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Career advice for a science major.

 
 
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 04:48 pm
I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck, well, no one wants to live like that.
Most of my friends are changing majors for graduate school, they are going into the engineering program. They suggested that there is no money in a science degree, even after graduate school.

Currently I'm double majoring in chemistry and physics.
Would it be better to go into graduate school for engineering, like masters in biomedical engineering or chemical engineering.

My school also offers a doctoral degree in Bio-molecular Engineering, chemical engineering, and bioengineering. If I choose to go into the graduate engineering program, after undergrad degree, will I have a more chance of landing a job with a higher paycheck.

I love research and all, but I don't see the point of loosing money from this big investment in education (paycheck perspective).
 
aspvenom
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 04:58 pm
@aspvenom,
The college counselor threw some stats at me that translated into something along the line of: you have to be very lucky and be at the cream of the crop to land research money for your own research after grad school. So statistically speaking, the odds are against me (the luck part, not GPA wise).

So any real life experiences and advice would be very helpful.
Thanks in advance.
0 Replies
 
Rorschach
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 05:19 pm
@aspvenom,
Quote:
Currently I'm double majoring in chemistry and physics.

Wow, that is an overkill.

All I can say is that engineers have more job security than a researcher with a science graduate degree.

Getting a Phd in an engineering field can work for you or against you. For example there maybe some difficulty getting into real engineering jobs that are actually meant to be taken at the BS (or sometimes MS) level. Many companies are reluctant to hire Phd engineers for these technical engineering positions because they are viewed to be "overqualified," for one. Secondly, Phds are more expensive as they would require a higher salary for the same job. In their view, it is better to hire a BS or MS who can do the same job at a lower cost to the company.

As you can see, my message is biased, being that I'm an engineer.
Avendarito
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 07:03 pm
@aspvenom,
Follow your heart, listen to your intuaition. Don't be motivated by money. You should educate yourself on where money comes from then you would think twice about finding a 'good' job. Money is but a figment of our imagination, if suddenly the whole world thought as I do, money would be worthless, & it's fast heading in that direction.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 04:25 am
@Rorschach,
I'm with Rorschach (I'm also somewhat biased in favor of engineers as I have family members connected with the field). There are always engineering jobs, it seems, and there can always be more. The # of engineering jobs is related to the size and # of companies, whereas the # of research jobs is more closely related to either the # of universities (not likely to change significantly any time soon) or the amount of $$ thrown at various medical and industrial problems (think pharmaceuticals or perhaps even some forms of robotics).
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 05:43 am
@aspvenom,
you need to be a student of futurist thinking and to keep your options broad. I was initilly chem grad (BS Ms) and , after getting the total shits of the entire field, I went into a different (but technically related) field that is fraught with more ups and downs than the S&P. I went into mining geology and have been able, by mrket and academic reserach , to have a very good living that affords me and my family with many opportunities.

I taught on a tenure track for a while until I took resources and started several companies related to mineral chemitry, exploration, and development, crystallography, mining engineering, structuarl geo, fossil fuel and so on. Ive found that an application of my tech field with an environmental concern has been a big plus ( I thank my chem Ms for the knowledge to employ several creative means of solution mining that were known in a lab but not in the field).
Ya gotta look 20 years down the road. Many of my geologist friends who were limited to reservoir development were sitting on their asses without jobs during the 80's and then came roaring back in the 90's and 00's. While they caught up and got ahead, several abandoned the field in disgust

Where is your interest fields tech going?
Ive seen computer "engineers" go from really hot prospects to market driven commodity status her everyone in the world is your competition.

Id suggest you look into chem engineering with a ptroleum and environmental focus. ALSO, really look into your "Terminus plan". (I had an advanced degree in chem, and then I chose to go to anelite U that offered a "MASTER OF APPLIED SCIENCE" (after I did the course requirement for a BS in geology.) The choice for me to take this on (rather than a strict PHd program was quite a good decision because an MAS is like an MFA in art, its THE terminal degree that allowed me to teach in the engineering or science schools ). Also, the all consuming reasearch of your PHD , actually sets you back several years as you live like a monk at a U ) . I thanked my luckies for not going in the PHd program because it would have defined me for several years and Id have been more at the mercy of presenting my diss to a review vborard who was selecting the teaching needs for that department. Instead, I was a ble to booger the requirements at the U I wound up t . I could hndle engineering ND science courses (Hell I even tught geometrics and surveying)
Since youre doing a dub major youve already got the drill down because your diss in an MAS progrm would be based upon APPLICATIONAL RESEARCH of your two crafts.

