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Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career

  1. Aug 27, 2008 #1
    Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    First of all I want that you for helping and a hopefully being understanding I don't plan to even declare are major until end of Freshmen year, but I would like to learn a bit more about my science/engineering possibilities.

    First all I am very passionate about space exploration. Growing up I watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos,watching Space Shuttle launch in person and watching the unrealistic,but important Star Trek:TNG. Honestly I feel like this is one of my callings in life and I am firm believer that it the exploration and colonization of space is the most important thing humanity can do. I would like to study space and maybe work on some unmanned mission...maybe a manned mission one day. I would very happy to work at NASA.DoE or a contractor. What kind of careers/majors could this lead to?

    This is separate question.
    I love technology in general as well. I got to tell you,I am so lucky been born to see the popularization of the computer and the birth of the internet. I will admit that I am am total and utter geek. I always stay on top of the latest technology. Making this technology would be a wonderful job. I mean say Apple want a Iphone 4G. I would love to work on the design, finding out which hardware combination would give the best performance and price..etc. Maybe custom engineering some of the hardware.Working on some new idea to make it better by researching and addressing complaints. .What kind of job/major would this be?
     
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  3. Aug 27, 2008 #2
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    I should note I don't want to be "rich". Maybe a salary of around $70k starting.But I would like to maybe make $100k-$150k eventually. Basically enough to have a decent house,a nice car and some money left over to quench my technology love.

    I like to travel internationally a lot too.Could that be integrated into one of these jobs?

    I also have a few political and writing(science and politics) desires..

    For what colleges or majors , Any suggestions?
     
  4. Aug 27, 2008 #3

    Ben Niehoff

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    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    To work on designing unmanned missions to space, space exploration, etc., you should major in Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering. I can heartily recommend my undergrad school, Purdue, which has produced a few famous astronauts.

    To work on the iPhone 4G (although, by the time you graduate, they'll probably be up to the iEverything), you should major in Computer Engineering or Electrical Engineering (both of which are also strong programs at Purdue, to push my former school again). Although I should warn you, getting to work on something sexy like the iPhone would take a stroke of luck; everyone wants to do that.

    Actually, echo that statement again for aerospace: The sexy jobs will go to engineers with extreme dedication, hard work, good performance in school, and ability to work with teams. Don't lose sight of your long-term goals, and cultivate all these skills.
     
  5. Aug 27, 2008 #4

    Ben Niehoff

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    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    You will not, no-way, no-how, make a starting salary of $70K. I worked as an engineer at Intel for two years and made around $55K. Sorry to burst that bubble, but unrealistic expectations will set you up for disappointment. You will be very lucky to get $55K straight out of college. Don't believe your college advisors when they tell you you can get $60K or more.

    If you stick with it, enjoy your work, and give it all your effort, then you will make something in the $100K range eventually. Probably when you're around 40 years old.
     
  6. Aug 28, 2008 #5
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    $60k or so isn't that bad.

    I have a question on aerospace engineering say you are working on Mars Science Laboratory,Do you make just the craft or all the systems such as sensors..etc? DOo You just design,see it off and move on or do you see it through, control it while exploring,analyze some data collected..etc?

    I am looking into Purdue,Seem great and not that selective,but the location is dreadful...
    Still very high on my list.
     
  7. Aug 28, 2008 #6
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    The thing is, if you want to work on the craft, electrical engineering would be alright, too, since you need to design and install various electronics. So it depends on which part of the craft you want to work on.
     
  8. Aug 28, 2008 #7

    tmc

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    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    On such a large project, you'd probably be part of a team which works on one of the sensors. It would be highly-specialized work
     
  9. Aug 28, 2008 #8

    Ben Niehoff

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    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    What's dreadful about the location? West Lafayette is actually a pretty fun college town. Though it does get cold in winter.
     
  10. Aug 28, 2008 #9
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    It is just out of the way.
    I am from Rhode Island and never have been to Indiana.
     
  11. Aug 28, 2008 #10
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    Anyone else?
     
  12. Aug 29, 2008 #11
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    Anyone more help?
    Thanks a lot everyone!!!
     
  13. Aug 30, 2008 #12
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    I should detail my 2nd question more. I don;t know if this is possible at first,but here it goes. Would it be possible to say work for a company like MS,Sony,apple,hp..etc. and have them come to you and ask you how they can make the best product. You then build the project and present it.
    R&D would be wonderful,I would like to do stuff like they do at MIT Media lab.


    Is it true for engineering it doesn't really matter where you go to college as long as they are ABET certified?
     
  14. Aug 30, 2008 #13
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    As far as "becoming an engineer", I think that is true. Licensing requirements are (often) linked to ABET accreditation, as are some job descriptions.

    However, the college you go to also determines who you meet and what alumni organizations you belong to. Never underestimate the value of networking, and I don't mean 802.11.
     
  15. Aug 30, 2008 #14
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    I understand that, You might not get a better education at Stanford,but their Almuni is off the charts
     
  16. Aug 30, 2008 #15
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    If it comes down to $80k in debt at a decent university or $0 in debt at a no name.yet flagship state university, What should I go with?
     
  17. Aug 31, 2008 #16

    jtbell

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    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    Define "decent." I would consider most "flagship state universities" to be "decent" in terms of undergraduate physics degrees. If you can tell us which "flagship state university" you're thinking of, maybe someone can chime in with specific evaluations.
     
  18. Aug 31, 2008 #17
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    ^^^
    I live in Rhode Island.
    University of Rhode Island is a joke IMO

    I hate this state,but I don't know.

    I plan to live in either Boston or Silicon Valley area...or where every I can get a job I want.
    I really like Boston University,It could be a lot more money....I'll have to look into it.
     
  19. Aug 31, 2008 #18
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    Given a choice between UoRI and no debt and BU and $80K debt, I think I'd pick UoRI.

    Not that BU isn't a very good school... but I'm not convinced that it's an extra $80K better.
     
  20. Aug 31, 2008 #19
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    Here is what I am looking at as options right now.

    Aerospace Engineering specialization in space engineering
    Physics > Ph.D Astrophysics or Particle Phsyics
    Astronomy > Ph.D Astronomy.
    Electrical Engineering
    Computer Science or Engineering

    I am certainly not closing any doors.Maybe I will love chemistry or something.
     
  21. Jun 3, 2010 #20
    Re: Confused High Schooler seeking guidance in Intrests,Education and Career!!!

    hah I love chemistry. Always will.
     
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