses, and the prerequisites are not as critical. Go for the basic science education, with
math through diffie-q’s, at least one more physics, two or three college chemistry (general, organic, and maybe analytical), one each geology and
astronomy, and two or three life science courses (general biology, biochemistry and maybe genetics). At that point you will have had some first-hand
knowledge of what the various science disciplines are like, whether you may have an aptitude or enjoyment of it, and will have also had a chance to
talk with some of the practitioners. If you’re still not sure what you want to do, take some other exploratory courses like anthropology (usually a
prerequisite for archaeology), paleontology, etc. If that
doesn’t float your boat, do some history and lit courses.