I was always employed and actually hired several of my colleagues who , while teaching, got the shits of the tenure track in a department environment (politics, faculty bullshit, "Teaching v Doing"). I hired em away from a U (one of em was an Ivy) And these had been my partners till I gave up ownership of my compny and only work for themas an adjunct now. Ive had the best of all the worlds acadeam and practice as a pro.
Of the two, I most preferred practice and problem solving. You will find that, like art, engineering is finding creative solutions to problems
Having several Patents doesnt hurt either

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 05:46 am
@Rorschach,
Quote:
Many companies are reluctant to hire Phd engineers for these technical engineering positions because they are viewed to be "overqualified
Thats only true of youre just a commodity. If youve looked into some area like nanotech applied, your dub major and a PHD will able you to fit right in and soon lead (if youve got the stuff to be creative AND smart) creative and smart dont always travel in a troupe.
0 Replies
 
aspvenom
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 11:35 am
Thank you farmerman.

With this unstable job market, it seems like my future is being choked. The difference between masters and PHD in the science is helping out someone's research, or doing your own research. I could care less, as long as I have job security.
In these days, my counselor advised, you may have to sacrifice somethings you love, such as research, to find a stable niche in the job market.

It seems creativity is as important as a degree.
Starting your own company is genius, I never thought about that.

I have one year before graduate school, so I'm going to seriously consider M.Eng. degree programs that best suits my interest.
aspvenom
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 11:43 am
@Rorschach,
It is a bit hard, but it is manageable. I love both disciplines and couldn't choose from the option, so way back when I was a freshmen, my counselor suggested taking a double major.

some of the courses overlap, so it's not as bad as you think.

Better now that I be aware that funds for scientific research is hard to obtain, instead of finding out the hard way.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jul, 2012 11:54 am
@aspvenom,
I don't know any engineers with doctorates that are unemployed.
0 Replies
 
Torii
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Aug, 2012 03:46 pm
@aspvenom,
I too am in somewhat of a similar anxiety filled position. I'm 19, B.S. biochemsitry, junior year this fall. I've also been hearing scare stories of smaller job openings in the research field.
Many people ask if I'm going to study medicine when they hear my major, but the truth is I've decided early on that being doctor of medicine is not my cup of tea after some job shadowing.
I'm seriously considering biomedical engineering (Phd or masters, not sure yets) because I want an excellent all-around engineering education.
I think it's just not me, a great number of my class mates are having trouble committing to any specific majors. I'm just following my interests, and hopefully with some luck it lands me a decent job that I don't hate in the end.
aspvenom
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2012 01:48 pm
@Torii,
Best of luck to you then.
Current job growth looks very grim to those who stay in school a long time. My friend in my hometown graduated high school, went one year to college, dropped out and is now running a very successful car service center. He doesn't have to worry about student debt, and all that yadd yadda.
0 Replies
 
Atom Blitzer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2012 01:20 pm
@aspvenom,


I found this very interesting. I think you need to replace pressure with passion as John said.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2012 01:36 pm
@aspvenom,
aspvenom wrote:

I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck, well, no one wants to live like that.
Most of my friends are changing majors for graduate school, they are going into the engineering program. They suggested that there is no money in a science degree, even after graduate school.

Currently I'm double majoring in chemistry and physics.
Would it be better to go into graduate school for engineering, like masters in biomedical engineering or chemical engineering.

My school also offers a doctoral degree in Bio-molecular Engineering, chemical engineering, and bioengineering. If I choose to go into the graduate engineering program, after undergrad degree, will I have a more chance of landing a job with a higher paycheck.

I love research and all, but I don't see the point of loosing money from this big investment in education (paycheck perspective).


If you're interested in and do well in Chemistry and Physics, I'd think a BS in engineering might be a good thing for you. However, I do remember when
there were few jobs for engineers and likewise for RNs. Each career will hav its ups and downs.

0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2012 01:43 pm
@aspvenom,
aspvenom wrote:

I could care less, as long as I have job security.


I don't think that job security can exist for most members of the middle class.
Just look at the auto industry in Detroit.

Just look at the field of medicine. How many MDs took an early retirement and took on a com;letely different career because of stress and low pay.

How many PhDs in biochemistry and molecular biology left science to either commit suicide or to find a relaxing job like driving a taxi.

These are very strange times.
0 Replies
 
 

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